Glar­ing lack of Western hu­mil­ity to 2008 fi­nan­cial cri­sis

New Straits Times - - OPINION - John­teo808@gmail.comy

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

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