The Post American World When I saw the tile and name of the author I thought this seems to be yet another book which is going to paint a depressing picture of (decline of ) America and rosy picture of (rise of) Asian countries. It is a fad, in thing to be anti-American these days. Or to do the crystal gazing about bright and beautiful picture for BRIC countries. However when I read the blurb and brief information about the author, I realised he is journalist with wide exposure. Hence I bought it.
This book is written in a journalistic style. It is not a management or crystal gazing style. The author has put the “dots” on a very large canvas. The author gives lot of comparisons and lessons in the history – dating back to Roman empire. Most of the time, author has refrained from giving his opinion and has just put across the picture in multi-dimensional way.
Few of the aspects that I liked most are :
The compelling arguments about importance of economic and financial power. How good financial condition of the country has helped countries to achieve social progress as well. I liked the comparison of British Empire (of the 19th and 20th Century) and today’s America. It was interesting to read effect of political power Vs Economic power. How British Empire during its financial decline in 1900s continued to have its clout through strong political leadership (especially during Churchill and post WW II days.) But this political leadership did no take it far enough in terms of success. At the same time how economic, trade and financial power has helped America to remain a superpower even during bad political leadership (From 1980s onwards).
Also interesting read is Author’s attempt to throw light on the distinction between Westernization and Modernization. Those who oppose Westernization should understand that every modernization is not westernisation. And in modernisation lies lot of westernisation. It is a complex issue and delicate balance. Again here the author has attempted to put the “dots” and not just give opinion nor he is preaching.
Though the rise of the rest is a catchy phrase and I was looking for more about it, I found a lot is written about America’s cause of decline yet how its fundamental strengths are still intact and how it can come up with some good political leadership.
Overall a good read to specially those who want to understand the contemporary history.