Sunday, September 20, 2009

Random, Yet Brief Thoughts on The Post-American World

After a draining weekend, in an effort to stick to my biweekly publishing schedule, I am drawing on every ounce of energy I have this evening to produce content on this time around. With reflection upon a book I just finished, The Post-American World, I persevere, posting a random, yet brief entry.

I picked up The New York Times Bestseller from, of all places, the Houston Public Library. In this age of e-books, who goes to the library anymore? You know, it is surprising how active with people the library actually is.

My dad, to name a familiar person, frequents the library. So does my granddad, although he does not visit the main branch as my dad and I do. With respect to posterity, by going to the library, it occurs to me that I am simply carrying forward a family tradition.

When I check out a book, which is not with any regularity, there are always people milling around the place or standing in line to check out their selected materials. I am often amazed by how many books some of these people take with them on a single visit... stacks, dozens, all of them for a standard two-week check-out period.

Anyway, enough of the downtown library scene, and back to the topic du jour.

The ever-expanding influences of India and China are affirmed in The Post-American World. Plenty of supporting insight and research is offered on how those two countries are rising in every major respect (culturally, economically, militarily, etc.) to match the historically mighty United States.

Fareed Zakaria, the book’s author and Editor of Newsweek International, hails from India, having arrived to the States as an 18-year-old, so his close vantage point on that climbing nation is fresh and worthy of inclusion. The surging importance of China is obvious--even to the uninformed--and it is easy to understand why the book would be incomplete without substantial focus on it.

Told from a post-9/11 perspective, Zakaria does not dwell on India and China alone. A few countries in the Middle East are cited, and integrating his full view on the so-called BRICs, Zakaria also includes Brazil and Russia as part of the story.

Zakaria contends that the "rise of the rest" is not necessarily obstructive to the US, stating that American innovation is part and parcel to a flourishing world economy, and will be for generations to come.

In a final note regarding the book, toward the end of it, describing the US' military presence in Africa, Zakaria makes reference to a Mark Twain quote, “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” For some odd reason, that famous utterance evokes a smile from me every time.

With a smile indeed, I close with a national shout out to my friends in Chile, who celebrated their independence from Spain on Friday and through the weekend—was the chicha worth the hangover?

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