|Clarity Press, Incorporated
|5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The ideological dispute that arose after 9/11 between Fukuyama's "end of history" and Samuel Huntington's "clash of civilizations" is really just a disagreement over sound bytes. The former trumpeted the victory of the West as ushering in a new era based on western market/political principles, in keeping with the triumphalism of the winners of the Cold War. That no such new era has consolidated itself is supposedly due to unfortunate cultural anachronisms. In a post-geopolitical world, it is "cultural conflict ... with alien civilizations" that leads to "confrontation". This "cultural resistance to capitalism and modernity" divides the world. "Civilizations unite and divide mankind ... blood and belief are what people identify with and what they will fight and die for." Only the West values individualism, liberalism, constitutionalism, human rights, the rule of law, democracy, free markets.
The two most menacing cultural throwbacks are Islam and Confucianism (read: oil and Chinese exportsand if they unite, "they would pose a threat to the existence of the core civilization." Disdain for Islam has been part of the western cultural discourse for over a century now, as Said made clear in Orientalism and elsewhere. We can add Confuscianism as the other main oriental frame of mind. The "end of history" thus still involves some residual "confrontation".
Ideological contempt for Islam turned into a reckless use of Islamists throughout all the games, culminating in the Great Game II endgame. The communist knights and rooks were defeated in the mountains of Afghanistan, the bishopsthe communist ideologuesdiscredited, and the communist pawns in revolt. Finally the king was checkmated, swept from the board, and the team disbanded. The world expected a new era free of the threat of war, a peace dividend that would improve the lot of people everywhere, ensuring that the material imperative behind war was eliminated. But the triumph of empire has never led to an end to empire, and strengthening empire has never led to improving the lot of the periphery. This was clear in both Great Games I&II, where the periphery was impoverished at the expense of the center. There is no reason to believe GGIII could be any different, even Bush I's postmodern variant, and indeed, the impoverishment of all who are not part of the center/periphery elite has only accelerated.
Meanwhile, the new enemy had been prepared and was loudly declared.