News / USA

New Book Examines Decade Ahead

Greg Flakus

New Book Examines Decade Ahead
New Book Examines Decade Ahead
One of the more provocative strategic affairs experts in the United States today is George Friedman, founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Austin, Texas-based forecasting group called Stratfor.  In a new book, Friedman takes a look at the decade ahead and, he sees the U.S. presidency as the key factor in determining how things turn out.

In his last book, published two years ago, George Friedman took on the next 100 years, providing broad outlines of how the fortunes of various countries might rise and fall.  In his latest work, titled The Next Decade, he focuses on more immediate concerns and says the course of events will likely depend on the leadership provided by whoever holds the office of U.S. President.

Friedman says the leadership that is needed is based on idealism as well as a firm understanding of the U.S. role in the world as the lone superpower. He compares the United States to ancient Rome, where the republic was lost as the empire expanded.  Friedman says most Americans would rather focus on concerns at home and leave the world alone, but he says it is too late for that.

"The world appears to be a burden and an ungrateful burden at that," he said. "There is a sense that we can keep everything we have right now and not get involved with them, but the problem with that is that it is impossible to withdraw."

There is much discussion these days about the rise of China, a country that holds much of the U.S. debt.  But Friedman dismisses the notion that China will soon displace the United States as world leader.

"Let us remember that the Chinese are happy to lend us the money or, to be more precise, they would rather put their money in American T-bills [Treasury bills] collecting almost no interest rather than invest in China," he said. "China is a deeply troubled country."

George Friedman says a large percentage of China's huge population lives in poverty and argues that the large Asian nation will be engulfed in domestic crisis in the years ahead.

One country Friedman thinks could pose a problem for the United States  is neighboring Mexico, which is currently in the midst of a violent drug war that has claimed more than 30,000 lives in the past few years.  But while some analysts question whether Mexico will become a failed state, Friedman sees narcotics money as a boon to the nation's economy.

"I see the drug money strengthening Mexico, not weakening it," said Friedman. "About $40 billion a year is passing into Mexico or into Mexican hands and that is creating a stronger economy, dramatically, from what would have been the case the other way."

Of course, both U.S. and Mexican officials would object to that assertion and some estimates of drug profits are much lower than the figure Friedman uses.  The United States is backing Mexican government efforts to fight the powerful drug cartels with $1.4 billion in training and material support. 

Friedman's view of U.S. history may not appeal to many history buffs.  In The Next Decade he says the best leadership has been shown by presidents who have, at times, violated the Constitution they were sworn to protect and defend, and that honesty has not always been the best policy.

The Stratfor CEO says Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan all succeeded by utilizing the pragmatic, but often ruthless techniques outlined by Italian Renaissance author Niccolo Machiavelli.

"A Machiavellian president is someone who has at his core a moral intention and fully understands that it is much easier to talk about morality than to exercise power in pursuit of morality," he said. "Each of them were able to pet the tiger, if you will, and get away with it.  They were superb presidents, but none of them could be called honest, straightforward or even particularly legal."

While some critics question aspects of the Friedman analysis, his book is likely to be well read among foreign policy experts and others who rely on Friedman and his team at Stratfor to provide guidance in a dangerous world.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid