Each economic downturn in the U.S. inspires a slew of books about the country’s decline. The current crop has been called, “Declinism’s Fifth Wave,” by author and publisher, Josef Joffe.
However, many Americans find the declinist literature written by foreign authors distasteful. Just as outsiders are forbidden to criticize the family, books written by non-Americans are often met with contempt. The Japan That Can Say No, released in the early 1990s, was one such book.
One foreign author in the “Fifth Wave” genre, who has generated considerable hostility, is former Singaporean diplomat, Kishore Mahbubani. In interviews he has stated, “The last 200 years of Western domination of world history is an aberration which is coming to and end.” He has argued that the West should embrace Asian ascendance or it may face, “a clash of civilizations.”
Mahbubani has produced two works on the decline of the West and the rise of Asia. The New Asian Hemisphere was published in 2008 and a follow up, The Great Convergence, debuted in February 2013.
The first book has been called an, “anti-Western polemic.” It includes, “Any illusion that the Western economies are better prepared to handle great crises has vanished…This, in turn has accelerated the end of the era of Western domination of world history.”
His new book, The Great Convergence, predicts the Asian middle class will more than triple and become the dominant economic and cultural force on the planet. Mahbubani instructs the U.S. and Europe to relinquish control of international institutions so this convergence at the grass roots level can be reflected in leading institutions.
He claims his books are written to help the West. In a recent interview he remarked, “I wrote this book…to tell the West as you approach becoming number two, you put in all kinds of safeguards to ensure that the world is a better place when you’re number two.”
Mahbubani appears to be in no hurry to shake his reputation as a polemicist.