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With a unique combination of cold-eyed realism and boldly confident fortune-telling, Friedman (America's Secret War) offers a global tour of war and peace in the upcoming century. The author asserts that "the United States' power is so extraordinarily overwhelming" that it will dominate the coming century, brushing aside Islamic terrorist threats now, overcoming a resurgent Russia in the 2010s and '20s and eventually gaining influence over space-based missile systems that Friedman names "battle stars." Friedman is the founder of Stratfor, an independent geopolitical forecasting company, and his authoritative-sounding predictions are based on such factors as natural resources and population cycles. While these concrete measures lend his short-term forecasts credence, the later years of Friedman's 100-year cycle will provoke some serious eyebrow raising. The armed border clashes between Mexico and the United States in the 2080s seem relatively plausible, but the space war pitting Japan and Turkey against the United States and allies, prognosticated to begin precisely on Thanksgiving Day 2050, reads as fantastic (and terrifying) science fiction. Whether all of the visions in Friedman's crystal ball actually materialize, they certainly make for engrossing entertainment. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.