Flashpoints

  • by George Friedman
  • Narrated by Bruce Turk, George Friedman
  • 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A major new book by New York Times best-selling author and geopolitical forecaster George Friedman (The Next 100 Years, The Next Decade) with a bold thesis about coming conflict in the world, this provocative work examines the geopolitical flashpoints - particularly in Europe - in which imminent future conflicts are brewing.
George Friedman has forecasted the coming trends (politics, technology, population, and culture) of the next century in The Next 100 Years, and focused his predictions on the coming ten years in The Next Decade. Now, in Flashpoints, Friedman zooms in on the region that has, for 500 years, been the cultural hotbed of the world - Europe - and examines the most basic and fascinating building block of the region: culture. Analyzing the fault lines that have existed for centuries - and which have led to two world wars and dozens more conflicts - Friedman walks us through the "flashpoints" that are still smoldering beneath the surface and are on course to erupt again.
In Flashpoints, George Friedman begins with a fascinating history of the events leading up to the horrific wars that nearly tore apart Western civilization - killing over 100 million people on the "civilized" European continent. Modern-day Europe, and the formation of the European Union, were designed to minimize the built-in geopolitical tensions that led to catastrophic war, but as Friedman shows with a mix of history and cultural analysis, those plans have failed. "Flashpoints" are now simmering as dangerously as in the early twentieth century. Zeroing in on half a dozen locations, borderlands, and cultural dynamics, George Friedman does what few historians can - he explains precisely how certain trends are unstoppable, and what the future holds... both in terms of conflict and also opportunity. Flashpoints also explains in riveting detail how events in Europe will affect the rest of the world.

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Important Reading: Old Grievances Do Not Go Away

This is an important book for anyone interested in contemporary geopolitics. Friedman takes us on a quick tour of European history which focuses on the rise of Germany three times: As an economic and military power leading to World War I, as a military power under Hitler, and as the greatest post-war economic power. Now being a rich, but militarily weak, country, Friedman explains the many challenges that Germany faces for itself, and that it creates for the rest of Europe. His discussion also chronicles the reemergence of Russia, and its need to move its "buffer" to the west, having been re-positioned far to the east after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Friedman also weighs in on the enigma of France and how it is neither really a northern European economic power or a weak southern European country, but a curious mixture of both. And, of course, Great Britain's role is analyzed. No longer a world power, Britain needs Europe and keeps a watchful eye on it, but does not really want to commit to the European Union. Friedman's most incisive discussion, however, involves borderlands across the quilt of many nations that form Europe. Some borderlands are peaceful and will likely remain that way, while others--most notably Ukraine--form the flashpoint for future conflicts. Friedman's main point is that the contention that the European Union ushered in an age of prosperity for all that made conflict and war a thing of the past is simply not true. Very thought provoking. I may listen again.
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- John "I'm a lawyer and mediator. I represent businesses in disputes with their insurers and in other complex litigation. I also assist machinery companies and manufacturers (primarily international) with equipment sales, non-disclosure agreements, and business issues. I also mediate commercial disputes."

Some great insights waterlogged by baseless speculation

Some great insights in this book, but George makes a number of leaps to baseless conclusions. He tries to fill the gaps with personal anecdote but this fails to prop up a chicken little argument. In the end you feel like you've had a long conversation with your smart but a little bit melodramatic uncle.
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- Luke

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-27-2015
  • Publisher: Random House Audio