Past eventMembersChatham House Forum

Chatham House Forum: Is the West Losing its Power on the Global Stage?

11 April 2018 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

Chatham House, London


Kishore Mahbubani, Professor in the Practice of Public Policy and Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore; President, United Nations Security Council (2001-02)



Over most of the last century, major Western countries have used their dominant position within the international arena to spread liberal democratic values around the world and shape the institutional apparatus of the global order. But in the last few years, significant changes in the international power balance have begun taking place.

With the US administration asserting a potentially isolationist ‘America First’ policy and populist and anti-EU movements gaining momentum across Europe, Western countries appear less willing and able to take on the mantle of global leadership. At the same time, other powers appear increasingly keen to challenge the established international hegemony and become more active on the world stage. China and India in particular are seeking to translate growing economic might into international influence and Russia has become heavily involved in military conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.

Professor Kishore Mahbubani will present the case that the West's centuries-old status as the centre of global wealth and power is coming to an end. As emerging powers, previously less expressive at the supra-national level, begin to assert their power, he will argue that the West can no longer impose its influence and ideals on the world at large, and that, only by admitting its decline, can the West ready itself for any sort of strategic success in the long term. He will suggest that Western countries should adopt a new 3M strategy - minimalist, multilateral, and Machiavellian - to protect their long term interests on the global stage.

About Chatham House Forums

Each Chatham House Forum considers a question around an important contemporary debate in international affairs.

An expert speaker will offer a polemic in response - providing their answer to this question and outlining the key arguments that have convinced them of their position. The audience then have the chance to query and challenge the speaker’s views in a Q&A session during the second half of the event.

Each event will be followed by a reception with the speaker, allowing attendees to continue the conversation.