Courtesy Reuters

The New World of Asia

Problems loom larger in the world today than the power or the policies to solve them. The American decision to halt military escalation in Viet Nam; the British decision to withdraw from Singapore in 1971; the Russian decision to occupy Czechoslovakia; the French decision to devalue-these are not confident, controlled decisions foreseen or foreseeable as planned projections of previously defined policies and aspirations, or as consistent with the image each country sought to create of itself and for itself. They are adjustments to the unfulfilled or the unexpected. Similarly, the international organizations-the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the Organization of American States, the Afro-Asian grouping- have found that new names do not dissolve old realities. The decline of the arrogance of idealist power is matched by the decline of the arrogance of military power, leaving a climate for mutually conceding and mutually beneficial compromises of interests. Leadership is at a discount: the crescendo of charismatic contrivance has passed even in Communist China, and none too soon; with it has gone the illusion of morally legitimate and psychologically satisfying fulfillment of inevitable and predictable destiny. A new generation of leaders capable of achieving an institutional and pragmatic fulfillment of previous promise has yet to emerge.

This turbulence at the turn of an historical tide occurs at a time when a new generation has come of age in a world of broken bench-marks. Half of the world's population is under 21 years of age, born since the end of the war of 1939-45. In the Asian context, they have been born since Gandhi's assassination. This is not merely a difference of background and a contrast of contemporary experience. The leaders of the world, mainly belonging to the generation over 50 years of age, were born near the end of the First World War, and lived through the hopes and delights of the 1920s, the world economic crisis, the rise of Fascism, Nazism and Communism, the Spanish Civil War, the collapse of the League of Nations, the failure

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