America in a globalised world
In the run up to the US 2012 US elections, Anders Pedersen reviews leading analyst Fareed Zakaria’s The Post-American World, which asks if America has a place in the new world order.
The world is changing because of globalisation. Some say the world is getting smaller, that it’s more flexible, others believe it’s becoming more unstable. And there are others still, who believe the financial crisis has pushed the power balance, weakening America’s position as an existing super power and supporting China’s ascent.
It all depends on the eyes that see it. Some see globalisation as a threat, mostly because it’s pretty hard to define what exactly globalisation is and therefore what it means. On the other hand there are those that see globalisation as a great opportunity for both their own country and the rest of the world.
In America, globalisation has been debated heavily within the political debate over the last years, just like it will be in the upcoming campaign. Because with an American economy in turmoil, the fact remains the United States no longer has the same strength. Numerous American jobs have been lost, while countries like China, India and Brazil are growing stronger every day. The question is, what should America do? Can it regain it’s lost strength or should it accept its too late and adapt to the new world order?
This is not a simple question, and therefore there is no easy answer or quick fix. A good way to get start the search for answers is by reading Fareed Zakaria’s book, The Post-American World. Until recently, Zakaria worked at Newsweek before moving to Time magazine. Zakaria is one of the world’s sharpest analysts when it comes to global affairs, and his book is a magnificent piece of political literature.
Zakaria argues America should adjust to the new world order that has been created by globalization and the financial crisis. The rise of the four BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – does not mean America can no longer play a key role in the international society, Zakaria argues. What it takes is collaboration between America and these countries and a realisation that the economical growth of a country like China or India can be good for America too.
Whether you agree with Zakaria or not, the book is a great way of achieving a better understanding of what impact globalization has on not only America but the rest of the world as well.
Once again, it depends on the eyes that see it.
So far, president Obama has chosen a course that in many ways is similar to the one Zakaria is suggesting in his book – reaching out to rising countries like China and India. Opponents of Obama, like Mitt Romney, disagree with Zakaria’s argument that we are living in a post-American world.
That’s why it’s very likely that some of the major clashes in debates to come during the election campaign will be about this agenda.
After all, this is something that plays a very big part in economic policy, employment policy, national security policy and foreign policy.
In other words, it influences almost all the topics that usually dominate a presidential campaign.
This is also why it is so important to understand it. And whether or not you agree with the points Zakaria makes in The Post-American World, you will certain have a clearer picture of how globalisation is affecting America and the world America is a part of. How America should approach this new world, is soon to be discussed by Obama, Romney and the other candidates. Because it may not be a simple question, but they will all try their hardest to answer it.