2013年2月27日 星期三

李光耀 ( Lee Kuan Yew ): Not fade away: 政績說明我是好領導者

A Wise Man for the World

Singapore's philosopher-king on an ascendant China, the threat of Islamism and America's entitlements crisis.

China already dominates Asia and intends to become the world's leading power. The United States is not yet a "second rate power," but the inability of its political leaders to make unpopular decisions bodes poorly. Russia, Japan, Western Europe and India are, for the most part, tired bureaucracies. If Iran gets the bomb, a nuclear war in the Middle East is almost inevitable.
These are among the many frank forecasts laid out in a slim volume based on the experiences and insights of Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore, its prime minister from 1959 to 1990, and Asia's ranking philosopher-king for much of the past half-century. Tiny Singapore has always been too small a stage for a leader of Mr. Lee's intellect and ego. His interests have extended across the globe, as has his influence. For decades, world leaders, corporate CEOs, scholars and journalists have made the pilgrimage to Singapore to seek his views.
"Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master's Insights on China, the United States, and the World" forms a kind of last testament of the ailing, 89-year-old Mr. Lee. It is based on interviews with Mr. Lee by the authors—Graham Allison, a professor of government at Harvard's Kennedy School, and Robert Blackwill, a former U.S. diplomat—to which the authors add a distillation of Mr. Lee's speeches, writings and interviews with others over many years.
The book focuses forward on Mr. Lee's prognostications, not backward on his accomplishments. Messrs. Allison and Blackwill refrain from commentary on the man and his ideas, letting readers interpret for themselves. The downside of such restraint is that "Lee Kuan Yew" doesn't truly convey Mr. Lee's combative candor or the exceptional subtlety of mind that I was privileged to experience in my own interviews with Mr. Lee over two decades. It was his combination of penetrating brilliance about the wider world and prickly pettiness in his own Singaporean laboratory (e.g., banning two Dow Jones publications for the sin of free expression) that made him so fascinating.

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Lee Kuan Yew
By Graham Allison and Robert D. Blackwill
(MIT, 186 pages, $17.95)
Beyond Singapore, China has always been Mr. Lee's primary focus. China, he says, is determined to be "the greatest power in the world," and it expects to be accepted on its own terms, "not as an honorary member of the West." Yet despite China's progress over the past 30 years, Mr. Lee says, it has multiple "handicaps" to overcome, chief among them an absence of the rule of law and the presence of widespread corruption. The biggest fear of China's leaders, he says, is popular revulsion at the corrosive effects of graft. The Chinese language itself—which "is exceedingly difficult for foreigners to learn sufficiently to embrace China and be embraced by its society"—is another obstacle to China's great-power aspirations. So is a culture that does not "permit a free exchange and contest of ideas." (Mr. Lee adopted English as Singapore's national language; he never fully adopted free expression.)
While competition between the United States and China is inevitable, Mr. Lee argues, confrontation need not be. (We, of course, might view China's widespread computer hacking as a form of confrontation.) The U.S. shouldn't expect a democratic China: "China is not going to become a liberal democracy; if it did, it would collapse." In China's 5,000 years of recorded history, he notes, the emperor has ruled by right, and if the people disagree, "you chop off heads, not count heads."
Despite America's political gridlock and excessive debt, Mr. Lee remains optimistic about the future of the United States and its role in the world. In his view, America's "creativity, resilience, and innovative spirit will allow it to confront its core problems, overcome them and regain its competitiveness." Americans believe that they can "make things happen," and thus they usually do.
Still, Mr. Lee worries about the breakdown of civil society in the U.S.—individual rights (not paired with individual responsibility) run amok—and about a growing culture of entitlements. Sociologists, he says, have convinced Americans that failure isn't their fault but the fault of the economic system. Once charity became an entitlement, he observes, the stigma of living on charity disappeared. As a result, entitlement costs outpace government resources, resulting in huge debts for future generations. In the meantime, America's political leaders kick the can down the road to win elections. As so often is the case, Mr. Lee starkly says what others think.
Mr. Lee bluntly blames Saudi Arabia for encouraging the growth of Islamist extremism by financing mosques, religious schools and preachers world-wide to spread its "austere version of Wahhabist Islam." What the West can do, he says, is to give Muslim moderates the confidence to confront extremists for control of the Islamic soul. But, he warns, if moderates continue to be intimidated by extremists, they will find themselves living in repressive theocracies like Iran. And if Iran gets the bomb, other Islamic states like Saudi Arabia and Egypt will do so as well, unleashing the specter of regional nuclear war.
Mr. Lee's three political heroes are Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill and Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese leader who launched economic reform in the 1980s. The reason for Mr. Lee's admiration: Each held a weak hand at a critical moment in history and, through guts and determination, managed to win. Mr. Lee is a firm believer that leaders are born, though managers can be made, and that leaders should be judged by their accomplishments. "The acid test is in performance, not promises." As with his three heroes, Mr. Lee began with a weak hand in Singapore but, by playing it to maximum effect, made himself a wise man for the world.
Ms. House, a former publisher of The Wall Street Journal and a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, is the author of "On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines—and Future."
A version of this article appeared February 26, 2013, on page A13 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: A Wise Man For the World.

人 即使是國父 也將成為歷史人物

李光耀徹底引退Architect of modern Singapore steps down英國《金融時報》 凱文·布朗新加坡報導

Singaporeans woke up on Sunday to the prospect of a government without the country's founding father Lee Kuan Yew – a dominating political figure who unexpectedly resigned from the cabinet after more than half a century in service.
新加坡人周日得知,該國開國之父、主導政壇逾半個世紀的內閣資政李光耀(Lee Kuan Yew)將徹底退出政府。
Mr Lee, 87, quit along with Goh Chok Tong, prime minister from 1990 to 2004, a week after the ruling People's Action party suffered its worst election result since independence in 1965.
現年87歲的李光耀將與1990年至2004年擔任總理的國務資政吳作棟(Goh Chok Tong)一起退出內閣。一周前,執政的人民行動黨(People's Action Party)遭遇了自1965年新加坡獨立以來最糟糕的選舉結果。
In a joint statement, the two former prime ministers said they wanted to provide “a fresh clean slate” for Lee Hsien Loong, the current prime minister, who has promised to respond positively to voters' concerns.
兩名前總理在一份聯合聲明中表示,他們希望為現任總理李顯龍(Lee Hsien Loong)提供一個“全新陣容”,李顯龍已承諾對選民的各項關切作出積極回應。
Mr Lee, who has been prime minister or a senior cabinet minister since the beginning of colonial self-government in 1959, told state media his resignation was “the right thing to do, to give [the] PM and his team the room to break from the past”.
PAP won 81 of 87 elected parliamentary seats with 60.1 per cent of the vote in the last election on May 7 but was clearly shaken by an increase in the total opposition vote to 39.9 per cent from a third in 2006.
The retirement of the two former prime ministers has few implications for policy, since the government has already undertaken to address issues such as high immigration, income disparity and the price of government-subsidised housing.
However, political analysts said it was not purely symbolic and speculated that the prime minister, who is the son of Lee Kuan Yew, might take the opportunity to replace a number of other senior ministers with younger faces.



Singapore politics

Not fade away

May 16th 2011, 14:14 by R.C. | SINGAPORE
SOMETIMES it seems that the founding-father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, has spent more time trying to tear himself away from running the island-state than he did ruling it in the first place. Now 87, he was Singapore’s first prime minister, serving for 31 years until 1990.
Rather than gracefully slipping into the background, however, he remained in the cabinet after 1990 as Senior Minister. Still unable to give it up, in 2004 a new post of Minister Mentor (MM) was invented for him in the cabinet of the government headed by his son, Lee Hsien Loong.
On May 14th, however, the elder Lee announced that he was finally resigning from the cabinet. Goh Chok Tong, Mr Lee's successor as prime minister, also declared that at the age of 69 he too was resigning his position as senior minister in the cabinet. But, inevitably, it was Mr Lee who grabbed all the attention. For any other politician of his age, the announcement could be taken as a final ending to a glittering career. Indeed, much of the mainstream Singapore media treated the event as such.
Not a bit of it. For a start, he will retain the parliamentary seat that he won (uncontested) in the general election on May 7th. He is sure to continue making plenty of speeches from the back benches, as he did in the last parliament, on almost every topic under the sun. He will doubtless continue to open hospitals, intervene in public debates and write more books, all in his stated quest to keep Singapore on the straight and narrow.
To quote the man himself (from 1988): “Even from my sickbed, even if you are going to lower me into the grave and I feel that something is going wrong, I will get up. Those who believe that after I have left the government as prime minister, I will go into a permanent retirement, really should have their heads examined.”
More significant, perhaps, is the manner of his latest (semi-) going. The party that he helped to create, the People's Action Party (PAP), which has ruled Singapore continuously since independence, has just endured its worst pasting at the polls since separation from Malaysia in 1965. Due to the peculiarities of the first-past-the-post voting system, the opposition won just six out of the 87 contested seats. More significantly, however, the PAP share of the vote dropped to a dangerously low 60.1%. Only a decade ago the party was getting 75.3%.
In the election post-mortems currently being conducted within and without the PAP, the party acknowledges that it has ceased to connect with the voters as it once did. And the prime culprit for some is Mr Lee himself. Once a supreme electoral asset, he is now something of a liability, especially with those under 40 who don’t remember the glory days. The straight-talking, almost bullying tone that served him well in the past doesn’t wash anymore with a more sophisticated, cosmopolitan and self-confident electorate.
Too often, his party colleagues were left to do the political fire-fighting after another round of old fashioned plain-speaking from MM. He upset ethnic Malays with remarks that they had not adapted well to Singapore, and then during the middle of the campaign he infuriated many when he said people who voted against the PAP in one particular constituency would have “five years to live and repent” their decision. That constituency went to the opposition, and the PAP government lost its very good foreign secretary.
Within the PAP, and for many other Singaporeans, Mr Lee remains a revered figure. But it’s also clear that new generations of Singaporeans are ready to move onto a new era, and the PAP will have to reflect that or wither. It’s unclear whether a few men in white coats took MM aside to finally do some plain speaking of their own, or whether Mr Lee took the decision himself to resign from the cabinet. But the result is the same; the founding-father will continue to opine, but the PAP will have a little more room to change and adapt to a changed electoral landscape.