Storms and Patterns

An Invented Country
Two Kinds of Crises
Failing Experts
Trying Everything Else
London, Paris, and Dallas

Everything about human life has a rhythm. It is literally built into our bodies: Your heart beats in a repeating pattern that keeps you alive. Your breath is another pattern. Repetition is natural for all of us individually and for the societies we create together. Every society has its own rhythms and traditions.

But there are larger, less formal patterns as well. My last three letters (see Turning Time Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) reviewed Neil Howe’s new book about the Fourth Turning. Today we’ll look at another set of patterns observed by my friend George Friedman in the geopolitical realm. George’s view of how patterns shape countries is different but not inconsistent with Neil’s generational cycles.

The remarkable part, in my opinion, is how both point to a severe crisis later this decade or in the early 2030s. Later in this series we’ll look at Peter Turchin’s work that has the same conclusion, yet from a radically different perspective. When all these thoughtful people independently send the same kind of warning signal from different disciplines, I think we should be paying a great deal of attention. And planning for our own individual/family/company and even national responses.

George Friedman’s ideas I will describe below come from his book The Storm Before the Calm, unluckily published in February 2020 just as COVID consumed everyone’s attention. I hope to put his ideas back in the spotlight because they’re even more important and relevant today. Talking to George this week, he said even with 3+ years of hindsight, he wouldn’t change a thing, although he has written a somewhat lengthy epilogue.

The Storm Before the Calm goes into much more detail than I can here. I strongly urge you to read it—and soon. These events are unfolding rapidly, and the pace will only quicken as the crisis approaches.