Warning: “Asia’s rise over the last few decades is more than a story of rapid economic growth. It is the story of a region undergoing a renaissance in which people’s minds are reopened and their outlook refreshed. Asia’s movement toward resuming its former central role in the global economy has so much momentum that it is virtually unstoppable.”
World Economic Forum/Photo by Monika Flueckiger
Kishore Mahbubani, dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. Mahbubani says politicians “bear a responsibility to prepare their societies for impending global shifts. But too many American leaders are shirking this responsibility.” Then he describes a session he chaired at the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Topic: the “Future of American Power.” In the audience: Two U.S. senators, a member of the House and a deputy National Security Adviser.
What did they see ahead for American power? “They predictably declared that the U.S. would remain the world’s most powerful country. When asked whether America was prepared to become the world’s second-largest economy, they were reticent.”
But they couldn’t tell the truth. Why? “Even entertaining the possibility of the U.S. becoming ‘No. 2’ amounts to career suicide for an American politician.”
Then Mahbubani exposed the real depth of America’s blindness: Unlike blinded politicians, all intellectuals “have a special obligation to think the unthinkable and speak the unspeakable ... consider all possibilities, even disagreeable ones ... prepare the population for prospective developments. Honest discussion of unpopular ideas is a key feature of an open society.”
But American intellectuals are also blind. His two examples: Richard Haass
, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, recently wrote we “could already be in the second decade of another American century.” And Clyde Prestowitz
, president of the Economic Strategy Institute, says “this century may well wind up being another American century.” If they “prove accurate,” says Mahbubani, “ no preparation is needed.”
Americans ‘woefully unprepared’ for Asia as the global superpower
But, “if the world’s center of gravity shifts to Asia,” as Fogel predicts, “Americans will be woefully unprepared.” He warns that “many Americans remain shockingly unaware of how much the rest of the world, especially Asia, has progressed.”
Most Americans are blind to “a simple, mathematical truth. With 3% of the world’s population, the U.S. can no longer dominate the rest of the world, because Asians, with 60% of the world’s population, are no longer underperforming.”
Unfortunately, American leaders stay blind, refuse to listen, especially our neocon war-lovers. Asians see Americans lost in a fantasy land, believing we are “the sole beacon of light in a dark and unstable world.” And since leaders like Haas and Prestowitz also believe this illusion, don’t challenge our fantasies, the public is ignorant, unprepared.
Mahbubani tries to soften the blow: “Asia’s rise is not really bad news.” Asians “are seeking not to dominate the West, but to emulate it. They seek to build strong and dynamic middle classes and to achieve the kind of peace, stability, and prosperity that the West has long enjoyed.”
Wake up America: Asia will soon be 5 times bigger, more powerful
Asia’s transformation is accelerating, will “catapult Asia from economic power to global leadership. China, which remains a closed society in many ways, has an open mind, whereas the U.S. is an open society with a closed mind ... with Asia’s middle class set to skyrocket from roughly 500 million people today to 1.75 billion by 2020.” America, with just 400 million people, can no longer “avoid the global economy’s new realities for much longer.”
Now you’ve had a look inside one of Asia’s leading minds. The leader of a major Asian university sees the world “poised to undergo one of the most dramatic power shifts in human history.” But “to prepare for the transformation, Americans must abandon ingrained ideas and old assumptions ... liberate unthinkable thoughts. ... think the unthinkable” ... and stop denying the end of American dominance in world affairs.
America must wake up to the fact that we will soon be No. 2 behind Asia, as China’s economy explodes, three times bigger than America’s by 2040. Wake up before Sen. McCain’s neocon and tea party buddies push Washington into a real war.
U.S. losing economic war and Asia loves it - MarketWatch