Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fareed Zakaria's latest book

I recently finished Fareed Zakaria's latest book thought-provoking book - "The Post American World."

The title, I'm afraid, may leave potential readers with the impression that this is a gloom and doom tome detailing the imminent demise of the United States. In fact the book's tone and outlook is overwhelmingly positive. Zakaria spends a significant amount of time trying to place the political, economic and military challenges that the United States faces today in their proper historical context. He attempts to tamp down our fears and demonstrate that, historically speaking, we are living in extraordinarily peaceful and prosperous times. I find his arguments to be persuasive and reaffirming of my own beliefs.

Zakaria describes the economic changes we are seeing internationally as "the rise of the rest." The sustained efforts, led by the United States, to see governments move towards democratic politics and free-market economies are finally bearing fruit. I'm not sure that I agree completely with his very sunny analysis of globalization. I don't believe you have to be an economic isolationist to recognize that the growing pains of globalization are quite serious both here in the United States and abroad.

I wish Zakaria had spent more time discussing these issues. His book is more focused on the march of progress as evidenced by macro level statistics and data points. Any struggles that workers may be facing are not up for discussion or debate. His approach to globalization, like his approach to terrorism, lacks any sense of alarmism. I suppose how one views this treatment depends greatly on one's predisposition to the issues. Zakaria though demonstrates a remarkable consistency throughout.

I think it's a book worth reading though I didn't find it to be particularly groundbreaking it is full of level-headed commonsense.

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