Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

 See the
Conversations with History Blog

See a webcast of this interview:
 Mahbubani

See the 2008 interview with
Mahbubani, The Rise of Asia
and the Decline of the West

America and the World: Conversation with Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the Lee Kuan Yee School of Public Policy, Singapore; March 12, 2005, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation With History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Kishore Mahbubani who is Dean of the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. For more than 30 years he was a distinguished civil servant and diplomat for his country, serving as ambassador to Cambodia, the United States and the United Nations. book coverHe also served as President of the Security Council. He was a permanent secretary of the foreign ministry from '93 to '98 and he was the first dean of the Civil Service College in Singapore. His most recent books are Can Asians Think? and most recently, Beyond the Age of Innocence.

  1. Background ... growing up in a developing country ... mother's high standard ... a close shave ... the hopelessness of poverty ... appreciating stability
  2. Being a Diplomat ... childhood discovery of books ... philosophy ... obliged to join foreign service ... importance of integrity ... reason, logic, and charm
  3. Asian Diplomatic Issues ... cultural differences ... compromise ... bilateral vs. multilateral diplomacy
  4. American Ideals ... post- World War II goodwill ... world view of U.S. vs. Soviet societies ... Great American Dream ... powerful ideas ... breaking free of destiny constrained by society
  5. American Military Power ... guarantor of international rules ... example: international waterways ... coordinated humanitarian response after the tsunami ... legitimacy
  6. Post- Cold War World ... America wants to relax ... lingering consequences of past interventions ... U.S. promotion of jihad ... earning Muslim antipathy
  7. The Effects of Globalization ... bringing together the Islamic world ... disappointing U.S. response to Asian financial crisis ... U.S. blocks aid from Japan
  8. China ... Chinese distrust of U.S. ... democracy and American naïveté ...
  9. Conclusion ... understanding consequences ... America as educator ... American indifference ... power of U.S. domestic constituencies ... global is now local ... foreseeing challenges in healthcare and financial institutions ... advice for students

© Copyright 2005, Regents of the University of California

Site questions: Email iis_webmgr at berkeley.edu.