The Truman world order of 1945 has lost the global monopoly of legitimacy it once enjoyed.

Many in the West are of course unaware of this, because they see the world primarily through the Western media, which also continues to believe that it retains a monopoly on interpreting events.

The world, however, has moved on.

The real danger of Western discourse on the state of the world order is that it is self-referential.

The Western pundits read the New York Times, Financial Times, Economist and Wall Street Journal and somehow assume they are hearing global views.

In reality, they are only hearing Western voices talking in a semi-closed universe.

Kishore Mahbubani, The Impending Demise of the Postwar System, Survival vol. 47 no. 4 Winter 2005–06 pp. 7–18, published by The International Institute for Strategic Studies

Kishore Mahbubani is Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He previously served for 33 years in Singapore’s diplomatic service, is recognised as an expert on Asian and world affairs and author of Beyond the Age of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust Between America and the World and Can Asians Think?

Ten years after Mahbubani wrote this, the West is still constantly taken aback by international events and developments, such as the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008, the Iranian demonstrations in 2009, the Arab Spring’s successes and failures, the Syrian civil war, the refugee crisis, the collapse of Syria and Iraq, the rise of ISIS and the declaration of the Caliphate, the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and China’s island-building in the South China Sea – to name only the most obvious.

None of this is surprising in view of the West’s catastrophic loss of expertise on the outside world combined with the failure to integrate and incorporate the expertise that does exist into policy-making.