The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a miracle. Why?In an
era of growing cultural pessimism, many thoughtful individuals
believe that different civilisations-especially Islam and the
West-cannot live together in peace. The ten countries of ASEAN
provide a thriving counter-example of civilizational co-existence.
Here 625m people live together in peace. This miracle was delivered
by ASEAN. In an era of growing economic pessimism, where many young
people believe that their lives will get worse in coming decades,
Southeast Asia bubbles with optimism. In an era where many thinkers
predict rising geopolitical competition and tension, ASEAN
regularly brings together all the world's great powers. Stories of
peace are told less frequently than stories of conflict and war.
ASEAN's imperfections make better headlines than its achievements.
But in the hands of thinker and writer Kishore Mahbubani, the good
news story is also a provocation and a challenge to the rest of the
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