George Friedman

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Practical people focus on the next moment and leave the centuries to dreamers.
Old institutions have shattered, but new ones have not yet emerged.

George Friedman (born 1 February 1949) is a Hungarian-born American writer, geopolitical forecaster, and strategist on international affairs. He is the founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures, a new online publication that analyzes and forecasts the course of global events. Prior to founding Geopolitical Futures, Friedman was chairman of Stratfor, the private intelligence publishing and consulting firm he founded in 1996. Friedman resigned from Stratfor in May 2015.

Quotes[edit]

The twenty-first century will be the American century... The twenty-first century has begun with an American success.
The twenty-first century will be a period in which a range of new institutions, moral systems, and practices will begin their first tentative emergence. The first half of the twenty-first century will be marked by intense social conflict.
In the United States, minority populations were never an indigestible mass... [A]ll came, clustered and dispersed, and added new cultural layers to the general society. This has always been the strength of the United States.
Contemporary Europe is a search for an exit from hell... Europe has always been a bloody place.
In much of Europe, for example, Muslims have retained religious and national identities distinct from the general population, and the general population has given them little encouragement to blend. The strength of their own culture has therefore been overwhelming.
Europe is crowded and fragmented.

Interview with Matt Bai (2003)[edit]

Interview with Matt Bai (2003), The New York Times
  • I need caffeine. I need sugar. I need beef.
  • Understand that you're now in a superheated atmosphere; there are all kinds of rumors floating around. And one of the players is deliberately feeding us lies.
  • I think Iraq will have a formally independent government that will be in perpetual gridlock and chaos, and essentially, there will be a U.S. military administration utilizing NGOs that can do a lot of the heavy lifting in the country.
  • Your 15 minutes are here, Friedman... I'm just saying, all your life you know useless and obscure things. And suddenly... It is a fairly strange experience.

The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century (2009)[edit]

The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century (2009), New York: Doubleday
  • Al Qaeda has failed in its goals. The United States has succeeded, not so much in winning the war as in preventing the Islamists from winning, and, from a geopolitical perspective, that is good enough.
    • p. 18
  • The twenty-first century has begun with an American success that on the surface looks like not only a deafeat but a deep political and moral embarrassment.
    • p. 18
  • Europe dominated the world, but it failed to dominate itself. For five hundred years Europe tore itself apart in civil wars.
    • p. 22
  • [A]ny seagoing vessel—commercial or military, from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea to the Caribbean—could be monitored by the United States Navy, who could choose to watch it, stop it, or sink it.
    • p. 44
  • [D]isequilibrium will dominate the twenty-first century, as will efforts to contain the United States. It will be a dangerous century, particularly for the rest of the world.
    • p. 47
  • [W]hat al Qaeda is fighting for is a traditional understanding of the family. This is not a minor part of their program: it is at its heart. The traditional family is built around some clearly defined principles. First, the home is the domain of the woman and life outside the house is the purview of the man. Second, sexuality is something confined to the family and the home, and extramarital, extrafamilial sexuality is unacceptable. Women who move outside the home invite extramarital sexuality just by being there. Third, women have as their primary tasks reproduction and nurturing of the next generation. Therefore, intense controls on women are necessary to maintain the integrity of the family and of society. In an interesting way it is all about women, and bin Laden's letter [to the U.S.] drives this home. What he hates about America is that it promotes a completely different view of women and the family.
    • p. 50
  • Old institutions have shattered, but new ones have not yet emerged. The twenty-first century will be a period in which a range of new institutions, moral systems, and practices will begin their first tentative emergence. The first half of the twenty-first century will be marked by intense social conflict globally. All of this frames the international struggles of the twenty-first century.
    • p. 64
  • Japan must import all of its major minerals, from oil to aluminum. Without those imports-particularly oil-Japan stops being an industrial power in a matter of months.
    • p. 67
  • The problem for China is political. China is held together by money, not ideology. When there is an economic downturn and the money stops rolling in, not only will the banking system spasm, but the entire fabric of Chinese society will shudder. Loyalty in China is either bought or coerced. Without available money, only coercion remains. Business slowdowns can generally lead to instability because they lead to business failure and unemployment. In a country where poverty is endemic and unemployment widespread, the added pressure of an economic downturn will result in political instability.
    • p. 96
  • By 2040, France and Germany are going to be has-beens, historically. Between population crises and the redefinition of the geopolitics of Europe, the French and Germans will be facing a decisive moment. If they do not assert themselves, their futures will be dictated by others and they will move from decadence to powerlessness. And with powerlessness would come a geopolitical spiral from which they would not recover.
    • p. 151
  • In the United States, minority populations were never an indigestible mass—with the major exceptions of the one ethnic group that did not come here voluntarily (African Americans) and those who were here when Europeans arrived (American Indians). The rest all came, clustered and dispersed, and added new cultural layers to the general society. This has always been the strength of the United States. In much of Europe, for example, Muslims have retained religious and national identities distinct from the general population, and the general population has given them little encouragement to blend. The strength of their own culture has therefore been overwhelming.
    • pp. 224–225
  • Mexico will emerge as a major global economic power. Ranked fourteenth or fifteenth early in the century, it will be firmly within the top ten by 2080. With a population of 100 million, it will be a power to be reckoned with anywhere in the world—except on the southern border of the United States.
    • p. 239
  • If human beings can simply decide on what they want to do and then do it, then forecasting is impossible. Free will is beyond forecasting. But what is most interesting about humans is how unfree they are. It is possible for people today to have ten children, but hardly anyone does. We are deeply constrained in what we do by the time and place in which we live.
    • p. 252
  • Two forces are emerging that will moot global warming. First, the end of the population explosion will, over the decades, reduce the increases in demand for just about everything. Second, the increase in the cost of both finding and using hydrocarbons will increase the hunger for alternatives.
    • p. 252
  • When I was growing up in the 1950s, the twenty-first century was an idea associated with science fiction, not a reality in which I would live. Practical people focus on the next moment and leave the centuries to dreamers. But the truth is that the twenty-first century has turned out to be a very practical concern to me. I will spent a good deal of my life in it.
    • p. 254

The Next Decade: Where We've Been ... And Where We're Going (2010)[edit]

The Next Decade: Where We've Been ... And Where We're Going (2010), New York: Doubleday
  • Contemporary Europe is a search for an exit from hell.
    • p. 142
  • Europe has always been a bloody place.
    • p. 143

Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe (2015)[edit]

Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe (2015), New York: Doubleday
  • No continent is as small and fragmented as Europe. Only Australia is smaller, yet Europe consists of fifty independent nations (including Turkey and the Caucasus, for reasons explained later). Crowded with nations, it is also crowded with people. Europe's population density is 72.5 people per square kilometer. The European Union's density is 112 people per square kilometer. Asia has 86 people per square kilometer. Europe is crowded and fragmented.

External links[edit]