I began this series with discussions of geopolitics and philosophy. I think it is useful now to attempt to show the practical impact of geography on politics and to continue using geography to explain the evolution of the United States. Last week, I showed how geography shaped America’s founding, both in terms of its foreign relations and its internal dynamics. A long coast and poor internal communications made the United States vulnerable to invasion from the sea. The Appalachians helped create two radically different social and economic systems, one based on plantations and slavery, the other based on small farms, crafts and finance that did not require nor support slavery. (Several readers have commented that slavery was not illegal in the North, which is true. But neither was it viable on the scale of the South.) I tried to explain the United States’ strategic problem facing the United States, which crystallized in the War of 1812, and the country’s social and economic divide, which exploded into the Civil War. Both wars obviously had other causes, but both were driven by geography. It was the Appalachians that had protected the Colonies from the French and Indian alliance, but it was now […]

Subscribe to Geopolitical Futures today and get:

  • Unbiased analysis of global events
  • Daily geopolitical briefing
  • Annual and long-term forecasts to help you prepare for your future
Subscription Options
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.