Page 113 | Volume 1 | The Leadership Journal of Dallas Baptist University

113 BOOK REVIEWS Friedman, George. The Storm Before the Calm: America’s Discord, The Coming Crisis of the 2020s, and the Triumph Beyond. New York, NY: Penguin Random House, 2020. 256 pp. $28.95. (For the complete version of this review, visit A brilliant geopolitical analyst and forecaster for almost thirty years, popular awareness of George Friedman exploded with his New York Times best-selling The Next Hundred Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century in 2009 and The Next Decade: Empire and Republic in a Changing World in 2011. In his most recent publication, The Storm before the Calm: America’s Discord, The Coming Crisis and the Triumph Beyond, Friedman leans again on some of the major ideas set forth in these and other publications as well as turning his often prescient gaze more directly upon the United States and its immediate future. Friedman holds to a set of assumptions about history and geopolitics that consistently dictate his analyses and forecasts. He argues that understanding history is closely tied to geography. In this book, as in his previous work, he suggests that this understanding leads to inevitable outcomes that may be predicted with a high degree of certainty. In earlier books, he writes that the rise of the United States was inevitable given the country’s location in the northern hemisphere between Europe and Asia and with a strategic location accessing directly the world’s two great oceans. Along with this assertion, Friedman argues that the inherent natural resources located on the continent further solidified this inevitability. Likewise, other countries’ futures can be equally predicted due to their own geographic locations as well as their responses to the United States and other powers, and that likewise, prognosticators can predict the responses of the United States and other nations to those countries due to those undeniable and inevitable responses. He also adopts an understanding of world geopolitics based on a theory built around the importance of waterways. Even the outcomes of World War II seem to him to have been inevitable given the geography of the nation states and their alliances. After World War II, he argues that the United States essentially became a reluctant empire, in part by domination of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans through its naval power. Essentially, Friedman either knowingly or unknowingly has adopted the theory of world power advanced by Alfred Thayer Mahan of the U. S. Naval Academy in the late nineteenth century.