In the best-selling 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.
In The Accidental Superpower, international strategist Peter Zeihan examines how geography, combined with demography and energy independence, will pave the way for one of the great turning points in history, and one in which America reasserts its global dominance.
No other country has a greater network of internal waterways, a greater command of deepwater navigation, or a firmer hold on industrialization technologies than America. Zeihan argues that the future is undoubtedly bright for America, the only country with enough young adults to fill the capital-generating void that will be left behind by 2030. The Accidental Superpower also explores shale oil and its surprising key role in America's move toward energy independence and how it will shape (and is already shaping) American life for the next 50 years.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2014 Peter Zeihan (P)2014 Hachette Audio
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
"Drifting towards isolationism"
“The Accidental Superpower” (Superpower) is a surprisingly interesting and powerful analysis about the geopolitical state of the world. The author, Peter Zeihan, uses regional histories, geographic topographies, demographic trends, and economic data to make predictions about the conditions of specific countries between 2015 and 2030. The big winners are Mexico and the United States. The big losers are Russia and China. However, its Zeihan’s culmination of the data that makes his hypotheses so compelling.
Zeihan, who also expertly reads the book, does not stray far from the data when making predictions about the world’s future. “Superpower” opens with the author discussing his love and obsession with maps. Zeihan suggest that a county’s financial and military success can be strongly correlated to its native topography. The author posits that the United States is the supreme superpower due to its numerous internal rivers that result in the cheap transport of goods, large costal oceans that provide a natural defensive border from hostile nations, and fertile farmlands that can feed the masses. No other country or superpower comes close to having the topographical advantages inherent to the United States.
Although Zeihan predicts the United States will continue its dominant superpower status for the foreseeable future, there will be bumps along the way as the country moves toward a more isolationist political policy. The shift toward isolationism is in part a result of achieving energy independence through increased petroleum production due to the Shale revolution. Simply put, the United States will have minimum incentive to protect oceanic trading corridors when energy independence is achieved. This sets the occasion for global disorder through regional conflicts and wars as the United States loses interest in policing water corridors across the world.
Readers of nonfiction and geopolitics will very much enjoy “Superpower”. I provided a very small taste of what this powerful and interesting book has to offer readers.
"You need to read this book. Pretty darn accurate."
From what I have personally researched this accounting appears the author may be spot on. Excellent narration as well. One needs to read this material. Not a gloom and doom outlook either; just realistic. I felt I was being carried through a futuristic journey in a time machine. Very well organized.
"DDD: Demographics Determine Destiny"
This is an important book that covers the world quickly with a variety of hard conclusions that should keep leaders up at night. The winner, in the author's view, is the United States but it will not be easy and certainly not pretty. In it he argues quite persuasively, and evidence suggests accurately, that America will quietly withdraw from its military and many other global engagements in the coming years. The U.S. refusal to get involved by sending military or arms to Ukraine, mid-east, Nigeria is part of emerging national policy of withdrawal.
These changes may be just the beginning if the US quietly pulls back its' military from arenas far away from our shores. Is there a compelling reason to remain in Germany, Japan and South Korea; after all these are large self-sufficient countries that have not had to bear the cost of an expensive military. Significantly today the US is almost energy independent and has little to no need for Gulf or Venezuelan oil. Is pulling back troops and diverting resources to social programs not on the top of the liberal/democrat wish list? On the other hand vocal conservatives want to return to Fortress America while putting an end to deficit spending. Welcome to 1930s.
The book relies heavily on demographics. Europe, China, Russia and other parts of the world are aging quickly yet face huge outlays to support their older population. Russia, in Zeihan's view, will simply fade (but perhaps not without a fight, to insignificance as it becomes older, sicker and less able to defend its vast borders. The Arabs on the other hand have a large and growing restless youth population with few internal resources to provide for a fulfilling life. Even worse, without substantial imports the Arab countries (and others) can not feed themselves because there is a lack of good soil, rainfall and efficient distribution.
The book covers the geography, political environment and demographics of several major countries and generally their prospects are dimming; particularly those countries which are aging quickly. Other countries, in his view will have difficulties maintaining cohesion. Among that list, to my surprise, is Canada whose provinces are already at odds with each other over distribution of resource and wealth.
Mr. Zeihan is not bashful about his dramatic and usually unpleasant conclusions. e.g.; Europe will come unglued over debt and finances, an old Japan will lose its remaining dynamism, China’s western areas will pull apart the rest of the country and Alberta Canada could try to leave Canada and become a 51st State. Although, in his view, the U.S. will prevail I get the sense it will be more like the one eyed man in the land of the blind and not the robust future we hope for. He acknowledges, but does not dwell, coming water and climate change issues. Perhaps that will be his next book. Should the current U.S. western drought continue and cause massive crop failures and should the 2010 Russian crop collapse repeat simultaneously many people in the world will not have enough food to live because their geography will not support the large populations that have emerged in the past several decades.
Finally, I “read" this book through Audible where Peter Zeihan is his own narrator. He is as good as the Hollywood trained professional voices so if Geopolitics does not work out for him then he has an alternative career reading books.
"Now Hear This"
Well researched. Dense in information. Cogent presentation. Excellent narration. For me, I will purchase the Kindle version to further digestion. Well done.
"What about technology?"
My last read was "The Singularity is Near" by Ray Kurzweil so the rapid pace of technological growth was top of mind when I started into Zeihan's book. And questions about technology remained on my mind throughout the book even though the topic was rarely addressed. Zeihan does a good job highlighting how technology advances are/ will assist with the U.S. shale oil boom but says nothing about the topic when discussing human reproduction and death rates. A lot of his predictions are based on demographic changes and the assumption that older populations can no longer contribute economically. But what happens if life expectancy, and by extension, retirement age goes up? I know, I know - such major changes are probably further out than the horizon Zeihan considers. Nevertheless, I couldn't help but wonder if there were any books that combine the optimistic technological projections of Kurzweil with the geopolitics of folks like Zeihan. Regardless of my musings - I would recommend this book to anyone...it's well worth the time.
"Huge if True"
Peter brings an interesting and not often seen perspective to the issues of the day, providing a long term and dispassionate view to otherwise distressing current events. Definitely worth the listen, even if only to hear a calm voice in an era of sensationalism and preoccupation with the now and no consideration of the future in news media.
"Intriguing content, distracting performance"
Author has excellent points and is clearly knowledgeable about subject, but is not a professional reader. His energy highs and lows where the sound was edited repeatedly contributed to me losing my thoughts. This, and plenty of repetition in chapters 3-8 made me wish this was several hours shorter.
"Overall a good listen, but ...."
Overall a good read and an interesting premise. Disappointing in the aspect that for someone who loves maps, the author couldn't be bothered to use color plates in the download that accompanies the audible book. The greyscale is difficult to interpret. Color maps would have added great value.
"Great book that should have been narrated by someone else"
The subject and writing more than make up for the narrator's annoying vocal fry. Highly recommend it.
informative book, I could not wait to come back and keep listening. Just the sort of information that gets clouded by people who are pro Russia or pro China etc.
"Thought provoking "
Highly interesting, intelligent and nonconformist view on the geopolitical and economic developments ahead of us. Well worth listening to!
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.