With a note of regret, Kishore Mahbubani predicted that East Asia would not be a priority for the new US administration. In an article published in May 2008, the dean of the Lee Kuang Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore heralded an Asian century in which the US is struggling to find its place:
“No country did more than the United States to spark the rise of East Asia. But paradoxically, America is among the countries leas prepared to handle the rise of East Asia. Evidence of this will likely stream in as soon as a new US president assumes office in January 2009. The president’s schedulers will begin to fill his or her calender with “must attend” events such as Group of eight meetings and a US-European Union summit. The schedulers will fill the “optional” column with events such as visits to Tokyo and Beijing, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summits, and meetings with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). If this happens, it will demonstrate that Washington’s priorities continue to be decided according to old mental maps. Few US policy makers seem aware that Western domination of world history is over – that we are moving into an Asian century […]”
Mahbubani must be surprised by the new US administration, which decided to send their Secretary of State and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to what he supposed to be second-rate destinations in East Asia: Tokyo, Jakarta, Seoul and Beijing are the capitals Clinton will be visiting on her first trip abroad this week.