I read (and listened to) this last night – it’s a very short but excellent warning about where the West is headed internationally if we don’t change our ways. Most of it is about what the West should be doing in the world instead of what it is doing. Not much about Russia but, imo, they seem to be in the same boat as the US. At this point, the author says, China and India are the real powers to deal with. They are the ones who are growing by leaps and bounds – peacefully improving the standards of living for their people. And Africa and Latin America are making huge strides (with the understanding that there are a couple of wayward nations in each area).
Mahbubani is not an American, not even a Westerner. He’s from Singapore, born, educated and it’s where he currently lives. His views are naturally quite different in many ways from what we usually hear here – He says the US needs to get off its high horse and out of denial.
The West must recognize that all of humanity is one. Seven billion people live in 193 separate cabins on the same boat. The big problem is that while we have captains and crews taking care of each cabin, we have no captain or crew taking care of the whole boat.
Has the West Lost It? – A Provocation
by Kishore Mahbubani
2018 / 102 pages
read by Jonathan Keeble – 2h 21m
rating: 9.5 / global current events
(read and listened)
Mahbubani is a widely respected Singaporean professor and the dean of Public Policy as well as a former UN Ambassador and diplomat and author.
His ideas are far more oriented toward the US relation with China – not Iran, not Russia – those are secondary concerns in the long run. Diplomatic relations should be established with our “enemies” so we could discuss things – that’s the way it’s been for 2000 years. The US is too “politically correct” and we must be more Machiavellian (clever – not evil).
Mahbubani aligns with Stephen Pinker in terms of the WORLD being a better place in the 21st Century – that certainly didn’t sink in with Americans who have essentially faced a decline in standard of living by comparison to many other nations. Life seems poorer to US citizens, maybe citizens of the West. That’s not the case for most people in Asia or many countries in Africa. Although he ignores global warming and environmental issues, but to follow his ideas – Asia might be able to figure it out and do something – the West is too combative.
It’s a kind of “love letter” to the US but it’s in the form of advice – loving advice. It’s very interesting to read about all this from a guy who is a career diplomat and ex-ambassador to the UN but not from the US. He sees things differently.
Mahbubani makes this point almost first off – the world is a better place, overall, than it was a century ago. Then he gets into the specifics in 13 chapters dealing with Machiaveli, the blindness of Western elites, military blunders, international travel, Western self-absorbtion, Muslim distractions, and then what kind of attitude and direction the US should take (less intervention). The chapters are short and to the point.