The Thinker

Asia's most glamorous diplomat pens a winner

When Kishore Mahbubani spoke recently in New York City, he drew a glittering crowd of diplomats, bankers and politicians. It was an impressive audience for Singapore's U.N. ambassador, but Mahbubani is impressive, a diplomat-philosopher whose book, Can Asians Think? (Times Editions; $9.95), has made him a must-meet thinker.

The book has been controversial, not because Mahbubani offers a particularly lurid answer to the title question--actually, he equivocates--but because of his belief that Asia is destined for greater world power, at American expense. Critics have called him anti-Western, but Mahbubani's argument is really with Western arrogance, with leaders who insist capitalism and...

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