February 5th, 2012
06:27 AM ET

Zakaria: It's a new world, Mitt

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch GPS every Sunday at 10a.m. and 1p.m. EST. If you miss it, you can buy episodes on iTunes.

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

Now that Mitt Romney is once again the front-runner, his campaign focus is returning to President Obama. And he's probably going to start repeating a line that he's used often in the past: "This is a president who fundamentally believes that this next century is the post-American century."

Now, I leave it to the president to describe what he believes, but as the author of the book The Post-American World, I'd like to clarify the phrase. At the very beginning of the book, I note: "This is a book not about the decline of America but rather about the rise of everyone else."

Throughout the book, I am optimistic about America, and I'm convinced it can prosper in this new world and remain the most powerful country on the planet. But I argue that the age of America's singular dominance, its unipolarity, has ended. For a quarter-century after the collapse of communism and the Soviet Union, the United States dominated the world with no real political or economic competitors.

Mitt, we are in a different world now.

In 1990, China represented 2% of global gross domestic product. It has quadrupled, to 8%, and it's rising. By most estimates, China's economy will become the world's largest between 2016 and 2018. And this is not simply an economic story. China's military capacity and reach are also expanding. Beijing's defense spending is likely to surpass America's by 2025.

It's not just China that's rising. Emerging powers on every continent have achieved political stability and economic growth and are becoming active on the global stage. Twenty years ago Turkey was a fragile democracy, dominated by its army, constantly in need of Western economic bailouts. Today, Turkey has a trillion-dollar economy that grew 6.6% last year. Since April 2009, Turkey has created 3.4 million jobs - that's more than the entire European Union, Russia and South Africa put together.

Look in this hemisphere: In 1990, Brazil was emerging from decades of dictatorship and was wracked by inflation rates that reached 3,000 percent. Today, Brazil is a stable democracy, steadily growing with foreign-exchange reserves of $350 billion.

I could go on, Mitt.

Barack Obama has succeeded in preserving and even enhancing U.S. influence in this world precisely because he has recognized these new forces at work. He has traveled to the emerging nations and spoken admiringly of their rise. He replaced the old Western club and made the Group of 20 the central decision-making forum for global economic affairs. By emphasizing multilateral organizations, alliance structures and international legitimacy, he got results. It was Chinese and Russian cooperation that produced tougher sanctions against Iran. It was the Arab League's formal request last year that made Western intervention in Libya uncontroversial.

Mitt, by and large you have ridiculed this approach to foreign policy, arguing that you would instead expand the military, act unilaterally and talk unapologetically. But chest-thumping triumphalism won't help you secure America's interests or ideals in a world populated by powerful new players. You can call this new century whatever you like, but it won't change reality. After all, just because we call it the World Series doesn't actually make it one.

For more of my thoughts throughout the week, I invite you to follow me on Facebook and Twitter and to visit the Global Public Square every day. Be sure to catch GPS every Sunday at 10a.m. and 1p.m. EST. If you miss it, you can buy the show on iTunes.


soundoff (511 Responses)
  1. artistkvip

    hmmmm reality 4 america and American politics and representation.......if it is true and reality it can be built on why are all others wasting so much time and money ????.pride ego ..or it's just the weigh we has always dun? it by tired angry faced fat old men and women

    February 6, 2012 at 5:20 am | Reply
  2. artistkvip

    hmmmm reality 4 america and American politics and representation.......if it is true and reality it can be built on why are all others wasting so much time and money ????pride ego ..or it's just the weigh we has always dun? it by tired angry faced fat old men and women

    February 6, 2012 at 5:32 am | Reply
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    February 6, 2012 at 9:30 am | Reply
  4. thinktank

    Hey JB...you are kidding, right? you have the nerve to talk abut republicans nominating Palin... Do you realize who you democrats nominated,,,,,,,, Biden has to be the biggest clown ever put in office...."Go Giants"..... remember him saying that? HE FORGOT HE WAS IN SAN FRNACISCO, NOT NEW YOUK........hope nothing happens to Obama,, can you imagine him being president.... he could not a pimple on Palins butt

    February 6, 2012 at 9:41 am | Reply
  5. Olakunle Akinpelu

    Hey Fareed, I enjoy every bit of your generally balanced cerebral outputs and I won't miss GPS on Sunday for anything. But don't you often sound like an Obama apologetic even when you are speaking the truth? Thinktank, would you rather we bring back D

    February 6, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Reply
  6. Olakunle Akinpelu

    Hey Fareed, I enjoy every bit of your generally balanced cerebral outputs and I won't miss GPS on Sunday for anything. But don't you often sound like an Obama apologetic even when you are speaking the truth? Thinktank, would you rather we bring back Dan Quayle as VP. He can outdo Sarah Palin in bufoonery

    February 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Reply
  7. woodrow

    You gotta wonder, if Romney was president, what would change for the better? And I'm thinking absolutely nothing will change for the better. On the contrary, the GOP has only demonstrated how they can ruin the economy with blind ignorance about the American worker and American banks and American businesses.

    February 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  8. mo

    fareed zakaria looks alot like mohamad attah. it may just be a coincidense or is it the in breading that takes place in muslim countrys.

    February 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Reply
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    I noticed one thing at super bowl yesterday. Brady has to throw the ball at stride, then welker can come down with a catch. He can't just come down with a catch out of nowhere like Randy. Big time republican supporters have the advantage of using super pac this year. They can use those super pacs to set everything up for their republican candidate this year.

    February 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Reply
  10. bloomberg

    the biggest problem for Romny now is that he said and promised that the first day as a president of US, he will declair China as munipulater and tax everything imported from China. We will see how that will help US economy, and we will see how staple, the business he claim for credit, will survive, and how poor people were taken care of: they will stay at home because no where to go shopping. In addition, walmart will close door, Apple will close door and all related business related to China will be in big trouble including trump's construction. it is wise to stop mis-spoken and listen to others, like bloomberg.

    February 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  11. JAL

    It is simple. The 1% are opening the basement door holding a broom and a pale. Too bad the basement is filled with sewage up to thier waist. Now they are trying to figure out how to break the news to the wife, while still being able to go golfing this weekend..

    February 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Reply
  12. Daniel

    Very Disappointed....

    I used to be a huge fan of Fareed’s. Unfortunately it seems he has been corrupted by the same ilk that despises America and is extremely reluctant to cast the same dispersions on the rest of the world.

    Has he even characterized how disgusting and morally corrupt China’s and Russia’s vetoes of UN resolutions on Syria are?

    Pathetic and sad.

    Signed,
    A former believer

    February 7, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Reply
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      @Daniel:

      Good that you are now able to see through the anti-American agenda of my former countryman (from India, which he hates too!). I have reviewed his columns in detail, and the only agenda he has is his rabidly anti-Semite, Anti-West and Pro-Islamic agenda.

      Check out my responses above.

      February 7, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Reply
  13. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    I made the following comment even without ever heard of this man Juan Cole! I just now did a GOOGLE check on this man and find a ton of material showing his Islamic leanings!

    Several year ago I called Mr.Fareed Zakaria also hugely biased in favor of Muslims even when hardly there was anything anyone had said on that.

    Now I know for sure these guys are Islamic sympathizers who will never rest until Israel is destroyed and the free world comes under the great Islamic Caliphate.

    Mr. Fareed Zakaria is carrying forward the agenda of his polygamist Indian father Mr.Rafiq Zakaria, an Islamic scholar who fought tooth & nail to prevent the creation of Pakistan (& Bangladesh) and divide Muslims while losing a heavenly opportunity to bring India under Islamic rule.

    BTW, here's what I wrote on Juan Cole's analysis.

    "This analysis seems to be inspired by leading anti-Semites like (distinguished!) Prof. Mohammed Ayoob of University of Michigan, and/or CNN's Mr.Fareed Zakaria, or Dean ObeidALLAH, or Imam Rauf or Ethan Casey all of whom want to see the downfall of Israel and the West."

    Amit-Atlanta-USA

    February 8, 2012 at 10:01 am | Reply
  14. AShukla

    Fareed,

    I continue to watch your GPS as it does bring some valuable information.
    But I find you to be an increasingly Pro-Obama mouth-piece.

    GPS' advertisement subtly chides and derides Republican (especially Romney – as he is clearly the 'untlimate' front-runner) thinking & ideology. Even some of your segments start with a direct quote (or half-quote) of Republican sound-byte.

    You cleverly mentioned in five words or less how Romney's 'Poor' comments were taken out of context but then proceeded to commentary at length how Romney's 5% Poor was a miscalculation.
    BTW, GPS stated that Romeny considered 95% Middle Class and 5% Poor – what, in your mind happened to Romeny's stats for Rich? or does GPS needs a Calculator to misrepresent someone else's statistics?

    Again, in a subtle Pro-Obama, Anti-Romney tilt you mentioned that Romeny paid 13 – 14% Tax.
    How diingenous of you to not even mention $3Mil of Romney's charitable contribution which would make Romeny's 'Re-distribution' (as Obama's Class Warfare juggenaut would want) is roughly 30%.

    Can I ask you to ask Obama how much his total 'Re-distribution' of wealth was Taxes and Charitable contributions combined?

    I hope you will be balanced enough not to turned me off GPS.

    February 12, 2012 at 10:58 am | Reply
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