Download: Absent Superpower Revolution Without America eBook (ePub, KINDLE, PDF) + Audio Version


  • File Size: 15293 KB
  • Print Length: 425 pages
  • Publisher: Zeihan on Geopolitics (January 29, 2017)
  • Publication Date: January 29, 2017
  • Language: English

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Within 2014, the author wrote a fascinating book “The Unintended Superpower. ” It referred to the way the U. S. benefits from a mixture of geographic factors including maritime advantages (navigable river ways, natural harbors making for a network of low cost transportation), an ideal location from a security standpoint (an island-continent protected by huge oceans on each side, and surrounded by two friendly neighbors integrated in NAFTA). Additionally, the U. S. also benefits from material demographic advantages whereby the U. H. population is not getting older practically as fast if at all compared to Japan, China, and Europe (graph on pg 111 shows a spectacular difference in aging demographic trend through 2040 between the U. H. and the other countries). Its labor force will continue growing unlike in Japan and Russia where it is shrinking catastrophically rapidly. Zeihan also added nearby the ending of the publication that the emergence of shale oil production will render the U. H. increasingly energy independent.

Within 2014 Zeihan anticipated that as the U. H. is becoming self-sufficient on all counts, its foreign policy will become more isolationist and protectionist (anti-trade. The U. S. will become less (financially) supporting of NATO and worldwide maritime routes security (end of Bretton Woods era). Three years later everything Zeihan anticipated did take place. And, it can be summed up in one phrase: Trump! Zeihan indicated in his newsletter when Hillary had won the election, the U. S. coverage path would be identical but carried out at a slower pace.

Within just “The Accidental Superpower” Zeihan explored the fate of various countries and supranational entities including Russia, China, Japan, Europe and the Euro Zone in particular. In each case, their respective situation for one or more geographical and demographic factors is significantly less favorable than for the U. S. making unlikely that another hegemon will rise to replace the U. S.

By the time, Zeihan posted his first book Saudi Arabia undertook an extreme oil price war by pumping oil supply and lowering oil prices at time down to the low s. It was perceived that this was to bankrupt the U. H. shale oil industry. And, it seemed to be successful as numerous shale olive oil operations power down at minimum temporarily.

So , now over two years later Zeihan comes with an update “The Absent Super Power. ” However, while his first book was concentrated on water ways (a factor ignored by the international economics literature), this individual is now centering on U. S. shale oil as the subtitle of the book indicates.

In the first part of the book Zeihan indicates how the U. S. shale oil industry experienced a major improvement in efficiency in response to the Saudis oil price war. On page 46, he shares a graph that indicates the U. S. shale olive oil industry lowered its breakeven point from each barrel in 2012 down to in 2017. Its breakeven point is now lower than for the U. S. traditional oil industry! And, it has matched Russia, a low cost oil producer. Only Saudi Arabia has a markedly lower breakeven point at around . Additional OPEC countries have been in the mid s (not much lower than U. H. shale). One should keep in mind that Saudi Arabia’s oil operations can break even at , however its’ fiscal balance requires oil prices nearer to a 0 to avoid running large Price range Deficits. At , Saudi Arabia’s Budget Deficit would probably be over 20% of GDP.

U. S. shale oil has improved the efficiency by developing new technologies including micro-seismic search and multilateral drilling that leverages Big Data live information. The improved technology allows the industry to improve its success rate and efficiency. Because of those advancements, even though the industry was closing down many shale operations during the price war, the leftover survivors produced far more olive oil per rig than ever before (graph pg. 29). And, the overall shale oil output held up (see graph pg. 67).

U. S. shale search guarantees a low cap on U. S. oil price and an abundance of low cost natural gas. And, the latter is associated with ample electricity generation at a lower cost than major OECD competitors. It is really an advantage that may contribute to the reindustralisation of the U. S. And, lower energy costs (petroleum and natural gas) have ramifications affecting numerous part of the consumer, chemical, pharmaceutical drug, and professional product sectors (diagram on pg. 63).

U. S. shale energy is based on numerous competitive advantages that include geology (maritime shale is better to extract than lacustrine shale), law (U. H. is among few nations around the world that fully implement private mineral rights), labor specialty area (largest body of skillful engineers specializing in shale exploration), capital availability (best risk capital infrastructure), and as mentioned the best shale energy exploration technology. Those competitive advantages are not fully replicable anywhere else. Thus, the U. H. is likely to continue to be the leader in this sector for many years.

As a consequence of the emergence of U. H. shale oil, the international oil markets will come apart into at least two (if not more) individual markets: a) a US ALL domestic one where prices will be chronically low and not volatile; and b) the traditional international one where prices will be far more volatile and also have frequent spikes at or above 0 even 0 associated with Gulf turmoil, wars, etc.

In the second and main part of the book, Zeihan describes “The Disorder” where he describes the falling apart of the existing Bretton Woods era. Per Zeihan, the entire world Order is heading to fracture along about three sets of wars that he defines as: 1) the Twilight War; 2) the Next Gulf War; and 3) the Tanker War.

In the The twilight series War, he describes how Russia so as to preempt its unfortunate geography (flat and prone to attacks) and demography (rapidly shrinking population) will attempt to rebuild the USSR by either invading or controlling previous satellite countries (he designates 11 such countries on pg. 138). Russia has started on this endeavor with Georgia, and Ukraine. However it will want to venture as significantly into Western Europe as part of Poland! By attempting this land grab, Russia will have much friction with both Scandinavia and Turkey; but such prospective conflicts will experience stalemate without shift in borders or control from existing arrangements.

The Next Gulf War is actually about the tension between Serbia (Shiites) and Arab saudi (Sunnis) who both compete for supremacy in the Location. And, the U. H. will stop policing the area as it becomes increasingly energy independent. The U. H. very soon will never need Saudi Arabia any more because the U. S. imports are steadily declining. And, whatever oil it imports comes far more from Canada and a lot less from Saudi Persia. Zeihan reveals that the Saudis oil price war started in 2014 was not so much or only aimed at the U. S. shale oil industry; but, it was specifically aimed at Iran. Whenever oil revenues drop because of lower oil prices, both countries run huge Budget Deficits in the 10% to 15% range of GDP. And, the Saudis have far more cash reserves than Iran. The Saudis can afford such Deficits for years, Serbia can’t. Meanwhile, Iran has superior military capabilities and will make an effort to reconquer helpings of the Persian Empire. The tension and turmoil between Iran and Saudi Arabia will trigger collateral damage throughout the region. “several of the Middle Eastern countries … will lose so much commercial, electrical, and agricultural capacity that they will . de-civilize. Syria, Iraq, Michael jordan, Yemen, Lebanon … will lose the ability to maintain populations more than one-third their current size. ” (pg. 208).

The Tanker War is about oil importing countries waging maritime operations and wars to protect their accessibility to oil energy. All those operations will take place in the Far East. And, Japan will play a preponderant role thanks to the strong navy. “Destroy global free trade, unleash the Japanese, and the ending of China is nigh… Basically put, the times of China Inc. and Factory Asian countries are over. ” (pg. 258-259). The tension between China and Japan in guarding their respective access to oil energy will impact the entire Far East. The location will be plagued by far higher energy prices/costs than any others because it is a lot more energy dependent. Zeihan frequently refers to the “Asian premium. ”

The last section of the Part II: Disorder is on the international private major companies. As soon as again the Americans (ExxonMobil and Chevron) would be the prominent players in technology, global reach, and capital. By contrast BP has already been pretty much wiped out in the aftermath of its Deepwater Horizon olive oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Near the ending of the book, Zeihan identifies how the U. H. will engage (relatively minimally) in the World. This individual describes the U. H. foreign policy as “Dollar diplomacy. ”

The U. S. will implement the Dollar diplomacy with Southeast Asia and Australia and New Zealand. The U. S. will continue to maintain close trade and direct investment ties with this region to repeat supply chains to replace or diversify away from relying on China’s manufacturing.

Throughout the Disorder’s China manufacturing capacity may weaken significantly because the country experiences a convergence of crises including a debt crisis, a financial institution credit crisis, an getting older population and shrinking labour force crisis, and much geopolitical frictions (the Tanker War).

The U. H. will use its Money diplomacy throughout Latin The usa. The region has considerable energy assets including a promising shale oil area in Argentina. But, because of mismanagement the region has not properly employed those energy assets. The U. S. brings the technology, security, management information, and logistics assistance. The U. S. will move also some of the former supply chains away from China towards Latina America. The U. H. is by far the biggest consumer market that will stay a viable trading partner throughout the Disorder. And, Latin America needs the income which will be developed by the U. S. Money diplomacy to settle its foreign debt and feed the people. In summary, Latin The usa will be forced to accept the U. S. words on their joint energy search.

In the appendices of the book, Zeihan address environmental concerns associated with shale oil. Within this section he conveys a couple of fascinating facts. On pg. 385, this individual shares a graph that depicts a time group of the estimated temperature increase caused by a doubling of CO2 based on studies completed between i b?rjan p? tv?tusentalet and 2014. And, back again in 2001 this believed temperature increase ranged from + 2. 5 to 4. 0 degree Grad. The more recent estimates have shrunk it down to + one 5 to 2 degree Celsius. That’s a huge difference. Afterwards in this section, this individual reviews the prospect of renewables (wind, solar). And, they are just not international enough to make much of a dent in the overall energy combine. Those energy sources are intermittent, not easily storable and transmissible. Only a small fraction of the world provides favorable conditions for either. He sees as a more realistic route to reduce CO2 emission the increasing substitution of coal with natural fuel (to generate electricity) and increasing energy efficiency.

I actually have a few rebuttals to Zeihan’s theories.

First, Zeihan’s main point is that the U. H. is now pretty much a self-sufficient economy that does not need much to trade with other nations. Therefore, it does not need to keep the supranational Bretton Woods order (NATO, security of maritime routes, etc. ). However, when looking at the Bureau of Economic Evaluation time series focusing on the trade of goods only (not services) imports have risen from one. 6% of GDP in 1942 to 12. seven percent in 2015. Similarly, exports of goods have increased over the same period from 1. 6% to 8. 3%. This is not an isolationist region, but instead one that is becoming increasingly a hub of professional design whereby the actual goods are created and assembled out of the U. S. By the same token, the U. S. runs a resulting chronic large Current Account Deficit. Consequently, foreign people hold a substantial percentage of U. S. Treasuries. In summary, economic trends suggests the U. S. is increasingly codependent with the Planet both in international trade and international capital flows. All those aren't bad things, but they run in opposite direction of Zeihan’s theoretical foundation.

Now, focusing on the U. S. energy freedom. Even using Zeihan’s own compiled data, I found divergence. On pg. 406, his data conveys the U. S. only produces 65% of the crude oil and natural fuel it consumes. Using Zeihan’s numbers, even if we assume Canada would commit 100% of its exports to the U. S. it would fill less than 50 % that gap. It is difficult to generate a precise estimation, but I suspect that US production + Canada’s imports equal lower than 80% of U. S. usage. “Energy independence” is fairly premature.

Another chronic weakness of the U. H. is its deteriorating fiscal outlook. The U. H. over the next few decades will face strength unsustainable yearly Budget Failures in the 4%+ range that will rapidly develop the U. S. Debt/GDP ratio uncontrollably (Congressional Price range Office is a good source on the topic). The Government has already been aware of this situation for over 30 years and has done nothing to resolve it. Similarly, at their state and local stage finances are strained (Pension crisis). Infrastructure is not well maintained (electricity main grid, bridges, roads). Zeihan neglects entirely those fiscal weak points at all amounts of U. S. Government.

Another weakness is the U. H. consistently poor showing in international education standards assessment (PISA). This has to lead to a shortage of American engineers, mathematicians, and scientists that has bad implication in the current Big Data-Artificial Intelligence contest. It would appear key for the U. H. to remain open to immigrants with human capital. However, the present political task does not seem beneficial to that.

Despite the few rebuttals mentioned above, I give the book a 4-star rating for the originality of the debate and the depth of the research., Interesting follow up to the first book, Accidental Superpower. There is some great in detail explanation and analysis of the US shale olive oil industry abd the technology coming online to make it extremely productive and competitive. An excellent case for why the US will probably have cheap plentiful energy for the next couple of decades if not extended.

The analysis of the possible wars in the eastern hemisphere is very interesting, and very scary at the same time. We can only hope the writer is being overly pessimistic.

The design is witty, sometimes flippant. I actually have seen Zeihan speak & he writes with the same cynical, satirical tone. I like it, might might be off putting for some in a book on these topics.

If you enjoy economics, politics, and geopolitics, you will probably enjoy this publication., This book is unquestionably a must read for anyone that can think.

This particular is absolutely the best book on shale oil/gas you will find. The detail is incredible and important. It makes you feel real good about the future of oil/gas in the US. The thesis of the publication is that because the US ALL becomes energy independent, it will be less enthusiastic about world trade (true, since nearly all of our imports are either oil or from China) and less enthusiastic about military intervention. In other words, the world will be finding its own way without having to worry about US reactions which might not work out so well. Peter theorizes on a couple of possible wars. Of course, it is impossible to anticipate what to you suppose will happen, but I think his war theses are overly simplistic. For example, Air Power and Cyberwar don't enter into the wars at all, and I think they are big factors (I think some types of war scenarios are possible). My publication, Baltic Attack, gives a fictional take at how stealth Air Power could impact that war (I was an aircraft engineer). Nevertheless the war theories are secondary to all the great geopolitical points (many of them) that Zeihan brings up. He is a real thinker which is a refreshing change.

His bout on Green Power (Wind and Solar Cells) are also very well written, and I think essentially correc

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Absent Superpower Revolution Without America
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