The Next Decade: Where We've Been . . . and Where We're Going

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Overview

The author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Next 100 Years now focuses his geopolitical forecasting acumen on the next decade and the imminent events and challenges that will test America and the world, specifically addressing the skills that will be required by the decade’s leaders.

The next ten years will be a time of massive transition. The wars in the Islamic world will be subsiding, and terrorism will become something we learn to live with. China will be ...

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The Next Decade: Where We've Been . . . and Where We're Going

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Overview

The author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Next 100 Years now focuses his geopolitical forecasting acumen on the next decade and the imminent events and challenges that will test America and the world, specifically addressing the skills that will be required by the decade’s leaders.

The next ten years will be a time of massive transition. The wars in the Islamic world will be subsiding, and terrorism will become something we learn to live with. China will be encountering its crisis. We will be moving from a time when financial crises dominate the world to a time when labor shortages will begin to dominate. The new century will be taking shape in the next decade.

In The Next Decade, George Friedman offers readers a pro­vocative and endlessly fascinating prognosis for the immedi­ate future. Using Machiavelli’s The Prince as a model, Friedman focuses on the world’s leaders—particularly the American president—and with his trusted geopolitical insight analyzes the complex chess game they will all have to play. The book also asks how to be a good president in a decade of extraordinary challenge, and puts the world’s leaders under a microscope to explain how they will arrive at the decisions they will make—and the consequences these actions will have for us all.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Whereas Friedman's last book, The Next 100 Years, focused on "the impersonal forces that shape history in the long run," now the geopolitical intelligence expert examines the impact of current decision making, especially of the United States government, on the world. Friedman suggests that problems currently affecting us significantly may not actually matter in the long run. He compares the position of the United States today to that of Britain in 1910, and argues that the U.S. is an "unintended empire" and that its president is a "global emperor," in part due to the size of the country's economy. Throughout, Friedman argues for an end to the reluctance, as he sees it, to entangle the country in global affairs. He examines the past strategies of Presidents Bush and Clinton and stresses what President Obama and his successor must do about terrorism and technology to foster relations with the Middle East, Europe, the Western Pacific, Latin America, Africa, Israel, Iran, and Russia. When it comes to Bush and Obama he doesn't play favorites, criticizing their policies and comparing them with presidents who possessed more Machiavellian attributes, in his view. While his ideas are well-researched and compelling, Friedman makes the occasional leap that casual readers might find confusing. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR GEORGE FRIEDMAN:

“There is a temptation, when you are around George Friedman, to treat him like a Magic 8-Ball.″ —New York Times Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307881076
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/25/2011
  • Format: MP3
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Sales rank: 1,073,403
  • Ships to U.S.and APO/FPO addresses only.

Meet the Author

GEORGE FRIEDMAN is the founder and CEO of Stratfor, the world’s leading publisher of global geopolitical intelligence. He is the author of six books, including the New York Times bestselling The Next 100 Years. He has appeared on all the major television networks and has been featured in several national publications.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Rebalancing America

A century is about events. A decade is about people. I wrote The Next 100 Years to explore the impersonal forces that shape history in the long run, but human beings don't live in the long run. We live in the much shorter span in which our lives are shaped not so much by vast historical trends but by the specific decisions of specific individuals.

This book is about the short run of the next ten years: the specific realities to be faced, the specific decisions to be made, and the likely consequences of those decisions. Most people think that the longer the time frame, the more unpredictable the future. I take the opposite view. Individual actions are the hardest thing to predict. In the course of a century, so many individual decisions are made that no single one of them is ever critical. Each decision is lost in the torrent of judgments that make up a century. But in the shorter time frame of a decade, individual decisions made by individual people, particularly those with political power, can matter enormously. What I wrote in The Next 100 Years is the frame for understanding this decade. But it is only the frame.

Forecasting a century is the art of recognizing the impossible, then eliminating from consideration all the events that, at least logically, aren't going to happen. The reason is, as Sherlock Holmes put it, "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

It is always possible that a leader will do something unexpectedly foolish or brilliant, which is why forecasting is best left to the long run, the span over which individual decisions don't carry so much weight. But having forecast for the long run, you can reel back your scenario and try to see how it plays out in, say, a decade. What makes this time frame interesting is that it is sufficiently long for the larger, impersonal forces to be at play but short enough for the individual decisions of individual leaders to skew outcomes that otherwise might seem inevitable. A decade is the point at which history and statesmanship meet, and a span in which policies still matter.

I am not normally someone who gets involved in policy debates-- I'm more interested in what will happen than in what I want to see happen. But within the span of a decade, events that may not matter in the long run may still affect us personally and deeply. They also can have real meaning in defining which path we take into the future. This book is therefore both a forecast and a discussion of the policies that ought to be followed.

We begin with the United States for the same reason that a study of 1910 would have to begin with Britain. Whatever the future might hold, the global system today pivots around the United States, just as Britain was the pivotal point in the years leading up to World War I. In The Next 100 Years, I wrote about the long-term power of the United States. In this book, I have to write about American weaknesses, which, I think, are not problems in the long run; time will take care of most of these. But because you and I don't live in the long run, for us these problems are very real. Most are rooted in structural imbalances that require solutions. Some are problems of leadership, because, as I said at the outset, a decade is about people.

This discussion of problems and people is particularly urgent at this introduction moment. In the first decade after the United States became the sole global power,...

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Customer Reviews

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( 45 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 1, 2011

    Are you ever puzzled by U.S. foreign policy? If so, you will find this book a worthwhile read.

    Mr. Friedman presents a thought provoking view of foreign policy that is especially insightful when considering the present happenings in the middle east and north Africa. He clearly describes a plausible explanation for the sometimes contradictory appearing policies of the U.S.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2011

    9.99 on Kindle

    Why so much more? look forward to reading it.

    3 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    AN UNINTENDED EMPIRE ¿ LIKE IT OR NOT

    Friedman¿s premise is that the United States is an unintended empire that cannot disentangle itself from its global interests, regardless how many people wish this was the case, without destabilizing the American and global economies. His concern is whether the management of an empire can be made compatible with the requirements of a republic. Friedman indicates that government must have a moral basis for power, but the exercise of power is morally ambiguous. Hence Friedman maintains that the single institution, elected by the people, that can save the republic is the presidency. However, a Machiavellian president is required ¿ one that can reconcile duplicity and righteousness in order to achieve and maintain American greatness. His examples of Machiavellian presidents who were moral men able to lie, violate the law, and betray principle as necessary were Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. Friedman also maintains that we need a more mature and enlightened public that spends more time arguing over issues and practical alternatives and less time arguing over what to argue over or bemoaning all the things that are not fair or perfect. I have to agree with the latter point wholeheartedly. I think some of the recent unproductive congressional debates give evidence to this. In addition, further proof can be found by perusing the comments made to any online political or social article. Viewer comments are often at best simplistic and uninformed and at worst are often bigoted, selfish and stupid. At any rate, among the examples Friedman provides requiring presidential duplicity, i.e. paying lip service to them while recognizing they are impossible, are Middle East peace treaties involving an independent Palestinian state, achieving energy independence this decade, solving the immigration problem, and significantly curtailing the drug trade from Mexico. Nobody including or especially most of the Arab nations wants an independent Palestinian state. We will be dependent on oil or coal or natural gas until we harness solar power from satellites in space. Space will also host the next weapons systems and the groundwork needs to be laid during the next decade. ID cards would resolve the immigration problem but would be unacceptable to the American public. Legalizing drugs would destroy the drug trade but would likewise be unacceptable to the American public. Friedman explains that American interests lie in ensuring the continued dominance of the US navy and ensuring a balance is retained in each region of the world without the need to commit substantial numbers of US troops. The recovery of Russia, Germany¿s growing dependence on Russia, and the lack of an effective counterbalance to Iran are among the problems America will have to address during the next decade. The US will have to court Turkey and Poland, distance itself from Israel, and come to an accommodation with Pakistan and Iran. This book provides an interesting perspective. I¿ll never listen to politicians again, at least on the topics Friedman addresses, without considering whether they are being duplicitous or ignorant.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2012

    Friedman's understanding and insights to America are spot on, bu

    Friedman's understanding and insights to America are spot on, but I feel that he gives America (it's people and its leadership) too much credit. An entity in motion has a trajectory, and the trajectory of America was launched by invasion, conquest, genocide and slavery. Then, like an ignorant, spoiled and greedy child, it set about devouring everything in sight and demanding to have its own way. America will continue the course it's set because it's people are risk averse and the unknown frightens them. Only an intervention will alter the course, forcing the willful "child" to mature and see the error of its ways! But, who or what is powerful enough to do that? Doom and gloom you say? The party's over and it's time to clean up! But it's more likely that America will lay down in the mess it's made waiting for someone else to clean it up, like it did with Y2K!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    Insightful

    Even if you could set aside the prognostications, which he admits are intelligent probable estimates based on historical realities, seeing all of the history and news that we know used to present an objective narrative of what may be was astonishingly insightful,

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Good read...makes one think

    point of view is interesting and historically significant..Not sure I agree with all tenets

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    Great book, a must read

    Every american must read this book to understand where America will be positioning in the world for the next decade. Spain ruled the world for almost 400 years, Great Britain for almost 200 years. The question is how American will keep their predominance in the world in years to come.

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