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Expert opinion

"Imagine St Petersburg occupied by Estonia". Predictions by futurologist Friedman, who predicted a war between Russia and Ukraine


George Friedman, the American political scientist, founder and former director of the private intelligence-analytical organization Stratfor and current director of the Geopolitical Futures Foundation, has been making geopolitical predictions for almost half a century.

Many of them are coming true, like the military conflict with Ukraine that Friedman predicted in his best-selling book, The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century, some 13 years ago. Here are 10 more of Friedman's curious predictions for the near future.

Demographic crisis and possible collapse of Russia

Russia's population is declining rapidly. George Friedman predicts that it will be about 110 million people by 2050 (145 million now). The number of Russians will fall in relation to other ethnic groups. The regions will gradually gain more and more power, and some - Karelia, for example - may eventually secede.

Weakening of China

In Friedman's view, China's economic growth will slow as early as this decade. Among the reasons for this are ideological motives, which are placed above economic interests in this country; the high percentage of unpaid loans and the contrast between rich and poor regions.

Friedman believes that China is unlikely to maintain territorial integrity in the first half of the 21st century. It is also unlikely to be an ally of Russia.

Japan's growing influence

As of 2022, Japan is the world's third largest economy after the US and China. Friedman predicts that in the third to fourth decade of the 21st century, the Japanese will increasingly exploit the resources of the Russian Primorye and eastern China, gradually becoming the most powerful players in the Northwest Pacific.

Japan will also import oil from the Persian Gulf and begin to build up its military presence in the South China Sea and the Malacca Straits.

Flying to the moon and a second Pearl Harbor

By the 2040s, relations between America and Japan will have severely deteriorated. Friedman does not rule out that it may come to full scale war around 2050. It will most likely start ... from space.

The Japanese will deploy a space programme to develop alternative energy sources in the 2020s. By the 2040s, they may colonise the Moon and take advantage of it.

Strengthening of Poland and the whole of Eastern Europe

With the weakening of Russia, Poland would be the first to want to move east. As will other Eastern European countries.

"Imagine Petersburg occupied by Estonia, or Minsk occupied by Poland. Expansion of these countries to the east is imminent," writes George Friedman.

In this case, Poland has every chance to become a major power at the head of the coalition in Eastern Europe. In general, as the political scientist is convinced, in the 21st century, Eastern Europe will act more energetically than the Western Europe.

Truce between Russia and Ukraine

In Friedman's opinion, the war between Russia and Ukraine will not end soon, but an armistice agreement will eventually be inevitable. It will be facilitated by growing discontent in both countries, primarily in Russia.

An unstable Western Europe

"There is no talk of European unity. Nationalism is simmering here. At the same time Europe is by no means militant, but rather inert. But Russia, which is interested in restoration of the USSR borders, is a direct threat to the three Baltic States. There is no doubt that Europe would like to prevent this, but how exactly it consolidates in the face of danger is the question," writes George Friedman.

Turkey and Mexico - future superpowers

He is convinced that Turkey will import agricultural products and energy from Russia, and that its sphere of influence will gradually reach the Arabian Peninsula with its oil reserves and the Balkans. And Mexico, according to Friedman, stands a good chance of becoming one of the world's ten largest economies by about the middle of the 21st century. Sooner or later, this country will make territorial claims against the US.

"As a result, a sub-national bloc like Quebec in Canada will emerge - an independent province that has the right to make its own laws. There could also be talk of annexation of territory. Either way, the southwest will become a hotbed of constant tension. For the first time in 200 years America will face threats within its own borders," Friedman writes.

Decline in global economy

In 2023 and the next few years, many countries will face rising inflation. Deglobalisation will occur - the global economy will fragment.

America will remain in the lead

Crises, above all of power and the economy, as George Friedman is convinced, are inevitable in this country. The nearest crisis is expected in the 2020s and 30s. But after each such upheaval, America will "reinvent itself," including by "resetting" the economy.

A new Cold War between Russia and the US is very likely, but a real war is unlikely: above all, it is unnecessary and unprofitable for America itself.

Cover photo:

Persistent images. The Dutch historian and author Heiss Kessler talks about how Europe and Russia have been staring at each other for years and can't understand
Opinion/the Netherlands

Persistent images. The Dutch historian and author Heiss Kessler talks about how Europe and Russia have been staring at each other for years and can't understand

Meet Europe’s coming military superpower - Poland

Meet Europe’s coming military superpower - Poland