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Disunited Nations: The Scramble for Power in an Ungoverned World

This was my first exposure to Peter Zeihan, who has a quite particular and confident view of geopolitics, de-globalization, and the resiliency of the United States. The brief summary is that we're entering an era of de-globalization that is unwinding the political order of the past many decades, supported by the US's economic and military might. The outcome will be a huge shift, impacting some countries more than others — in fact, it'll be a pretty bad deal for most countries, and good for... the US. He's thorough about why he thinks this, and summarizes country by country the economic and political impacts of this shift.

It's difficult, though, because it's such a clean and pretty story. Zeihan portends that history is quite predictable if you read the leaves correctly, and he can. Many of the arguments are difficult to evaluate, or not falsifiable until the future comes. So perhaps in two decades we'll point to this as entirely nailing what ended up happening, but jury's out. Meanwhile, Zeihan has become a bit of a geopolitics influencer, with high-confidence proclamations about what's happening in the world. He's smart and knowledgeable, but he's primarily a story teller, and his track record is moderate at best.


These are entirely subjective, and roughly try to capture my personal enjoyment and usefulness, and how likely I'd recommend it to others. Don't read too much into this unless you love my judgement. Rough guidelines:

A: Top quartile. Changed the way I think about something.

B: Worthwhile. I took away something useful.

C: Didn't hit, wouldn't directly recommend. Likely won't revisit.

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