Fareed Zakaria’s post-American world

Map of the World courtesy of maps.mygeo.info

There’s an interesting article by Fareed Zakaria published in this week’s Newsweek entitled “The Rise of the Rest.”  In his article he discusses how the world is changing to the point where many nations are making great strides in economic advances.  Based on Zakaria’s research, other nations have surpassed the U.S. in some economic areas and hold bragging rights for several socioeconomic icons such as the world’s largest shopping mall or tallest building.

Americans presently have a dim view of the world because of the economy, the wars we’re fighting, and other factors, but according to Zakaria, the majority of nations in the world are experiencing positive states of existence that are independent of America’s influence.  He points out that we are witnessing a shift in power and attitudes that reflect a post-American era where most of the world is not really thinking about whether or not they hate America, but are focused on growing and preserving their economies and cultures. Over the past two years, the economies of 124 nations have increased more than 4% each year.  Zakaria’s opinion is that America, instead of fearing any power shifts to a global economy, should embrace these changes.

Overall, according to Zakaria, we are living in a time of “unprecedented peace and prosperity” where war and death from global violence have been decreasing since the mid-80’s to levels not seen since the 1950s.  Although he acknowledges deaths by terrorism is a problem, when considering the global picture, it is rather unsubstantial since it tends to be localized.

I’m sure Mr. Zakaria has done his research thoroughly and is a world-travelled journalist, but I am somewhat hesitant to accept the rosy picture he wants to paint of the state of the world.  It’s great to have a positive outlook on life, especially if you’re a Christian who understands that ultimately God will have his way in the end.  It’s also great when developing countries can make economic advances to solve their own problems, but I also think we should be realistic in how we view the world.  There will always be serious dangers to look out for, whether local or global.  Why?  Well, let me state this as simply as possible–man is essentially evil and selfish by nature.  Yes, we as humans have some good traits, but history has shown that when we acquire a large amount of material things or power or some other type of status, we always seem to want more and what we have is never enough.  Mr. Zakaria seems to have forgotten to factor in the unpredictable, complex, and greedy nature of humans which can change the whole world’s outlook in a New York minute. 

The Lord Jesus stated clearly for us in the gospels that throughout the last days there will be wars and rumors of wars.  There may be fewer now, but just wait a few years.  Christ also stated that while we are in this world, we will have various troubles.  Nevertheless, if we are Christians, we can be of good cheer because he has overcome the world.

Just this week it was reported that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has ties to the leftist rebels in Colombia.  Apparently, files were found on a comfiscated laptop of a dead guerilla that revealed Hugo Chavez is influencing the rebels in an attempt to de-stabilize the Colombian government.  Of course, Chavez denies it but U.S. officials suspect he is making moves to influence as much of Latin America as he can.  So, it’s stories like these and other conflicts that seem to pop up around the world (especially in the Middle East and parts of Africa) that show just how fragile peace and prosperity can be.  

They [false prophets and priests] have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly [in a manner of little account], saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.  Jeremiah 6:14 

And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many…  Daniel 8:25

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