Only if you see the world through a 1945 lens, says Mahbubani.
Question: Is there really a clash of civilizations?
Kishore Mahbubani: No, in fact that’s the good news of my book, that if my predictions come true, there will be no clash of civilizations, because, I mean, the world order that China, India, Vietnam, Korea and all want to join, is the world order that America created in 1945. Just as America, the rules-based order that America created in 1945 changed the grain of history. Before 1945, when Japan and Germany tried to emerge as great powers, the only way they could do so was to go out and conquer and colonize, because those were rules of the day in the 1930’s. After 1945, when Japan and Germany emerged as great power again, they emerged peacefully, because they played by the rules of 1945 that American created. This is the most important point: China and India want to emerge exactly the way Japan and Germany did after World War II, peacefully. They say “ok, we'll compete in the marketplace, economic marketplace. We will develop our economies and let the best economy win.” Fine, they are happy to do that, and the West shouldn’t run away from them now, because if you destroy the 1945 rules-based order, then you are going to go back to the unhappy chapter of world history.
Recorded on: 2/28/08