The Next 100 Years
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (July 2011)|
|The Next 100 Years|
The Next 100 Years is a 2009 non-fiction book by George Friedman. In the book, Friedman attempts to predict the major geopolitical events and trends of the 21st century. Friedman also speculates in the book on changes in technology and culture that may take place during this period.
Friedman predicts a second American cold war with Russia in the 2010s. He assesses that Russia will make attempts to expand its sphere of influence into Eastern Europe during this period, and will attempt to build up its military capabilities to the point where it can pose a regional challenge to the United States. Friedman asserts that around 2015, the United States will become a close ally to some Eastern European countries, who will be dedicated to resisting Russian geopolitical threats during this period. Friedman speculates in the book that the United States will probably become a close ally of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania, who may form a Polish-led military alliance during this period, which Friedman refers to as the "Polish Bloc". According to Friedman's prediction, in the early 2020s, Russia will collapse, fragment, and disintegrate from the economic and political pressure of a second Cold War.
Around this time, the early 2020s, China will politically and culturally fragment as well, according to Friedman's prediction. Friedman asserts that the rapid economic development of China since 1980 will cause internal pressures and inequalities in Chinese society that will result in regional fragmentation of the country, primarily due to economic reasons. Friedman asserts that China will remain formally united, but the central government of China will gradually lose much of its real power.
According to Friedman, the collapse of central authority in Russia and fragmentation in China will leave the region in general chaos, allowing the secession and annexation of numerous regions. He predicts that Chechnya and other Muslim regions, as well as the Pacific Basin will secede from Russia, Finland will annex Karelia, Romania will annex Moldova, Tibet will gain independence with assistance from India, Taiwan will extend its influence into China, while the Japanese create regional spheres of influence in China.
Friedman predicts that in the 2020s and 2030s, three main powers will emerge in Eurasia. Friedman assesrts that Turkey will expand its sphere of influence and become a major power, much as it was during the time of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey will expand its sphere of influence into the Arab world, which will have increasingly fragmented by then, and north into Russia and the former Soviet Union. Friedman believes that Israel will remain a powerful nation and outside the Turkish sphere of influence, but will be forced to come to an accommodation with Turkey. Friedman predicts that Japan will expand its economic influence to regions of coastal China, the Russian Far East, and many Pacific Islands, and will build military strength during this period. Finally, Friedman assesses that Poland will continue to lead Eastern Europe through its military alliance, the "Polish Bloc". He believes that the "Polish Bloc", possessing substantial military strength, will expand its economic influence into what was formerly European Russia, and that it will compete with Turkey for influence in the important economic region of the Volga River Valley. Friedman believes that the United States will be allied with all three powers initially, but will gradually become an adversary of both the new Turkish empire and Japanese empire, who will grow in power in the 2020s and 2030s, and begin to threaten American interests. Friedman states that Japan and Turkey will probably form an alliance near the end of this period, in an effort to counter the overwhelming global power of the United States. Friedman also speculates that Germany and Mexico may possibly join this anti-United States coalition, however, he thinks it generally unlikely. Friedman states that in this conflict/confrontation the United States will be allied with the "Polish Bloc", and probably with China, India, a united Korea, and Britain.
Friedman also predicts that decades of low birthrates in developed countries, especially in Europe, will result in dramatic cultural, social, and political shifts through the first half of the 21st century. Friedman predicts economic and social strain in these countries, caused by an increasingly smaller working age demographic and a rapidly aging population. As a result, in the decades of the 2020s and 2030s, Western nations will gradually begin competing for immigrants. Friedman asserts that the United States will depart from its policy discouraging Mexican immigration, and will begin trying to entice Mexicans to immigrate to the United States.
Friedman predicts that a third world war will take place in the middle of the 21st century, close to the year 2050. He asserts that the United States will be allied with the "Polish Bloc", Britain, India, and China in this conflict, and will face a coalition of the Turkish and Japanese empires. He asserts that the war will probably be started by a coordinated Turkish-Japanese sneak attack against the United States and its allies. He states that the war will be a form of limited war, and that it will be very different in its conduct than a total war, such as World War II of the 20th century. Friedman asserts that the primary weapons of the war will be long range hypersonic aircraft, and infantrymen with highly sophisticated, powered body armor. Friedman predicts control of space will be crucial over the course of the conflict. Friedman states in the book that Germany and France may enter into the conflict during its later stages, probably on the side of the Turkish and Japanese empires. Nonetheless, he assesses that the United States and its allies will win, that the war will last two to three years, and that it will cost somewhere around 50,000 lives. Friedman predicts after the war, the United States will enjoy a prosperous decade in the 2060s due to its overwhelming political and military power at the time, and that new technologies developed during the war will foster dramatic economic growth, especially in the United States.
According to Friedman, North America will remain the center of gravity for the global economic and political system for at least several hundred years after the outcome of the third world war. However, he also states that this does not guarantee that the United States will always dominate North America. Friedman predicts that in the decades following the war, starting in the 2070s, tensions between Mexico and the United States will rise. By this time, after decades of massive immigration, many parts of the United States, especially the South West, will become predominantly, ethnically, culturally and socially Mexican. Friedman claims that, during this period, many ethnic Mexicans living in the United States, especially those living in the Mexican Cession, may not assimilate into American culture but still consider themselves citizens of Mexico, and remain loyal to Mexico, not the United States. During this period, Mexican economic growth and population growth will be substantial, Friedman asserts. He assesses that by the end of the 21st century, Mexico will be in a position to militarily and geopolitically challenge the United States for dominance of North America, and that political, cultural, and military tensions will rise.
Friedman predicts an extended crisis between the two countries that the United States will be unable to resolve through the use of military force, and that the demographic changes that have taken place in the Southwestern United States will be irreversible. He also asserts that most countries of the world will wish to see Mexico defeat the United States, but that no nation will want to become involved in a matter so fundamental to the United States. His final prediction is that the conflict will likely continue into the 22nd Century.
Friedman also makes many cultural and technological predictions for the 21st century.