Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder Paperback – February 23, 2016 by Peter Zeihan (Twelve / Grand Central Publishing

The raw, natural, unique geographical potential of the US been, perhaps, hardly noticed and in this early 21st century we can see that is barely realized. The US emerged from WW2 as the only standing power of the age and an accident of circumstance to rebuild the world. Without much notice or aplomb, the accident turned real and changed the world as we know it at 1944 Bretton Woods. Zeihan's premise is that the US has seemed to mature beyond its needy detractors and lukewarm allies and might reconsider the strategic US role in the world away from the position of an active enforcer of global institutions. Zeihan's premise is that we can do better for ourselves without a whole lot of effort. Such an imagining has been inconceivable since the US has been an energy importer. The US must invest insane volumes of national capital to defend the worlds free market resource and energy flows. But that's changed in such fundamental ways that we might reconsider it all and change the century for much better. Zeihan explores discarding WW2's promulgated political maps and considers the world from a space station vantaged eye view.

Zeihan provides a sage, quantifiable grand tour of where that future is peeking through. Everyone can see that there's something different in the air for better or worse. Most recently, we have the huge discount at the gas pump. The global hierarchy is stressed. Strange things are happening in distant places and here in the US. The dynamics of current changes in the geopolitical construct will fill the future history of this century.

Zeihan is an excellent, logical writer. He masterfully knits the pieces of his thesis into an enjoyable coherence. The historical evidence and critical variables are exercised on the grand scale ... geography, politics, human patterns, resources, fundamental `money'/'wealth' and simple luck.

"Accidental Super Power" pulls the reader through the looking glass and out of the comfort zone to consider the way forward ... a better way ... different for sure. For this reader's part, the relevant factors of the past are well framed. The exploration of the future is rooted in the accidental genius of Bretton Woods that would stand for 70 years. Everything geopolitical that living men have experienced is anchored to that 1944 event. The world simply has no experience on a global socio-economic existence without the Bretton Woods rules. So stunning was the outcome, Zeihan posits that Bretton Woods seems to have induced a 70 year coma over heavey weight geopolitics. The world is restless 'confined' by the construct of a world frozen the in place since WW2.

The economic demands of competing big players are stressing Bretton Woods. The US, for its part, is effectually easing out the leadership mantle repelled by its extraordinary costs. Zeihan delves into an America weary of intervening and policing.

The US has been bound in the past 50 years by energy dependence on extorting oil `haves'. American oil and potential independence heralds an American exit opportunity from the troublesome web of pent-up geopolitics and ideologies among rebellious, unlikable oil powers. America's strategic need to spend blood and capital resolving other people's problems to keep shipping lanes and chokepoints free might be over for a very long time with US oil independence

You can read your own political worldview into Zeihan's treatise and decide the credibility for yourself. It's a great work of connecting the dots. The book will challenge every reader's basic premises and constructs.

Anyway, you're lucky as all get-out for being born in America. 5-star ... one of the best I've read in a long. It's an important book.

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