92. Kishore Mahbubani
for being the voice of a new Asian century.
Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy | Singapore
There have been few more ardent evangelists for Asia's growing role on the world stage than Kishore Mahbubani. And with the advent of the Great Recession, the career-diplomat-cum-scholar is attracting an ever-wider audience: The collapse of the Western financial system, he writes, "has accelerated the end of the era of Western domination of world history."
While American readers might find this a gloomy take on world events, Mahbubani sees it as a positive development. A world where multiple powers share the burdens of global governance, he argues, will ultimately be more stable than the current fading unipolar moment. That's why Mahbubani -- who says "the stupidity of U.S. congressmen" keeps him awake nights -- has pressed for a resolution to the long-simmering U.S.-Chinese trade war and urged China and India to play a more prominent role in global institutions.
93. Malalai Joya
for embodying an independent-minded Afghanistan.
Activist | Afghanistan
A vocal defender of human rights, a passionate opponent of fundamentalism, and a fearless advocate of a civic Afghan culture, Malalai Joya -- who has stared down numerous assassination attempts since 2003 and was suspended from parliament in 2007 for comparing the body to a "barn full of animals" -- is precisely the sort of Afghan woman the West continues to fight for in the Hindu Kush. That doesn't mean she's happy with her country's current state of dependency. "Afghans face three enemies," she said in a recent interview, "the occupying forces, the Taliban, and the warlords." Joya got her start as a humanitarian during the Taliban regime, establishing underground health clinics and orphanages to spite the country's fundamentalist rulers. And she's just as skeptical of the human rights bona fides of Kabul's current powers that be. Afghans don't see the war between NATO, the Afghan government, and the Taliban as an either-or proposition, she argues. As she puts it, "Democracy without independence has no meaning."
94. Madeleine Albright
for keeping NATO relevant.
Former secretary of state | Washington
At a time when its forces are flailing in Afghanistan, its members' military budgets are feeling the recession's pinch, and Europeans have little interest in fighting in any case, NATO is in crisis. Fortunately it has Madeleine Albright, who was tasked this year with leading a rare overhaul of NATO's strategic vision, a not-unfamiliar job: The former U.S. secretary of state was a central figure in articulating the alliance's direction in the late 1990s. The NATO road map Albright delivered in May reflects an understanding of how much the world has changed since the late Clinton years, when the United States embraced its position at the top of the post-Soviet geopolitical order. But the policy also has distinct echoes of that era: NATO must be willing to mount operations far afield on behalf of the international community, Albright argues, regardless of what Moscow and Beijing have to say. "The truth," she recently told NPR, "is that NATO is a very powerful tool that we thought should be made more agile and versatile in a period of unpredictability."
95. Carl Bildt
for telling Europe what it doesn't want to hear.
Foreign minister | Sweden
You might say the media-savvy, conference-hopping Swedish foreign minister imagines a unified Europe modeled after his own personality: dynamic at developing ideas, intent on charming new friends, and unafraid of daunting challenges. It's not a vision that has endeared Carl Bildt to the continent's many cautious leaders, and might have been the reason he was passed over for the top EU foreign-policy job this year. Against the French and Germans, he insists that Europe needs to allow Turkish accession. Where Britain wants to focus on the war on terror, Bildt thinks the continent should earn its foreign-policy stripes by addressing the problems in the Balkans. And against the continent's many social democrats, he says that Europe must commit to economic reform at home and free trade abroad. "It boils down to whether Europe in the decades ahead will be seen as a model for the future," he warned in the Guardian, "or as a museum of the past."