Monday, June 16, 2008

The end of the world as we know it

Fareed Zakaria's new book, the Post-American World is a book I hope both presidential candidates read. It is a brief book that tells Americans we need to re-think our view of the world. We need to jettison the idea of the world's policeman and hyperpower and replace it with the world's trusted third party. In this his says we need to be less Britain than Bismarck, which I rather like. We need to de-emphasize military power and re-consider economic competitiveness. We need to spend less time worrying about Iranian nuclear weapons and more about how to work with India and China.

It is the briefness that will irritate the foreign policy specialist readership and attract the casual but interested reader. Unlike other international relations big think books, this one does not provide a vigorous examination of the global system. It also does not provide much in the way of policy guidelines, aside from a shift in resources away from primacy and towards a focus on domestic policy.

For those who are looking for help in trying to understand how the world works today and the US can best deal with it, the book will be of great value. Zakaria provides a high level overview saying the superpower era is over, and is being replaced by a multipolar world and one for the first time with non-European powers as the majority of leaders. He surveys China and India and then describes the US's fit in the new world.

Like a number of useful books, this one will have you wanting to read more, about how the US can change its ways and more about modern China and India. This would be a good starting point for the dispirited American wondering where how we should start over after eight less than ideal years.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Obama already is

Tripp said...

Thanks I meant to take a note of that. Thank goodness he is.

CitizenReader said...

Good post, Tripp, and thanks to whoever sent the Obama link. I dislike all politicians on principle but I'll give the man this: he holds a book like a reader (holding is spot in book, not just stiffly hauling it around with the spine uncracked and no bookmark).

I had this book from the library, only had time to glance through it, and would agree that it looks like a good, solid, and non-inflammatory introduction to the subject. But the whole getting America to de-emphasize military power thing? Good luck with all that.

Tripp said...

It will be a challenge for sure. Have you read Bacevich's book called the New American Militarism? He lays out how hard it will be.

Iraq should have an impact on that. I think the increasing business integration with India and China will also help. Or so I hope.

Great point about Obama's book hold. That is how a reader does it!