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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go 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.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More