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Can-Do Lee Kuan Yew -
MARCH 23, 2015
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Roger Cohen

The measure of that achievement is that the ingredients of disaster abounded in Singapore, a country that is “not supposed to exist and cannot exist,” as Lee said in a 2007 interview with The New York Times. “We don’t have the ingredients of a nation,” he noted, “the elementary factors: a homogeneous population, common language, common culture and common destiny.” Instead, it had a combustible ethnic and religious hodgepodge of Chinese, Malays and Indians gathered in a city-state of no natural resources....The fact that the elements for cataclysm exist does not mean that cataclysm is inevitable. Lee demonstrated this in an age where the general cacophony, and the need to manage and spin every political minute, makes statesmanship ever more elusive. The determining factor is leadership. What defines leadership above all is conviction, discipline in the pursuit of a goal, adaptability in the interest of the general good, and far-sightedness.

Lee’s only religion was pragmatism, of which religion (as generally understood) is the enemy, because, to some adherents, it offers revealed truths that are fact-resistant. Any ideology that abhors facts is problematic. (If you believe land is yours because it was deeded to you in the Bible, for example, but other people live there and have for centuries, you have an issue pregnant with violence.) Lee had one basic yardstick for policy: Does it work? It was the criterion of a forward-looking man for whom history was instructive but not imprisoning. He abhorred victimhood (an excuse for sloppy thinking and nationalist delusion) and corruption. He prized opportunity, meritocracy, the work ethic of the immigrant and education.
authoritarianism  city-states  far-sightedness  leaders  leadership  Lee_Kuan_Yew  nation_builders  obituaries  Roger_Cohen  Singapore  Southeast_Asia  statesmen  tributes  victimhood  work_ethic 
march 2015 by jerryking
Jews in a Whisper -
August 20, 2011

The lesson is clear: Jews, with their history, cannot become the
systematic oppressors of another people. They must be vociferous in
their insistence that continued colonization of Palestinians in the West
Bank will increase Israel’s isolation and ultimately its vulnerability.
That — not fanning Islamophobia — is the task before diaspora Jews. To
speak up in Britain also means confronting the lingering, voice-lowering
Roger_Cohen  United_Kingdom  Jewish  West_Bank  Diaspora  Islamophobia  Judaism  Palestinians 
august 2011 by jerryking
The Racist Scourge -
The Racist Scourge
Published: August 1, 2011
racism  South_Africa  Judaism  Roger_Cohen  Jim_Crow 
august 2011 by jerryking

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