Redistribution of the Balance of Power
A notion of “universality” of the Western civilization is being a topic for many political and humanitarian debates over the years. In the time when this concept consolidates in minds of more and more people in the west, it irritates all others around the globe. Proponents of this thesis, mostly Westerners, assume that the Western culture ought to be ‘globalized’, as adopted by all other civilizations. Moreover, they truly believe that such tendency exists nowadays.
The purpose of this essay is to answer five questions critical to the needed transformative steps in a geopolitical strategy of America in the 21st century:
- Can a Western civilization serve the future world as ‘universal’?
- “The clash of civilizations” predicted by Huntington; can it be taken as a model of future world conflicts?
- What threats to inter-civilizational conflicts on a micro level conceal?
- India and China are the new emerging powers of a great union, or fuel for the World War III?
- What global strategy will cater the US in the 21st century.
In 1996, an American political scientist Samuel Huntington in his widely discussed work The West: Unique, not Universal explained this “deceit” with two misguiding grounds. The first is “the Coca-colonization” theory. Its adherents assert that the Western lifestyle and values, “and more specifically American”, says the author, “is enveloping the world. They include: the American food, clothing, pop music, movies and consumer goods”, which are becoming widely distributed and highly recognized all over the world. The second thesis is related to “modernization”, by which the author means an evolutional process of culture. It has to do with a deceptive opinion of Westerners that it was their civilizational system leading the rest of the world to the so-called “modern society”. This procedure involves “westernization” of those that have been submitted to it. Thus, nations, according to this theory, not only “modernize” and “westernize” but also they inherit some Western values, while losing their own traditions, customs and, therefore, authenticity. It may seem that these both theories, as viable as they might look at firsthand, not only delusional. They face nothing but irritation from other civilizations and cultures. However, this also could be dangerous because containing perquisites to form the arrogant attitude within those adopting it.
The westernization of the non-European world is assumed by contemporary scholars as a natural historical product of a mechanically evolutionary process, i.e. inevitable and irreversible. Just as the human race is the culmination of biological evolution; thus, the western civilization is the apex of historical and cultural evolution. Therefore, according to this reasoning, to question “the supremacy of contemporary Western culture is tantamount to defying the law of evolution- to rebel against Progress, against the very law of nature itself.”
Thus, a reasonable question arises, whether the Western culture has any objective rights to presume as being ‘evolutional’, considering that “drinking Coca-Cola makes a Russian no more Western than eating sushi makes an US citizen as a Japanese”.
Entertaining the rest of the world with a multi-billion film industry and feeding them with Big Macs will not make, for example, a Chinese think the way an American does, and neither will it make him forget his origin.
Embracing those widespread cultural legacies of the classical civilization as the Roman law, Greek philosophy and rationalism, Christianity and Latin of the Western civilization cannot be called universal as numerous civilizations inherited those legacies in various degrees. In this connection, Huntington proposed that the Western civilization can be characterized as “unique”. Only in the Western civilization these conditions have generated the commitment to individual freedom that now distinguishes the West from other civilizations that now distinguishes the West from other civilizations.
Nevertheless, it would be rightly to say that even if the Western civilization is not universal in sense of modernization of the world. Its certain characteristics could satisfy the needs of all humanity. The idea of individual liberty as a relic of the feudal system signifies the fall of the era of human enslavement. The equality of rights, freedom of expression and confession, etc., have ensured by the state making old empires collapse only to establish a new one, the so-called ‘Western Empire’ based on the principals of personal freedom. This among others implies the freedom of speech and confession, although distinctly constitutes the Christian world.
Christianity has ever been a vital part of Western cultural and political imperialism. John Badeau, an American educator and diplomat in the Middle East, once has written that, “the Roman Catholic and Protestant missionary is not simply a Christian: he is always a Western Christian”, who brings “the fresh and modern outlook of the western world as well as the Gospel of Christ.” This statement illustrates the expedience of Western civilization and its pragmatism. In mind of a “modern Christian”, the ‘pledge’ is fixed that it must always be the Christian who ‘shalt come force’ and bring enlightenment and knowledge to all other civilizations. They are, - in the Christian deepest belief, are ‘banned’ from heaven. In addition, it is widely held that this same attitude is a main cause of the today’s conflict of West with the Islam.
Clashes of Civilizations
In his early and more eminent work The Clashes of Civilizations?, Samuel Huntington has proposed the model of future world conflicts after the fall of ‘bipolar duopoly’ and the end of the Cold war basing on the cultural diversity. Huntington has seen a great importance in the cultural division of populations. Since the global political confrontation of the Western civilization against socialism reduced, he predicted the next world conflicts to be culturally-based. Huntington’s theory has asserted that our world has changed its power ration after the fall of the Soviet Union and that a global mechanism of reformation of powers has begun. He has distinguished eight major civilizations around which this new power blocs should emerge: Western, Hindu, Islamic, Japanese, Confucian, Slavic-Orthodox, Latino-American, and “possibly” African. The general tendency in each bloc is to strengthen the civilizational “consciousness.” He has predicted that the future world’s biggest conflicts “will be fought along civilizational ‘fault lines’”. The history knows some examples of those as it was with the separation of “Western Croatia and Slovenia from Muslim Bosnia and Slavic- Orthodox Serbia, or Muslim. Pakistan from Hindu India.”