Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Post-American World

Think the world is still America-driven or America-centric?
Some Americans may believe so, but the rest of the world has moved on. America's once prominent role as a political, economic and moral leader is becoming increasingly irrelevant, as new regions and economies morph into tomorrow's powerhouses. So argues Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria in a Conversation with Charlie Rose. Discussing his new book The Post-American World, Zakaria explains that the issue is not anti-Americanism, but post-Americanism -- a world where new leaders must be reckoned with.

In The Next Fault Line in Foreign Policy Combat: "The U.S. Matters" vs. "No, It Really Doesn't" The Washington Note contrasts the views of policy experts Kishore Mabhuban and G. John Ikenberry, and comes to a similar conclusion. Le chien aboie, la caravane passe, as he French saying goes. So goes the world vis-à-vis the U.S. demands and reprimands on issues such as trade and democracy. Who still cares what America says -- especially when confronted to its own misdeeds?

Yet, some international leadership is necessary in this new world (dis)order, and that's where America may still have a role to play -- not as passé big bully, but as born-again facilitator. Is it up to the challenge? Will the next president understand the benefits of acting multi-laterally, and gather/lead rather than divide/conquer? If (s)he does, America could restore the moral leadership and authority it has been so busy destroying over the past few years. It would be a different role than the one it has enjoyed since WWII, but an equally if not more noble one -- and one in tune with reality. At last.
illustration via Google Images