Having a class discussion about the equal opportunity at Vassar while reading The Post-American World interest to compare the administration of institutions such as Vassar to leading powers of the “West.” Just like Zakaria generalizes the “rest” of the world in terms of the west, high status power holding figures of Vassar generalize the student population as a whole as well as the cultural and social minority students on campus. Power can be dangerous if misused by the wrong hands.
My overall impression after reading Zakaria was that he was to eager to determine that the future of American will be a positive one solely based on the U.S.’s merits alone. The United States however is a global nation and without compared to other nations there would be no way to classify the U.S. as the top spot on the pyramid of growth, innovation, and wealth (mostly figuratively). Zakaria states that “we are now returning to a more normal balance”, however he deems this problematic; as if the U.S. is only success with if it consistently holds hegemonic stability of power (Zakaria 65). Why is the rise of the rest problematic? It is the fear that an “other” will bring the U.S. down or that an “other” will rise above. There is a middle ground that the mentality of American exceptionalism inhibits. Zakaria notions that “strength is weakness,” although my interpretation of this leans more towards strength is fear. In other words, the United States hypocritically fears the growth and strengthening economy of the “rising rest” when ironically the U.S. often complains about the effort it takes to take care of or upkeep those countries with the tools of imperialism. The innovators of the United States want to be the leaders in development but apparently do not want to share or influence other countries with their ideas. This selfish depiction of leadership defines many of the globalization decisions of the nation; this can compare to some of the administrative decisions Vassar exemplifies.
Like Vassar’s administration, the United States believes as if it can only be successful if it is the strongest or at least perceived as the strongest. The United States creates the standard of living between developing and developed countries and apparently according to Zakaria a standard of poverty. The administration at Vassar creates the standard of applicants and students. I would argue that the students create the academic standard at most schools but many time the administration takes the credit and uses it to their advantage. Vassar’s administration ultimately has the final say when determining what students they choose to admit. The United States ultimately determines which other countries meet that fixed standard of living. The growth of countries is measured on a scale wavering on the basis of the United States.
I think the “American West” should have a social consciousness requirement, as an inborn thought process. It is not necessary for educational institutions to augment a social consciousness within the course requirements because it undermines the fact that people should have this awareness already. The subject itself would be placed on the side and not given fully attention too because it would be something students need to complete rather than innately know or even want to complete.