Fareed Zakaria analyzes the nature of what he calls The Post-American World, a title and phrase whose meaning is not as provocative as some readers might expect. When Zakaria discusses the post-American world, he does not mean that America has become irrelevant, that it has been overtaken, or that it has gone into cultural decline. Instead, Zakaria discusses what he calls “the rise of the rest.” It is not that America has become less competitive but rather that other countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China have developed and become more independent. Therefore, America will remain the most powerful country in the world, but it will exercise less power relative to these emerging powers.
In Zakaria’s analysis, America’s political, economic, and military powers have been beneficial to the world. Although newspapers feature headlines about terrorism and people might think these are violent times, Zakaria notes that the economy rapidly bounces back after terrorist attacks, sometimes in the space of a day. There may be political strife, but the economy has grown, which suggests stability. In fact, during recent decades, the economy has grown into an interconnected global network. However, with that growth and that interconnectedness have come great risks. Now that everything is integrated, problems often require international responses. A pandemic flu is more likely today than it was in the past, and the bankruptcy of one nation will affect the economies of more than one nation.
America must harness its remaining power to provide stability for this interconnected world. However, it should not use “hard power” to achieve this goal. The rise of the rest means that America’s diplomacy must be more sophisticated. Among other things, it must recognize the diversity of the world. Zakaria warns against considering the modern world a Western world. He points out that the culture, ideals, and philosophy of the West have existed for thousands of years. The modern world has only existed for a few centuries. Industrialization belongs to modernity, not the West. This distinction may be difficult for American diplomats to accept, considering that they are used to having their way and that they often consider modernity as having a “Western face.” Furthermore, Zakaria notes that Americans have long been isolated from other countries and are often unprepared to deal with the world’s diversity of language,...
(The entire section is 1692 words.)
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