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« Beijing seeks bigger role throughout Asia, making all nervous | Main | New brief great, but problems with presentation »
12:01AM

Nobody who matters really wants a weak US

Argument from Lee Kuan Yew that fits with everything I've come across in recent work for the USG: those who understand how this world got built are not eager to see the US retreat from its power and influence in continuing to undergird its further development.

LKY:

The world has developed because of the stability America established . . . If that stability is rocked, we are going to have a different situation.

Singapore's old leader (now officially "mentor" to the government) shows how the strong man leaves behind the right sort of system:  he builds it up and then retreats to the background, like Deng Xiaoping and plays mentor.  America, to a certain extent, faces the same evolution.  It's just that we're so given to fits of pique - as in, we're either all-in or all-out.

But the real message here:  it's okay to retreat a bit from the world if the outcome is regeneration.

On the US and China in special interview with WSJ:

Mr. Lee said he thinks a "challenge may come gradually from China," but he doubts China and the U.S. will come into serious conflict anytime soon.  China needs American markets, American investments and American technology, and won't want to "upset the apple cart," he said.

My addendum: and when they may care to, it will be too late, as they'll hit those various walls (demographics, environmental and social decrepitude, resource dependencies, defensiveness and - ultimately - the strong impulse toward democracy) I described last Jan in Esquire.

In the end, says LKY:

I believe the Americans will always have the advantage because of their all-embracive society, and the English language that makes it easy to attract foreign talent.

One of the smartest guys of the 20th century, who blesses us with his wisdom in the 21st.  I rarely disagree with the man, he is so sensible.

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