Beyond The Age of Innocence


Beyond the Age of Innocence by Kishore Mahbubani

A couple of weeks ago, I meet Kishore, the former ambassador of Singapore to the UN and currently the Dean of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy for some work related matter. I remember fondly of his previous book Can Asians Think so after the meeting, I pull this book out and shamelessly asked for an autograph. :-)

This book is really written for Americans. I would really encourage all my American friends to read it, of how America inspire the world, help the world and yet at the same time hurt rest of the world.

No, this is not about the good or evil of America, nor does it dive into any conspiracy theories of American politics or policies. Rather, it is a solid analysis of the founding principles of America, of how those principles shaped the politic arena that resulted in various policies (domestic or internationally) which has “intended” (or unintended) consequences on the rest of the world. From Iraq war to Asia Financial Crisis, from UNSS to IMF, from China to Brazil, and how those are shaped by American policies.

As a non-American and yet part of this “global village”, heavily influence by Amercia (I think I was more excited about US election then the one locally), I couldn’t stop nodding at many things Kishore said in this book.

Two words stood out in my mind right now: Goodwill and Moral High-Ground. Both are lost in the last couple of years as the world witness the numerous actions America taken in the name of fighting terror and self-interest. This reminded me of the speech Al Gore gave last month (btw, listen to the mp3 for the full impact of Gore’s delivery). Perhaps the age of innocence is over.

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