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Insights From Asia’s Senior Statesman Lee Kuan Yew

The collected insights of Asia’s senior statesman, Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew on the U.S., China and what the future holds.

Singapore's former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, unseen, at the Istana, or Presidential Palace, on Friday Nov. 16, 2012 in Singapore. (AP)

Singapore’s former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, unseen, at the Istana, or Presidential Palace, on Friday Nov. 16, 2012 in Singapore. (AP)

We talk about China’s rise, its surging wealth and power, but the U.S. has been Number One for so long it’s hard to really picture what it means, or will mean.  Hard to really know what to think.

Lee Kwan Yew knows. Asia’s most senior statesman.  A longtime friend of the US.  A grand master of global strategy out of little Singapore.  And here’s what he sees.

Does China want to be Number One?  Of course.  Will they be?  Pretty likely.  Will we fight?  We’d better not.

This hour, On Point:  the collected wisdom of grand master Lee Kwan Yew, on the US, China and all that is coming.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Graham Allison, professor of government and director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Former Special Adviser to the Secretary of Defense under President Reagan, and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy and Plans under President Clinton. Co-author of “Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World.”

Robert Blackwill, professor of government, council-member, and member of the board at the Belfer Center. Senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Former Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Planning under President George W. Bush. U.S. ambassador to India from 2001 to 2003. Co-author of “Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World.”

From Tom’s Reading List

Financial Times “Should we connect the dots between China’s neighbours’ increasing assertiveness over claims to disputed islands in the South and East China seas on the one hand and sharp declines in their trade with China on the other? Yes, but do not take our word for it – take it from Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s former prime minister.”

Time Magazine “Lee Kuan Yew hails from a very small country, but, for decades, he has been a very big man — at home and on the world stage. During more than a half-century of public life, including some 30 years as Prime Minister, Lee transformed Singapore from a simple trader of commodities into a sophisticated hub of finance and technology — The Little Red Dot, as many of its people affectionately call it.”

Reuters “North Korea conducted its third nuclear test on Tuesday in defiance of existing U.N. resolutions, drawing condemnation from around the world, including from its only major ally, China, which summoned the North Korean ambassador to protest.”

Excerpt: “Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World”

Interviews and selections by Graham Allison and Robert D. Blackwill, with Ali Wyne. Published by The MIT Press, February 2013. © 2013 Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. All rights reserved.

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