A useful perspective for those too focused on Western precedents for Asia’s direction ... Throughout, Mr. Khanna’s focus is more pragmatic than ideological, and he prizes governments for the concrete services they provide to their people. Thus he has little patience for Western intellectuals who deem liberalism beyond reproach ... it would be premature to interpret recent moves as evidence of a permanent shift, as Mr. Khanna appears to do ... Similarly misguided is Mr. Khanna’s attempt to portray a suspicion of China’s reliability as a Belt and Road partner, along with worries over its strategic designs, as a uniquely American obsession. In his telling, Europe is skeptical of U.S. criticisms of China. But European businesses are similarly fed up with broken Chinese promises over access to China’s market. Meanwhile, telecom providers in Germany, France and the U.K.—worried about alleged Chinese-government involvement and possible spying—are backing away from their use of equipment made by the Chinese telecom company Huawei ... offers a valuable and thoroughly researched analysis of one course that the region may take.
An authoritative book which may well become a standard reference, Parag Khanna casts the net wider to deliver a compelling argument that Asia — rather than merely China — is the current and future lodestar for the global economy ... Khanna does not overstretch his forecasts, wisely restricting himself to a loosely imagined 'fusion of civilisations'.
It is evident from Khanna’s anti-Western perspective (which he does little to hide throughout the book) that he is cheering Asia on as it competes for global predominance. He is an unapologetic defender of Asia’s authoritarian regimes, including China’s. He is highly critical of U.S. policies and of democracy in general. He substitutes the phrase 'technocratic governance' for authoritarian but that doesn’t change the nature of the regimes he admires ... Kahnna’s preference for world order is rule by a small, technocratic elite focused on 'state capacity' rather than liberty and individual rights. It is as if the terrible lessons of the 20th century have been unlearned or forgotten ... Fortunately, Khanna’s vision of Asia is at least premature ... National identities are still strong in Asia. Not all Asians are comfortable with China’s rise and ambitions. Not all Asians want U.S. power to be removed from the region ... Parag Khanna is right that the world is becoming more multipolar. China’s challenge to the Western world order is real. How the U.S. responds to that challenge will determine whether 'the future is Asian.'
Khanna’s assertion of a common thread of 'Asianness' connecting a continent with countries as disparate as Israel, Iran, Mongolia, and Australia sometimes feels strained, but he usefully highlights some limited commonalities, especially a growing popular preference for competent technocracy over contentious American-style democracy. There’s not much new, but Khanna’s wealth of statistics, deep knowledge, and lucid prose make for a stimulating overview of the rising colossus.
Khanna begins with a dazzling distillation of the history of the world from an Asian perspective ... Western readers with a strong devotion to individual liberties may be turned off, but Khanna is thorough and clear, offering abundant food for thought.