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Editor’s note: The following column originally ran in 2016, but it is as timeless as ever. Happy Fourth of July from us at GPF to all who celebrate.

Two hundred and forty years ago today, the American people were declared to be a unique and independent nation, distinct from all others. This was the conception of the people, but the sovereign government of the United States was born in battle. The revolution lasted eight years and about 25,000 died – a higher percentage of the population than died in World War II. This led over time to the Constitution, which founded the regime that governed the American people.

It was a unique regime because it did not trust politicians. The founders feared the politicians’ desire for power. To solve this problem, they founded a regime so unwieldy, so inefficient, that very little could get done. Their vision of America was a country of businesses and farms, churches and societies. They envisioned a nation whose heart was not in Washington – an artifice invented to hold politicians – but in private life. The life of farmers, businessmen, clergymen and eccentrics. Few other governments were founded with such fear of governance.

I recently told a foreign friend that his country has excellent relations with Washington, but it needs a better relationship with America. Many of our non-American friends live in countries where the political capital is the heart of the country. That isn’t the case in the United States. The American revolution was fought to make certain the government was weak and society strong and free. Our founders feared strong presidents and contrived to cripple them before they took office by confronting them with two Congressional houses run on different rules and a Supreme Court. Very little can get done, yet America flourishes.

When you marvel at our candidates for president, bear in mind that the U.S. president is among the weakest heads of government in the world. The sacrifice of 25,000 was to make sure tyranny would not rule this country. If the price was political paralysis, it was a small price to pay.

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.