I just finished reading The Accidental Super Power, The Next Generation of American Preeminence and The Coming Global Disorder, by Peter Zeihan. One thing I think can be agreed upon - he’s clearly brilliant - and I think his analysis of the internal workings of the world’s nations is spot on. From the history, to the demographics, to the geography and the paradigms they create, his work explains so much of why nation's leaders are doing what they’re doing, especially the Chinese and the Russians. Many of these views are views I’ve expressed in the past but never with the depth and expanse of information he’s put together. I’ve known about Bretton Woods for years, and I thought I knew a lot about Bretton Woods. I was wrong! He’s added dimensions to this I never grasped or organized it in the way as has this author.
Since I’ve been reading this book I’ve asked everyone if they ever heard of Bretton Woods, and invariable almost no one has, and those that have heard of it had no idea what it was all about. This is a book that needs to be read by anyone with an interest in history, policy, current events and long range thinking.
I agree with his analysis that Bretton Woods will end soon and a gradual international contraction by America I believe is beyond doubt. But the reader should keep some things in mind.
First, prediction is very difficult – especially about the future! As he talks about the end of the Bretton Woods era you will see there’s understandable difficulty in defining when and to what degree it will occur.
Secondly, there is little discussion on the impact of Islamist immigrants will make on countries like Russia and all the European countries that are breeding themselves out of existence. Russia is losing ethnic Russians at such a startling rate Russia’s future existence as we know it is in doubt. What happens when or if Islamists outnumber the ethnic Europeans or their numbers become so large civil war erupts all over Europe?
Third, just as nature abhors a vacuum, so to does “power”. If America withdraws to the extent he’s predicting these countries will demand someone step in to save them. That will be the United Nations. He ignores that as a potential. He’s far too smart not to see that potential, especially since there are so many efforts by so many, especially in the E.U., to expand the U.N.’s power and reach, as is outlined in any number of U.N. treaty initiatives such as Agenda 21 and the Law of the Sea Treaty, which would give it income of its own. Therefore I have to conclude he deliberately left that out. And I have to ask – why?
If all occurs as he’s predicting – and I think much of it will – he has to see the U.N. as a much bigger player in the future. He outlines how the Bretton Woods era will end, but the goal has been and, will still be, to prevent the very conflicts and wars he discusses and to keep the sea lanes open. So will the concept of Bretton Woods end or will it merely be transferred to the U.N.? Will the U.N. be the power broker nations will want in the enforcement arena, including giving them taxing power, their own military, and use of deep sea naval power via the right to control American, British and Japanese naval forces? I think that’s exactly what’s going to happen. I also think “every" country - including the U.S. - will buy into that. As one author pointed out - there's a difference between a global government and global governance.
That much control exercised by the most corrupt incompetent organization the world has ever known is a scary thought, but his long range rosy picture of America’s economic future has that one big cloud over it. If the U.N. gets the authority I’m describing they will find ways to confiscate all the economic renewal generated by America and give it to the rest of the world. He has to see that potential, and yet he ignored it. I have to wonder why?
Even with all the caveats I’ve listed I really think this book is foundationally important to mold everyone’s thinking and views. This is a must read!