The New New World

From The New York Times:

The Post-American World By Fareed Zakaria.

Fareed_2 Every 20 years or so, the end of America is nigh — ever since the 18th century when, in France, Comte de Buffon fingered the country as a den of degeneracy while Abbé Raynal slammed its cultural poverty: America had not yet produced “one good poet, one able mathematician, one man of genius.” In 1987, in his book “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers,” the Yale historian Paul Kennedy saw the United States on the road to perdition — this, four years before the suicide of the Soviet Union, which left America all alone in the penthouse of global power. Now, two decades on, it is the much-hyped “great power shift” toward Asia that will turn the United States into a has-been.

At first blush, “The Post-American World,” by Fareed Zakaria, seems to fall into the same genre. But make no mistake. This is a relentlessly intelligent book that eschews simple-minded projections from crisis to collapse. There is certainly plenty to bemoan — from the disappearing dollar to the subprime disaster, from rampant anti-Americanism to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that will take years to win.

Yet Zakaria’s is not another exercise in declinism. His point is not the demise of Gulliver, but the “rise of the rest.”

More here.