Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What will come after Americanism?

There is a really interesting opinion article in the latest issue of Newsweek by Fareed Zakaria titled "The Post-American World". I haven't read all of it yet, but I wanted to share some with you. It is about the changing world and how USA are no longer the superpower it used to be. He addresses the increased importance not only of China's economy but many other developing countries, the increased peacefulness of the world (even if we don't feel it), the anxiety of Americans, and how islamic militants are becoming less popular in muslim societies. USA is no longer the center of the universe, and I think this is a good thing. This connectivity among people and cultures that we can see developing creates instant and unexpected connections across borders and minds, and I think Obama's success is also part of this. The new web-based world works different than the old media and economies, and it will take time in some countries to adapt to it. Old stiff, self-important politicians from years past will especially be left behind (bye, Hillary Clinton). Here are some excerpts, and you can read the rest by following the link above.

"We are living through the third great power shift in modern history. The first was the rise of the Western world, around the 15th century. It produced the world as we know it now—science and technology, commerce and capitalism, the industrial and agricultural revolutions. It also led to the prolonged political dominance of the nations of the Western world. The second shift, which took place in the closing years of the 19th century, was the rise of the United States. Once it industrialized, it soon became the most powerful nation in the world, stronger than any likely combination of other nations. For the last 20 years, America's superpower status in every realm has been largely unchallenged—something that's never happened before in history, at least since the Roman Empire dominated the known world 2,000 years ago. During this Pax Americana, the global economy has accelerated dramatically. And that expansion is the driver behind the third great power shift of the modern age—the rise of the rest.

At the military and political level, we still live in a unipolar world. But along every other dimension—industrial, financial, social, cultural—the distribution of power is shifting, moving away from American dominance. In terms of war and peace, economics and business, ideas and art, this will produce a landscape that is quite different from the one we have lived in until now—one defined and directed from many places and by many peoples."

"Why do we think we live in scary times? Part of the problem is that as violence has been ebbing, information has been exploding. The last 20 years have produced an information revolution that brings us news and, most crucially, images from around the world all the time. The immediacy of the images and the intensity of the 24-hour news cycle combine to produce constant hype. Every weather disturbance is the "storm of the decade." Every bomb that explodes is BREAKING NEWS."


1 comment:

Olle said...

It is available as a book, sounds worthwhile. But don't underestimate the military might of USA. In combination with a president with international ambitions it can be a fearsome thing. I am at present reading Robert Dallek: Nixon and Kissingar : Partners in Power (Penguin 2008), and I recomnmend it!