Musings on Future Decades of Geopolitics

The Next 100 Years is a 2009 non-fiction book by George Friedman. In the book, Friedman attempts to predict the major geopolitical events and trends of the 21st century. Friedman also speculates in the book on changes in technology and culture that may take place during this period.

I believe it was wrong from the time it was written. It is being discussed in the comments here.

Reviewing the Friedman Predictions

Friedman predicts that the United States will remain the dominant global superpower throughout the 21st century, and that the history of the 21st century will consist mainly of attempts by other world powers to challenge American dominance. Although mainly about the geopolitics and wars of the century, the book also makes some economic, social, and technological predictions for the 21st century.

In the 2010s, the conflict between the US and Islamic fundamentalists will die down, and a second Cold War, less extensive and shorter than the first, will take place between the United States and Russia

Friedman speculates in the book that the United States will probably become a close ally of some Eastern European countries: Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. Around 2015, a Polish-led military alliance of countries in Eastern Europe will begin to form, which is referred to in the book as the “Polish Bloc.”

In the early 2020s, the new Cold War will end when the economic strain and political pressure on Russia, coupled with Russia’s declining population, and poor infrastructure, cause the Federal government of Russia to completely collapse, much like the Dissolution of the Soviet Union. Other former Soviet Union countries will fragment as well.

Around this time, China will politically and culturally fragment as well. The book asserts that the rapid economic development of China since 1980 will cause internal pressures and inequalities in Chinese society. Regional tension in China will grow between the prosperous coastal regions and the impoverished interior.

In the 2020s and 2030s, three main powers will emerge in Eurasia: Turkey, Poland, and Japan. Initially supported by the United States, Turkey will expand its sphere of influence and become a regional power, much as it was during the time of the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish sphere of influence will extend into the Arab world, which will have increasingly fragmented by then, and north into Russia and other former Soviet Union countries. Israel will continue to be a powerful nation and will be the only country in the immediate region to remain outside the Turkish sphere of influence. However, Israel will be forced to come to an accommodation with Turkey due to Turkey’s military and political power.

Meanwhile, Japan will expand its economic influence to regions of coastal China, the Russian Far East, and many Pacific Islands. Friedman predicts that Japan will change its foreign policy during this time period, becoming more geopolitically aggressive, beginning a major military buildup. Friedman predicts that Japan will build military strength capable of regionally projecting power across East Asia during this time.

Finally, Poland will continue to lead its military alliance, the “Polish Bloc.” Poland and its allies will be a major power, much like the time of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Mexico will be important and powerful after 2070.

Technological predictions
– development of hypersonic aircraft and missiles
– new space-based technology that will foster the development of military bases on the moon and manned military orbiting platforms (referred to in the book as “Battle Stars”).
– earth will come to be powered by solar energy collected from satellites beaming the energy down in the form of radiation to receiving stations on earth, and dramatic advances in robotics and genetic science will dramatically extend productivity and longevity around the world.

Disagreement and Five more years

The Islamic conflict is not dying down for about two decades. Part of this is the youthful demographics of the middle east.

The world’s Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35% in the next 20 years, rising from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030, according to new population projections by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Globally, the Muslim population is forecast to grow at about twice the rate of the non-Muslim population over the next two decades – an average annual growth rate of 1.5% for Muslims, compared with 0.7% for non-Muslims. If current trends continue, Muslims will make up 26.4% of the world’s total projected population of 8.3 billion in 2030, up from 23.4% of the estimated 2010 world population of 6.9 billion.

Here is a demographic profile of Iraq to 2050 by the UN

Eastern Europe

In 2030, the population of Eastern Europe will
reach 316 million, a decrease of 4.7% from 2010. The population aged 62-80+ years will grow by 32.4% or 17.9 million. The most populous age group in 2030 will lie in the 41-47 age range.
This population includes Russia.

Per capita income in 2030 will probably still be about half of Western Europe and one third of the USA. Best case scenario seems to be 60% of Europe per capita GDP and half of the USA.

I do not understand how a Polish bloc will be very important or powerful. Even if that Polish bloc were to inherit Russia’s power in some scenario.


I do not believe Russia will completely collapse or break apart while Putin is alive. I expect Putin to live 20-30 years. Russia is screwing up its economy now, but that is because the economy is a lower priority than making Putin dictator for the rest of his life. If Russia is still in play then the Eastern Europe bloc stays defensive against Russia.


It is weird that Friedman points out the demographic aging and low birth problem and then picks Japan as a winner decades out. Japan’s population would be dropping quickly at that point.


Energy is slow to change. It takes decades to ramp up new power sources to significant scale.

We will still have a lot of coal, natural gas and oil. China will have built out its maximum hydro power potential by 2020-2030 and will be shifting into a massive buildout of nuclear power. Getting to second place in nuclear and near first by 2020 will just be the trial phase. Serious buildout will occur afterwards. China will have 3-5 times the energy of the USA by 2030-2040. China will be building the energy and other infrastructure of all of the developing countries in other parts of Asia and Africa.

Space based solar power will never be the dominant energy source for Earth. If there is a lot of space based solar power it will be power a space based economy. There is also the issue that transmission of power through long distances in space has not been demonstrated to any extent and is a hard nut to crack.


Africa will probably go from 1.2 billion people now to about 2.7 billion in 2050.

Parts of Africa could continue to grow at 5-7% GDP per year.


In 2030, Turkey should have a population of about 87 million up from about 76 million now. Turkey could move up from about $10K per capita to $20-30K per capita. Its economy would be in the Italy to Germany range depending upon how things play out.

World Economies in 2030

Standard Chartered economic projection to 2030

I think India will do far worse than the Standard Chartered projection.

In 2030, I think Canada with a population of about 44 million and South Korea with about 53 million could be in the bottom of the top ten economies or very close. South Korea could also re-unify with North Korea by 2030.

Projected 2030 economies can easily vary by plus 20% or minus 200% depending upon some country having a lot more problems or very good luck and policies. There is less margin of error for the developed countries like the US, Japan, and Europe

Even with those margin of error levels.
China’s economy should be the world’s largest by a comfortable margin and possibly twice as big as the USA or India. (50-90 trillion)
The USA and the EU-27 should be in the range of the same size in the next tier. (around 20-40 trillion)
India, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, South Korea and Canada will be in the third level. (around 5-10 trillion)

After removing inflation, China would have about $35 trillion in today’s dollars and the US would have about 20% more economy than today at $18 trillion.

By 2030, the balance of economic power will have shifted from the West to the East: while the US, the EU and Japan represented 72% of the global economy in 2000, their share should shrink to only 29% by 2030 – a complete reversal of their importance relative to the emerging world.

By 2030 we assume the CNY will have appreciated from 6.64 this year to 4.39, and the INR from 45.5 this year to 35 in 2030.

INR exchange rate is now 61 to 1 US dollar.
India will have less growth than projected and the exchange rate will be worse.
India will thus be in the 6-11 trillion range in 2030.

We see the US economy growing 2.6% in 2010, only 1.9% in 2011 and 2.7% in 2012, then growing at a stronger pace, with trend growth of 2.5% over the horizon to 2030. Likewise, we see the EU-27 growing 1.8% in 2010, 1.7% in 2011 and 2.2% in 2012, reflecting a sluggish recovery from the crisis, with large output gaps and stubborn unemployment. Over the forecast horizon to 2030, the EU-27 is expected to grow at its trend growth rate of 2.5%. For Japan, the growth figures are 1.5% (2010), 1.0% (2011) and just under 2.0% (2012), and 1.0% over the forecast horizon to 2030.

China’s growth rate is forecast at 10.0% (2010), 8.5% (2011) and 8.0% (2012), averaging 6.9% over the two decades to 2030. For India, the growth figures are higher, at 8.1% (2010), 8.5% (2011) and 8.8% (2012), averaging 9.3% over the forecast horizon.

India is more likely to be in the 5-7.5% range of GDP Growth.
US GDP growth is likely to be in the 1.5-2.5% range.
Brazil, India and Indonesia will do worse than the Standard Chartered projection.

India could join an exclusive group of nine countries, whose annual gross domestic product (GDP) is above $2 trillion (Rs. 120 lakh crore at 60 rupee per dollar). According to Nomura, India’s nominal GDP could finally breach the $2 trillion threshold this year and reach nearly $3 trillion by fiscal year 2016-17.

India would be doing well to be in the $3.6 to 4.5 trillion range in 2020.

Population Projects

Eurostat recently published projections out to 2060 as well.

Canada has just published a completed 2010 census and has projected population out to 2060.

Canada will have 35 million people in 2013 and could have 40 million in 2023 and 50 million in 2042. The low growth scenario is to have 40 million in 2042 and the mid-growth scenario is to have 45 million in 2040.

Canada could catch up to the population of Spain in 2042 and Germany in 2060. Germany population is projected to fall by quite a bit.

China high speed rail network linking China, South Asia and Europe

China is also planning to build trillions of dollars of infrastructure for the entire world over the next few decades.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, known as the BRICS, will approve the creation of the $100 billion reserve fund and $50 billion bank at a July 15-16 summit.

China will have finishing putting hydro dams on its rivers to send 10,000 ton barges into the interior.
China will have high speed rail linking deep into the interior.
Thus the gap between income in the interior and in the coastal areas will be narrowed.

China will have a high speed rail network that links up all of China, most of South Asia and has links out to Europe and Russia by 2030. China will also have separate projects in Africa and will be on the way to linking Africa.