Vision and Leadership: A Review of 'Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights on China, the United States, and the World, Interviews and Selections'
16 Engage: The Journal of the Federalist Society Practice Groups, February 2015
6 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2015
Date Written: 2015
This review summarizes and analyzes a book of passages written and stated by Lee Kuan Yew, the former long-time Prime Minister of Singapore whose leadership transformed the smallest country in Southeast Asia into what Henry Kissinger calls “the intellectual and technical center in the Asia-Pacific.” Formatted as if it were an interview with Lee, the work draws from over sixty years of Lee’s speeches and writings in a way that attempts to answer some complicated questions the United States is likely to face for the remainder of this century. It poses hypothetical questions about the future of geopolitics and foreign relations, and presents germane (though spliced-together) insights from Lee’s many speeches, writings, and interviews in an attempt to answer them. The topics covered range from the respective futures of China and the U.S., as well as the relations between those nations. India, Islamic extremism, economic growth — both domestic and as a function of globalization, and the future of democracy itself are also discussed at-length. As the editors explain, the purpose of the book is not biographical, nor is it a vehicle to look back on the last fifty years, nor Lee’s role during them. “Rather, our focus is the future and the specific challenges the United States will face during the next quarter century.” The work’s intended readership includes high-level policymakers, and can almost serve as a ready-reference for Lee quotes or sound-bites on the several topics it covers. The review also includes further discussion and analysis of several issues alluded to in the book, accounting for current affairs since the book's publication.
Keywords: Geopolitics, Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore, Southeast Asia, ASEAN, China, India, Trade, Globalization, Trans-Pacific Partnership, International Economics, Terrorism, Islamic Extremism, Foreign Policy
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