A major new book by New York Times bestselling author and geopolitical forecaster George Friedman (The Next 100 Years), with a bold thesis about coming events in Europe. This provocative work examines “flashpoints,” unique geopolitical hot spots where tensions have erupted throughout history, and where conflict is due to emerge again.
“There is a temptation, when you are around George Friedman, to treat him like a Magic 8 Ball.” —The New York Times Magazine
With remarkable accuracy, George Friedman has forecasted coming trends in global politics, technology, population, and culture. In Flashpoints, Friedman focuses on Europe—the world’s cultural and power nexus for the past five hundred years . . . until now. Analyzing the most unstable, unexpected, and fascinating borderlands of Europe and Russia—and the fault lines that have existed for centuries and have been ground zero for multiple catastrophic wars—Friedman highlights, in an unprecedentedly personal way, the flashpoints that are smoldering once again.
The modern-day European Union was crafted in large part to minimize built-in geopolitical tensions that historically have torn it apart. As Friedman demonstrates, with a mix of rich history and cultural analysis, that design is failing. Flashpoints narrates a living history of Europe and explains, with great clarity, its most volatile regions: the turbulent and ever-shifting land dividing the West from Russia (a vast area that currently includes Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania); the ancient borderland between France and Germany; and the Mediterranean, which gave rise to Judaism and Christianity and became a center of Islamic life.
Through Friedman’s seamless narrative of townspeople and rivers and villages, a clear picture of regions and countries and history begins to emerge. Flashpoints is an engrossing analysis of modern-day Europe, its remarkable past, and the simmering fault lines that have awakened and will be pivotal in the near future. This is George Friedman’s most timely and, ultimately, riveting book.
In this insightful examination of contemporary Europe, political scientist Friedman (Next Decade) challenges the view that the European Union and its neighbors have transcended the threat of violent conflict among nations. As background, Friedman explores the darker implications of the individualism, intellectual inquiry, and innovation that led to Europe's greatness, showing how the culture that produced the Enlightenment descended into barbarity in the 31 years from the beginning of WWI to the end of WWII. He recounts how Europe was shattered during that time, slowly reintegrated during the Cold War, and triumphantly unified by the European Union's formation in 1991, just as the Soviet empire disintegrated. The book depicts the German-dominated EU and Eurozone as a tense, fragile construct, particularly after the 2008 financial crisis which broke the promise of prosperity that had drawn nations to join in the first place. Friedman identifies sources of instability in the numerous "borderlands" of Europe, most strikingly between Russia and a "barely functional" NATO. By dispassionately anatomizing the fears, aspirations, and interests of the key players, particularly a resurgent and resentful Russia, Friedman vividly describes a region where memories are long, perceived vulnerabilities are everywhere, and major threats have emerged rapidly and unexpectedly many times before.
Best book on European history
The arguments and the analysis that supports why the fundamentals of European Union is not stable euro are fantastic. Although I'm my career is not involved in foreign affairs, this book gives us amazing insights on European nations interests, philosophy, geography and politics among them. George Friedman is one of the best geopolitical analysts living now and this audiobook is totally worth every single minute spent listening .
U.S. Investor and Europhile
This is the first book I've ever recommended to my most thinking international friends, businessmen and normal citizens alike.
It works on three levels: provides the underlying rationale for what has occurred in the last century in Europe; makes an incredible case for the repetition of the same history from some of the same causes as we watch the EC begin to unravel even as I write this.
And last, the case provides a new lens from which to look at other groups of countries...is the past the predictor of the future?