Libyrinths's Reviews > The Next Decade: What the World Will Look Like

The Next Decade by George Friedman
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Feb 23, 11

Read in February, 2011

George Friedman is the founder and CEO of Stratfor, a corporation which analyzes open intelligence and makes geopolitical predictions for international corporations and others interested in such topics.

Friedman says that the U.S. has become an unintentional empire, and as such, we need to grow up and realize that we have no choice but to use our power, and do so in our own self-interest, while at the same time maintaining our moral compass. He finds fault with the moralists on both sides of the political spectrum, and recommends that we rebalance our overseas involvements. He feels we've gotten out of balance due to the focus on the war on terror, as well as our adolescent views on how to handle our power.

He basically says we need to handle the world more the way we used to, and the way the British handled worldwide empire, by recognizing regional interests, and keeping tension between the power players in those regions. Thereby making sure their focus is on themselves, not on attacking us. He makes a good case, one which I'm greatly simplifying here. He says the next decade will be needed to rebalance our priorities and alignments, and to set up a transition for the challenges of the rest of the century.

After making his case, he takes a whirlwind tour of the various regions of the world, points out what he sees as our interests (and threats) in each region, which countries will be players, which not, where they're headed, and then gives his recommendations for encouraging balance in each region.

I did have a couple of quibbles, and at times felt that he was operating from an old paradigm in terms of balancing powers. For example, he advocated restrengthening Pakistan in order to have the India/Pakistan balance again in the region. That may indeed be the way forward, but considering how fluid the world is at the moment, I wish he'd taken the time to show why there weren't other potential ways for this to happen in the region. And that was my quibble. On things where I knew a bit about the region, beyond just headlines, although I don't claim to be a maven on this stuff, I wish he'd have addressed either other potential alignments, or addressed potential objections to what he recommended.

Nonetheless, the book is full of information and ideas, reads quickly, and is well worth the read. If global strategy is of interest to you, this will be a book you stay up late to finish.
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