Parag Khanna: Understanding the Asian Century
Parag Khanna says there is no more important region of the world for us to better understand than Asia, and thus, we cannot afford to keep getting Asia so wrong. He says Asia’s complexity has led to common misdiagnoses, namely that western thinking on Asia conflates the entire region with China, predicts imminent World War III around every corner and regularly forecasts debt-driven collapse for the region’s major economies. Khanna says that, in reality, the region is experiencing a confident new wave of growth led by younger societies from India to the Philippines, that nationalist leaders have put aside territorial disputes in favor of integration, and today’s infrastructure investments are the platform for the next generation of digital innovation.
Khanna asserts that in the 19th century, the world was Europeanized; in the 20th century, it was Americanized; and now, in the 21st century, the world is being Asianized. He says far greater than just China, the new Asian system taking shape is a multi-civilizational order spanning from Saudi Arabia to Japan, Russia to Australia, Turkey to Indonesia—linking five billion people through trade, finance, infrastructure and diplomatic networks that together represent 40 percent of global GDP. Khanna says Asia is rapidly returning to the centuries-old patterns of commerce, conflict and cultural exchange that thrived long before European colonialism and American dominance. He will detail his view that as Asia determines its own future, it will determine ours as well.
Born in India, Khanna is the international best-selling author of six books, has traveled to most of the countries of the world, and holds a doctorate from the London School of Economics and master’s degrees from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He is a contributor to CNN, a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and has also been an adviser to the U.S. National Intelligence Council.
Managing Partner, FutureMap; Former Fellow, Brookings Institution and New America; Author, The Future Is Asian: Commerce, Conflict and Culture in the 21st Century
In Conversation with Margaret Conley
Executive Director, Asia Society of Northern California