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Dominating Forces Post Cold War Era

1606 words - 7 pages

Gone is the era when military force was the sole compass in a state’s quest for dominance. The Cold War world order has been lost. What has taken its place is a collision of two opposing forces both competing to materialize as the new, dominant world order. There exists now an overarching battle between the assimilating force of globalization and the emphatic differentiation of cultural identity as a reaction. This structural dissonance in global relations has elevated inherently tense inter-state relationships and cleared a path for the rise of cultural nations within and across states seeking to solidify their distinctiveness and secure a role in the order of the new world.
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In his written response to Fukuyama’s theory, Huntington states that “the peoples and governments of non-Western civilizations no longer remain the objects of history as targets of Western colonialism but join the West as movers and shapers of history.” (Huntington. 1993.23.) Here, he attempts to say that non-Western states and civilizations are attempting to ensure a function in the great machine of world order, but even this statement lends itself to the paradoxical belief that states who want their voices to be heard must become western or “join the West.” Indeed, it is this enigma which continues to trouble Russia even 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union. “Whether it can reconcile or triangulate its interests in the former Soviet Union with its outreach to the West in particular will be a major test of whether Russia can achieve its Great Power aspirations in the long run, or whether it will remain a largely regional actor.” (Mankoff. 2009.28.) This statement suggests that a state must adopt western culture in order to become a “Great Power”, but China has achieved this status on many fronts while maintaining economic and political tactics which are much more aligned with its own civilizational ideology than with western liberalism.
The rise of China alone weakens the western claim of its superior culture as the key to global power. “The people of different civilizations have different views on the relations between God and man, the individual and the group… equality and hierarchy. These differences are the product of centuries. They will not soon disappear.” (Huntington. 1993.25.) This truth can easily be seen in the failure to westernize non-Western states which led to the religious revivals we see sweeping civilizations such as the Middle East to fill “the vacuum left by the collapse of ideology” (Huntington. 1996.96.) Economic and political liberalism offer world peace and human freedom, but religion and culture offer a kind of refuge and communitarianism that cannot be provided by bureaucratic organizations, which explains the power of these religious revivals despite having no foreseeably secure future as a world order. To phrase this idea simply, globalization “delivers peace, prosperity, and relative unity—if at the cost of independence, community, and identity.” (Barber. 1992.)

A prominent juxtaposition of the battling theories of Fukuyama and Huntington was developed by Benjamin Barber in his article and later book of the same name, Jihad vs. McWorld.
Jihad vs. McWorld addresses the various flaws and highlights of each world order theory. In particular, Barber describes the McWorld order (which aligns most closely with Fukuyama’s triumph of liberalism theory) as a secular and universal transformation of the world. Barber describes the Jihad order (which aligns most closely with Huntington’s civilizational clash theory) as rooted in tribalism and religious fundamentalism, specifically Islamic fundamentalism. ...

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