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"The Rise of the Rest" -The Post-American World

Post_american_world_2 The growth of countries like China, India, Brazil, Russia, and many others—is the great story of our time, and one that will reshape the world. The tallest buildings, biggest dams, largest-selling movies, and most advanced cell phones are all being built outside the United States.

Fareed Zakaria -"The Post-American World."

In Sunday's New York Times, Thomas Friedman writes that "It baffles me that President Bush would rather go to Saudi Arabia twice in four months and beg the Saudi king for an oil price break than ask the American people to drive 55 miles an hour, buy more fuel-efficient cars or accept a carbon tax or gasoline tax that might actually help free us from what he called our 'addiction to oil'.”

Bush's  failure to fully mobilize the most powerful innovation engine in the world — the U.S. economy — to produce a scalable alternative to oil has helped to fuel the rise of a collection of petro-authoritarian states — from Russia to Venezuela to Iran — that are reshaping world politics in their own image.

If the massive transfer of wealth to the petro-authoritarians continues, Friedman believes, power will follow. , with oil at $200 a barrel, OPEC could “potentially buy Bank of America in one month worth of production, Apple computers in a week and General Motors in just three days, ” according to Congressional testimony this week by the energy expert Gal Luft.

This massive shift in global big power is vividly described in “The Post-American World,” by Fareed Zakaria, the editor of Newsweek International, who arites that while the U.S. still has many unique assets, “the rise of the rest” — the Chinas, the Indias, the Brazils and even smaller nonstate actors — is creating a world where many other countries are slowly moving up to America’s level of economic clout and self-assertion, in every realm.

Zakaria zeroes in on Asia, especially India and China, which he uses as proxies for "the rest." "For the first time ever, we are witnessing genuinely global growth" -China's economy has doubled every eight years ((did you know that China now exports more goods and services in a single day than it did in all of 1978?) and India may have the world's third largest economy by 2040.

“Today, India has 18 all-news channels of its own,” notes Zakaria. “And the perspectives they provide are very different from those you will get in the Western media. The rest now has the confidence to present its own narrative, where it is at the center.”

As the Iraq muddle drags on and China rises, the larger story of the post-Cold War era has come into sharp relief: We are not the center of the universe. It matters less that particular countries are pro- or anti-American than that the world is increasingly non-American. We need to get over ourselves. For too long, argues Zakaria, America has taken its many natural assets — its research universities, free markets and diversity of human talent — and assumed that they will always compensate for our low savings rate or absence of a health care system or any strategic plan to improve our competitiveness.

“That was fine in a world when a lot of other countries were not performing,” argues Zakaria, but now the best of the rest are running fast, working hard, saving well and thinking long term. “They have adopted our lessons and are playing our game,” he said. If we don’t fix our political system and start thinking strategically about how to improve our competitiveness, he added, “the U.S. risks having its unique and advantageous position in the world erode as other countries rise.”

Posted by Casey Kazan.

Related Galaxy posts:

The End of Oil?
Robert Newman's History of Oil
A Bright New Perspective: Sunshine Could Power the U.S.
Will Silicon Valley Become the "Detroit of Electric Cars"?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/21/opinion/21friedman.html?em&ex=1211601600&en=7b8b75a0acecf1ac&ei=5087%0A
The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com

Comments

If for just a lucid moment we are honest with our selves as a collective, we see that the twice elected vacuous Mr Bush has reduced our stature to better resemble mediocrity on many levels by any honest measure.

Actually, it does look as if the US will be "last man standing" after all. Purely by accident, of course, since politicians do nothing but make mistakes and make life harder for people.

But if you understand that the EU rules over Europe like an unelected tyrant, ditto for Russia's government and China's government, and you begin to understand that most people of the world live under one form of tyranny or another. In the US it is the IRS and rule of trial lawyers and political correctness, but that is not as bad as China where they shoot political prisoners after harvesting their organs for aging CCP officals.

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