Asiatic Society of Japan

This is Japan and perhaps it is only appropriate that I start with an apology. I am sorry there is no power point presentation. Asiatic Society asked me, but I declined. After a Power Point Presentation, I cannot remember a single slide. I prefer to talk the old fashioned way. From my heart.  

 Coming to my topic – Are we living in a world of deceptive peace.

 When Asiatic Society got in touch with me a year ago, I suggested this topic. This lecture was delayed, but not the events that I saw as inevitable a year ago. 2011 has been a very turbulent year for very many countries starting with the Arab Spring, the riots in London, the protests and strikes that swept the streets of Spain, Greece, United States, India, China, Japan. Street Protets is global.  No country is immune.


I was asked to speak about Deceptive Peace with reference to Asia. It’s difficult for four reasons. Firstly, we live in a globalized world, we are interdependent, economically interconnected. Secondly, Asia has seen spectacular modernization  and economic growth over the last 50 years. Millions have been lifted out of poverty, cities have been transformed. Much of this modernization has been influenced by the west, especially America. So what happens in the west today impacts Asia. Third, we are at a historical juncture when Westernization is meeting Easternization. The scale of balance is shifting so what happens in the west affects Asia and vice versa. Fourthly deceptive peace deals with emotions.  Emotions are universal. As Plato said:  If particulars are to have meaning, they must be universal. Problems are universal, but solutions could be “Asian”.

 My topic is deceptive peace – in other words I still think there is peace but it is deceptive because underneath, something is going on that is endangering peace.  And this is rising public anger. So what is making people so angry around the world?