The Accidental Superpower

The Accidental Superpower

The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder

eBook - 2014
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In the bestselling tradition of The World Is Flat and The Next 100 Years, THE ACCIDENTAL SUPERPOWER will be a much discussed, contrarian, and eye-opening assessment of American power. Near the end of the Second World War, the United States made a bold strategic gambit that rewired the international system. Empires were abolished and replaced by a global arrangement enforced by the U.S. Navy. With all the world's oceans safe for the first time in history, markets and resources were made available for everyone. Enemies became partners. We think of this system as normal-it is not. We live in an artificial world on borrowed time. In THE ACCIDENTAL SUPERPOWER, international strategist Peter Zeihan examines how the hard rules of geography are eroding the American commitment to free trade; how much of the planet is aging into a mass retirement that will enervate markets and capital supplies; and how, against all odds, it is the ever-ravenous American economy that-alone among the developed nations-is rapidly approaching energy independence. Combined, these factors are doing nothing less than overturning the global system and ushering in a new (dis)order. For most, that is a disaster-in-waiting, but not for the Americans. The shale revolution allows Americans to sidestep an increasingly dangerous energy market. Only the United States boasts a youth population large enough to escape the sucking maw of global aging. Most important, geography will matter more than ever in a de-globalizing world, and America's geography is simply sublime.
Publisher: 2014
ISBN: 9781455558049
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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r
roystreet
Mar 19, 2017

In the cramped, expensive confines of the city, children are no longer a necessary pool of free labor, but rather a luxury reserved of those who can afford them.

r
roystreet
Jan 28, 2017

It is something of a grim irony that the drug war is perhaps the best thing that has happened to Mexico from an economic point of view.

r
roystreet
Jan 28, 2017

In essence, Mexico lacks the geographic characteristics to be a successful state. Geography condemns it to be home to a poor, drastically unequal, underdeveloped society riven by regional and class-based cleavages that no degree of local investment or understanding can ever heal. . . If not for a few lucky oil discoveries around 1900, Mexico would likely have faded into oblivion long ago.

r
roystreet
Jan 28, 2017

The core issue [for Alberta] is pretty simple. While the Quebecois -- and to a slightly lesser degree the rest of Canada -- need Alberta to maintain their standard of living, the Albertans now need NOT to be a part of Canada in order to maintain theirs.

r
roystreet
Jan 28, 2017

For all practical purposes, the Quebecois secession movement is now dead. . . .

Should Quebec declare independence now . . . It would very quickly become a Detroit without an automotive industry.

r
roystreet
Jan 28, 2017

A question oft asked in the United States -- laced with no small amount of amused derision -- is, why does Canada even exist? I hate to say it, but it isn't a stupid question.

r
roystreet
Jan 27, 2017

. . . here is the global stability map of the future, circa 2020-30:

The world can be broken into six categories:
. . .
#3. Degraded: Brazil, India, CANADA. . .

These states are missing some of the basic building blocks of modern society: popular buy-in, government legitimacy, sufficient food or energy or markets. But what they do have is the capacity to partially address some of their challenges.

r
roystreet
Jan 26, 2017

Between 2020 and 2024, thirteen of the world's top twenty-five economies will be in the ranks of the financially distressed. The new arrivals will include Canada. . . and, of course, the United States.

r
roystreet
Jan 25, 2017

From a financial perspective, the population can be split into four groups. The first group is the children. They don't work, but they eat, wear clothes, require shelter and need education. They are expensive and they give nothing back whatsoever. They are an absolute drain both on the system and maybe on their parents' sanity.

r
roystreet
Jan 25, 2017

The looming crisis of the contemporary system is actually pretty straightforward. Everything that makes the global economy tick. . . is a direct outcome of the ongoing American commitment to Bretton Woods. But the Americans no longer gain a STRATEGIC benefit from that network, even as the economic cost continues. At some point. . . the Americans are going to reprioritize and the tenets of Bretton Woods. . . will simply end. (my emphasis)

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r
roystreet
Jan 24, 2017

A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the world in the age of Brexit and Trump and beyond. I found his premises and logic very persuasive, and his conclusions unsettling -- in a good way. But even if you disagree, I think you'll find this book very stimulating.

What makes this book even more remarkable and worth studying, is that the author's conclusions contradict his personal preferences. He would prefer a green, internationalist and libertarian world, but his analysis points to something very different.

Finally, it's a pleasure to read; not the least of the book's pluses is the lucidity and directness of the author's style.

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c
cshahriari
Mar 09, 2015

A refreshing look into the world of geopolitics which has been inundated with writings about America's supposed decline. Peter Zeihan focuses heavily on demographics in his predictions of what the world will look like in the coming years. Similar to Michael Mandelbaum's 'The Case for Goliath', he emphasizes that American's involvement over the past 70 years to provide a form of world government is slowly dissipating. Shale gas production is a big factor for America’s strategic repositioning, but he mentions several more including a more favorable demographic and capital rich system, among others.
Zeihan makes a number of unconventional predictions such America's future alliance with Iran and some more likely ones with the Netherlands, Denmark, and Canada, to name but a few (primarily due to their geographic position). Although the general consensus is leaning in another direction, I commend the author for also covering controversial topics such as an overall ageing demographic which inhibits investments in productive resources, leading to a growing form of gerontocracy. An overall excellent summary of world affairs with exciting predictions of the future. Unfortunately, this type of work is getting less attention than it deserves primarily, in my opinion, due to a distracting focus by the mainstream on less relevant factors. As the author correctly points out, it is geography which carries a much higher weight in the well-being of a nation.

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