Does speculative fiction age like fine wine? Are speculative fiction authors usually more in tuned with their imagination than policy makers? Definitely.
I think reading this in 2009 would have been quite a shock, and I probably would have regarded it was something akin to 1984 or an H.G. Wells story rather than something plausible. And why wouldn’t I? Obama was president, I was a silly American living in the biggest communist state of the world so why would I worry about China ever rising up and posing a threat to America? It was all good! But, as Friedman states, the IR community has no imagination. I didn’t so much as find Friedman’s claims outlandish, as I found it hard to believe that he was able to predict a lot of stuff in 2009- maybe he just got lucky. I was particularly impressed with his discussion on how at different points in history, it is difficult to imagine events in the following decades. I appreciated that he juxtaposed how you couldn’t imagine such events happening in the current world, and then shows what can transpire rather quickly.
Reading this made me think of all the recent adaptions of speculative fiction in film and television. ie The Man in the High Castle, The Handmaid’s Tale
This article does a nice job of framing The Handmaid’s Tale within the current political climate, and while the book was written in the 80s amidst a different sort of political turmoil, it is certainly applicable to today. The article acts as a warning to conservative white women in their collusion with the patriarchy, especially, @ivanka @kellyanne. And cites that it is dangerous to think that we are all ‘in’ on the game. It does seem that time makes this speculative fiction pieces more realistic, or more akin to the time. Philip K. Dick’s Man in the High Castle was another 70s/80s release, yet it seems to be more relevant now- the same could be said for 1984.
Does this mean every book is suddenly more relevant decades later? Maybe. idk. But, it is certainly true for Friedman’s account for the rest of the 21st century, and America’s place in it.