‘The Next Hundred Years’ by George Friedman -war in space
November 17, 2012 in Science
‘The Next Hundred Years’ by George Friedman -war in space
The Next Hundred Years by George Friedman writes about a number of fairly controversial developments. These include the decline of Russia and China as world powers, the rise of Poland, Turkey, and Japan as countries to be reckoned with, the latter two as rivals to the United States. Islamic terrorism will diminish as a problem and a labor shortage that will stand the current immigration controversy on its head and lead to a confrontation with Mexico by the end of this century. One of the more fantastic developments that George Friedman suggests in The Next Hundred Years is the development of space, not only as a venue for economic development, but as the theater of the next, big war. George Friedman’s prediction of space based solar power stations helping to alleviate the Earth’s energy woes is not new. Peter Glasser wrote of the concept of collecting solar power with space based solar collectors and beaming the power to Earth via microwaves in 1968. The concept was popularized by Gerard K. O’Neill, who proposed building space based solar power stations using material from the Moon and asteroids. Dr. O’Neill speculated that space based solar power would prove to be the economic incentive for space settlements. George Friedman’s most controversial predictions in The Next Hundred Years concerns the possibility of the next great war fought almost entirely in space. George Friedman suggests that by about 2050, the United States would operate huge space stations, that he calls “Battlestars” after the popular TV series, that would serve not only as weapons platforms but as command and control centers to manage conflicts on the Earth’s surface. There would be three of these “Battlestars” situated in geosynchronous orbit to cover almost the entire planet. George Friedman goes further by suggesting that an enemy would be able to strike at these “Battlestars” with stealth missiles launched by bases on the far side of the Moon. Such launches could be conducted in secret and placed on eccentric courses that would cause warheads to arrive at their targets days later. The missiles would be stealthed, made to look like meteors or space junk. Thus, a decapitating blow could be inflicted on space assets owned by an enemy nation. Fantastic? Science fiction? Perhaps, but to gain a little perspective, one might look at the history of the last century. In 1909, wars were fought with masses of infantry backed up by artillery. Horse cavalry still existed in most world armies in a reconnaissance role. The tank and the use of the airplane in a combat role were still in the future. By 1950, wars were fought with mass armies which included entire divisions riding in tanks and armored vehicles. Air craft of various sizes could strike at enemy combat assets or enemy cities far behind the lines. The atomic bomb, almost unimagined forty years before, had ended a world war by annihilating two enemy cities. Atomic weapons, used in a subsequent war, might well destroy human civilization, many people believed. The idea of space, especially the Moon, as the “high ground” of military conflict is not a new one. The US military studied the military uses of space as early as the 1950s. Space is used for communications, navigation, and remote sensing assets that are crucial for fighting an Earth bound concept. Space based weapons have been postulated for defense against ballistic missiles and even as the means to strike at Earth bound targets. The scenario suggested by George Friedman in The Next Hundred Years suggests a certain urgency in securing space against any potential enemy and preserving it for peaceful, economic development. That imperative should be taken into consideration as the current administration while deciding on the future course of the US Space Program.
George Friedman is the founder and CEO of Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (Stratfor at www.stratfor.com), an online publisher of geopolitical intelligence that pioneered the field of private intelligence.
Friedman is the author of numerous articles and books on international affairs, warfare and intelligence. His book The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century is a New York Times best seller. Included among his previous books are The Future of War, The Intelligence Edge, and America’s Secret War.
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GEORGE FRIEDMAN Chief Executive Officer George Friedman is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Stratfor, a company he began in 1996 that leads the field of private intelligence. Dr. Friedman guides Stratfor’s strategic vision, helping shape the long-range geopolitical forecasts as well as overseeing and tasking tactical intelligence operations. Dr. Friedman is also the author of numerous articles and books on national security, warfare and intelligence. His most recent book, America’s
Secret War(Doubleday, 2004), a Barron’s Best Book of 2004, describes in eye-opening detail America’s covert and overt efforts in the global war against terrorism. He has appeared as a national security and intelligence expert on all major networks and is a frequent guest on radio programs. Barron’s cover article featured an interview with Friedman in October 2001 and he has also been featured in Time magazine, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times Magazine and many other domestic and international publications. Dr. Friedman has been the keynote speaker at numerous security and industry specific conferences for private organizations and government agencies. In 1994, Dr. Friedman founded and was Director of the Center for Geopolitical Studies at Louisiana State University, which engaged in integrated economic, political and military modeling and forecasting. Friedman graduated with a B.A. from the City College of the City University of New York and holds a Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University.