Was glancing through this book at Borders last night and some points came out very clearly. The author takes a completely different view of US than others have been predicting. He thinks that the next 100 years will be the “American Age”. “Not because I am American”, he says, but “because that is how the power works!”.
He might well be right.
The source of energy that will replace Oil and Gas may have a lot to do with that as well. He thinks Solar Power made in space will be the made energy source by the end of the century. That will make US replace Saudi Arabia itself. Very probable. (Watch his video here)
Another of his strong arguments is that US controls the seas and oceans like no other power does. That is also pretty true. With the decline in Soviet power, that is especially true. The European power will decline a lot over the next 100 years, he says – which I believe is true as well.
1. China’s economy is a propped by its Government through freely available bank loans – a lot of which are non-performing
2. China doesn’t make things for profit. In fact it loses money on many investments and works ONLY because of Government subsidy.
3. This investment and loans (rather, Grants) are occuring UNTIL China can get the money inflow.. its like a muscial chairs.
Friedman, interestingly ALSO has exactly the same arguments. He even gives out figures for these arguments which I made without figures based on plain judgment. He says that the Non Performing Loans (NPAs) in China are to the tune to $600 to $900 billion! That is 25-33% of the entire Chinese economy. That is huge! When you are spending that much just to sustain your economy, you would usually be in trouble in case things go South for the world at large.
He also talks of Islamic threat. And according to him, that is waning and may not pose a big threat to the US. I disagree with him on that one though. It would be a mistake to dismiss that threat so easily. In fact, in my judgment, we are seeing the lull before the storm. I have never seen ordinary people – educated and intellectually inclined – so strongly and blatantly brain washed by the Jehadi mindset. I have had occassions to talk to many people in the US and on the net and I feel that their arguments seem to be copied right out of a Jehadi book. I call these minds “Jehadis in waiting”. They are the proverbial “Sleeper cells”. Such people are there everywhere. I have never been inside a masjid when a sermon is going on, but I would not be very surprised if close to 98-99% of all mosques do not have sermons which detail out the concept of “Victimization” of the Muslims and the call to fight such an “atrocity”. Now, some would be leaving it at that and some would go further. How further is the question of percentages. Once the argument for “Victimization” is made the rest of the things fall in place for a Muslim to assume the Jihadi trajectory .. at least in moderate levels and intellectually if not physically. The discussions and mindsets reveal that very easily. The sentiments like those of the Fort Hood killer of Army people a few months back is very common discourse that happens around the Islamic life and world. It is hard to miss. I believe this will have a disastrous effect on the world at large and US in particular. Of course, it will lead to untold tragedy for the Islamic world, but it portents are very very clear now.
The Islamic challenge won’t be terminal for the US or the West, but it will be substantial. More so, because the challenge will come from inside the house. And the allies of that challenge will ALSO be in house – the liberals who think that Inclusivity and Assimilation means to include Exclusivist mindsets on the same platforms and with same rights and protections. That will hurt.
Friedman also rather strangely does not mention India much. Briefly he mentions but suggests it will be in US camp – which I agree – for any wars.
Another interesting country he mentions is Japan and how its relationship will deteriorate further with China as it uses Chinese people in China to outsource work as its own population falls. In China’s case, a lot of things will lead to a situation of conflict within.. such that there will be regional power points that will threaten schism in the country itself. Overall that makes sense. Although it might take well over 30-40 years for it to work itself out. Friedman thinks that China will disintegrate by 2020. It might be more like 2050.
In any case, mankind will face a disastrous and probably Earth-Shattering (literally) war this century. Every century has it.. and this century won’t be any exception.. except the tools will be very damning.