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membre mordu du forum

Nombre de messages : 654
Localisation : Washington D.C.
Date d'inscription : 14/06/2005



The west in now at an extraordinary peak of power
in relation to other civilizations. Its
superpower opponent has disappeared from the map. Military
conflict among Western states is unthinkable, and
Western military power is unrivaled. Apart from
Japan, the West faces no economic challenge. It
dominates international political and security
institutions and with Japan international economic
institutions. Global political and security issues
are effectively settled by a directorate of the
United States, Britain and France, world economic
issues by a directorate of the United States,
Germany and Japan, all of which maintain
extraordinarily close relations with each other to the
exclusion of lesser and largely non-Western countries.
Decisions made at the U.N. Security Council or in
the International Monetary Fund that reflect the
interests of the West are presented to the world
as reflecting the desires of the world community.
The very phrase "the world community" has become
the euphemistic collective noun (replacing "the
Free World") to give global legitimacy to actions
reflecting the interests of the United States and
other Western powers.(4) Through the IMF and
other international economic institutions, the West
promotes its economic interests and imposes on
other nations the economic policies it thinks
appropriate. In any poll of non-Western peoples, the
IMF undoubtedly would win the support of finance
ministers and a few others, but get an
overwhelmingly unfavorable rating from just about everyone
else, who would agree with Georgy Arbatov's
characterization of IMF officials as "neo-Bolsheviks who
love expropriating other people's money, imposing
undemocratic and alien rules of economic and
political conduct and stifling economic freedom."

Western domination of the U.N. Security Council
and its decisions, tempered only by occasional
abstention by China, produced U.N. legitimation of
the West's use of force to drive Iraq out of
Kuwait and its elimination of Iraq's sophisticated
weapons and capacity to produce such weapons. It
also produced the quite unprecedented action by the
United States, Britain and France in getting the
Security Council to demand that Libya hand over
the Pan Am 103 bombing suspects and then to impose
sanctions when Libya refused. After defeating the
largest Arab army, the West did not hesitate to
throw its weight around in the Arab world. The
West in effect is using international institutions,
military power and economic resources to run the
world in ways that will maintain Western
predominance, protect Western interests and promote
Western political and economic values.

That at least is the way in which non-Westerners
see the new world, and there is a significant
element of truth in their view. Differences in power
and struggles for military, economic and
institutional power are thus one source of conflict
between the West and other civilizations. Differences
in culture, that is basic values and beliefs, are
a second source of conflict. V. S. Naipaul has
argued that Western civilization is the "universal
civilization" that "fits all men." At a
superficial level much of Western culture has indeed
permeated the rest of the world. At a more basic
level, however, Western concepts differ fundamentally
from those prevalent in other civilizations.
Western ideas of individualism, liberalism,
constitutionalism, human rights, equality, liberty, the
rule of law, democracy, free markets, the
separation of church and state, often have little
resonance in Islamic, Confucian, Japanese, Hindu,
Buddhist or Orthodox cultures. Western efforts to
propagate such ideas produce instead a reaction against
"human rights imperialism" and a reaffirmation of
indigenous values, as can be seen in the support
for religious fundamentalism by the younger
generation in non-Western cultures. The very notion
that there could be a "universal civilization" is a
Western idea, directly at odds with the
particularism of most Asian societies and their emphasis
on what distinguishes one people from another.
Indeed, the author of a review of 100 comparative
studies of values in different societies concluded
that "the values that are most important in the
West are least important worldwide."(5) In the
political realm, of course, these differences are
most manifest in the efforts of the United States
and other Western powers to induce other peoples
to adopt Western ideas concerning democracy and
human rights. Modern democratic government
originated in the West. When it has developed in
non-Western societies it has usually been the product of
Western colonialism or imposition.

The central axis of world politics in the future
is likely to be, in Kishore Mahbubani's phrase,
the conflict between "the West and the Rest" and
the responses of non-Western civilizations to
Western power and values.(6) Those responses
generally take one or a combination of three forms. At
one extreme, non-Western states can, like Burma and
North Korea, attempt to pursue a course of
isolation, to insulate their societies from penetration
or "corruption" by the West, and, in effect, to
opt out of participation in the Western-dominated
global community. The costs of this course,
however, are high, and few states have pursued it
exclusively. A second alternative, the equivalent of
"band- wagoning" in international relations
theory, is to attempt to join the West and accept its
values and institutions. The third alternative is
to attempt to "balance" the West by developing
economic and military power and cooperating with
other non-Western societies against the West, while
preserving indigenous values and institutions; in
short, to modernize but not to Westernize.


In the future, as people differentiate themselves
by civilization, countries with large numbers of
peoples of different civilizations, such as the
Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, are candidates for
dismemberment. Some other countries have a fair
degree of cultural homogeneity but are divided over
whether their society belongs to one civilization
or another. These are torn countries. Their
leaders typically wish to pursue a bandwagoning
strategy and to make their countries members of the
West, but the history, culture and traditions of
their countries are non-Western. The most obvious
and prototypical torn country is Turkey. The late
twentieth-century leaders of Turkey have followed
in the Attaturk tradition and defined Turkey as a
modern, secular, Western nation state. They
allied Turkey with the West in NATO and in the Gulf
War; they applied for membership in the European
Community. At the same time, however, elements in
Turkish society have supported an Islamic revival
and have argued that Turkey is basically a Middle
Eastern Muslim society. In addition, while the
elite of Turkey has defined Turkey as a Western
society, the elite of the West refuses to accept
Turkey as such. Turkey will not become a member of
the European Community, and the real reason, as
President Ozal said, "is that we are Muslim and
they are Christian and they don't say that." Having
rejected Mecca, and then being rejected by
Brussels, where does Turkey look? Tashkent may be the
answer. The end of the Soviet Union gives Turkey
the opportunity to become the leader of a revived
Turkic civilization involving seven countries
from the borders of Greece to those of China.
Encouraged by the West, Turkey is making strenuous
efforts to carve out this new identity for itself.

During the past decade Mexico has assumed a
position somewhat similar to that of Turkey. Just as
Turkey abandoned its historic opposition to Europe
and attempted to join Europe, Mexico has stopped
defining itself by its opposition to the United
States and is instead attempting to imitate the
United States and to join it in the North American
Free Trade Area. Mexican leaders are engaged in
the great task of redefining Mexican identity and
have introduced fundamental economic reforms that
eventually will lead to fundamental political
change. In 1991 a top adviser to President Carlos
Salinas de Gortari described at length to me all
the changes the Salinas government was making. When
he finished, I remarked: "That's most impressive.
It seems to me that basically you want to change
Mexico from a Latin American country into a North
American country." He looked at me with surprise
and exclaimed: "Exactly! That's precisely what we
are trying to do, but of course we could never
say so publicly." As his remark indicates, in
Mexico as in Turkey, significant elements in society
resist the redefinition of their country's
identity. In Turkey, European-oriented leaders have to
make gestures to Islam (Ozal's pilgrimage to
Mecca); so also Mexico's North American-oriented
leaders have to make gestures to those who hold Mexico
to be a Latin American country (Salinas'
Ibero-American Guadalajara summit).

Historically Turkey has been the most profoundly
torn country. For the United States, Mexico is
the most immediate torn country. Globally the most
important torn country is Russia. The question of
whether Russia is part of the West or the leader
of a distinct Slavic-Orthodox civilization has
been a recurring one in Russian history. That issue
was obscured by the communist victory in Russia,
which imported a Western ideology, adapted it to
Russian conditions and then challenged the West
in the name of that ideology. The dominance of
communism shut off the historic debate over
Westernization versus Russification. With communism
discredited Russians once again face that question.

President Yeltsin is adopting Western principles
and goals and seeking to make Russia a "normal"
country and a part of the West. Yet both the
Russian elite and the Russian public are divided on
this issue. Among the more moderate dissenters,
Sergei Stankevich argues that Russia should reject
the "Atlanticist" course, which would lead it "to
become European, to become a part of the world
economy in rapid and organized fashion, to become
the eighth member of the Seven, and to put
particular emphasis on Germany and the United States as
the two dominant members of the Atlantic
alliance." While also rejecting an exclusively Eurasian
policy, Stankevich nonetheless argues that Russia
should give priority to the protection of
Russians in other countries, emphasize its Turkic and
Muslim connections, and promote "an appreciable
redistribution of our resources, our options, our
ties, and our interests in favor of Asia, of the
eastern direction." People of this persuasion
criticize Yeltsin for subordinating Russia's interests
to those of the West, for reducing Russian
military strength, for failing to support traditional
friends such as Serbia, and for pushing economic
and political reform in ways injurious to the
Russian people. Indicative of this trend is the new
popularity of the ideas of Petr Savitsky, who in
the 1920s argued that Russia was a unique Eurasian
civilization.(7) More extreme dissidents voice
much more blatantly nationalist, anti-Western and
anti-Semitic views, and urge Russia to redevelop
its military strength and to establish closer ties
with China and Muslim countries. The people of
Russia are as divided as the elite. An opinion
survey in European Russia in the spring of 1992
revealed that 40 percent of the public had positive
attitudes toward the West and 36 percent had
negative attitudes. As it has been for much of its
history, Russia in the early 1990s is truly a torn

To redefine its civilization identity, a torn
country must meet three requirements. First, its
political and economic elite has to be generally
supportive of and enthusiastic about this move.
Second, its public has to be willing to acquiesce in
the redefinition. Third, the dominant groups in
the recipient civilization have to be willing to
embrace the convert. All three requirements in
large part exist with respect to Mexico. The first
two in large part exist with respect to Turkey. It
is not clear that any of them exist with respect
to Russia's joining the West. The conflict
between liberal democracy and Marxism- Leninism was
between ideologies which, despite their major
differences, ostensibly shared ultimate goals of
freedom, equality and prosperity. A traditional,
authoritarian, nationalist Russia could have quite
different goals. A Western democrat could carry on an
intellectual debate with a Soviet Marxist. It
would be virtually impossible for him to do that
with a Russian traditionalist. If, as the Russians
stop behaving like Marxists, they reject liberal
democracy and begin behaving like Russians but not
like Westerners, the relations between Russia and
the West could again become distant and


The obstacles to non-Western countries joining
the West vary considerably. They are least for
Latin American and East European countries. They are
greater for the Orthodox countries of the former
Soviet Union. They are still greater for Muslim,
Confucian, Hindu and Buddhist societies. Japan
has established a unique position for itself as an
associate member of the West: it is in the West
in some respects but clearly not of the West in
important dimensions. Those countries that for
reason of culture and power do not wish to, or
cannot, join the West compete with the West by
developing their own economic, military and political
power. They do this by promoting their internal
development and by cooperating with other non-Western
countries. The most prominent form of this
cooperation is the Confucian-Islamic connection that
has emerged to challenge Western interests, values
and power.

Almost without exception, Western countries are
reducing their military power; under Yeltsin's
leadership so also is Russia. China, North Korea and
several Middle Eastern states, however, are
significantly expanding their military capabilities.
They are doing this by the import of arms from
Western and non-Western sources and by the
development of indigenous arms industries. One result is
the emergence of what Charles Krauthammer has
called "Weapon States," and the Weapon States are not
Western states. Another result is the
redefinition of arms control, which is a Western concept and
a Western goal. During the Cold War the primary
purpose of arms control was to establish a stable
military balance between the United States and
its allies and the Soviet Union and its allies. In
the post-Cold War world the primary objective of
arms control is to prevent the development by
non-Western societies of military capabilities that
could threaten Western interests. The West
attempts to do this through international agreements,
economic pressure and controls on the transfer of
arms and weapons technologies.
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