One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Clash of Empires
Though Samuel Huntington’s clash of civilizations is a reality and is working but is a sub-paradigm of real paradigm that is Clash of Empires. In Post Soviet world it is more real sub-paradigms just like Sino-Soviet clashes was a sub-paradigm of Cold war world. In Cold war world there were two empires, USA and USSR. The fall of Soviet Union was the fall of an Empire. Any country that has expansionist tendency is called an empire. Empires have changed their facets and identity throughout the history. Empires like Byzantine Empire had a religious identity, empires like Chinese Empires had a cultural and racial identity, Empires like USSR had an ideological identity and Empires like USA is a democratic and capitalist empire. In post soviet world, USA, European Union, China, India, Russian Federation, Japan, Pakistan, Iran and Israel have raised as empires of 21st century some representing traditional ancient empires (Iran, China, India, Japan and Russia) and some like USA and EU have risen as new empires.
Clash of civilizations is a good effort for post soviet world but it fails to explain world war I and World War II from near history while Clash of empires can explain why Germany started a nonstop war in Europe, Africa and why Japan allied with Germany. There was a simple reason, the Germany, Japan and Italy wanted their shares of colonies occupied by Britain and France. Clash of Empires does not appeal to people as it is an old and traditional paradigm as well as does not represent the individualistic and grouped identities of people as clash of civilizations but this paradigm rule the history as evolution rule biology and geology. Clash of Empires is based on clash of elite groups and ruling class of world with each other over conflicts of their expansionist interests. People are used for these conflicts under frame of race, language, religion, region and ideologies. Certainly! I didn’t underestimate and ignore freedom movements and revolutions which stand for the people but these freedom movements and revolutions are hijacked by elite and ruling classes of societies to promote expansionist agendas.
In modern Empires and Imperialism is thought of a characteristics of ancient is used against opponents. Nation states loved to be called republics but people forget that Rome was also a republic and at the same time was an empire. So being a democratic country does not qualify for not being an empire. Empires are systems of governments but attitude of governments. Any government or an organization with expansionists’ attitudes and capabilities are empires. Let’s compare the modern nation states and their imperialistic natures.
The concept of nations based on cultures, ideologies, religions and ideologies, etc are suitable theatrically but in practice it is the security of lives, property, basic liberties and future that attract people to become part of a nation. Modern nations are based on this fundamental concept and it is generally known as welfare state. The extensive migration of people from poor country that were their homelands for centuries or perhaps for thousands of years into an unknown country in search of better life is enough to prove this concept.
Based on this concept we see that world map is a nonstop victim of change. Why? The answer is in the movements of people, cultures, religions, and ideologies, economic and social developments. Mobilities were never smooth and peaceful. The violent movements of people change the map of the world by two main processes:
Even a superficial knowledge of lingual, racial, religious, cultural and ideological distribution of people can help one redraw the map of all five continents. Map of the present day world defines the borders of the nation states as they are representations in the United Nations. But the represented nations are real nations instead they are modern day empires.
Nations in true sense can never be represented in the world because nations couldn’t develop systems that bring an accepted leadership or representation of them to the world. Let’s see what could be the basis of the real nations,
i- Nations based on religion
ii- Nations based on race
iii- Nations based on language
iv- Nations based on culture
v- Nations based on ideology
vi- Nations based on geography
vii- Nations based on the some or all aspects mentioned above
Modern nation states either divide a race, language, geography, religion and culture’s boundaries or accrete some of them to make a culturally, religiously, racially, lingual, geographically plural country. Look to some of the following examples:
Arab world is divided into nation states like, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates,………….Etc.
Turkish world is divided into Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan………….etc.
Persian world is divided into Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, etc.
Chinese world is divided into China, Taiwan..etc.
English World is divided into England, USA, Canada, Australia,…..etc.
Islamic world is divided into 51 Nation States.
Christian world is divided into
Nation states have accreted several races for Afghanistan accreted Pashtoons, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Tjiks and these ethnic groups are fighting each other either for dominance or survival. We can extend the example of Afghanistan to nearly all nation states of the world.
As Nation States both divide and accreted races, religions, cultures, Languages etc so it is easy to redraw the maps of them and we see such efforts. One of such efforts were made by, Ralph Peter’s essay published in US Armed Forces Journal in 2006 Under the title, “Blood Borders How a better Middle East would look”. In this essay Peter had redrawn the maps of several important nation states like Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. This essay caused anger in these countries and they responded by redrawing US maps by accrediting States of Texas, New Mexico and California to Mexico. Similarly, the State of the Oklahoma is suggested a free state of the Red Indian or Amerindians.
These redrawing of maps and counter redrawing maps show the unnatural divisions of borders among present nation states as well as imperialist nature of modern nation states.
Globalization is defined as interconnectedness of people through trade, communication, travels and cultural interaction. It is a general concept of globalization. There is a more specific concept of globalization and that is perspectives of experts about the globe. Same globe but different expertise and perspectives make different looks of it. To an eye of a geologist globe is consists of several plates and micro-plates that do not match to political boundaries which we are generally familiar. When an economist look to globe it divides and map out based on mercantile systems and economic groups based on earnings or expenditures. A historian looks to globe as changing political boundaries of rising and falling Empires. A religious man looks to globe to find boundaries of religions distributions. He divided the globe almost more or less than eight categories as Samuel Huntington did. Even a zoologist divide the globe based on migration lines of birds or distribution of some animals.
Hence globe means different things to different people. It depends on their expertise and imaginations. The lines that an expert draws on globe may be real or imaginative. Certainly! Imaginative lines drawn on globe is mostly controversial and the subject of disagreements. But people respond to imaginations of different people differently. These imaginations are foundations of Empires that always thinking of redrawing the maps.
Imaginations of elite group can influence the thoughts and actions of ruling classes and imaginations of ruling classes are the matter of concern to people around the world because their thoughts and actions shape the lives of people.
Imaginations have no boundaries. This is the foundation of clash of civilizations. Cultures, civilizations, religions and ideologies provide the frames for imaginations to be expressed. It is true that these frames can shape most imaginations but not all. So when Samuel Huntington tries to figure out what will be next in world politics after nearly half a century ideological clash between capitalist and communist camps, he finds no other frames except cultures and their assemblages in form of civilizations. Cultures, civilizations and globalizations are not new and they have existed for thousands of years so we can trace back the clash of civilizations in history and could see the nature of these clashes and their evolution.
In very near history just a little more than half a century earlier there was World War II as it is popularized. Certainly this was not an ideological war, as USSR was alliance of capitalist USA and British Empire. OK! If it was not an ideological war then certainly it must be clash of civilizations? No! It was also not clash of civilizations as Japan was allied with Germany and USA (having strong roots in Protestantism) was fighting against Germany, the birth place of Protestantism. Oh! Then it must be war between Fascism and liberals? No! It was not a war between fascist and liberals as British Empire and France and USSR had forcefully colonized nations in Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, South China Sea and East Europe so we can’t call them liberals. Despite we can call them fascists as they weren’t different from Germany, Italy and Japan. What Germany, Japan and Italy wanted? The right to colonize the other nations rule and exploit them. If it is fascism then Britain, France and USSR were older and experienced Fascists.
I accept that cultural similarities and differences are playing and will play key role in world politics in post Soviet world but the real player is imaginations. If cultures would fail to provide a frame for the imaginations of elite and ruling classes of a nation then certainly they would search for another frame to fit their imaginations and project them in world politics.
War on terror is a best example of a frame that fitted imaginations of elite and ruling classes that were crossing the cultural boundaries in post Soviet world politics.
US used against Saddam, Al Qaida and Taliban
Sri Lanka used against Tamils
India used against Pakistan
Pakistan Used against Taliban
Saudi Arabia used against Al Qaida
Russia used against Chechnya
Turkey and Iran used against Kurds
All these wars looking cultural clashes at first hand but in reality they all are clash within cultures and civilizations.
Another important aspect of clash of civilization is cultural alliances but again in post Soviet world we see it is not working.
Alliance of Iran and Venezuela
Based on political and economic cooperation
Alliance of China and Pakistan
Based on political, strategic and economic cooperation
Alliance of Pakistan and USA
Based on military and technological cooperation
Alliance of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia with Israel
Based on political cooperation
Alliance of Iran and North Korea
Based on technological support
Alliance of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan with Russia
Based on economic and political cooperation
World economic forum Vs World Social Forum
Other frames for imaginations
Islam is used as a frame
Soviet were afraid during Afghan War that USA is creating Ottoman Empire
In post Soviet Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan confederation to Emirate of Taliban
Democracy is used as a frame for imaginations.
It is thought that the violent conflicts in Islamic world is due to interference of West especially under war on terror policy but besides this it is also a fact that Islamic countries had long traditions of feudalism till now and modern world is providing room for people to actively participate in governance. As there are very less room in Islamic countries for participation of people in governance so it is causing violent conflicts. These conflicts are even intensified by not accepting the rights of minorities participate in governance and self rule and it makes the problems even more complex.
It is true that people are defining themselves increasingly in terms of religious identities, cultural identities, racial, ethnic and lingual identities but as we saw alliances of states can’t follow these lines as states are organized bodies of societies which require economy, knowledge and technologies for running, defending and expanding these societies so their alliances are based on economic, military, technological and cultural cooperation.
When we use the terms, Islamization, westernization, Asianization, Hinduization, Christianization, secularization, radicalization to express certain trends in societies we should keep in mind that societies are dynamic and these processes are the results of organized efforts. People generally follow the popular culture and in age of diversification of mass media, popular cultures are also have diversified. This diversification of popular cultures have diversified the trends in societies so we can see the several trends in the same country are going on the same time which led to the conflicts within societies. New channels have popularized politics and people are continually addicted to news around globe and hence reacting and making opinions accordingly. Objective reporting has aided to so called processes of Islamization, westernization, Asianization and so on.
Realignments of demography based on sectarian, racial, lingual and ethnic lines has happened in Balkan areas, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc. But this process is related to areas in crises and it is compensated in other areas and regions by mixing of migrated people.
If we take a page from history when Spain was going through a process of forced Christianization of Muslims and Jews, the migrated Muslims and Jews repopulated in Ottoman Empire. In modern times, violent conflicts in Iraq forced people to realign on the bases of sectarian (Shia and Sunni in Baghdad) and ethnic lines (Kurds and Arabs in Kirkuk) then many Iraqis migrated to neighboring countries of Syria, Jordan and as far as western countries. Hence realignments of people is not a new process but is related to violent conflicts.
Anglo-Latin divide is historical. Historical rivalries of Carthage to Rome, Spanish Empire to British Empire have laid the foundations of Anglo-Latin divide in settled continent of America.
Persian-Turk and Persian –West divides are also a historic divide. All these historical divisions are due to clash of Empire from old age till our time and it will continue.