‘The Next 100 Years’ May Not Bode Well for Armenia

Corporate Intelligence Guru George Friedman’s Latest Book Predicts Turkish Superpower

next 100 yearsWATERTOWN, Mass. (A.W.)—To personify the tone of George Friedman’s newest book of speculative geopolitics, The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century (Doubleday, 2009), I shall quote F.D.R. when he allegedly said of Nicaraguan despot and U.S. proxy Anastasio Somoza García: “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”

Likewise, I will say of Friedman that while I’d probably disagree with his personal social views if seated beside him at a dinner party, there was little in his book’s research or analysis that I—nor, I’m assuming, any charter member of the ANCA—would disagree with that staunchly.

Friedman is the chief executive of STRATFOR, the leading private global intelligence firm he founded in 1996. The son of Hungarian Holocaust survivors and raised in New York City, he spent almost 20 years in academia prior to joining the private sector, teaching political science at Dickinson College. During that time, he regularly briefed senior commanders in the armed services on security and national defense matters, as well as those in the Office of Net Assessments, the SHAPE Technical Center, the U.S. Army War College, the National Defense University and the RAND Corporation.

For all intents and purposes, I have honed my review to focus on Friedman’s predictions for Armenia, Turkey, and the Caucasus, although his general outline for a realistic 21st-century timeline is as ruthless and American-interest driven—never to be confused with the goals of true American values—as any State Department report I’ve ever perused.

Keenly, of all U.S. foreign policy decisions, Friedman writes with veritas that the U.S. “has no key interest in winning a war outright. As with Vietnam or Korea, the purpose of these conflicts is simply to block a power or destabilize the region, not to impose order. In due course, even outright American defeat is acceptable. However, the principle of using minimum force, when absolutely necessary, to maintain the Eurasian balance of power is—and will remain—the driving force of U.S. foreign policy throughout the 21st century. There will be numerous Kosovos and Iraqs in unanticipated places at unexpected times… But since the primary goal will more likely be simply to block or destabilize Serbia or al Qaeda, the interventions will be quite rational. They will never appear to really yield anything nearing a ‘solution,’ and will always be done with insufficient force to be decisive.”

In short, Friedman predicts that following the August 2008 war in Georgia, conflicts in the Caucasus will remain relatively stable until roughly 2020, at which point “Americans will see Russian domination of Georgia as undermining their position in the region. The Turks will see this as energizing the Armenians and returning the Russian army in force to their borders. The Russians will become more convinced of the need to act because of this resistance. A duel in the Caucasus will result… But it will be Europe [namely the Polish border and the Baltic states], not the Caucasus that will matter.”

He continues of this proposed conflict: “The Turks will make an unavoidable strategic decision around 2020. Relying on a chaotic buffer zone to protect themselves from the Russians is a bet they will not make again. This time they will move north into the Caucasus, as deeply as they need to in order to guarantee their national security in that direction… The immediate periphery of Turkey is going to be unstable, to say the least. The United States will encourage Turkey to press north in the Caucasus and will want Turkish influence in Muslim areas of the Balkans.”

In Friedman’s view, the opening of the border between Turkey and Armenia can be postponed but is inevitable. And when it finally occurs, the Tashnag nightmare scenario—of the Armenian market being flooded with Turkish goods, and Turkey taking over all industrial sectors, leading to Armenian economic serfdom and client state status—will also be unavoidable.

The difference is that like a therapist objectively and impassively listening to someone’s problems, Friedman comments but doesn’t care about Armenia’s interests. He simply notes that such an outcome will be deemed by the U.S. to be in America’s interest, before the country makes adequate progress in transitioning to more sustainable “green” energy policies.

By 2040, Friedman writes, an Armenian, Greek, and pro-West anti-Turkish movement will begin to coalesce as the U.S. and Britain no longer regard Turkey as a friendly ally but as the rival superpower against the U.S. alongside a rejuvenated militant Japan.

“Turkey will move decisively northward into the Caucasus as Russia crumbles. Part of this move will consist of military intervention, and part will occur in the way of political alliances,” he writes. “Turkey’s influence will be economic—the rest of the region will need to align itself with the new economic power. And by the mid-2040’s, the Turks will indeed be a major regional power. There will be conflicts. From guerilla resistance to local conventional war, all around the Turkish pivot. Turkey will wind up pushing against U.S. allies in southeastern Europe and will make Italy feel extremely insecure with its growing power.”

In Friedman’s view, such a build-up will eventually lead to a limited-World War conflict between the U.S. and Poland against Turkey and Japan for divided world hegemony around 2050, with any actual ground combat occurring primarily in the vicinity of the Balkans and the Polish border areas surrounding U.S. and Turkish military targets.

Naturally it remains to be seen what will occur on the world stage, but like Groopman’s How Doctors Think (Mariner, 2008), Friedman’s Next 100 Years is as best an educated guess as anyone in the geopolitical analysis field can give, pending all variables—and that’s something.
Though to my chagrin, no travel agency will take reservations to Armenia for my personal Nuevo-Lincoln Brigade 38th and 68th Birthday Party Artsakh Liberation Extravaganza this far in advance. I checked.

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9 Comments

  1. armen baghdoyan said:

    Friedman’s geopolitical “theories,” like most of his writings in STRATFOR publications, are nothing but absolute nonsense. They are not only not worth dwelling upon, but also simply a wasteful reading. This maniac assumes, as a modern Nostradamus, that he is the only one who can see the global evolution in segments of decades. Well, if one is to immerse himself into prognostications, he should, I believe, at least have as the starting point the current economic and political trends. The global power relations are shifting in favor of the East, including Russia, China, India, Japan, with all the auxiliary states. How Mr. Friedman comes up with his miraculous dish from the ingredients on the table seen by everybody else, does not surprise me. A more intelligent idiot was Samuel Huntington, whose “Clash of Civilizations,” like the rest of his writings, now are rotting in the ash heap of history. People with hidden agendas always think differently, it seems. Well, I’ve got news for Mr. Friedman. It is NOT Turkey, but Russia that will rejoin the ranks of superpowers. And Armenia, as the center of Russia-China right angle, will never lose its strategic importance to emerging or existing superpowers. Third, Turkey can only become an industrial power by playing it right with the East, which includes developing peaceful relations with Armenia and Russia. Armenians should not be fooled by the likes of Mr. Friedman. Their thinking should never deviate from the following dictum: Russia will rise again; as Russia goes, so goes Armenia.

  2. Vahan said:

    The book reviewed in this article is ludicrous. For starters, I suggest that Friedman look back at century long prediction published at the turn of the -20th- century to see how far of they were. No one could have predicted the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, the European Union, the Second World War; and no one did.

    Simply put, it is impossible to predict the future geopolitically. For a great discussion on the fallacy of predictions, I suggest Taleb’s masterpiece “The Black Swan.”

  3. aramazd babakhanian said:

    Where are all those scientists we claim to have? Where are those physicists? Where are those mathematicians? Fizikos, matematikos, kokos? Biologists. No matter whose shoulder one taps in Yerevan, he or she has a PhD in something. Some have two and three PhD’s. The Soviet era dolled out PhD’s by the bushel, and we claim we invented almost everything. Let those geniusesd come forth, unite, and invent something better than the Atom Bomb. Let’s invent an intelligent drone, let’s invent an intelligent biological bug, an intelligent rodent, an intelligent something that can be programmed to think and do like humans. And then let’s program it to do what we want it to do. How about that? We claim to have taught “brain” to the whole wolrd [in common parlance, ashxarqin xelq enq sorvacrel], now let’s use that God-given gift to our own benefit. Hey, scientists, think “intelligent bug”!

  4. LeoAryatsi said:

    funny article. just the opposite is coming true within a much shorter time. If you think the artificially created state (masonic) turkey will be allowed by its masters to become a superpower either your blowing propaganda or you are no expert to speak of these issues.

  5. Alper said:

    I read this book, it is complete nonsense. Historical performance is not even a useful predictor for markets much less a predictor for geopolitical events which generally have a million and one more factors that influence it.

  6. Ilda Nersesyan said:

    It looks like it is the wish list of a Polish ex-patriate. We should thank him for the info.

  7. Serge said:

    Very well said Armen Baghdoyan, I agree 100% with you buddy. This book is typical brown nosing and ass kissing on Turkey.

  8. Vahé said:

    There is something to be said in favour of Mr. Friedman’s speculation.
    In 1990 when the Soviet Union was falling apart, I felt that the gradual rise of Turkey was inevitable.
    In the aftermath of the collapse some 70 million Turkic people from the ex-Soviet Union republics looked to Turkey as the “Mother” land. A billion dollars were spent by Turkey to switch the alphabet of these republics from Cyrillic to Latin. The Turkish media turned its broadcasting dishes towards these people to immerse them in the Turkish culture. Islam and the Turkish language brought them closer together.
    The ex- Soviet republics are rich in oil, gas and minerals. Their wealth and armies combined with those of Turkey and her army could energize the rise of a second Ottoman Empire that would pose military and economic threats to the West.

    The US and Europe support Israel and are ceaselessly intervening to destabilize countries in the Muslim word for reasons outlined in Mr. Freidman’s book. As a consequence, it is a possibility that Muslim Arab countries, for security reasons and self preservation, would form strategic alliances with Turkey.
    (Iran, Indonesia and Pakistan could also be candidates under the right terms and conditions).
    The picture would look differen; now; you have most of the world’s mineral wealth under the de facto control of Turkey. With a NATO trained army and her enhanced position geographically, she could dictate term to the US, the Russians and Europe.

    What is the West doing about that? The US and Britain are putting all their efforts into getting Turkey into Europe to prevent this scenario. However, most members of the European Community are against the idea, asserting that Turks are not Europeans and only 2% of Turkey’s land mass is in Europe.
    Lately the Turkish government has shown solidarity, for the first time publically, with the Palestinian people, when Prime Minister Erdogan walked out on minister Shimon Perez during a press conference, earlier this year.
    Turkey is no longer looking west, she is looking east; moving away from secularism and towards traditional Islam. The president’s and the prime minister’s wives wear head scarves in public. Most Turks are now proud of being Muslims as evident in the results of the last general election. Turks no longer pretend to be secular and now demonstrate in support of the plight of their Muslim brethren no matter where in the world. Most Turks are against Turkey joining the European Community

    Mr. Friedman’s words, concerning Turkey, are not bunkum but he is not approaching the pending outcome
    from the right direction or perspective.

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