From Publishers Weekly
As this strained defense of American power acknowledges, America's international hegemony lacks the conventional hallmarks of government, like a monopoly of force, the power to tax and legislate, and the explicit consent of the governed. But it does, the author contends, furnish "public goods" to "free riders" in an ungrateful world that likes to gripe about American domination while tacitly welcoming it. U.S. troops abroad act as a "public health service" forestalling outbreaks of war and nuclear proliferation, and as a "pest control service" against rogue regimes. America safeguards the world's oil supply, like a public energy utility. The dollar is the world's reserve currency, and Washington organizes bailouts of bankrupt countries and promotes free trade, benefiting all. Even the huge U.S. trade deficits are a kind of global Keynesian stimulus policy, with the American shopper serving as the world's "consumer of last resort." Mandelbaum—an international relations professor, Newsday columnist and author of The Ideas that Conquered the World—deploys the world-government analogy less as an analytical principle than as an apologia. His anodyne language of government service portrays America's international initiatives as principled, systematic and benevolent, rather than ad hoc, erratic and driven by domestic interests. The result is a euphemistic picture of the underlying motives and controversial effects of American foreign relations. (Jan.)
"This is not a book about the decline of America, but rather about the rise of everyone else." So begins Fareed Zakaria's important new work on the era we are now entering. Following on the success of his best-selling The Future of Freedom, Zakaria describes with equal prescience a world in which the United States will no longer dominate the global economy, orchestrate geopolitics, or overwhelm cultures. He sees the "rise of the rest"—the growth of countries like China, India, Brazil, Russia, and many others—as 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. This economic growth is producing political confidence, national pride, and potentially international problems. How should the United States understand and thrive in this rapidly changing international climate? What does it mean to live in a truly global era? Zakaria answers these questions with his customary lucidity, insight, and imagination.