Pearl Harbor and the Strategy of Economic Sanctions

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There have been many lessons drawn from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. One was that wars need not begin according to international law. Another was that attacks can be unexpected and that constant vigilance is necessary. Still another was that underestimating an enemy can be catastrophic. And yet another was that failure to understand how new technology changes the nature of war can be disastrous. The list of lessons learned is of course longer than the list of lessons remembered, one of which is particularly germane at this moment: When imposing economic sanctions, the more powerful the sanctions, the greater the pressure on your adversary to strike back. At a time when the U.S. is shifting from the use of military force to the use of economic power, the lesson of why Pearl Harbor was attacked needs to be considered carefully. War Plans Prior to World War I, Japan was the leading industrial power in the Western Pacific. After World War I, Japan expanded its military sphere of influence. It had sided with the Anglo-French alliance during the war, and as a reward, German holdings in the Western Pacific were turned over to it. This paralleled the growth of […]

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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.