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By Kishore Mahbubani

KISHORE MAHBUBANI has been hailed as "an Asian Toynbee, preoccupied with the increase and fall of civilizations" (The Economist), a "Max Weber of the hot 'Confucian ethic'" (Washington Post), and "a prototype twenty-first century chief" (Time). A must-read for someone with even a passing curiosity in modern Asia, this choice of provocative essays is sure to problem how you imagine. Asia's societies have been extra culturally and economically complicated than Europe's on the finish of the 1st millennium. And but via the 19th century the West had leaped to date forward that even a few Asians themselves harbored pictures of inferiority. Mahbubani's research of the prior and predictions for the long run quantity to a warning sign to Asians and Westerners alike. In assorted items equivalent to "The Ten Commandments for constructing international locations" and "The risks of Decadence: What the remainder Can train the West," he asserts that Westerners are principally blind to their condescending attitudes and practices towards the East and keep that outmoded worldview at their very own peril - Asia's economies are poised to surpass these of Europe and North the United States in the subsequent fifty years. nobody who reads those iconoclastic, unabashed arguments will ever regard East-West relatives within the related light.“If you're looking for perception into how others understand us—and the occasions of September eleven underscore that need—then i do know of no higher consultant than Kishore Mahbubani. His selection of vigorous essays will either tell and problem your thinking.”-- Paul Volcker“This booklet is a suite of totally best essays, elegantly written. . . . Mahbubani has an intuition for the jugular in terms of making a choice on a severe factor and atmosphere forth a robust thesis pertaining to it.”-- Samuel P. HuntingtonAuthor of The conflict of Civilizations“Interesting, provocative, and intellectually engaging.”-- Henry Kissinger

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For centuries, Asians believed that the only way to 30 CAN ASIANS THINK? progress was through emulation of the West. Yukichi Fukuzawa, a leading Meiji reformer, epitomised this attitude when he said in the late 19th century that for Japan to progress, it had to learn from the West. The other leading modernisers in Asia, whether they be Sun Yat-sen or Jawaharlal Nehru, shared this fundamental attitude. The mental switch that is taking place in Asian minds today is that they no longer believe that the only way to progress is through copying; they now believe they can work out their own solutions.

Many happily followed this prescription. Few succeeded. Some came to grief. The Asian states, especially China, resisted copying the West. This is how the famous “Asian values debate” was sparked. In refusing Western prescriptions, Asians were perceived to be promoting the superiority of their own values. In fact, they were merely arguing that they should be free to choose their own political paths. Lest there be any misunderstanding, Asian intellectuals—including those from China—agree that the ultimate political destination of all societies is democracy.

The answer is clearly very few. And if it is equally clear that they are not going to enjoy this in the very near future, then this again militates in favour of the “Maybe” answer. 36 CAN ASIANS THINK? Third, in the security realm, the one great advantage Western societies have over the rest of the world is that war among them has become a thing of the past. The reason for this is complex. It includes an awareness of ethnic affinity among Western tribes who feel outnumbered by the rest of the world’s population and also a sense of belonging to a common civilisation.

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