America has been at the top of the heap for roughly the last 100 years, economically, politically and militarily. This is a good, clear explanation of how that's about to change - not because of something we're doing wrong, but because of what the "2nd-tier" nations like Brazil, Russia, and especially India and China are doing right. Zakaria breaks down how the US got into the position of world leader, what has happened to previous world leaders like us, how these developing countries are poised to overtake us economically, and what we need to do to continue to matter in the new world. He makes sure to clarify that this is not about what's wrong with America, but more about how the world is changing and how we need to change to continue to matter. My only real complaint about the book is actually a problem with myself - I have this strange inability to understand economics, and this book is, at its base, about the US's waning economic power. But as a student of international studies, I enjoyed how Zakaria recognized that it's all tied together - economics, military power, foreign policy, religion and other cultural factors all have a bearing on how nations interact with each other. It will take a complete mindshift in our understanding of other countries for us to continue to be relevant.
Zakaria writes for the layman in terms easy to grasp. Highly satisfied & recommended. He gives me so much to think about.
Because of its title, Fareed Zakaria's The Post-American World may lead readers to believe that this book predicts the decline of the U.S. as a world superpower. But as the author explains early in the book, his intentions are to describe "the rise of the rest" in the global stage. Zakaria's thesis is that we are entering a world order in which there will be many superpowers, not only one. Interestingly, their power will not lie in their military might, but in their economic prowess.
Perhaps not all of Zakaria's predictions will come to pass, but he certainly makes a strong case to support this new global scenario. This is an important book and a must read for those interested in international affairs and what the role of the U.S. should be in the 21st century. An updated version was published in 2011.
While I was sympathetic to the major theme of this book I found Zakaria's memory of past events to be spotty and his assessment of American motives to be rose-tinged at best or naive. He gives only passing attention to the looming threats of peak oil and global climate change on China and India as well as the United States.
I mentioned this title in the ongoing review series "Literary Counterparts."
A great economic/political overview of the world as it is and what Fareed Zakaria sees it becoming. Definitely worth reading.
If I had to recommend a book to a stranger that would offer insight into the global position America finds itself in today, this would be at the top of my list. Especially at the beginning, it does offer a gleaming vision of optimism about our state of human progress and achievement.
Some criticisms: A tendency to gloss over highly complex issues with general-isms and stereotypes in convenient arguments. For instance, claiming that Americans as a whole are insular, save little, and are bent on consumption. Also, while the American Muslim community may be moderate on the surface, I am sure there is a wealth of diversity, just as every human being cannot be categorized neatly.
Also, I have to lament the growing tendency to over-emphasize numbers and materialism. How soul-grinding to read pages of arguments about GDP's, population growth rates, IPO's, and naval statistics.
Life is more than a set of figures, and should never be deadened to the fetish of accounting.
Lastly, China and India are rightly given plenty of space, yet other important emerging nations, such as Brazil, Mexico, Russia, and Indonesia, are barely acknowledged as fellow nations in the global scene.
the global big picture
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