Daniel W. Drezner

Predicting the future… right now!

Events in Egypt are now officially happening Too Fast to Blog About While Egyptians are Still Awake.  Sooo… in the meantime, I have a review of George Friedman’s The Next Decade:  Where We’ve Been… and Where We’re Going  in the latest issue of Texas Monthly.  Friedman is the founder and CEO of Stratfor, which is based in ...

Events in Egypt are now officially happening Too Fast to Blog About While Egyptians are Still Awake. 

Sooo... in the meantime, I have a review of George Friedman's The Next Decade:  Where We've Been... and Where We're Going  in the latest issue of Texas Monthly.  Friedman is the founder and CEO of Stratfor, which is based in Austin, Texas. 

Here's how the review opens and closes:

Events in Egypt are now officially happening Too Fast to Blog About While Egyptians are Still Awake. 

Sooo… in the meantime, I have a review of George Friedman’s The Next Decade:  Where We’ve Been… and Where We’re Going  in the latest issue of Texas Monthly.  Friedman is the founder and CEO of Stratfor, which is based in Austin, Texas. 

Here’s how the review opens and closes:

As a rule, those who predict the future of world events should be viewed the same way Hermione Granger viewed Hogwarts’s divination classes—with unremitting skepticism. Social scientists may have something to offer in the way of explanation or short-term speculation, but there are serious limits to any kind of global soothsaying. World politics are simply too complex to forecast anything precisely in the medium term; it’s like asking a meteorologist to predict the weather a decade from now….

Perhaps I exaggerated Hermione’s skepticism of divination a bit. An otherwise stellar student, she was clearly frustrated that she was simply no good at it. Similarly, I should confess a smidgen of envy at Friedman’s conviction that he will be proved right about everything. Some writers are so sure of their beliefs that their assuredness has a viral quality, infecting the reader even if their logic fails. Friedman possesses that certainty in truckloads, and The Next Decade contains a few nuggets of insight as well. But make no mistake: Things will happen over the course of the next decade—and the next year and the next week—that will completely rock George Friedman’s world. (emphasis added)

Hey, are my predictive powers amazing or what??!!  OK, those predictive powers were really the result of an excellent editor at Texas Monthly, but you get the idea. 

I believe you can read the whole thing.  Incidentally, his key insight into Egypt comes on page 92:  "Even if the secular Nasserite regime fell, it would be a generation before Egypt could be a threat, and then only if it gained the patronage of a major power."  Ah, that explains why Israel is handling these events so calmly.  Oh, wait…

For a fun exercise, see if Friedman’s current analysis jibes with how he predicts the next decade. 

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

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