In Friedman’s The Next 100 Years, things start to get crazy in chapter 10. Friedman predicts the future of warfare and believes that the battlefields of the future will extend into space. He comes up with a concept known as a battle star. The battle star is going to be the “eyes, ears, and fists of the United States” according to Friedman (184). These battle stars will have a massive range of capabilities and virtually serve as the command centers of the entire U.S. military. Friedman writes that the Japanese will launch an attack against these battle stars in the mid 21st century and as a result, devastate U.S. military capabilities. If there was a point in this book to be skeptical, one would imagine that it would be at this point. However, the idea of battle stars is not that far from reality and a distinct parallel can be drawn to aircraft carriers in the early 20th century.
Friedman’s depiction of the next major war has many comparisons to a book published in 1925 by one Hector Charles Bywater, who was a British journalist and military writer. In his book, The Great Pacific War, Bywater predicts that the Japanese will launch a surprise attack on American forces in the Pacific, using aircraft carriers, a ship concept that was still an idea being tested. In his book, Bywater predicted that the Japanese would be able to devastate the U.S. navy in the pacific due to a devastating surprise attack. The idea of a massive ship that serves as a command and control for a significant part of the military was far from reality at the time. However, many of Bywater’s predictions came true. Additionally, historians have discovered that the Japanese Imperial Navy actually was actually in possession of Bywater’s book and studied it before the war. The book may have even played a significant role in the planning of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Bywater’s book draws many connections to Friedman’s The Next 100 Years. Both predict a Japanese surprise attack on U.S forces with very futuristic and advanced military technologies. Many of Bywater’s predictions came true. With this in mind, it is easier to imagine a world where many of Friedman’s predictions also come true. It also seems less ridiculous that Turkey or Japan might use this book to plan their military operations in the future, as Japan might have in 1941.