Tuesday, 9 March 2010

The little world of Conductive Education

A microcosm

Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, writes –
  • Europe just doesn't get it. It does not get how irrelevant it is becoming to the rest of the world. And it does not get how relevant the rest of the world is becoming to its future. The world is changing rapidly. Europe continues to drift.
  • I am not exaggerating when I say Europe's obsession with restructuring its internal arrangements is akin to rearranging the deck chairs of a sinking Titanic.
  • One does not have to be a geopolitical genius to figure out where Europe's main long-term challenges are coming from. 
  • A strong Asia-Europe partnership will yield positive dividends to both. A rising Asia welcomes European technology and culture and provides huge new markets for sophisticated European products. If Europe could think and act strategically, it would be busy knocking on Asian doors. 
  • Asians are focused on the future, not the past. However, they do expect Europeans to treat them with respect, not cultural condescension.
  • If Europe does not act fast, it will miss the boat on Asia.
  • It is difficult to capture in a few words the strange mix of European attitudes towards America: admiration and resentment of American hyperpower, respect and condescension towards U.S. culture, dependence on and discomfort with American leadership. At the core of this is a deep European belief that culture is destiny and that the common Judeo-Christian heritage and common Enlightenment values will ensure an eternal commonality of interests. America will always put Europe first because Europe, not Asia, exists in American hearts.
  • Over the long run, geography — when combined with economic shifts of power — determines destiny. America's interests in Asia are rising while its interests in Europe are declining. A growing Hispanic population will make Latin America more important. This is why the time has come for Europeans to think the unthinkable: the "natural" transatlantic partnership may someday come to an end.
  • The whole world wants to see a strong Europe.... There are no shortages of opportunities for Europe to provide leadership. But, as Copenhagen demonstrated, it may no longer even be in the room when crucial decisions are being made.
It is now only 270 days till the start of the Hong Kong Congress. What will our microcosm show there?

Get it?


Mahbubani, K. (2010) Europe's errors: the view from Asia is of an inward-focussed continent in danger of being left behind, Time, vol. 175, no 9, 8 March, p.24

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