On Presidential Debates

Thoughts in and around geopolitics.

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As I write this, my wife is watching the presidential debate in another room. I am sitting alone and sipping a port because I loathe presidential debates. This has nothing to do with the candidates – they are a separate matter. I hate presidential debates because they are designed to bring out the worst in every candidate, making it impossible to determine whether any of them is worthy of the office. Had Thomas Jefferson debated John Adams the way debates have been staged since Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, I would have hated them too. To understand what I am saying, we need to distinguish between being clever and being smart. There are several differences between the two, but for the current topic, the useful distinction is between thinking fast and thinking deep. Thinking fast allows you to see an opportunity, conjure a sharp statement and focus for an hour. Thinking deep means recognizing that the issues are all complex and therefore being unable to give simplistic responses to questions that are unanswerable in the time allowed. No issue to be faced by a president could responsibly be addressed in an hour. A candidate might have thought deeply on […]

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George Friedman

George Friedman is an internationally recognized geopolitical forecaster and strategist on international affairs and the founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures.

Dr. Friedman is also a New York Times bestselling author. His most recent book, THE STORM BEFORE THE CALM: America’s Discord, the Coming Crisis of the 2020s, and the Triumph Beyond, published February 25, 2020 describes how “the United States periodically reaches a point of crisis in which it appears to be at war with itself, yet after an extended period it reinvents itself, in a form both faithful to its founding and radically different from what it had been.” The decade 2020-2030 is such a period which will bring dramatic upheaval and reshaping of American government, foreign policy, economics, and culture.



His most popular book, The Next 100 Years, is kept alive by the prescience of its predictions. Other best-selling books include Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe, The Next Decade, America’s Secret War, The Future of War and The Intelligence Edge. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Dr. Friedman has briefed numerous military and government organizations in the United States and overseas and appears regularly as an expert on international affairs, foreign policy and intelligence in major media. For almost 20 years before resigning in May 2015, Dr. Friedman was CEO and then chairman of Stratfor, a company he founded in 1996. Friedman received his bachelor’s degree from the City College of the City University of New York and holds a doctorate in government from Cornell University.