While the 19th Century belonged to the British, and the 20th Century to the Americans, Parag Khanna believes the 21st Century belongs to Asia. In his recent book The Future is Asian, the author takes us on a journey to Asia’s past. Along the way, we learn about the historical events that shaped Asia, and the role that the western world played in that shaping.
As Mr. Khanna shifts to the present, we learn about the fascinating stories unfolding across Asia – from all corners of the eastern world. From Saudi Arabia, Africa and Australia, to China, Vietnam, Russia, and Korea. The coming together of Asians as a people is a core theme. The author explores the prominent role that Technocracy played in Singapore, and holds it up as a model to be replicated. He compares and contrasts the progress made in the East, to the dysfunction of the West. As we witness the populist outbreak in the west, we see a coming together in the east. As it does so, the Post-War (One and Two) global order defined by the West gives way to a global order increasingly defined by the East.
As I explored the catalysts of human action earlier this year, geopolitical instability was on the list of responses I received. Going into the poll I launched (please consider taking the short poll if you have not already) I had geopolitical instability at the top. It is the shifting of the global order that I had in mind as I thought through the question. Some have argued that a shift of this magnitude – when the reigning world power is challenged by an emerging power – inevitably ends in war. This is the argument made in Destined for War. What is clear is that the post World War Two era is likely over. Whether it’s the U.S. moving off the world stage, or Asia claiming its place in the global order, the world is transforming. We seem to be repeating the historial 80-100 year cycle laid out so well in The Fourth Turning.
When you add the geopolitical domain to the societal, science, and technology domain, you can begin to see how Convergence is once again leading us to a Tipping Point. So into my Book Library goes The Future is Asian.