George Friedman: The United States controls all the oceans of the world. There isn't anywhere that you can sail in the world that you are not under the 1)surveillance of the US Navy. No power has ever controlled all of the oceans of the world. The Next 100 Years is a book that's trying to forecast what it's going to look like in the first century of the American Age. This book is about the decline of European power and the rise of American power. The fact is, in spite of what everybody might believe, the United States is only at the very beginning of the rise of its power.
What I'm trying to figure out over the next hundred years is what's going to be important and what's not. And things that we think of as very important right now aren't going to be even remembered, and things that we haven't even noticed are going to dominate. History repeats itself, so, for example, there was a reason there was a great 2)Ottoman Empire for centuries dominating the Islamic world. As the Europeans withdraw, as the Americans withdraw, the natural balance of the Islamic world will 3)reassert itself, and that natural balance is in Turkey.
Turkish power is even today stretching out throughout the region. Turkey is the 17th largest economy in the world, larger than Saudi Arabia. This is a major power that no one's noticing, but no one makes a move in the region without checking with the Turks, and that's and that's going to become more and more evident and important.
In my book, The Next 100 Years, there are two forces that are going to help shape global warming. The first is going to be the natural decline in population growth that's going to reduce pressure and demand for energy, and the second is going to be a really radical new approach to energy production; solar power, but not on Earth, in space. Space-based solar power by the end of the century is going to dominate our energy production and it's going to make the United States even more powerful than it was before, because, in addition to everything else, we will replace Saudi Arabia as the world's source of energy.
A lot of people will say the next hundred years is unduly focused on the United States. That's not true. The next hundred years will be all about the United States. That's not because I'm American, it will be because that is the way power works right now. The next hundred years is not going to be the end of the United States. Europe ruled the world for 500 years. I suspect that North America will rule the world for about that long. Doesn't mean it will be the United States ruling the world—North America—and there is already a challenge slowly developing to American power. Mexico, the world's 13th largest economy, a hundred million people, many of them located in the United States inside of the old areas the United States won in the 19th century, is rising again, and by the end of the century it will rise and challenge the United States. And in the 21st century, in the next hundred years, it will end with America ruling the world but very much uneasy in North America as Mexico faces it and challenges it.
What I really want people to understand is that history is not as 4)random and unpredictable as it appears, that you can predict certain changes, but that the fundamental nature of the human condition—that there are families, that people fall in love, that they fight wars, that they make money, that they steal from each other—that remains constant. And so long as you bear that in mind, you can predict the future.
My profession is forecasting, and the company I founded, 5)STRATFOR, specializes in that, usually one year out, five years out, maybe ten years out. The book that I've written, The Next 100 Years tries to push that method out to a century. Lot of people think it can't be done: I have to tell you that I think we did it.