Lee Kuan Yew: Singapore’s Master Strategist


Historians have been debating, it seems forever, whether individuals shape events or are their register. There can be no doubt about the answer with regard to Lee Kuan Yew, 86, Minister Mentor of Singapore. For 50 years, he has shaped the fate of Singapore. He became Prime Minister when an obstreperous city was ejected from the Malaysian Federation on the theory that it would have to come crawling back. Lee had a different vision. The mark of a great leader is to take his society from where it is to where it has never been. When Lee took over, per capita income was about $400 a year; now it is close to $40,000. Lee inspired his polyglot population to become the intellectual and technical center of the region. Because of his leadership, a medium-size city has become a significant international and economic player, especially in fostering multilateral transpacific ties. On his periodic visits to Washington, Lee Kuan Yew is received by the President and leaders of both parties. There is no better strategic thinker in the world today. Two generations of American leaders have benefited from his counsel.

Kissinger is a former Secretary of State

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Time – May 10, 2010