September 2008

The Post-American World

W.W. Norton & Company Ltd.

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If you pay attention to the news these days, it’s easy to think that the United States might be losing its hold as the world’s superpower. The high cost of food, fuel, and housing are a burden for most Americans, and the weak dollar has a negative effect on a variety of things, from our ability to travel internationally, to the cost of imported goods. Our foreign policy over the last several years, and especially our actions in Iraq, has made us very unpopular with people and governments all around the world. China and India are becoming modernized very quickly, providing new competition for the world’s resources. Where is all this leading? Should we be worried?

In his book abc The Post-American World xyz , Fareed Zakaria argues that there is nothing to fear about living in a world where everyone can be as prosperous and (almost) as powerful as the United States. In fact, he argues that even though other countries will undoubtedly modernize and become more powerful, the United States won't necessarily lose its place at the head of the table. Zakaria provides an overview of the current global situation, focusing primarily on China and India. He explains how they've grown, and lays out the hurdles they have yet to face. In the last chapter he makes several suggestions, seemingly directed to our politicians, which he argues will help keep us on top of the world. Most of his suggestions have to do with becoming more open to new ideas, people, and solutions. Our politicians will have to work together across party lines to accomplish what needs to be done. Our government needs to be more accommodating, flexible, and adaptable to global coalitions and solutions that aren't entirely dictated by the US.

The abc Post-American World xyz isn't just for economists and politicians who ponder over globalization. This is a book for everyone. Zakaria gives us a peek into a future that isn't as intimidating as the nightly news makes it out to be. His book is not about the fall of the West, but rather the rise of the rest. When the rise of the rest lifts people out of poverty and stabilizes economies and governments, it is surely something to look forward to and learn about.

Reviewer: Robin Dodge, FIDM Library Staff Member