Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 1, 2012 10:00 AM—Book Review: The Post-American World

I just finished another good book that I felt I needed to share.  The book is called The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria.  Zakaria was born and raised in India but then went on to do his post-secondary education in the U.S.  He says that this book is not about the decline of America, but more about the rise of the rest.  Although that may be true to one extent or another, I would have to disagree.  Considering there are more chapters in this book about America than there are of any other country, it is more about America than anything else.  Nonetheless it was a really good book.

In this book Zakaria talks a lot about the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) countries.  He focuses in particular on India and China and how fast and in what ways they are developing.  These two countries are very different from each other and they are developing in very different ways, but both are also developing very quickly.  He talks a lot about their history and what has lead them to the positions that they hold in the world today.

The other main focus of this book is the United States and its superpower status.  He discusses some U.S. history so we can try and understand how America got to where it is today.  He also compares the America of today with America in different periods throughout history.  He even goes as far as to compare the U.S. today to the British Empire 150 years ago.  He also talks about many problems that we see in the U.S. today including the economy, politics and terrorism.  The main focus is on how America is the strongest country in the World right now, but how that might not always be the case considering the rise of some other important players (ex. China and India).

A few weeks ago I was sitting in the staff room watching TV.  Al Jazeera was on and I was trying to get as much news as possible before someone came and changed the channel to something really mindless.  And as any news station in the world, there was mention of the upcoming U.S. election.  Then President Obama came on and everyone in the room got quite.  They all want to listen to Obama.  And as soon as Obama was no longer on they went back to what they were doing.  At this point, one of the other teachers looked at me and said “Our President!”  I said “Our President?”  He responded by saying “Yes, the U.S. controls everything in the world so Obama is our president too.”  This conversation really made me think about the status of the U.S. as the world’s biggest superpower.  This teacher was referring to Obama as his president, but not in a bitter, angry way.  In fact, most Ugandans are proud that Obama is the U.S. president.  But for a Ugandan to acknowledge that the U.S. controls a lot of the world really struck me.

Anyway, this book discusses the decline that America will probably see in the coming years and the rise of the rest of the world.  It talks about history, economics, and politics as well as an in depth analysis about what the U.S. can do to try to cope with this changing world.  Overall, I really enjoyed this one and I found it to be very intriguing.  If you are at all interested in Economics and Politics, or the rise of China and India, I’d suggest reading this book.

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