The article is reopening the debate whether modernization automatically means Westernization. While the argument can be made that the import of certain elements of Western culture facilitated modernization, it remains questionable how lasting such a cultural transfer really is. In his The Third Wave, Samuel Huntington points to the important role Christianity played in the democratization of South Korea, and Niall Ferguson shows similar developments in China, where a growing Christian community plays a major role in the demand for broader political representation. In Turkey, on the other hand, modernization was implemented by the policies of Kemal Atatürk, who forced a Western system on his people. There can be no doubt about the economic success of these policies, but the economic success also brought with it a cultural renaissance, that made Asian countries as well as Turkey seeing themselves increasingly as a unique cultural entity in their own right, and they would reject the article's claim that they represent Western culture.
Additionally, I would argue that the observation that the United States and Germany are not only remaining powerful but that they are increasing their power is overly optimistic. Despite Germany's current powerful economic performance, it has a rendezvous with demographic destiny that cannot be postponed forever. As Steffen Kröhnert of the Berlin Institute for Population Development puts it: "Rural areas will see a massive population decline and some villages will simply disappear—Germany will become a weak economic power in the future."
And with regards to the United States, the real economic meltdown might has yet to appear. Dr. John Kitchen of the U.S. Treasury and Professor Menzie Chinn of the University of Wisconsin published a paper in 2010 with the telling title: Financing U.S. Debt: Is There Enough Money in the World - and At What Cost. According to this study, foreign official holdings of U.S. treasury securities should be around 20 percent of the World's GDP by 2020 - if the United States wants to continue on its current path. Whether or not the rest of the world will be willing to continuously invest money in an increasingly indebted U.S. economy remains another question. Similarly, the U.S. influence in Asia is probably not as strong as the authors think, at least if we follow Robert Kagan's new book (that also has a more optimistic outlook about the U.S. future) who suggests "ceding some power and influence across the Pacific to a rising democratic China.”
Despite the justified criticism of the article, it is still an interesting read that will help to inform the ongoing debate between "decliners" and optimists.