The Post-American World
The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria
Political Science Non-Fiction, 336 pages
The Post-American World is divided into three sections. The first is kind of like an introduction and addresses a lot of concepts you would have learned in a basic political science class. Each following section is about China, India, and America, and where they’re headed in the future.
I found the section on China especially interesting. I knew China’s economy was large, but I had no idea exactly how huge. Zakaria makes some interesting comparisons between China and India regarding the pros and cons of democracy v. a “communist” leadership (China’s leadership is not Communist so I hate using that word but the average person does see it as such). India’s democracy is more stable but much less efficient. On the other hand, China’s government allows for much more efficiency and therefore faster growth.
The final section on America is also interesting. Zakaria summarizes the rise and fall of the British empire in order to compare it to America. He suggests that Iraq is like the Boer War – the beginning of America’s decline.
Zakaria remains hopeful throughout the book. He claims that America will never fade into the background completely and that China will never take America’s place, but we will have to learn to be less powerful than we once were, and we will have to learn to share power with others. I think it’s a valid point, but it is so optimistic and moderate (as are many of Zakaria’s opinions found in his other work), that I sometimes wonder if he truly believes that.
I think China is demonized in the media and largely misunderstood, and this book helps to correct some of that. I think its an interesting subject and does a good job in explaining things so that it won’t go over your head if you’re not familiar with the topic.