Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 27, 2008

Kishore Mahbubani

Recently I am mulling over the thoughts of one Kishore Mahbubani.

His last book is titled The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East.

The blurb says:

Asians have finally understood, absorbed, and implemented Western best practices in many areas: from free-market economics to modern science and technology, from meritocracy to rule of law. They have also become innovative in their own way, creating new patterns of cooperation not seen in the West.

Will the West resist the rise of Asia? The good news is that Asia wants to replicate, not dominate, the West. For a happy outcome to emerge, the West must gracefully give up its domination of global institutions, from the IMF to the World Bank, from the G7 to the UN Security Council.

History teaches that tensions and conflicts are more likely when new powers emerge. This, too, may happen. But they can be avoided if the world accepts the key principles for a new global partnership spelled out in The New Asian Hemisphere.

I haven't yet read the book, only other material about and by him and I find his thoughts very interesting. There are reviews in the Globe and Mail and the Indian Business Standard:

A Singaporean of Indian origin, he became a career diplomat with several key assignments under his belt, not the least as ambassador to the United Nations, president on rotation of the UN Security Council, and now as a dean of a reputed school of public policy.

Mahbubani studied philosophy which makes his thoughts even more interesting.

An interview he had with the German pol-mag Der Spiegel is translated here. He had recent op-ed's in the Guardian, The sermons of cowards, and the Financial Times, Europe is a geopolitical dwarf. BBC's Hardball interviewed him and the videos are available at YouTube: 1, 2 and 3.

A main thought of his seems to be that economic development, which rapidly happens in Asia now thanks to the adoption of capitalism, is much more important than the 'western' official fetish called 'Democracy'. Something to the point that:  'Elections don't matter when you starve or get shot on the way to the voting booth.'

I can agree with that.

The 'western' political right does not want to give up its current leading positions and is looking for a fight with Asia. Wars are profitable.

The 'western' political left (well, not really left) is howling against authoritarian regimes in Asia. See Naomi Klein: First writing about Disaster Capitalism, the exploit of catastrophes by 'western' capitalism, only to immediately turn around and blame the regimes in China and Burma for their reaction to huge nature catastrophes there.

Hypocrisy abound ...

Posted by b on May 27, 2008 at 18:46 UTC | Permalink

Comments

The Chinese regime turned in a serious disaster relief effort, in contrast with the Burmese and Bush regimes. No need to confuse the competent dictators with the incompetent dictators.
.

Posted by: Voting Present | May 27 2008 19:24 utc | 1

@Voting Present - I wonder where you got your information on Myanmar's disaster relief effort. Maybe from Fox News?

Posted by: b | May 27 2008 19:48 utc | 2

There is a great irony:

then original asian tigers are divided countries: hongkong, taiwan, south korea. The other part of each country was communist. So they where allowed to implement a policy of real developement. south korea was 1960 on an african (Uganda) level.

Part of this policies was a forced concentration of capital (paid by the working classes), which meant the creation of a few international competative corporations, import substitution and a rapid developement in education.

All of this is not in the textbook of our freemarket-fans but is also not new (Friederich von List)

China and India and the rest of the world have learned.

Conclusion: the imperialists, in their fear for communism, created models of economic developement that will bring them down and open the possibility of a more solidary world society.

Posted by: Peter Hofmann | May 27 2008 20:22 utc | 3

'Elections don't matter when you starve or get shot on the way to the voting booth.'

The question is of course, who shoots you on the way to the voting booth? And who took your food or prevented you from producing food?

I would say it is often the government in one form or another. As we well know, voting is not enough to produce a democracy, but the more the people rule the government, the less the risk of the government shooting or starving the people.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | May 27 2008 22:16 utc | 4

pEterHoffman #3: "the imperialists, in their fear for communism, created models of economic developement that will bring them down and open the possibility of a more solidary world society."

What evidence is there that those who finance imperialism fear (or feared)communism, rather than just telling we owned to so fear?

Own position is that finance finances all of us. Evidence against?

Posted by: plushtown | May 27 2008 23:10 utc | 5

There was a guns and butters show linked here recently with a history professor who claimed that the policymakers of postwar US considered USSR to have an economic advantage in that it had a smaller and less expensive rentier class, thus it could outcompete the US in a fair competition. Well, the cold war prevented that.

So there was rational reasons for the rentier class to fear communism. Though I suspect the personal level was more influential. Fear of getting your head chopped of is a serious downer. The second world war also brought home the fact that even important people - people you could meet at high-class resorts - can get killed with just a bullet.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | May 27 2008 23:26 utc | 6

thanks, b. hadn't heard of the fellow before. will have to read & watch the links before commenting.

Posted by: b real | May 28 2008 4:44 utc | 7

If you hang around the emerging market stocks bulletin boards, inevitably you come
across the mnemonic, 'Shift of Global Power to the East, Will it be India or China?'
I call it a mnemonic because it's a reminder to day-sellers and day-buyers, to the
Alibaba's and Chinasite's chopping the water to a froth with a strip of bacon rind,
that there is a shift of power, and China is a martial economy, while India is not.

Indians always laugh at China because, well, they're Indian, like Kishore Mahbubani
inbred of the caste system, technocrat elites, Mumbai -v- Punjab. We have a friend
who lives in Mumbai, training replacements for US tele-workers, but not like this:
Emma Maersk
15,000 containers, 31 knots, 4-day passage Shanghai-to-Long Beach, an Asian tsunami.

The Indians and Chinese would like to think they'll rule the world, the same way
Marco Polo likely fancied himself a later day Alexander the Great ala Spice Road.
And at one point in history, the Dutch Moluccas were the richest colony on earth.

Most likely, their 'Irresistible Shift of Power' will be one of Labor, not Capital.
Certainly, we'll have to learn to enjoy cabbage soup, and an occasional horse head.
Eventually, we'll have to learn to subsist on soaked rice, and a scrim of seaweed,
sell our daughters into prostitution, and our sons into the perpetual militaries.

But not yet... Not yet...

Posted by: Nata Schanss | May 28 2008 5:52 utc | 8

Phillip Adams interviewed him on

Posted by: swio | May 28 2008 11:53 utc | 9

Sorry, that should be.

Phillip Adams interviewed him on Late Night Live earlier this year. Unfortunately their podcasts come down after a week so its no longer available. It was an interesting interview. When you get right down to it the idea of East rising is not that inciteful. What was really interesting was his perspective what had caused the rise of Asia, particularly on Asia's adoption of certain Western principles. He mentioned seven (i think it was 7) ideas that Asia had adopted from the West. Very interesting.

Posted by: swio | May 28 2008 11:56 utc | 10

skd #6, thanks for response, I'm talking about folks with more moveable income sources than rentiers,also more discretion and lots of principal.

Here's a Krugman column from 1/4/07
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/05/return-of-the-rentier-city/>Return of the rentier city


Notice his bling babies like coasts. It's better bettors who're buying inland.

Posted by: plushtown | May 28 2008 13:53 utc | 11

sorry, 10/4/07.

Posted by: plushtown | May 28 2008 13:57 utc | 12

@swio from the Globe and Mail link above:

Mr. Mahbubani praises the West for Asia's development. Asian countries progressed, he says, because they implemented seven pillars of Western wisdom: free-market economics, meritocracy, pragmatism, a culture of peace, the rule of law, an emphasis on education and a willingness to pursue advances in science and technology.

Posted by: b | May 28 2008 14:12 utc | 13

link to mahbubani audio interview at asia society back in february

In discussion with Asia Society President Vishakha N. Desai, Professor Mahbubani provided his expert analysis on how the US must engage with Asia given the region's remarkable growth and increasing prominence—politically, militarily, economically, and culturally. Arguing that the US-China relationship will be the single most important relationship of this century, Professor Mahbubani urged the US, in often unsparing terms, to resist insular, protectionist thinking and develop pragmatic and long-term strategies to reach out to Asia.

The conversation also touched on international perceptions of the US presidential candidates, the need for stronger multilateral institutions, and ways the US can improve its moral standing in the world, particularly within Asia's Islamic communities. (1 hr 27 min)

Posted by: b real | May 28 2008 14:34 utc | 14

A guy from Belgium with some thoughts in the smae direction as Mahbubani: The Violent Folly of Humanitarian Interventionism

The reason it is a delusion is that it misses the fundamental change in the 20th century, at least the one which has had the greatest long lasting impact. This is not the history of fascism or of communism, which indeed belong to the past, but decolonization. Not only did this movement free hundreds of millions of people from a particularly brutal form of racist domination, but it inverted what had been the dominant trend in the history of the world since the end of the 16th century, namely the movement of European expansion. The 20th century marked the decline of Europe, and the replacement of Europe by the US as the center of the world system is likely to be short lived.

...

What the Western left should do is to encourage a realistic view of the world situation and a foreign policy based on such realism. Now, "realism" usually sounds like a dirty word to leftist ears. But it all depends what a realistic analysis leads to: if one thinks that one is all powerful and if that is indeed the case (as it was with West vs the Rest of the world during past centuries), a realistic policy may be one of brutal plunder. But if one is not as strong as one thinks, then, more realism should lead to a more prudent policy. If Hitler had been a "realist" he would not have launched WW2 and he would certainly not have invaded the Soviet Union. If the US had been more realistic it would not have escalated the Vietnam war in the early 60’s, nor would it have invaded Iraq in 2003. Besides, realism would certainly lead the US to drop its constant support for Israel that brings no oil, costs a lot of money and creates an enormous amount of animosity towards the US.

The irony is that the most progressive position (at least objectively) in those matters is often the one of the capitalists who, most of the time, favor open trade rather than boycotts or sanctions (or wars) on humanitarian grounds. Of course, one could favor limitations of the capitalists’ power, uncluding trade, on social or economical grounds, but, as far as international relations are concerned, the left should support a similar position, which is also the one of the non-aligned movement, namely mutual cooperation and the rejection of unilateral (non UN based) sanctions.

The problem of the US and Western elites is not only that they are willing to pursue violent policies in favour of their interests, but that they also pursue violent policies against their interests, because of their unbounded arrogance. We no longer control the world and great miseries follow from the non acceptance of this fact. Far from encouraging our "humanitarian" interventions, the left should foster a more realistic appraisal of the relationship of forces in the world and a policy based on dialogue, respect for national sovereignty and non intervention.

Posted by: | May 28 2008 14:41 utc | 15

speaking of humanitarian interventions, here's a related story that [1] makes the recent onion satire that annie linked to recently more prophetic & [2] portends the influence of the neocon/u.s. jewish community on the next pretender(s).

US presidential candidates united on Darfur

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The three major U.S. presidential candidates issued a rare joint statement on Wednesday condemning atrocities against civilians in Sudan and demanding an end to the violence.

"After more than five years of genocide, the Sudanese government and its proxies continue to commit atrocities against civilians in Darfur," said the statement signed by Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Republican candidate John McCain.

"This is unacceptable to the American people and to the world community," the candidates said, adding that it was clear the Sudanese government was behind the violence.

They made clear that tough policies against the violence in Darfur would continue when the next president is seated in the White House in January, whichever of the three wins takes office in January. Obama is the front-runner to win the Democratic Party nomination to contest McCain in the November election.

Excerpts from the statement were placed in Wednesday's New York Times in an advertisement sponsored by the Save Darfur Coalition, an alliance of more than 180 religious, human rights and advocacy groups.
"It would be a huge mistake for the Khartoum regime to think that it will benefit by running out the clock on the Bush administration," the candidates said. "If peace and security for the people of Sudan are not in place when one of us is inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009, we pledge that the next administration will pursue these goals with unstinting resolve."

Posted by: b real | May 28 2008 15:23 utc | 16

(yeah that N. Klein is some number. I wonder how many people she has working for her.) Book sounds interesting. A new meme, as Nata implied.

There is one elephant in the room. All this growth and ‘development’ is already faltering. See US depression; China’s growth and pollution; the worsening situation for many in the world (Nigeria, Iraq..); and the vacuity of goals and measurements (GDP, stock exchange, etc.) All this frenetic activity and trade rests on exploiting Earth’s natural resources, primarily energy to run other activities like manufacturing and transport, also fertilized and mechanized agriculture. There is no free lunch - even the ‘gains in productivity’ rest for a large part on using more energy.

The limits are clearly perceptible and insuperable - fish in the ocean, water tables, soil erosion, desertification, and the energy crunch (peak oil etc.), not to mention one result, global warming. China cannot manufacture more without continuing increasing energy supplies (which it will not get, or only for a short while), cannot sell thru export or internally without customers able to pay, etc.

Posted by: Tangerine | May 28 2008 15:50 utc | 17

b: how exactly is Naomi Klein acting hypocritically by criticizing China and Myanmar in regard to their respective disaster response? I assume you know that Naomi Klein was busy criticizing corporate globalization in the 90's, and that her book THE SHOCK DOCTRINE about disaster capitalism emerged from that context. Is it because her book sold a bunch of copies for a publishing giant?

Tangerine: if you haven't read Klein's book, i highly recommend it.

Posted by: | May 28 2008 16:39 utc | 18

@18 - In the shock doctrine Naomi Klein blames intervention following catastrophies

In her China/Burm piece she critizies Burma and China for not allowing intervention.

If the Burmese junta avoids mutiny and achieves these goals, it will be thanks largely to China, which has vigorously blocked all attempts at the United Nations for humanitarian intervention in Burma.
Has she read her book?

Posted by: b | May 28 2008 16:57 utc | 19

@19 have you? saying that Klein, "blames intervention following catastrophies" is a gross oversimplification of a book that attempts to synthesize the often violently implemented Chicago school free market policies, backed by amerika, with a growing market trend that sees natural disasters as great opportunities to exclude undesirables and reshape the landscape. Klein is trying to explain (to a wide audience) how any shock, be it an artificial economic package shoved down a nation's throat, or a natural shock, like a tsunami, can be used to push through corporate friendly economic trojan horses that usually end up hurting more people than the initial shock.

Klein's criticism of China and Burma on the other hand--nations that maintain control over their populations through slightly different means than the west--is, i think, an attempt to expose the same corrupting impulses all governments seem plagued with.

by jumping on the western bandwagon of criticizing China and Burma, i can see how some might think she is only adding to the growing tension, so maybe she should just stick to examining the growing tech investment of amerikan corporations in China's booming surveillance industry, because what's happening in China is a good indicator of what the near future will look like for all of us, and it's chilling.

Posted by: Lizard | May 28 2008 18:52 utc | 20

Well, Lizard, what would have happened if China and Myanamar (why do you use the colonial name?) would have allowed free access for U.S. and French military to their desaster regions?

My bet: Exactly what Klein has emphazised in her book:

often violently implemented Chicago school free market policies, backed by amerika, with a growing market trend that sees natural disasters as great opportunities to exclude undesirables and reshape the landscape.
But those government stayed smart. They took the aid that was given without conditions for pure humanitarian reasons and distributed it as well as possible.

They refused aid bound to conditions that would endanger the nessecarily controlled and centralised distribution efforts and would have ruined the models of their society.

Long term their way would rather turn out better the Klein's newly discovered "humanitarian intervention".

Posted by: b | May 28 2008 19:40 utc | 21

Well, b, i used the colonial name because that is the name you used in your original post. and i understand your suspicion when it comes to calls for humanitarian intervention, because they always come with strings. i just don't think the piece you linked to is a fully developed argument from Klein supporting humanitarian intervention. it's a short piece criticizing two authoritarian regimes responses to natural disasters.

my point is the whole situation is deplorable. instead of focusing on those in need, whether in China or Myanamar, everyone is focused on the political posturing necessary to maintain control. politicizing human misery is disgusting, no matter who is doing it. i think on that we can both agree, right?

Posted by: Lizard | May 28 2008 20:18 utc | 22

i've read & listened now to some of mahbubani's material & he certainly does seem to focus on economic development. the "push toward modernity" is a good thing. bringing larger middle classes to asian and islamic societies will be good for the those nations & the world - greater affluence, less conflict, more participatory representation, etc. he sees the world economy continuing to grow, w/ the asian countries taking a bigger share in it, surpassing the dominance of the u.s. and e.u. (though he doesn't see their economies shrinking overall).

i have serious problems w/ some of that. for one, how is it sustainable, this growth modeled after the west's affluence & environmental destruction? i'd like to find some writings where he addresses this subject. and i'd be interested in seeing his thoughts on the competition for the energy and mineral resources needed to sustain this level of growth. michael klare's latest book, rising powers, shrinking planet, makes a good case that the u.s. and china/india (as well as other rising powers) are inevitably going to have to all engage each other for the same limited extractables. klare goes through the geopolitical moves already underway by each, and i feel he's quite correct when he stresses how dangerous a situation this can quickly escalate into.

from the small set of stuff i've absorbed of mahbubani's, i question if he's taking a critical enough approach in his works. i say this based not only on the issue pointed out above, but also on two comments of his that [1] until gitmo & the "legalization" of torture, the u.s. was the world leader in promoting human rights and [2] that the great thing about western models of governance, moving away from feudalism to capitalism to democracy, was that they gave everyone in society the opportunity to play a part & have a voice. lots more that struck me as superficial or naive, but perhaps some of it can be chalked up to diplo-rhetoric. haven't read any of his books, so the longer essays may offer more than the articles & interviews.

i guess my main question is what kind of break w/ the status quo worldview he offers/envisions & i still have not found enough to give a good idea of that.

Posted by: b real | May 29 2008 22:24 utc | 23


@23 As a counter discourse to the West-centric media diet and general cultural arrogance Mahbubani's response gets some points. He uses history well in pointing out the relative 'abnormality' of Europe's 200 year hegemony considering the 2000 plus average of China's and India's role as centers of the global economy. G. Arrighi makes a similar argument in the very wordy "Adam Smith Goes to Beijing". Interesting how he never mentions Latin America, Africa and the Islamic world in the simplistic rendition of a history of 'civilization' - rather it is just the 'West' and the 'East' as if each came to be fully formed from the head of Zeus.

The alternative worldview that he may harbor is MIA. Unless the call for the West and East joining hands to ... do what I wonder, is a call for a NWO.

Thanks for the link up it was interesting.

Posted by: BenIAM | May 29 2008 23:09 utc | 24

The Washington Note has a series of discussion with Mahbubami, Ikenberry, Slaughter and Parag Khana, Michel Lind:

Mahbubani Responds: Western Intellectual and Moral Cowardice on Israel/Palestine is "Stunning"

There is increasing evidence that given a choice between promoting Western values (at some self-sacrifice) and defending Western interests, interests inevitably trump values.

The West incessantly preaches its noble goal of eliminating global poverty. But when America or EU have to reduce or eliminate agricultural subsidies that clearly harm the poorest people on the planet, no Western politician dares to advocate this. Similarly the West has provided the moral and intellectual leadership in educating the world on the dangers of global warming.
...
The second point of disagreement is about the impact of Western double-standards. Many Western intellectuals (including, I believe, John Ikenberry) are anguished by America's betrayal of its human rights values in places like Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. But they believe that they are exceptions reflecting the aberrations caused by the Bush Administration. Once this Administration leaves office, all will be well again. The rest of the world does not believe that such double standards were invented by the Bush Administration. Nor will these double standards disappear with it.

The liberal internationalists were at the forefront of calls to hold Sudan and China accountable for the misery in Darfur under the concept of "responsibility to protect". Yet, many of these same voices did not bring up the concept of responsibility to protect when collective punishment was imposed on the people of Gaza. There is one point that needs to be emphasized here: there is always a litmus test to assess a person's intellectual and moral courage. In the West, especially in America, this litmus test is provided by the Middle East issue.

The intellectual and moral cowardice of Western intellectuals on this issue is stunning. Paradoxically, by censoring their views on Israel, they have done great damage to Israel by failing to point out to it the sheer folly of remaining in perpetual conflict with its neighbors.
...
The third point of disagreement is about the nature of the dialogue between the West and the Rest on the nature of our international order. Many in the West believe that they are open and listening to the voices in the rest of the world. However, what the 5.6 billion people living outside the West see is an incestuous, self-referential and self-congratulatory dialogue which often ignores the views and sentiments in the rest of the world.

This can lead to a dangerous disconnect between the West and the Rest.
...
However, by stoking the fires over Tibet, the Western protesters may unleash a virulent form of Chinese nationalism which may veer China away from the liberal international order. In short, we are at a very plastic moment of history. If the West mishandles it, it could destroy the liberal international order which has benefited humanity. The tragedy here is that few in the West can see how the West is now jeopardizing it more than the Rest.

This is why I wrote "The Case Against the West" in the current issue of Foreign Affairs to point out how the Western refusal to cede and share power with the Rest as well as the growing Western geopolitical incompetence pose the biggest threats to our international order.

One has to peel away a bit of his diplo speech but then the guy gets blunt and he is good at pointing "the west" to the mirror.

And no I do not agree with all he says, but we need more voices like this.

Posted by: b | May 30 2008 5:44 utc | 25

That sounds a lot like what Hassan Nasrallah was saying about U.S. hypocrisy in the Middle East, last week. At this point the only people not left seeing this are the ones propagating it.

Posted by: anna missed | May 30 2008 6:08 utc | 26

well mahbubani is certainly no chomsky. if he can get through to so-called liberal intellectuals though, more power to him if it helps. his response in the series of washington note exchanges is not bad. however, as mahbubani himself even states more than once, he is only pointing out things that "the rest of the world" already clearly sees & understands. i guess it's the packaging that counts.

elsewhere he has stated that his objective is to "wake up" policy makers & such. are we really to believe that they are asleep at the switch, though?

ikenberry, in the series, wrote that

To put it bluntly, I do not see Asia offering anything new or distinctive in the organization and governance of the global system. I do not see a lot of new ideas about how global rules and institutions should be transformed. I do not see an "Asian way" of world politics. I do see efforts - legitimate efforts - to get seats at various tables. But the tables are not newly designed Asian tables. They are just tables, many of them dating from earlier decades when the United States really did shape the rules and institutions of the global system.

What I found missing in Kishore's book was a discussion of what actually a more powerful Asia might do with its power.

...

The key point is that there is no alternative "Asian international order" that China and the rest of the Asia are attempting to call forth - doing so only if the West would, as Kishore urges, gracefully make way for it. In my view, Asian countries want to join and help run the existing global system, not overturn it.

indeed, in the NPQ interview linked from there, one can read

NPQ: Some say that the road to the East goes through the West -- that is, the world order built by the West. This means the free-trading system, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the United Nations, the sea lanes, particularly from oil states, secured by the U.S. Navy. And there is relatively easy entry to that system if you agree to the rules.

ns this perspective, isn't talk of non-Western modernization really a figment? All you are doing is really joining the Western order.

Mahbubani: I certainly agree that the international rules, the so-called 1945 rules, which set up Bretton Woods, the IMF and the World Bank -- and ultimately the WTO -- are Western gifts to the world. We are happy to abide by the rules. Asia is ready to compete on a level playing field.

What is missing in this argument is that the West itself is losing faith in these rules and institutions. Americans no longer believe that a level playing field is to their benefit. The problem is that the West wants to remain custodians of those rules -- in the top positions at the IMF and World Bank, for example -- even though they no longer believe in them!

here i would have to concur w/ ikenberry that mahbubani's analysis is lacking and merely indicates the desire to smooth relations for a bigger seat at the table. the u.s. never 'lost faith' in those rules & institutions b/c the rules have never applied to them in the first place. these institutions were created for the purpose of gaining leverage, establishing hegemony, transferring wealth upwards & all that, over the rest of the world. they were never designed to create a level playing field - they were designed to level the playing field to the point of dependency.

so it's hard to take mahbubani seriously on this topic. in his response at the note he also expressed the belief that "the post-1945 liberal international order created by the West has been benign. This does not necessarily mean that Western power has been or is inherently benign." this, to me, is as absurd as the notion that technologies can somehow be neutral -- guns don't kill people, people kill people. these institutions cannot be separated from the intentions & forces that shaped it, and those were primarily all about control. they're certainly not benign. funny how he can (correctly) criticize sanctions as implements of destruction yet he does not see (or admit) the same for these.

i find this viewpoint problematic in that mahbubani exhibits the same self-deception he critiques the west of. and what's the deal w/ his repeated usage of the b-word as in the following: "..the Bush administration's botched invasion and occupation of Iraq." botched? what - that if they had been more competent then the invasion and occupation would have been alright? why not call it what it was - an illegal and immoral invasion. not botched. just as he takes western intellectuals to task for exhibiting "intellectual and moral cowardice" on the arab-israeli issue, why not at least display some intellectual and moral courage on calling out international crimes, even if you're not willing to hold the culprits accountable.

again, i have only read a sampling of mahbubani's output, so it is possible that i could be entirely overlooking citations that would refute some of my criticisms & provide more admiration for his insight. but that's not the reading i've gotten so far.

and finally, since i'm in a bit of rant mode,in that NPQ interview, the interviewee, nathan gardels, actually stated the following fallacious formulation in one of his flatulent attempts at insightful questioning

..there is a sense of opportunity and mobility in China today akin to America. There is a sense of a blank slate that can be drawn on, an open future without the past tying you down.

America is that way because it is an immigrant society that was built up in an essentially empty country.

and mahbubani wonders why these folks don't criticise the settler state of israel!

Posted by: b real | May 30 2008 21:27 utc | 27

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