Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Zakaria’s book

Josef Joffe reviews Farred Zakaria’s The Post-American World and explains that in fact it is not another exercise in declinism. His point is not the demise of Gulliver, but the "rise of the rest." Joffe calls it intelligent. I have started reading it and, so far, I agree. Happy Mother’s Day, by the way.

Discussions - 4 Comments

I liked the Newsweek version.

Zakaria is usually very good. His one weakness is that he tends to right as if auditioning for some high office in some future Democratic administration. This, however, is not an unheard-of trait in columnists and book authors.

Yes, Will. The title of the book and the headlines in Newsweek suggest that something other than what he actually says is afoot. But we wouldn't want to accuse anyone of "fear-mongering," would we?

The Atlantic Monthly, my favorite general-interest magazine, has some interesting stuff on Obama this month, including a fascinating article on how he links his Internet money-raising efforts, which are to say the least impressive, with his vote-getting, which hasn't been too shabby, either. When my libertarian students would tell me (as they were, a few months ago) how much money Ron Paul was raising, I would counter, `How many votes has he raised?' But Obama & Co. have figured out the key thing, which is how to get the two things together. Basically, they're doing a sort of MySpace For Dollars. And the interesting point is that this might be shifted into an effective political tool for keeping his support strong after his election, if he is.

Anyway, this issue of the Atlantic also has a truly inane puff piece on Obama's foreign policy, alleging that it represents a paradigm shift of some sort. But of course what the article describes is the policy Obama outlined in his Foreign Affairs piece of last year, in which he more or less proposes to build up the U. S. military but not actually to use it. Instead he intends to negotiate everything. That's the foreign-policy part of the anti-fear campaign you mention.

In other words, it's Carter all over again. Sure enough, even old Zbig has signed on. But while Carter seems to have hoped to reach his contemporary tyrants with Christian love, Obama, I suspect, has something more of the rhetorician's assumption that he can transform the world with words. He's also pretending that we're not already talking with the Iranians, the North Koreans, and all manner of other undesirables, through back channels--a point that his puffer in the Atlantic hasn't noticed.

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