Kishore Mahbubani: This Contest Against China Shows How Insecure America Is
In Conversation with Andrew Keen on the Keen On Podcast
Hosted by Andrew Keen, Keen On features conversations with some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers about the economic, political, and technological issues being discussed in the news, right now.
In this episode, Andrew is joined by Kishore Mahbubani, the author of Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy, to appraise the strengths and weaknesses of the US and China, as well as to discuss the risk of any confrontation between the superpowers.
From the episode:
Kishore Mahbubani: I think China would be far happier to deal with a confident, secure United States of America, not the insecure and troubled America that you have today. For example, in the past, when Richard Nixon went to China in 1972, he could do so. At that time, by the way, China had been demonized in the American body politic for 20 years. And the Chinese and American soldiers killed each other in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. Despite all that, Richard Nixon could go to China because it was a strong, self-confident America.
Today, no American president—even Joe Biden—dares. If he tried to say, hey, this is the 50th anniversary of Kissinger’s visit, let’s go and knock on the door and visit Beijing again, he’ll be crucified in America. The insecurity of Americans contributes to this US-China tension, because a strong, self-confident America would say, OK, China, you keep on growing, it doesn’t matter; I’m still a better society. But the fact that the United States is trying to launch this contest against China shows how insecure it is. And it’s sad because at the end of the day, the United States has to make a strategic choice within its primacy in the global system and taking care of its people. And I argue in my book that America should take care of its own people and push aside primacy.
Kishore Mahbubani is a veteran diplomat, student of philosophy, and celebrated author; he is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Asia Research Institute. Mahbubani is also a former President of the UN Security Council (Jan 2001, May 2002) and the Founding Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (2004-2017). Mahbubani writes and speaks prolifically on the rise of Asia, geopolitics and global governance. His eight books and articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times and Foreign Affairs have earned him global recognition as the muse of the Asian century. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in October 2019. More information can be found on www.mahbubani.net.