Glaring lack of Western humility to 2008 financial crisis
All this is of course delicious comeuppance for those long inured to condescending lectures from the West to what we should or not do when we wrestle in our work with the same question Authers faced a decade ago.
Moreover, in more fragile societies like our own, our actions or those of our leaders must be balanced not just against reactions internally but against those of an arrogantly judgmental West that can do us irreparable harm if it chooses to.
The discovery of its own economic and political vulnerabilities and frailties today in the West has unfortunately not led to more widespread questioning of stubbornly-held ideological dogmas about how best to attain order.
Indeed, the election of Donald Trump as United States president — which must represent the singularly most dramatic, if unexpected, reaping of the harvest of the post-2008 popular wrath — has not resulted in much-evident Western humility.
There is little self-awareness that far from being exceptional, the US is fast coming around to the global “norm” of unpredictability that the rest of us have long been accustomed to.
Such resignation over long-accepted wisdom has much to do with a sense that there is no alternative to the West-derived liberal-democratic order, still largely accepted as the least of all available evils.
But such self-justification may become untenable if the Western “convergence” with the “Rest” results in the perpetual volatility in much of the non-Western world.
We may look back with disbelief at the extent of Western self-indulgence afforded by a fortuitous conjunction of events in what may indeed be an historical “aberration”, in the words of academic Kishore Mahbubani.
The writer views developments in the nation, the region and the wider world from his vantage point in Kuching, Sarawak