George Friedman’s The Next 100 Years (2009) is a follow-up to his book America’s Secret War (2004). Friedman is chief intelligence officer and founder of Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (also called Stratfor), which is a private intelligence agency. The company’s clients include Fortune 500 companies and foreign government agencies.
Stratfor compiles analyses of international events on a daily basis. Its output includes items of great interest in contemporary times such as the latest tensions between India and Pakistan and the vicissitudes of the drug cartels in Mexico.
Friedman bases his book on history and geopolitics. His story establishes the United States as maintaining its world power due to its mainland securely held between two large oceans and a powerful U.S. Navy. The Next 100 Years also hypothesizes an end to the Islamic-U.S. tensions and wars because Al-Qaeda is fractured and will not sustain a prolonged conflict.
In the 2030s, Friedman predicts the fragmentation of China due to the poverty of the interior provinces coupled with the imbalance of the wealthy coastal regions. Friedman paints the 2030s as a time when the United States will experience a significant financial crisis due to the retirement of the baby boomers. Immigration will become so important to revitalizing the economy that the United States will pay people to immigrate to America.
In the 2040s, Friedman predicts the rise of three nations: Poland, Turkey, and Japan. Poland will dominate Eastern Europe after the failure of Russia. Turkey will become the strongest power of the Islamic countries. To maintain its position, Japan will take over the Pacific Ocean. From these three nations will emerge the Third World War involving the United States.
Critics praise Friedman for undertaking the challenge of forecasting the future of such events into the twenty-first century. With great imagination, he charts likely developments that are often surprising including China’s decreasing international influence due to its social, cultural, and economic instability; Russia’s reemergence as a power; and the glory of America in another age. His predictions may not be 100 percent accurate, but they are right on the mark for gaining a strong readership and following.