This blog should have been one of my first blogs as the source of inspiration is not the book but the author .But the inertia lasted longer than I expected as fictions had caught my attention lately .
I am not left out with many hours in a day after my job as a physician and CNN is my constant background companion during my chores at home .On one of these days ,by serendipity , I discovered Fareed Zakaria on Global Public square on CNN in 2012 and since then I have not missed out on a single episode intentionally .
I was simply awestruck by his layman version presentation of the most complex political issues in Global Public square episodes . Oblivious of the twitter storms or Facebook comments his episodes are anything but candor , conviction and courage about his world views .The subjects are truly global . contemporary and well researched
Fareed Zakaria was a bright star since his student days in Yale and Harvard and is considered one of the best analyst of foreign policy, economics and cultural affairs .
“Global public square” is Emmy nominated and he was ex editor of “TIME” .Presently he is columnist at Washington Post and best selling author of “The Post American World ” and “The Future of Freedom” . His last publication was “In Defence of a liberal education “. His books as his episodes are lucid , succinct and purposeful.
The book we are going to touch upon is “The Post American World which is a best seller and was initially published in 2008 . I said touch upon as today the book might seem a bit dated but it is an interesting read as you compare notes in retrospect about the last decade ,its prophecies ,its successes and its failures .The book has many historical anecdotes and reference points which gives an insight about present day affairs .The chapters on India and China are an indepth depiction of its then socio political and economic milieu and how these counties are trying to gain back it’s lost glory .
Post American World was published when America was in the midst of a deep economic recession and the Unipolar world had started taking note of the rest of the world including the rising stars , BRICS with China spearheading it .
The Wars in Afghanistan and Iran had left a bad taste in mouth and America still had an expensive military presence in Middle east with peace not in sight .Unemployment rate was high in the US and outsourcing was a big woe though it left MNCs with a fair share of profit .Middle and secondary education had gaping holes and higher education was leaving a big dent in the financial future of Americans .Middle America was the worst hit with no easy solution in sight .
As per author ,Great Britain was the only historical reference of the past centuries for the US of twentieth century, as far as economic success story and political supremacy goes .The US with its sheer size ,its strong technological base ,stress on meritocracy and unusual strength in turning abstract theory into practical products [Fareed Zakaria] was always way ahead than its counterparts and had emerged as the uncontested Super power, staunch believer of democratic values with stress on free speech . US was the peacekeeper and moderator who the nations of the world could rely on .
The book ended on a positive note in which author was optimistic about this Great nation. As per author, though US is a worrier and this was the fourth wave of concern since 1945, Zakaria was sure this would pass as American system is flexible , resourceful and resilient and it can correct its course on its way if needed .
And America did emerge from this longest lasting recession .
Author did not touch upon President Obama’s presidency and its after math and we are expectant that there would be another best seller on President Obama and after.
President Obama was elected during this longest lasting recession and for the next eight years right economic policies were implemented and country did buoy out
But the expectations of the American people were not met .
And the America that emerged Post Obama was almost surreal , unimaginable . Everything that was deplored in the past was becoming the new normal
This was the Post Obama America
America felt that the world has not been fair to it .Alliances, trade deals ,Defence deals did not mean much to it anymore .It pulled out of NAFTA .Universal health Care which was so painstakingly put together is being dismantled .Iran deal was unilaterally broken with no rational reasons and allies left in a lurch . Land of immigrants were now hating the immigrants and building a wall to stop them from coming . Fair speech is now unfair and there is a new kind of fact called “alternative fact “.People are suffering the “Gun Law” and greed is overpowering the need
America was hit so hard by the recession of 2007 that every thing wrong in the past is right in this post traumatic America .Moral bankruptcy is at its peak and an adversary country is allowed to interfere in it’s elections and may have funded it’s elections . Simply unimaginable
Economic recession of the US is fading away but no one knows what to do with this political and moral recession ! One does get amnesic when times are good but the next decade would bear the brunt of today’s policies
In his book ” In Defense of a liberal Education ” he debates the virtues of liberal arts which I was not very convinced to begin with . No doubt technology and skill based education leads to better prospects and quicker results in life but as we trudge along the trajectory of life ,as mentioned by Zakaria ,we try to find “meaning , fulfillment and happiness “, when futility of the transient world looms large on the horizon
World of literature always enticed me from afar but the pull was not strong enough to think about long term goals . I do not know the transition to another career will ever happen or not and I am till now , pretty much fence sitting, but even the journey this far has been joyous and we know unpredictability is the new norm
Would talk to you all soon
One thought on “The Post American World – Book Review – Author Fareed Zakaria”
Great review with a strong personal touch. All the best to you in your future endeavors. Fareed Zakaria has always been a must watch on Sunday’s.