Ari's Reviews > The Post-American World

The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria
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Jul 05, 11

bookshelves: read-in-2011
Read in July, 2011

Superior food for thought laid out in a concise manner. "The task for today is to construct a new approach for a new era, one that responds to a global system in which power is far more diffuse than ever before and in which everyone feels empowered." (pg. 231) EVERYONE FEELS EMPOWERED. To me that is key. Reading about the hypocriscy and arrogance of American diplomats made my blood boil. But it's not all bad, there is hope and I think (although I'm biased) with President Obama's focus on soft power (i.e. diplomacy first) there may be a lessening of anti-American sentiment. But then again America is still very much a "Do as I say not what I do" kind of country. The author takes great care to explain that it is not that America is declining but that many other countries are catching up to us, they are fully committed to playing the capitalist game. We have to accept that fact. We also need to think much more globally. I understand that the way our political system is organized is such that it's all about instant gratification, instant results but our lawmakers really do need to think with a global attitude and they need to encourage all other Americans to do the same.

"A more organic international system in which problems are addressed through a variety of different sturcutres and solutions can create its own kind of layered stability." (pg. 244) I think that is a very strong arguement for the continued need for more people to study policy, international relations, politics, and other forms of social sciences. We DEFINITELY need more people entering engineering, medicine and other sciences & technological careers but we need policy wonks too and people to come up with creative solutions to certain problems because not all problems can be solved with science. "America is also much more than its government. And here there is more promising activity. Foundations, universities, charities, and private individuals are working more deeply and effectively abroad. Washington should learn more from these groups, work more with them, and engage other Americans to get involved" (pg. 247). Again, the need for a strong civil society, the urge for people (who have the luxury) of spending time reflecting and then working to improve the world's problems. I appreciated the author spending special focus on China (a country that many Americans worry incessantly about and while I admit China's growth does concern me, I also think it's a good thing for us. Competition makes everyone better) and India (a new ally and a country taht really amazes me with how fast it turned around. I want to know more). I found the comparison to Great Britain during its peak absolutely fascinating and something I never would have thought of were it not for this book. An exceptional read and I can't wait for the sequel (especially since I don't understand economics at all so I'm curious to see how badly hit our global economic power was hit by the recession).
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