Essay: ON UNDERSTANDING ASIA

WORLD WAR II was barely over and the great recessional of the colonial powers had not yet begun when Yale's Professor F.S.C. Northrop published The Meeting of East and West, in which he flatly described that meeting as "the major event of our time." To a U.S. deeply preoccupied with a seemingly shattered Europe, that statement two decades ago appeared vastly exaggerated. Today few would question it. The problems, needs and challenges of Asia weigh ever more heavily on the Western mind. The East-West encounter will undoubtedly dominate the rest of the 20th...

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