The Clash of Civilizations

by Samuel P. Huntington

Touchstone Books, 1996, paper

Geoffrey Parker

"[I]n large measure, the rise of the West' depended upon the exercise of force, upon the fact that the military balance between the Europeans and their adversaries overseas was steadily tilting in favour of the former; . . . the key to the Westerners' success in creating the first truly global empires between 1500 and 1750 depended upon precisely those improvements in the ability to wage war which have been termed 'the military revolution.' The expansion of the West was also facilitated by the superiority in organization, discipline, and training of its troops and subsequently by the superior weapons, transport, logistics, and medical services resulting from its leadership in the Industrial Revolution. The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion (to which few members of other civilizations were converted) but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion (to which few members of other civilizations were converted) but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.


The Fading of the West: Power, Culture, and Indigenization


Two pictures exist of the power of the West in relation to other civilizations. The first is of overwhelming, triumphant, almost total Western dominance. The disintegration of the Soviet Union removed the only serious challenger to the West and as a result the world is and will be shaped by the goals, priorities, and interests of the principal Western nations, with perhaps an occasional assist from Japan. As the one remaining superpower, the United States together with Britain and France make the crucial decisions on political and security issues; the United States together with Germany and Japan make the crucial decisions on economic issues. The West is the only civilization which has substantial interests in every other civilization or region and has the ability to affect the politics, economics, and security of every other civilization or region. Societies from other civilizations usually need Western help to achieve their goals and protect their interests. Western nations, as one author summarized it:

* Own and operate the international banking system

* Control all hard currencies

* Are the world's principal customer

* Provide the majority of the world's finished goods

* Dominate international capital markets

* Exert considerable moral leadership within many societies

* Are capable of massive military intervention

* Control the sea lanes

* Conduct most advanced technical research and development

* Control leading edge technical education

* Dominate access to space

* Dominate the aerospace industry

* Dominate international communications

* Dominate the high-tech weapons industry'

The second picture of the West is very different. It is of a civilization in decline, its share of world political, economic, and military power going down relative to that of other civilizations. The West's victory in the Cold War has produced not triumph but exhaustion. The West is increasingly concerned with its internal problems and needs, as it confronts slow economic growth, stagnating populations, unemployment, huge government deficits, a declining work ethic, low savings rates, and in many countries including the United States social disintegration, drugs, and crime. Economic power is rapidly shifting to East Asia, and military power and political influence are starting to follow. India is on the verge of economic takeoff and the Islamic world is increasingly hostile toward the West. The willingness of other societies to accept the West's dictates or abide its sermons is rapidly evaporating, and so are the West's self-confidence and will to dominate. The late 1980s witnessed much debate about the declinist thesis concerning the United States. In the mid-1990s, a balanced analysis came to a somewhat similar conclusion:

[I]n many important respects, its [the United States'] relative power will decline at an accelerating pace. In terms of its raw economic capabilities, the position of the United States in relation to Japan and eventually China is likely to erode still further. In the military realm, the balance of effective capabilities between the United States and a number of growing regional powers (including, perhaps, Iran, India, and China) will shift from the center toward the periphery. Some of America's structural power will flow to other nations; some (and some of its soft power as well) will find its way into the hands of non-state actors like multinational corporations.:

Which of these two contrasting pictures of the place of the West in the world describes reality? The answer, of course, is: they both do. The West is overwhelmingly dominant now and will remain number one in terms of power and influence well into the twenty-first century. Gradual, inexorable, and fundamental changes, however, are also occurring in the balances of power among civilizations, and the power of the West relative to that of other civilizations will continue to decline. As the West's primacy erodes, much of its power will simply evaporate and the rest will be diffused on a regional basis among the several major civilizations and their core states. The most significant increases m power are accruing and will accrue to Asian civilizations, with China gradually emerging as the society most likely to challenge the West for global influence. These shifts in power among civilizations are leading and will lead to the revival and increased cultural assertiveness of non-Western societies and to their increasing rejection of Western culture.

The decline of the West has three major characteristics.

First, it is a slow process. The rise of Western power took four hundred years. Its recession could take as long. In the 1980s the distinguished British scholar Hedley Bull argued that "European or Western dominance of the universal international society may be said to have reached its apogee about the year 1900." Spengler's first volume appeared in 1918 and the "decline of the West" has been a central theme in twentieth-century history. The process itself has stretched out through most of the century. Conceivably, however, it could accelerate. Economic growth and other increases in a country's capabilities often proceed along an S curve: a slow start then rapid acceleration followed by reduced rates of expansion and leveling off. The decline of countries may also occur along a reverse S curve, as it did with the Soviet Union: moderate at first then rapidly accelerating before bottoming out. The decline of the West is still in the slow first phase, but at some point it might speed up dramatically.

Second, decline does not proceed in a straight line. It is highly irregular with pauses, reversals, and reassertions of Western power following manifestations of Western weakness. The open democratic societies of the West have great capacities for renewal. In addition, unlike many civilizations, the West has had two major centers of power. The decline which Bull saw starting about 1900 was essentially the decline of the European component of Western civilization. From 1910 to 1945 Europe was divided against itself and preoccupied with its internal economic, social, and political problems. In the 1940s, however, the American phase of Western domination began, and in 1945 the United States briefly dominated the world to an extent almost comparable to the combined Allied Powers in 1918. Postwar decolonization further reduced European influence but not that of the United States, which substituted a new transnational imperialism for the traditional territorial empire. During the Cold War, however, American military power was matched by that of the Soviets and American economic power declined relative to that of Japan. Yet periodic efforts at military and economic renewal did occur. In 1991, indeed, another distinguished British scholar, Barry Buzan, argued that "The deeper reality is that the centre is now more dominant, and the periphery more subordinate, than at any time since decolonization began." The accuracy of that perception, however, fades as the military victory that gave rise to it also fades into history.

Third, power is the ability of one person or group to change the behavior of another person or group. Behavior may be changed through inducement, coercion, or exhortation, which require the power-wielder to have economic, military, institutional, demographic, political, technological, social, or other resources. The power of a state or group is hence normally estimated by measuring the resources it has at its disposal against those of the other states or groups ~t is trying to influence. The West's share of most, but not all, of the important power resources peaked early in the twentieth century and then began to decline relative to those of other civilizations.

Territory and Population. In 1490 Western societies controlled most of the European peninsula outside the Balkans or perhaps 1.5 million square miles out of a global land area (apart from Antarctica) of 52.5 million square miles At the peak of its territorial expansion in 1920, the West directly ruled about 25.5 million square miles or close to half the earth's earth. By 1993 this territorial control had been cut in half to about 12.7 million square miles. The West was back to its original European core plus its spacious settler-populated lands in North America, Australia, and New Zealand. The territory of independent Islamic societies, in contrast, rose from 1.8 million square miles in 1920 to over 11 million square miles in 1993. Similar changes occurred in the control of population. In 1900 Westerners composed roughly 30 percent of the world's population and Western governments ruled almost 45 percent of that population then and 48 percent in 1920. In 1993, except for a few small imperial remnants like Hong Kong, Western governments ruled no one but Westerners. Westerners amounted to slightly over 13 percent of humanity and are due to drop to about 11 percent early in the next century and to 10 percent by 2025 s In terms of total population, in 1993 the West ranked fourth behind Sinic Islamic, and Hindu civilizations.

Quantitatively Westerners thus constitute a steadily decreasing minority of the world's population. Qualitatively the balance between the West and other populations is also changing. Non-Western peoples are becoming healthier, more urban, more literate, better educated. By the early 1990s infant mortality rates in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia were one-third to one-half what they had been thirty years earlier. Life expectancy in these regions had increased significantly, with gains varying from eleven years in Africa to twenty-three years in East Asia. In the early 1960s in most of the Third World less than one-third of the adult population was literate. In the early 1990s, in very few countries apart from Africa was less than one-half the population literate. About fifty percent of Indians and 75 percent of Chinese could read and write. Literacy rates in developing countries in 1970 averaged 41 percent of those in developed countries; in 1992 they averaged 71 percent. By the early 1990s in every region except Africa virtually the entire age group was enrolled in primary education. Most significantly, in the early 1960s in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa less than one-third of the appropriate age group was enrolled in secondary education, by the early 1990s one-half of the age group was enrolled except in Africa. In 1960 urban residents made up less than one-quarter of the population of the less developed world. Between 1960 and 1992, however, the urban percentage of the population rose from 49 percent to 73 percent in Latin America, 34 percent to 55 percent in Arab countries, 14 percent to 29 percent in Africa, 18 percent to 27 percent in China, and 19 percent to 26 percent in India.

These shifts in literacy, education, and urbanization created socially mobilized populations with enhanced capabilities and higher expectations who could be activated for political purposes in ways in which illiterate peasants could not. Socially mobilized societies are more powerful societies. In 1953 when less than 15 percent of Iranians were literate and less than 17 percent urban, Kermit Roosevelt and a few CIA operatives rather easily suppressed an insurgency and restored the Shah to his throne. In 1979, when 50 percent of Iranians were literate and 47 percent lived in cities, no amount of U.S. military power could have kept the Shah on his throne. A significant gap still separates Chinese, Indians, Arabs, and Africans from Westerners, Japanese, and Russians. Yet the gap is narrowing rapidly. At the same time, a different gap is opening

he average ages of Westerners, Japanese, and Russians are increasingly steadily, and the larger proportion of the population that no longer works imposes a mounting burden on those still productively employed. Other civilizations are burdened by large numbers of children, but children are future workers and soldiers.

Economic Product. The Western share of the global economic product also may have peaked in the 1920s and has clearly been declining since World War II. In 1750 China accounted for almost one-third, India for almost one-quarter and the West for less than a fifth of the world's manufacturing output. By 1830 the West had pulled slightly ahead of China. In the following decades, as Paul Bairoch points out, the industrialization of the West led to the deindustrialization of the rest of the world. In 1913 the manufacturing output of non-Western countries was roughly two-thirds what it had been in 1800. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century the Western share rose dramatically, peaking in 1928 at 84.2 percent of world manufacturing output. Thereafter the West's share declined as its rate of growth remained modest and as less industrialized countries expanded their output rapidly after World War II. By 1980 the West accounted for 57.8 percent of global manufacturing output, roughly the share it had 120 years earlier in the 1860s.

Reliable data on gross economic product are not available for the pre-World War II period. In 1950, however, the West accounted for roughly 64 percent of the gross world product; by the 1980s this proportion had dropped to 49 percent. (See Table 4.5.) By 2013, according to one estimate, the West will account for only 30% of the world product. In 1991, according to another estimate, four of the world's seven largest economies belonged to non-Western nations: Japan (in second place), China (third), Russia (sixth), and India (seventh). In 1992 the United States had the largest economy in the world, and the top ten economies included those of five Western countries plus the leading states of five other civilizations: China, Japan, India, Russia, and Brazil. In 2020 plausible projections indicate that the top five economies will be in five different civilizations, and the top ten economies will include only three Western countries. This relative decline of the West is, of course, in large part a function of the rapid rise of East Asia.

Gross figures on economic output partially obscure the West's qualitative advantage. The West and Japan almost totally dominate advanced technology industries. Technologies are being disseminated, however, and if the West wishes to maintain its superiority it will do what it can to minimize that dissemination. Thanks to the interconnected world which the West has created, however, slowing the diffusion of technology to other civilizations is increasingly difficult. It is made all the more so in the absence of a single, overpowering, agreed-upon threat such as existed during the Cold War and gave measures of technology control some modest effectiveness.

It appears probable that for most of history China had the world's largest economy. The diffusion of technology and the economic development of non-Western societies in the second half of the twentieth century are now producing a return to the historical pattern. This will be a slow process, but by the middle of the twenty-first century, if not before, the distribution of economic product and manufacturing output among the leading civilizations is likely to resemble that of 1800. The two-hundred-year Western "blip" on the world economy will be over.

Military Capability. Military power has four dimensions: quantitative-the numbers of men, weapons, equipment, and resources; technological-the effectiveness and sophistication of weapons and equipment; organizational-the coherence, discipline, training, and morale of the troops and the effectiveness of command and control relationships; and societal-the ability and willingness of the society to apply military force effectively. In the 1920s the West was far ahead of everyone else in all these dimensions. In the years since, the military power of the West has declined relative to that of other civilizations, a decline reflected m the shifting balance in military personnel, one measure although clearly not the most important one, of military capability. Modernization and economic development generate the resources and desire for states to develop their military capabilities, and few states fail to do so. In the 1930s Japan and the Soviet Union created very powerful military forces, as they demonstrated in World War II. During the Cold War the Soviet Union had one of the world's two most powerful military forces. Currently the West monopolizes the ability to deploy substantial conventional military forces anywhere in the world. Whether it will continue to maintain that capability is uncertain. It seems reasonably certain, however, that no non-Western state or group of states will create a comparable capability during the coming decades.

Overall, the years after the Cold War have been dominated by five major trends in the evolution of global military capabilities.

First, the armed forces of the Soviet Union ceased to exist shortly after the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Apart from Russia, only Ukraine inherited significant military capabilities. Russian forces were greatly reduced in size and were withdrawn from Central Europe and the Baltic states. The Warsaw Pact ended. The goal of challenging the U.S. Navy was abandoned. Military equipment was either disposed of or allowed to deteriorate and become non-operational. Budget allocations for defense were drastically reduced. Demoralization pervaded the ranks of both officers and men. At the same time the Russian military were redefining their missions and doctrine and restructuring themselves for their new roles in protecting Russians and dealing with regional conflicts in the near abroad.

Second, the precipitous reduction in Russian military capabilities stimulated a slower but significant decline in Western military spending, forces, and capabilities. Under the plans of the Bush and Clinton administrations, U.S. military spending was due to drop by 35 percent from $342.3 billion (1994 dollars) in 1990 to $222.3 in 1998. The force structure that year would be half to two-thirds what it was at the end of the Cold War. Total military personnel would go down from 2.1 million to 1.4 million. Many major weapons programs have been and are being canceled. Between 1985 and 1995 annual purchases of major weapons went down from 29 to 6 ships, 943 to 127 aircraft, 720 to 0 tanks, and 48 to 18 strategic missiles. Beginning in the late 1980s, Britain, Germany, and, to a lesser degree, France went through similar reductions in defense spending and military capabilities. In the mid-1990s, the German armed forces were scheduled to decline from 370,000 to 340,000 and probably to 320,000; the French army was to drop from its strength of 290,000 in 1990 to 225,000 in 1997. British military personnel went down from 377,100 in 1985 to 274,800 in 1993. Continental members of NATO also shortened terms of conscripted service and debated the possible abandonment of conscription.

Third, the trends in East Asia differed significantly from those in Russia and the West. Increased military spending and force improvements were the order of the day; China was the pacesetter. Stimulated by both their increasing economic wealth and the Chinese buildup, other East Asian nations are modernizing and expanding their military forces. Japan has continued to improve its highly sophisticated military capability. Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia all are spending more on their military and purchasing planes, tanks, and ships from Russia, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, and other countries. While NATO defense expenditures declined by roughly 10 percent between 1985 and 1993 (from $539.6 billion to $485.0 billion) (constant 1993 dollars), expenditures in East Asia rose by 50 percent from $89.8 billion to $134.8 billion during the same period.

Fourth, military capabilities including weapons of mass destruction are diffusing broadly across the world. As countries develop economically, they generate the capacity to produce weapons. Between the 1960s and 1980s, for instance, the number of Third World countries producing fighter aircraft increased from one to eight, tanks from one to six, helicopters from one to six and tactical missiles from none to seven. The 1990s have seen a major trend toward the globalization of the defense industry, which is likely further to erode Western military advantages. Many non-Western societies either have nuclear weapons (Russia, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and possibly North Korea) or have been making strenuous efforts to acquire them (Iran, Iraq, Libya, and possibly Algeria) or are placing themselves in a position quickly to acquire them if they see the need to do so (Japan).

Finally, all those developments make regionalization the central trend in military strategy and power in the post-Cold War world. Regionalization provides the rationale for the reductions in Russian and Western military forces and for increases in the military forces of other states. Russia no longer has a global military capability but is focusing its strategy and forces on the near abroad. China has reoriented its strategy and forces to emphasize local power projection and the defense of Chinese interests in East Asia. European countries are similarly redirecting their forces, through both NATO and the Western European Union, to deal with instability on the periphery of Western Europe. The United States has explicitly shifted its military planning from deterring and fighting the Soviet Union on a global basis to preparing to deal simultaneously with regional contingencies in the Persian Gulf and Northeast Asia. The United States, however, is not likely to have the military capability to meet these goals. To defeat Iraq, the United States deployed in the Persian Gulf 75 percent of its active tactical aircraft, 42 percent of its modern battle tanks, 46 percent of its aircraft carriers, 37 percent of its army personnel, and 46 percent of its marine personnel. With significantly reduced forces in the future, the United States will be hard put to carry out one intervention, much less two against substantial regional powers outside the Western Hemisphere. Military security throughout the world increasingly depends not on the global distribution of power and the actions of superpowers but on the distribution of power within each region of the world and the actions of the core states of civilizations.

In sum, overall the West will remain the most powerful civilization well into the early decades of the twenty-first century. Beyond then it will probably continue to have a substantial lead in scientific talent, research and development capabilities, and civilian and military technological innovation. Control over the other power resources, however, is becoming increasingly dispersed among the core states and leading countries of non-Western civilizations. The West's control of these resources peaked in the 1920s and has since been declining irregularly but significantly. In the 2020s, a hundred years after that peak, the West will probably control about 24 percent of the world's territory (down from a peak of 49 percent), 10 percent of the total world population (down from 48 percent) and perhaps 15-20 percent of the socially mobilized population, about 30 percent of the world's economic product (down from a peak of probably 70 percent), perhaps 25 percent of manufacturing output (down from a peak of 84 percent), and less than 10 percent of global military manpower (down from 45 percent).

In 1919 Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George, and Georges Clemenceau together virtually controlled the world. Sitting in Paris, they determined what countries would exist and which would not, what new countries would be created, what their boundaries would be and who would rule them, and how the Middle East and other parts of the world would be divided up among the victorious powers. They also decided on military intervention in Russia and economic concessions to be extracted from China. A hundred years later, no small group of statesmen will be able to exercise comparable power; to the extent that any group does it will not consist of three Westerners but leaders of the core states of the world's seven or eight major civilizations. The successors to Reagan, Thatcher, Mitterrand, and Kohl will be rivaled by those of Deng Xiaoping, Nakasone, Indira Gandhi, Yeltsin, Khomeini, and Suharto. The age of Western dominance will be over. In the meantime the fading of the West and the rise of other power centers is promoting the global processes of indigenization and the resurgence of non-Western cultures.

People do not live by reason alone. They cannot calculate and act rationally in pursuit of their self-interest until they define their self. Interest politics presupposes identity. In times of rapid social change established identities dissolve, the self must be redefined, and new identities created. For people facing the need to determine Who am I? Where do I belong? religion provides compelling answers, and religious groups provide small social communities to replace those lost through urbanization. All religions, as Hassan al-Turabi said, furnish "people with a sense of identity and a direction in life."

Fundamentalist movements, in particular, are "a way of coping with the experience of chaos, the loss of identity, meaning and secure social structures created by the rapid introduction of modern social and political patterns, secularism, scientific culture and economic development."

More broadly, the religious resurgence throughout the world is a reaction against secularism, moral relativism, and self-indulgence, and a reafffirmation of the values of order, discipline, work, mutual help, and human solidarity. Religious groups meet social needs left untended by state bureaucracies.

Unlike the Catholic Church, one Brazilian priest observed, the Protestant churches meet "the basic needs of the person-human warmth, healing, a deep spiritual experience." The spread of Protestantism among the poor in Latin America is not primarily the replacement of one religion by another but rather a major net increase in religious commitment and participation as nominal and passive Catholics become active and devout Evangelicals.

In the nineteenth century non-Western elites imbibed Western liberal values, and their first expressions of opposition to the West took the form of liberal nationalism. In the twentieth century Russian, Asian, Arab, African, and Latin American elites imported socialist and Marxist ideologies and combined them with nationalism in opposition to Western capitalism and Western imperialism. The collapse of communism in the Soviet Union, its severe modification in China, and the failure of socialist economies to achieve sustained development have now created an ideological vacuum. Western governments, groups, and international institutions, such as the IMF and World Bank, have attempted to fill this vacuum with the doctrines of neo-orthodox economics and democratic politics. The extent to which these doctrines will have a lasting impact in non-Western cultures is uncertain. Meanwhile, however, people see communism as only the latest secular god to have failed, and in the absence of compelling new secular deities they turn with relief and passion to the real thing. Religion takes over from ideology, and religious nationalism replaces secular nationalism.

"More than anything else," William McNeill observes, "reaffirmation of Islam, whatever its specific sectarian form, means the repudiation of European and American Influence upon local society, politics, and morals." In this sense, the revival of non-Western religions is the most powerful manifestation of anti-Westernism in non-Western societies. That revival is not a rejection of modernity; it is a rejection of the West and of secular, relativistic, degenerate culture associated with the West. It is a rejection of what has been termed the "Westoxification" of non-Western societies. It is a declaration of cultural independence from the West, a proud statement that: "We will be modern but we won't be you."

Like fundamentalists in other religions, Islamists are overwhelmingly participants in and products of the processes of modernization They are mobile and modern-oriented younger people ...

As with most revolutionary movements, the core element has consisted of students and intellectuals.

Young people are the protagonists of protest, instability, reform, and revolution.

Muslim population growth will be a destabilizing force for both Muslim societies and their neighbors. The large numbers of young people with secondary educations will continue to power the Islamic Resurgence and promote Muslim militancy, militarism, and migration. As a result, the early years of the twenty-first century are likely to see an ongoing resurgence of non-Western power and culture and the clash of the peoples of non-Western civilizations with the West and with each other.

Peoples and countries with similar cultures are coming together. Peoples and countries with different cultures are coming apart. Alignments defined by ideology and superpower relations are giving way to alignments defined by culture and civilization. Political boundaries increasingly are redrawn to coincide with cultural ones: ethnic, religious, and civilizational. Cultural communities are replacing Cold War blocs and the fault lines between civilizations are becoming the central lines of conflict in global politics.

During the Cold War a country could be nonaligned, as many were, or it could, as some did, change its alignment from one side to another. The leaders of a country could make these choices in terms of their perceptions of their security interests, their calculations of the balance of power, and their ideological preferences. In the new world, however, cultural identity is the central factor shaping a country's associations and antagonisms. While a country could avoid Cold War alignment. it cannot lack an identity. The question, "Which side are you on?" has been replaced by the much more fundamental one, "Who are you?" Every state has to have an answer. That answer, its cultural identity, defines the state's place in world politics, its friends, and its enemies.

In coping with identity crisis, what counts for people are blood and belief, faith and family. People rally to those with similar ancestry. religion, language, values, and institutions and distance themselves from those with different ones. In Europe, Austria, Finland, and Sweden, culturally part of the West, had to be divorced from the West and neutral during the Cold War; they are now able to join their cultural kin in the European Union. The Catholic and Protestant countries in the former Warsaw Pact, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, are moving toward membership in the Union and in NATO, and the Baltic states are in line behind them. The European powers make it clear that they do not want a Muslim state, Turkey, in the European Union and are not happy about having a second Muslim state, Bosnia, on the European continent.

For self-definition and motivation people need enemies: competitors in business, rivals in achievement, opponents in politics. They naturally distrust and see as threats those who are different and have the capability to harm them. The resolution of one conflict and the disappearance of one enemy generate personal, social, and political forces that give rise to new ones. "The 'us' versus 'them' tendency is," as Ali Mazrui said, "in the political arena, almost universal."

Europe ends where Western Christianity ends and Islam and Orthodoxy begin.

In the early 1990s, Chinese made up 1 percent of the population of the Philippines but were responsible for 35 percent of the sales of domestically owned firms. In Indonesia in the mid 1980s, Chinese were 2-3 percent of the population, but owned roughly 70 percent of the private domestic capital. Seventeen of the twenty-five largest businesses were Chinese-controlled, and one Chinese conglomerate reportedly accounted for 5 percent of Indonesia's GNP. In the early 1990s Chinese were 10 percent of the population of Thailand but owned nine of the ten largest business groups and were responsible for 50 percent of its GNP. Chinese are about one-third of the population of Malaysia but almost totally dominate the economy. Outside Japan and Korea the East Asian economy is basically a Chinese economy.

The dangerous clashes of the future are likely to arise from the interaction of Western arrogance, Islamic intolerance, and Sinic assertiveness.

Alone among civilizations the West has had a major and at times devastating impact on every other civilization. The relation between the power and culture of the West and the power and cultures of other civilizations is, as a result, the most pervasive characteristic of the world of civilizations. As the relative power of other civilizations increases, the appeal of Western culture fades and non-Western peoples have increasing confidence in and commitment to their indigenous cultures. The central problem in the relations between the West and the rest is, consequently, the discordance between the West's-particularly America's-efforts to promote a universal Western culture and its declining ability to do so.

The collapse of communism exacerbated this discordance by reinforcing in the West the view that its ideology of democratic liberalism had triumphed globally and hence was universally valid. The West, and especially the United States, which has always been a missionary nation, believe that the non-Western peoples should commit themselves to the Western values of democracy, free markets, limited government, human rights, individualism, the rule of law, and should embody these values in their institutions. Minorities in other civilizations embrace and promote these values, but the dominant attitudes toward them in non-Western cultures range from widespread skepticism to intense opposition. What is universals to the West is imperialism to the rest.

The West is attempting and will continue to attempt to sustain its preeminent position and defend its interests by defining those interests as the interests of the "world community." That phrase 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. The West is, for instance, attempting to integrate the economies of non-Western societies into a global economic system which it dominates. 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, however, the IMF undoubtedly would win the support of finance ministers and a few others but get an overwhelmingly unfavorable rating from almost everyone else, who would agree with Georgi Arbatov's description 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."

Non-Westerners also do not hesitate to point to the gap between Western principle and Western action. Hypocrisy, double standards, and "but nots" are the price of universalist pretensions. Democracy is promoted but not if it brings Islamic fundamentalists to power; nonproliferation is preached for Iran and Iraq but not for Israel, free trade is the elixir of economic growth but not for agriculture; human rights are an issue with China but not with Saudi Arabia; aggression against oil-owning Kuwaitis is massively repulsed but not against non-oil-owning Bosnians. Double standards in practice are the unavoidable price of universal standards of principle.

Will the global institutions, the distribution of power, and the politics and economies of nations in the twenty-first century primarily reflect Western values and interests or will they be shaped primarily by those of Islam and China?

The issues that divide the West and these other societies are increasingly important on the international agenda. Three such issues involve the efforts of the West: 1) to maintain its military superiority through policies of nonproliferation and counter-proliferation with respect to nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and the means to deliver them; (2) to promote Western political values and institutions by pressing other societies to respect human rights as conceived in the West and to adopt democracy on Western lines; and (3) to protect the cultural, social, and ethnic integrity of Western societies by restricting the number of non-Westerners admitted as immigrants or refugees. In all three areas the West has had and is likely to continue to have difficulties defending its interests against those of non-Western societies.


During the 1970s and 1980s over thirty countries shifted from authoritarian to democratic political systems. Several causes were responsible for this wave of transitions. Economic development was undoubtedly the major underlying factor generating these political changes. In addition, however, the policies and action of the United States, the major Western European powers, and international institutions helped to bring democracy to Spain and Portugal, many Latin American countries, the Philippines, South Korea, and Eastern Europe. Democratization was most successful in countries where Christian and Western influences were strong. New democratic regimes appeared most likely to stabilize in the Southern and Central European countries that were predominantly Catholic or Protestant and, less certainly, in Latin American countries. In East Asia, the Catholic and heavily American influenced Philippines returned to democracy in the 1980s, while Christian leaders promoted movement toward democracy in South Korea and Taiwan. As has been pointed out previously, in the former Soviet Union, the Baltic republics appear to be successfully stabilizing democracy; the degree and stability of democracy in the Orthodox republics vary considerably and are uncertain; democratic prospects in the Muslim republics are bleak. By the 1990s, except for Cuba, democratic transitions had occurred in most of the countries, outside Africa, whose peoples espoused Western Christianity or where major Christian influences existed.

These transitions and the collapse of the Soviet Union generated in the West, particularly in the United States, the belief that a global democratic revolution was underway and that in short order Western concepts of human rights and Western forms of political democracy would prevail throughout the world. Promoting this spread of democracy hence became a high priority goal for Westerners. It was endorsed by the Bush administration with Secretary of State James Baker declaring in April 1990 that "Beyond containment lies democracy" and that for the post-Cold War world "President Bush has defined our new mission to be the promotion and consolidation of democracy." In his 1992 campaign Bill Clinton repeatedly said that the promotion of democracy would be a top priority of a Clinton administration, and democratization was the only foreign policy topic to which he devoted an entire major campaign speech. Once in office he recommended a two-thirds increase in funding for the National Endowment for Democracy; his assistant for national security defined the central theme of Clinton foreign policy as the "enlargement of democracy"; and his secretary of defense identified the promotion of democracy as one of four major goals and attempted to create a senior position in his department to promote that goal. To a lesser degree and in less obvious ways, the promotion of human rights and democracy also assumed a prominent role in the foreign policies of European states and in the criteria used by the Western-controlled international economic institutions for loans and grants to developing countries.

As of 1995 European and American efforts to achieve these goals had met with limited success. Almost all non-Western civilizations were resistant to this pressure from the West. These included Hindu, Orthodox, African, and in some measure even Latin American countries. The greatest resistance to Western democratization efforts, however, came from Islam and Asia. This resistance was rooted in the broader movements of cultural assertiveness embodied in the Islamic Resurgence and the Asian affirmation.

The failures of the United States with respect to Asia stemmed primarily from the increasing economic wealth and self-confidence of Asian governments. Asian publicists repeatedly reminded the West that the old age of dependence and subordination was past and that the West which produced half the world's economic product in the 1940s, dominated the United Nations, and wrote the Universal Declaration on Human Rights had disappeared into history. "[E]fforts to promote human rights in Asia," argued one Singaporean official, "must also reckon with the altered distribution of power in the post-Cold War world.... Western leverage over East and Southeast Asia has been greatly reduced."

He is right. While the agreement on nuclear matters between the United States and North Korea might appropriately be termed a "negotiated surrender," the capitulation of the United States on human rights issues with China and other Asian powers was unconditional surrender. After threatening China with the denial of most favored nation treatment if it was not more forthcoming on human rights, the Clinton Administration first saw its secretary of state humiliated in Beijing, denied even a face-saving gesture, and then responded to this behavior by renouncing its previous policy and separating MFN status from human rights concerns. China, in turn, reacted to this show of weakness by continuing and intensifying the behavior to which the Clinton administration objected. The administration beat similar retreats in its dealings with Singapore over the caning of an American citizen and with Indonesia over its repressive violence in East Timor.

The ability of Asian regimes to resist Western human rights pressures was reinforced by several factors. American and European businesses were desperately anxious to expand their trade with and their investment in these rapidly growing countries and subjected their governments to intense pressure not to disrupt economic relations with them. In addition, Asian countries saw such pressure as an infringement on their sovereignty and rallied to each other's support when these issues arose. Taiwanese, Japanese, and Hong Kong businessmen who invested in China had a major interest in China's retaining its MFN privileges with the United States. The Japanese government generally distanced itself from American human rights policies: We will not let "abstract notions of human rights" affect our relations with China, Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa said not long after Tiananmen Square. The countries of ASEAN were unwilling to apply pressure to Myanmar and, indeed, in 1994 welcomed the military junta to their meeting while the European Union, as its spokesman said, had to recognize that its policy "had not been very successful" and that it would have to go along with the ASEAN approach to Myanmar. In addition, their growing economic power allowed states such as Malaysia and Indonesia to apply "reverse conditionalities" to countries and firms which criticize them or engage in other behavior they find objectionable.

Overall the growing economic strength of the Asian countries renders them increasingly immune to Western pressure concerning human rights and democracy. "Today China's economic power," Richard Nixon observed in 1994, "makes U.S. Iectures about human rights imprudent. Within a decade it will make them irrelevant. Within two decades it will make them laughable." By that time, however, Chinese economic development could make Western lectures unnecessary. Economic growth is strengthening Asian governments in relation to Western governments. In the longer run it will also strengthen Asian societies in relation to Asian governments. If democracy comes to additional Asian countries it will come because the increasingly strong Asian bourgeoisies and middle classes want it to come.

In contrast to agreement on the indefinite expansion of the nonproliferation treaty, Western efforts to promote human rights and democracy in U.N. agencies generally came to naught. With a few exceptions, such as those condemning Iraq, human rights resolutions were almost always defeated in U.N. votes. Apart from some Latin American countries, other governments were reluctant to enlist in efforts to promote what many saw as "human rights imperialism." In 1990, for instance, Sweden submitted on behalf of twenty Western nations a resolution condemning the military regime in Myanmar, but opposition from Asian and other countries killed it. Resolutions condemning Iran for human rights abuses were also voted down, and for five straight years in the 1990s China was able to mobilize Asian support to defeat Western-sponsored resolutions expressing concern over its human rights violations. In 1994 Pakistan tabled a resolution in the U.N. Commission on Human Rights condemning India's rights violations in Kashmir. Countries friendly to India rallied against it, but so also did two of Pakistan's closest friends, China and Iran, who had been the targets of similar measures, and who persuaded Pakistan to withdraw the proposal. In failing to condemn Indian brutality in Kashmir, The Economist observed, the U.N. Human Rights Commission "by default, sanctioned it. Other countries, too, are getting away with murder: Turkey, Indonesia, Colombia, and Algeria have all escaped criticism. The commission is thus giving succor to governments that practice butchery and torture, which is exactly the opposite of what its creators intended." ]6

The differences over human rights between the West and other civilizations and the limited ability of the West to achieve its goals were clearly revealed in the U.N. World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in June 1993. On one side were the European and North American countries; on the other side was a bloc of about fifty non-Western states, the fifteen most active members of which included the governments of one Latin American country (Cuba), one Buddhist country (Myanmar), four Confucian countries with widely varying political ideologies, economic systems, and levels of development (Singapore, Vietnam, North Korea, and China), and nine Muslim countries (Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, and Libya). The leadership of this Asian-lslamic grouping came from China, Syria, and Iran. In between these two groupings were the Latin American countries, apart from Cuba, which often supported the West, and African and Orthodox countries which sometimes supported but more often opposed Western positions.

The issues on which countries divided along civilizational lines included: universality vs. cultural relativism with respect to human rights; the relative priority of economic and social rights including the right to development versus political and civil rights; political conditionality with respect to economic assistance; the creation of a U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights; the extent to which the nongovernmental human rights organizations simultaneously meeting in Vienna should be allowed to participate in the governmental conference; the particular rights which should be endorsed by the conference; and more specific issues such as whether the Dalai Lama should be allowed to address the conference and whether human rights abuses in Bosnia should be explicitly condemned.

Major differences existed between the Western countries and the Asian-lslamic bloc on these issues. Two months before the Vienna conference the Asian countries met in Bangkok and endorsed a declaration which emphasized that human rights must be considered "in the context. . . of national and regional particularities and various historical religious and cultural backgrounds," that human rights monitoring violated state sovereignty, and that conditioning economic assistance on human rights performance was contrary to the right to development. The differences over these and other issues were so great that almost the entire document produced by the final pre-Vienna conference preparatory meeting in Geneva in early May was in brackets, indicating dissents by one or more countries.

The Western nations were ill prepared for Vienna, were outnumbered at the conference, and during its proceedings made more concessions than their opponents. As a result, apart from a strong endorsement of women's rights, the declaration approved by the conference was a minimal one. It was, one human rights supporter observed, "a flawed and contradictory" document, and represented a victory for the Asian-lslamic coalition and a defeat for the West. The Vienna declaration contained no explicit endorsement of the rights to freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and religion, and was thus in many respects weaker than the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the U.N. had adopted in 1948. This shift reflected the decline in the power of the West. "The international human rights regime of 1945," an American human rights supporter remarked, "is no more. American hegemony has eroded. Europe, even with the events of 1992, is little more than a peninsula. The world is now as Arab, Asian, and African, as it is Western. Today the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants are less relevant to much of the planet than during the immediate post-World War II era." An Asian critic of the West had similar views: "For the first time since the Universal Declaration was adopted in 1948, countries not thoroughly steeped in the Judeo-Christian and natural law traditions are in the first rank. That unprecedented situation will define the new international politics of human rights. It will also multiply the occasions for conflict."

"The big winner" at Vienna, another observer commented, "clearly, was China, at least if success is measured by telling other people to get out of the way. Beijing kept winning throughout the meeting simply by tossing its weight around." t9 Outvoted and outmaneuvered at Vienna, the West was nonetheless able a few months later to score a not-insignificant victory against China. Securing the 2000 summer Olympics for Beijing was a major goal of the Chinese government, which invested tremendous resources in trying to achieve it. In China there was immense publicity about the Olympic bid and public expectations were high; the government lobbied other governments to pressure their Olympic associations; Taiwan and Hong Kong joined in the campaign. On the other side, the United States Congress, the European Parliament, and human rights organizations all vigorously opposed selecting Beijing. Although voting in the International Olympic Committee is by secret ballot, it clearly was along civilizational lines. On the first ballot, Beijing, with reportedly widespread African support, was in first place with Sydney in second. On subsequent ballots, when Istanbul was eliminated, the Confucian-lslamic connection brought its votes overwhelmingly to Beijing; when Berlin and Manchester were eliminated, their votes went overwhelmingly to Sydney, giving it victory on the fourth ballot and imposing a humiliating defeat on China, which it blamed squarely on the United States. "America and Britain," Lee Kuan Yew commented, "succeeded in cutting China down to size.... The apparent reason was 'human rights.' The real reason was political, to show Western political clout." Undoubtedly many more people in the world are concerned with sports than with human rights, but given the defeats on human rights the West suffered at Vienna and elsewhere, this isolated demonstration of Western "clout" was also a reminder of Western weakness.

Not only is Western clout diminished, but the paradox of democracy also weakens Western will to promote democracy in the post-Cold War world. During the Cold War the West and the United States in particular confronted the "friendly tyrant" problem: the dilemmas of cooperating with military juntas and dictators who were anti-communist and hence useful partners in the Cold War. Such cooperation produced uneasiness and at times embarrassment when these regimes engaged in outrageous violations of human rights. Cooperation could, however, be justified as the lesser evil: these governments were usually less thoroughly repressive than communist regimes and could be expected to be less durable as well as more susceptible to American and other outside influences. Why not work with a less brutal friendly tyrant if the alternative was a more brutal unfriendly one? In the post-Cold War world the choice can be the more difficult one between a friendly tyrant and an unfriendly democracy. The West's easy assumption that democratically elected governments will be cooperative and pro-Western need not hold true in non-Western societies where electoral competition can bring anti-Western nationalists and fundamentalists to power. The West was relieved when the Algerian military intervened in 1992 and canceled the election which the fundamentalist FIS clearly was going to win. Western governments also were reassured when the fundamentalist Welfare Party in Turkey and the nationalist BJP in India were excluded from power after scoring electoral victories in 1995 and 1996. On the other hand, within the context of its revolution Iran in some respects has one of the more democratic regimes in the Islamic world, and competitive elections in many Arab countries including Saudi Arabia and Egypt would almost surely produce governments far less sympathetic to Western interests than their undemocratic predecessors. A popularly elected government in China could well be a highly nationalistic one. As Western leaders realize that democratic processes in non-Western societies often produce governments unfriendly to the West, they both attempt to influence those elections and also lose their enthusiasm for promoting democracy in those societies.

The effective end of Western territorial imperialism and the absence so far of renewed Muslim territorial expansion have produced a geographical segregation so that only in a few places in the Balkans do Western and Muslim communities directly border on each other. Conflicts between the West and Islam thus focus less on territory than on broader intercivilizational issues such as weapons proliferation, human rights and democracy, control of oil, migration, Islamist terrorism, and Western intervention.

In the wake of the Cold War, the increasing intensity of this historical antagonism has been widely recognized by members of both communities. In 1991, for instance, Barry Buzan saw many reasons why a societal cold war was emerging "between the West and Islam, in which Europe would be on the front line.

This development is partly to do with secular versus religious values, partly to do with the historical rivalry between Christendom and Islam, partly to do I with jealousy of Western power, partly to do with resentments over Western | domination of the postcolonial political structuring of the Middle East, and partly to do with the bitterness and humiliation of the invidious comparison between the accomplishments of Islamic and Western civilizations in the last two centuries.

In addition, he noted a "societal Cold War with Islam would serve to strengthen the European identity all round at a crucial time for the process of European union." Hence, there may well be a substantial community in the West prepared not only to support a societal Cold War with Islam, but to adopt policies that encourage it." In 1990 Bernard Lewis, a leading Western scholar of Islam, analyzed "The Roots of Muslim Rage," and concluded:

It should now be clear that we are facing a mood and a movement far transcending the level of issues and policies and the governments that pursue them. This is no less than a clash of civilizations-that perhaps irrational but surely historic reaction of an ancient rival against our Judeo-Christian heritage, our secular present, and the worldwide expansion of both. It is crucially important that we on our side should not be provoked into an equally historic but also equally irrational reaction against that rival.

Similar observations came from the Islamic community. "There are unmistakable signs," argued a leading Egyptian journalist, Mohammed Sid-Ahmed, in 1994, "of a growing clash between the Judeo-Christian Western ethic and the Islamic revival movement, which is now stretching from the Atlantic in the west to China in the east." A prominent Indian Muslim predicted in 1992 that the West's "next confrontation is definitely going to come from the Muslim world. It is in the sweep of the Islamic nations from the Maghreb to Pakistan that the struggle for a new world order will begin." For a leading Tunisian lawyer, the struggle was already underway: "Colonialism tried to deform all the cultural traditions of Islam. I am not an Islamist. I don't think there is a conflict between religions. There is a conflict between civilizations."

In the 1980s and 1990s the overall trend in Islam has been in an anti-Western direction. In part, this is the natural consequence of the Islamic Resurgence and the reaction against the perceived "gharbzadegi" or Westoxication of Muslim societies. The "reaffirmation of Islam, whatever its specific sectarian form, means the repudiation of European and American influence upon local society, politics, and morals." On occasion in the past, Muslim leaders did tell their people: "We must Westernize." If any Muslim leader has said that in the last quarter of the twentieth century, however, he is a lonely figure. Indeed, it is hard to find statements by any Muslims, whether politicians, officials, academics, businesspersons, or journalists, praising Western values and institutions. They instead stress the differences between their civilization and Western civilization, the superiority of their culture, and the need to maintain the integrity of that culture against Western onslaught. Muslims fear and resent Western power and the threat which this poses to their society and beliefs. They see Western culture as materialistic, corrupt, decadent, and immoral. They also see it as seductive, and hence stress all the more the need to resist its impact on their way of life. Increasingly, Muslims attack the West not for adhering to an imperfect, erroneous religion, which is nonetheless a "religion of the book," but for not adhering to any religion at all. In Muslim eyes Western secularism, irreligiosity, and hence immorality are worse evils than the Western Christianity that produced them. In the Cold War the West labeled its opponent "godless communism"; in the post-Cold War conflict of civilizations Muslims see their opponent as "the godless West."

These images of the West as arrogant, materialistic, repressive, brutal, and decadent are held not only by fundamentalist imams but also by those whom many in the West would consider their natural allies and supporters. Few books by Muslim authors published in the 1990s in the West received the praise given to Fatima Mernissi's Islam and Democracy, generally hailed by Westerners as the courageous statement of a modern, liberal, female Muslim. The portrayal of the West in that volume, however, could hardly be less flattering. The West is "militaristic" and "imperialistic" and has "traumatized" other nations through "colonial terror" (pp. 3, 9). Individualism, the hallmark of Western culture, is "the source of all trouble" (p. 8). Western power is fearful. The West "alone decides if satellites will be used to educate Arabs or to drop bombs on them. . . . It crushes our potentialities and invades our lives with its imported products and televised movies that swamp the airwaves.... [It] is a power that crushes us, besieges our markets, and controls our merest resources, initiatives, and potentialities. That was how we perceived our situation, and the Gulf War turned our perception into certitude" (pp. 146-47). The West "creates its power through military research" and then sells the products of that research to underdeveloped countries who are its "passive consumers." To liberate themselves from this subservience, Islam must develop its own engineers and scientists, build its own weapons (whether nuclear or conventional, she does not specify), and "free itself from military dependence on the West" (pp. 43-44). These, to repeat, are not the views of a bearded, hooded ayatollah.

During the fifteen years between 1980 and 1995, according to the U.S. Defense Department, the United States engaged in seventeen military operations in the Middle East, all of them directed against Muslims.

China's Confucian heritage, with its emphasis on authority, order, hierarchy, and the supremacy of the collectivity over the individual, creates obstacles to democratization.


The post-Cold War, multipolar, multicivilizational world lacks an overwhelmingly dominant cleavage such as existed in the Cold War. So long as the Muslim demographic and Asian economic surges continue, however, the conflicts between the West and the challenger civilizations will be more central to global politics than other lines of cleavage. The governments of Muslim countries are likely to continue to become less friendly to the West, and intermittent low-intensity and at times perhaps high-intensity violence will occur between Islamic groups and Western societies. Relations between the United States, on the one hand, and China, Japan, and other Asian countries will be highly conflictual, and a major war could occur if the United States challenges China's rise as the hegemonic power in Asia.

Under these conditions, the Confucian-lslamic connection will continue and perhaps broaden and deepen. Central to this connection has been the cooperation of Muslim and Sinic societies opposing the West on weapons proliferation, human rights, and other issues. At its core have been the close relations among Pakistan, Iran, and China, which crystallized in the 1990s with the visits of President Yang Shangkun to Iran and Pakistan and of President Rafsanjani to Pakistan and China. These "pointed to the emergence of an embryonic alliance between Pakistan, Iran, and China." On his way to China, Rafsanjani declared in lslamabad that "a strategic alliance" existed between Iran and Pakistan and that an attack on Pakistan would be considered an attack on Iran. Reinforcing this pattern, Benazir Bhutto visited Iran and China immediately after becoming prime minister in October 1993. The cooperation among the three countries has included regular exchanges among political, military, and bureaucratic officials and joint efforts in a variety of civil and military areas including defense production, in addition to the weapons transfers from China to the other states. The development of this relationship has been strongly supported by those in Pakistan belonging to the "independence" and "Muslim" schools of thought on foreign policy who looked forward to a "Tehran-lslamabad-Beijing axis," while in Tehran it was argued that the "distinctive nature of the contemporary world" required "close and consistent cooperation" among Iran, China, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan. By the mid-1990s something like a de facto alliance had come into existence among the three countries rooted in opposition to the West, security concerns over India, and the desire to counter Turkish and Russian influence in Central Asia.

Are these three states likely to become the core of a broader grouping involving other Muslim and Asian countries? An informal "Confucian-lslamist alliance," Graham Fuller argues, "could materialize, not because Muhammad and Confucius are anti-West but because these cultures offer a vehicle for the expression of grievances for which the West is partly blamed-a West whose political, military, economic and cultural dominance increasingly rankles in a world where states feel 'they don't have to take it anymore.' '; The most passionate call for such cooperation came from Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, who in March 1994 declared:

The new world order means that Jews and Christians control Muslims and if they can, they will after that dominate Confucianism and other religions in India, China, and Japan....

What the Christians and Jews are now saying: We were determined to crush Communism and the West must now crush Islam and Confucianism.

Now we hope to see a confrontation between China that heads the Confucianist camp and America that heads the Christian crusader camp. We have no justifications but to be biased against the crusaders. We are standing with Confucianism, and by allying ourselves with it and fighting alongside it in one international front, we will eliminate our mutual opponent.

So, we as Muslims, will support China in its struggle against our mutual enemy....

We wish China victory....

Civilizations grow, [Carroll] Quigley argued in 1961, because they have an "instrument of expansion," that is, a military, religious, political, or economic organization that accumulates surplus and invests it in productive innovations. Civilizations decline when they stop the "application of surplus to new ways of doing things. In modern terms we say that the rate of investment decreases. This happens because the social groups controlling the surplus have a vested interest in using it for "nonproductive but ego-satisfying purposes. . . which distribute the surpluses to consumption but do not provide more effective methods of production." People live off their capital and the civilization moves from the stage of the universal state to the stage of decay. This is a period of

acute economic depression, declining standards of living, civil wars between the various vested interests, and growing illiteracy. The society grows weaker and weaker. Vain efforts are made to stop the wastage by legislation. But the decline continues. The religious, intellectual, social, and political levels of the society began to lose the allegiance of the masses of the people on a large scale. New religious movements begin to sweep over the society. There is a growing reluctance to fight for the society or even to support it by paying taxes.

A more immediate and dangerous challenge exists in the United States. Historically American national identity has been defined culturally by the heritage of Western civilization and politically by the principles of the American Creed on which Americans overwhelmingly agree: liberty, democracy, individualism, equality before the law, constitutionalism, private property. In the twentieth century both components of American identity have come under concentrated and sustained onslaught from a small but influential number of intellectuals and publicists. In the name of multiculturalism they have attacked the identification of the United States with Western civilization, denied the existence of a common American culture, and promoted racial, ethnic, and other subnational cultural identities and groupings. They have denounced, in the words of one of their reports, the "systematic bias toward European culture and its derivatives" in education and "the dominance of the European-American monocultural perspective." The multiculturalists are, as Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., said, "very often ethnocentric separatists who see little in the Western heritage other than Western crimes." Their "mood is one of divesting Americans of the sinful European inheritance and seeking redemptive infusions from non-Western cultures."

The multicultural trend was also manifested in a variety of legislation that followed the civil rights acts of the 1960s, and in the 1990s the Clinton administration made the encouragement of diversity one of its major goals. The contrast with the past is striking. The Founding Fathers saw diversity as a reality and as a problem: hence the national motto, e pluribus unum, chosen by a committee of the Continental Congress consisting of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. Later political leaders who also were fearful of the dangers of racial, sectional, ethnic, economic, and cultural diversity (which, indeed, produced the largest war of the century between 1815 and 1914), responded to the call of "bring us together," and made the promotion of national unity their central responsibility. "The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing as a nation at all," warned Theodore Roosevelt, "would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities." In the 1990s, however, the leaders of the United States have not only permitted that but assiduously promoted the diversity rather than the unity of the people they govern.

... The multiculturalists also challenged a central element of the American Creed, by substituting for the rights of individuals the rights of groups, defined largely in terms of race, ethnicity, sex, and sexual preference. The Creed, Gunnar Myrdal said in the 1940s, reinforcing the comments of foreign observers dating from Hector St. John de Crevecocur and Alexis de Tocqueville, has been "the cement in the structure of this great and disparate nation." "It has been our fate as a nation," Richard Hofstader agreed, "not to have ideologies but to be one." What happens then to the United States if that ideology is disavowed by a significant portion of its citizens? The fate of the Soviet Union, the other major country whose unity, even more than that of the United States, was defined in ideological terms is a sobering example for Americans. "[T]he total failure of Marxism . . . and the dramatic breakup of the Soviet Union," the Japanese philosopher Takeshi Umehara has suggested, "are only the precursors to the collapse of Western liberalism, the main current of modernity. Far from being the alternative to Marxism and the reigning ideology at the end of history, liberalism will be the next domino to fall." In an era in which peoples everywhere define themselves in cultural terms what place is there for a society without a cultural core and defined only by a political creed? Political principles are a fickle base on which to build a lasting community. In a multicivilizational world where culture counts, the United States could be simply the last anomalous holdover from a fading Western world where ideology counted.

Rejection of the Creed and of Western civilization means the end of the United States of America as we have known it. It also means effectively the end of Western civilization. If the United States is de-Westernized, the West is reduced to Europe and a few lightly populated overseas European settler countries. Without the United States the West becomes a minuscule and declining part of the world's population on a small and inconsequential peninsula at the extremity of the Eurasian land mass.

The clash between the multiculturalists and the defenders of Western civilization and the American Creed is, in James Kurth's phrase, "the real clash" within the American segment of Western civilization. Americans cannot avoid the issue: Are we a Western people or are we something else? The futures of the United States and of the West depend upon Americans reaffirming their commitment to Western civilization. Domestically this means rejecting the divisive siren calls of multiculturalism. Internationally it means rejecting the elusive and illusory calI to identify the United States with Asia. Whatever economic connections may exist between them, the fundamental cultural gap between Asian and American societies precludes their joining together in a common home. Americans are culturally part of the Western family, multiculturalists may damage and even destroy that relationship but they cannot replace it. When Americans look for their cultural roots, they find them in Europe.

Culture, as we have argued, follows power. If non-Western societies are once again to be shaped by Western culture, it will happen only as a result of the expansion, deployment, and impact of Western power. Imperialism is the necessary logical consequence of universals. In addition, as a maturing civilization, the West no longer has the economic or demographic dynamism required to impose its will on other societies and any effort to do so is also contrary to the Western values of self-determination and democracy. As Asian and Muslim civilizations begin more and more to assert the universal relevance of their cultures, Westerners will come to appreciate more and more the connection between universals and imperialism.

Western universals is dangerous to the world because it could lead to a major intercivilizational war between core states and it is dangerous to the West because it could lead to defeat of the West. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Westerners see their civilization in a position of unparalleled dominance, while at the same time weaker Asian, Muslim, and other societies are beginning to gain strength.

... All civilizations go though similar processes of emergence, rise, and decline. The West differs from other civilizations not in the way it has developed but in the distinctive character of its values and institutions. These include most notably its Christianity, pluralism, individualism, and rule of law, which made it possible for the West to invent modernity, expand throughout the world, and become the envy of other societies. In their ensemble these characteristics are peculiar to the West. Europe, as Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., has said, is "the source-the unique source of the "ideas of individual liberty, political democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and cultural freedom.... These are European ideas, not Asian, nor African, nor Middle Eastern ideas, except by adoption." They make Western civilization unique, and Western civilization is valuable not because it is universal but because it is unique. The principal responsibility of Western leaders, consequently, is not to attempt to reshape other civilizations m the image of the West, which is beyond their declining power, but to preserve, protect, and renew the unique qualities of Western civilization. Because it is the most powerful Western country, that responsibility falls overwhelmingly on the United States of America.

To preserve Western civilization in the face of declining Western power, it is in the interest of the United States and European countries:

* to achieve greater political, economic, and military integration and to coordinate their policies so as to preclude states from other civilizations exploiting differences among them;

* to incorporate into the European Union and NATO the Western states of Central Europe that is, the Visegrad countries, the Baltic republics, Slovenia, and Croatia;

* to encourage the "Westernization" of Latin America and, as far as possible, the close alignment of Latin American countries with the West;

* to restrain the development of the conventional and unconventional military power of Islamic and Sinic countries;

* to slow the drift of Japan away from the West and toward accommodation with China;

* to accept Russia as the core state of Orthodoxy and a major regional power with legitimate interests in the security of its southern borders;

* to maintain Western technological and military superiority over other civilizations;

* and, most important, to recognize that Western intervention in the affairs of other civilizations is probably the single most dangerous source of instability and potential global conflict in a multicivilizational world.

In the aftermath of the Cold War the United States became consumed with massive debates over the proper course of American foreign policy. In this era, however, the United States can neither dominate nor escape the world. Neither internationalism nor isolationism, neither multilateralism nor unilateralism, will best serve its interests. Those will best be advanced by eschewing these opposing extremes and instead adopting an Atlanticist policy of close cooperation with its European partners to protect and advance the interests and values of the unique civilization they share.

US and Third World

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