BEYOND THE AGE OF INNOCENCE: Rebuilding Trust Between America and the World

Kishore Mahbubani, Author . Public Affairs $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-58648-268-8

The author of Can Asians Think? spent several years in the U.S. as the U.N. ambassador from Singapore, gaining firsthand experience with what he dubs "the best human society ever seen in history." Yet Mahbubani also knows that much of the rest of the world doesn't see things that way, resenting the U.S. for its "betrayal" in retreating from the geopolitical scene after the end of the Cold War—and then seemingly stomping around at will. The lucid analysis of America's diminishing prestige is underscored by Mahbubani's insistence that this isn't merely a reaction to the Bush administration and its policies, but a "tectonic shift" in international perceptions. Although his suggestion that America should stop acting merely in its own short-term interests and develop a global perspective smacks of the obvious, considerations of specific tensions in Islamic and Chinese cultures are thoughtfully detailed. The emphasis on pragmatism does lead in sometimes unsettling directions: while Mahbubani lends credence to the idea that American "abandonment" of foreign concerns led to 9/11 and the Bali nightclub bombing, he also justifies the Chinese crackdown in Tiananmen Square as a political necessity. For the most part, however, he celebrates America's generosity and the beacon of hope and prosperity it can represent for millions, and would be glad to see its luster restored. Agent, Mort Janklow. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/24/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
Open Ebook - 239 pages - 978-0-7867-3663-8
Paperback - 235 pages - 978-1-58648-379-1
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