The Next Decade in the Next Hundred Years

On the Brink of the World’s Transformation – What Does the Future Hold in Store?

It comes as no surprise that the projections about the future are substantially in uenced by the person making them and the way that person views the world. The next couple of examples illustrate this bias in all projections on the one hand, and the difficulties and the various expectations forecasting experts need to face on the other hand.  As a security policy expert, Friedman views the world from a security policy perspective. His projection focuses on the US, which, according to the author, only reluctantly assumed the role of an empire after the end of the Cold War, because the foreign policy duties imposed on it by this role conflict with its internal republican structure. The uncertainty of today’s American foreign policy is due to this and the domestic economic problems that arose in the US in the wake of the nancial crisis. 

According to Friedman, the role of the state is strengthened everywhere on account of the economic crisis, therefore it becomes even more important for the US to act as an empire. In this role, the United State’s main goal is ending the balance of power. 

Figure 38 George Friedman’s Ten-Year Forecast until 2015

Source: George Friedman, The Next Decade

Friedman’s prognosis is primarily centered on Russia, and the Middle East also features prominently. With respect to Russia, Friedman expects the country’s economic clout to grow along with its political ambitions. This trend will also be dominant in the situation of Europe as a whole, as the author predicts that Germany will focus on its economic interests and a empt to forge ever closer ties with Russia. This will further restrain and hinder European integration and cooperation on the one hand, and it will make Central and Eastern European countries especially important for the US on the other hand, particularly Poland and Hungary, with respect to hampering and checking rapprochement between Germany and Russia. Friedman claims that the Middle East will remain a con ict zone in the decade ahead, and that the US has to concentrate on Cuba and Mexico in the Latin American region. The Western Pacific region will be increasingly significant for the US foreign policy, and here the author expects a slump or slowdown in China’s dynamic rise, however, due to the ailing Japanese economy, and also due to the country’s development, the role of South Korea in the region will be bolstered. In contrast, due to the lack of important American interests and the high risks stemming from the poor level of development in the region, the US government should steer clear of Africa.

Friedman highlights the increasingly perceptible aging of developed countries’ population and launching the research into energy sources that can provide su cient energy for tomorrow as key global trends in the areas of demographics and energy, respectively.

In his book about the forecast for the next hundred years, Friedman also constructs his scenario for the future along Cold War-like and actual armed conflicts. According to the author, the 21st century will clearly be the century of the US, which will play a dominant role in its shaping. Friedman asserts that the US strategy is built on the full American control of the Western Hemisphere and the American dominance over the world’s oceans. 85 On account of the author’s security policy perspective, his prognosis for the next hundred years is mainly centered around conflicts.