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The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East Paperback – April 28, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"(S)uccinct, accessible and pointed" and say that "if you want to maintain notions of developed Western hemisphere countries benignly acting in the best interests of the world get a different book. If you are open instead to seeing the world through an Asian lens less sanguine about Western motives, you should find this book highly thought-provoking." Irish Times "This is no dry scholarly tome. It is an anti-Western polemic, designed to wake up Americans and Europeans by making them angry. In that goal it will certainly be successful." Economist"

About the Author

Kishore Mahbubani is Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He has had a distinguished diplomatic career and is the author of Can Asians Think? and Beyond the Age of Innocence. In 2005, Foreign Policy magazine included him among the top hundred public intellectuals in the world.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; Reprint edition (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586486713
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586486716
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #460,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A student of philosophy and history, I have had the good fortune of enjoying a career in government and, at the same time, in writing on public issues. With the Singapore Foreign Service from 1971 to 2004, I had postings in Cambodia (where I served during the war in 1973-74), Malaysia, Washington DC, and New York, where I served two stints as Singapore's Ambassador to the UN and as President of the UN Security Council in January 2001 and May 2002. I was Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Ministry from 1993 to 1998. Currently, I am Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) of the National University of Singapore.

I have written four books: "Can Asians Think?" (published and translated in Singapore, Canada, US, Mexico, India, China Myanmar, Turkey and Malaysia), "Beyond The Age Of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust between America and the World" (published and translated in the US and China), "The New Asian Hemisphere: the Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East" (published and translated in the US, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Egypt, China, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Italy, Taiwan and Vietnam) and, most recently, "The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World," (published in the US with forthcoming Dutch and Chinese editions). More information on my writings can be found on www.mahbubani.net.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By H. Schneider on May 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First I noticed the controversy about this book in Hard Talk on BBC, where the host and the author did some very unsatisfactory pirouettes around the contentious issues, which are related to the Western reservations about current Asian progress. Then I read an even worse interview in Der Spiegel, where the interviewers excelled in stupidity while the author excelled in stubbornness.
Consequently I had to pick up the book and read it. KM expects to provoke 'us' Westerners, but he asks some pundits to write blurbs, which Summers and Zbig and others did.
KM's thesis is this: Asia rises, and that is good for the world. The Western leaders have trouble in adjusting their mental maps, which are trapped in the past. Asia has benefitted from the world system as established after WW2 and has no interest in endangering it. The current wave of optimism will enter West Asia as well and Pakistan, Iran and others will want to have the same progress as China and India etc...
The March to Modernity is good for all, and it is not just material, rather the escape from poverty has far reaching immaterial value for the masses of Asia.
In short, KM is a 'hopeless' optimist, and I do hope that his victorious scenario wins. My biggest doubts are over the Islamic world's ability to join the trend. Maybe KM knows better. I do hope so.
One surprise for me was that KM steps away from the old litany of Lee Kuan Yew and others, i.e. that Asian economic success is due to traditonal Confucian values. In the contrary, KM argues that China, India, and the others, are following Japan in adopting the '7 pillars' that were the basis of the West's surge forward some centuries ago. These 7 pillars are: 1. free economy (expect Adam Smith in the Asian pantheon of the future!), 2.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By PK on February 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
After his too previous books, "Can Asians Think?" and "Beyond the Age of Innocence", Professor Kishore Mahbubani has delivered his most mature work in this book. The book is both a pleasure to read, thanks to Mahbubani's amicable style (seasoned during 33 years in the diplomatic service), as well as brilliantly argued and intellectually appealing. The author offers incisive criticisms of Western policies and attitudes on several global issues and an illuminating analysis of areas where Asians seem to have been doing better lately. He is meticulously open-minded and as unbiased as one can get; he gives credit to the West for all the good it has done to the world (from the establishment of international norms of law to great universities), but also highlights its shortcomings. Still, he remains free of ideological constrains. Moreover, the author, being experienced both as a diplomat and an academic, possesses a keen didactic ability to explain his ideas to one who may be, for any reason, inclined to find them counter-intuitive.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By E. W. Lewis on March 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book with a considerable set of observations concerning the shifts occurring in the global power equation. It is both complementary of and critical of Western Civilization. It gives credit where credit is due: Western Civilization established a set of cultural principles which are generally applicable to all of humankind: democracy, the rule of law, the intellectual gift of the Enlightenment.

Westerna Civilization is, however, in the process of weakening itself. It errs significantly when it deviates from those principals. The United States is particularly prone to embrace ideology (be it political or moralistic) when operating on the world stage. This approach was doomed to failure in the past and is doomed to failure in the present. One does not force democracy down the throats of people at the barrel of a gun. One does not torture people in hidden prisons. One does not make friends and influence people in a global village by playing the bully.

Essentially the world is filled with highly intelligent and hardworking people. They may not want to be fully Westernized but they certainly want to be "Modernized." How much they adopt the principles of democracy should be up to them. Not all societies are developed to a level where they can easily embrace Western views of democracy. They will, however, become more progressive.

The are some weaknesses in the book. The author is extremely concerned about the rise of protectionism particularly in America. This makes sense since the US provides the rest of the world with 100s of billions of dollars a year of its wealth. This is ultimately hurtful to the American form of Western Civilization. Diminishing the wealth base of the United States cannot continue to be the sole source of growth for Asian economies. The author does not present any recommendations as to how to deal with this form of unsustainable economics.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Izaak VanGaalen on May 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kishore Mahbubani, former diplomat and currently dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, was one of the leading exponents of "Asian values" in the 1980s. Although they were in vogue for a time, the merits of those values were lost on many during the Asian financial crises of the 1990s. But since then Asian countries have made a remarkable recovery, and now Mahbubani is back taking his argument to a new level.

With 7-10% annual economic growth rates, Mahbubani sees global power shifting from West to East. He attributes this success not only to Asian values, but also to what he calls "the seven pillars of Western wisdom." Those pillars are free-market economics; science and technology; meritocracy; pragmatism; a culture of peace; rule of law; and education. Modernization in Asia began in the late 19th century with Japan opening to the West, then followed by the 4 tigers, and finally China and India. This march to modernity, as he calls it, has not only raised living standards but also Asian expectations in global power-sharing.

Mahbubani's grudge against the West is that the West is not playing by the rules which it created. The West, which he sees as Europe and North America, has only 15% of the world's population and 48% of global GDP; whereas the East - which is everyone else - has 85% of the world's population and 52% of GDP. The West is still dominating the world through outdated institutions such as the UN Security Council, the IMF, and the World Bank. Under a system of meritocracy or democracy the East should have a much larger role in global affairs.
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