The Final Project

The argument of the author evolves in the following manner. In Chapter 1, Zakaria presents a main thesis of the book, according to which we will witness the emergence of a post-American global order, within the framework of which the USA will retain its predominance but lose an ability to determine the attributes of international system unilaterally (Zakaria, 2008, pp. 1-5). He compares the change in power dynamics that is taking place currently to the shift in predominance from the Oriental empires to the proto-capitalist West in the 15th to 16th century, arguing that a similar process can be identified nowadays with regard to the rise of Asian nations (Zakaria, 2008, p. 2). Somewhat counterintuitively, Zakaria claims that globalization which led to the dissemination of Western models of capitalist system and mass consumption culture allowed the potential contenders of the U.S., such as China and India, to increase their competitiveness and present an economic challenge to the American role in the world (Zakaria, 2008, pp. 20-21). Nevertheless, according to Zakaria, the political limitations will not allow either India or China to become real rivals to the U.S. in the short-term future, as the uneven economic development and internal social tensions undermine their potential (Zakaria, 2008, p. 97. p. 132). … Zakaria ends the book with guidelines for the future U.S. foreign policy that may be summarized as commitment to multilateral policies, creation of broad alliances with the other great powers, and an emphasis on legitimacy as a ‘soft power’ of the USA (Zakaria, 2008, pp. 235-250). For all the arguments presented by Zakaria in his book, the over-optimistic assumptions about the continuing political predominance of the United States in the new globalized world seems the weakest. Zakaria seems to overlook the fact that the loss of economic hegemony was invariably followed by the corresponding weakening of the political role of respective nation in the world, as the examples of Holland in the 17th century and Great Britain in the 20th century demonstrated. His optimism on the alleged lack of strong competitors to the U.S. dominance seems misplaced as well. even if no single state would match the economic and military-political potential of the U.S., the coalition of them certainly might, and the rise of BRICS (Brazil, India, China, Russia, South Africa) nations shows that some newly industrialized countries, together with the former contender to the U.S. might, may be not too much content with the global order determined by the Western geo-economic and geopolitical interests. In addition, Zakaria’s naive enthusiasm about the financial globalization as the driving force of supposedly even economic development may be seen as the greatest problem of the book, as his praises for neoliberal restructuring, especially in India, were contradicted both by the events of the Lehman Brothers crisis of September 2008 and the overheating processes in the economies of India and China that led to inflationary pressures and rising social

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