The West Against the Rest, China new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB), Credit Clash of Civilizations, Islamism Against Christian Democracy -10/25/2014

” China and 20 other countries signed a memorandum on Friday agreeing to create an international development bank that Beijing hopes will rival organizations like the World Bank. But some leading Asian countries refrained from joining the project, which the United States has been quietly lobbying against.

Japan, Australia, South Korea and Indonesia were not represented at the signing ceremony for the bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, in Beijing. India joined the bank, along with Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, news agencies reported.”

“The bank, proposed a year ago by President Xi Jinping of China, is to offer financing for infrastructure projects in underdeveloped countries across Asia. China, which has promised to contribute much of the initial $50 billion in capital, sees it as a way to increase its influence in the region after years of fruitless lobbying for more say in other multinational lending organizations.”

“But the United States, with allies like Australia and South Korea, has campaigned against the project, characterizing it as an attempt to undercut the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, which are dominated by the United States and Japan.”

“Kishore Mahbubani (born 24 October 1948, Singapore) is a notable academic and former Singaporean diplomat. He is currently Professor in the Practice of Public Policy and Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

“From 1971 to 2004 he served in the Singaporean Foreign Services, becoming Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In that role he served as President of the United Nations Security Council in January 2001 and May 2002.

As a former member of the United Nations security council, and the dean of the Lee Kuan Yew’s Public Policy department, Mahbubani has been a keen observer of the changing tide in Asian and Western politics. The book “New Asian Hemisphere: the irresistible shift of global power” shows some of his main ideas and opinions about such observations. It is basically criticising the West and insisting that their practice of the value they are pressing on to the rest of the world such as democracy, the rule of law and social justice is corrupted in many ways. He states in his book that the system of global politics and international institutions such as the United Nations and IMF are created to benefit the West. He believes that these institutions should make rule for rising Asian powers and claims that though the West may be fearful of Asia’s rise, it should accept them and co-operate. Furthermore he is largely supportive of China and their method of globalisation and implies that they are doing everything right to become an even more powerful nation.”

Huntington suggests that in the future the central axis of world politics tends to be the conflict between Western and non-Western civilizations, in Kishore Mahbubani‘s phrase, the conflict between “the West and the Rest.” He offers three forms of general actions that non-Western civilization can take in response to Western countries.

  1. Non-Western countries can attempt to achieve isolation in order to preserve their own values and protect themselves from Western invasion. However, Huntington argues that the costs of this action is high and only a few states can pursue it.
  2. According to the theory of “band-wagoning” non-Western countries can join and accept Western values.
  3. Non-Western countries can make an effort to balance Western power through modernization. They can develop economic, military power and cooperate with other non-Western countries against the West while still preserving their own values and institutions. Huntington believes that the increasing power of non-Western civilizations in international society will make the West begin to develop a better understanding of the cultural fundamentals underlying other civilizations. Therefore, Western civilization will cease to be regarded as “universal” but different civilizations will learn to coexist and join to shape the future world.”

The Clash of Civilizations is a theory that people’s cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world. It was proposed by political scientistSamuel P. Huntington in a 1992 lecture at the American Enterprise Institute, which was then developed in a 1993 Foreign Affairs article titled “The Clash of Civilizations?”, in response to his former student Francis Fukuyama‘s 1992 book, The End of History and the Last ManHuntington later expanded his thesis in a 1996 book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.”

“The phrase itself was earlier used by Bernard Lewis in an article in the September 1990 issue of The Atlantic Monthlytitled “The Roots of Muslim Rage”. Even earlier, the phrase appears in a 1926 book regarding the Middle East by Basil Mathews: Young Islam on Trek: A Study in the Clash of Civilizations (p. 196).
This expression derives from clash of cultures, already used during the colonial period and the Belle Époque.

“Russia and India are what Huntington terms ‘swing civilizations’ and may favor either side. Russia, for example, clashes with the many Muslim ethnic groups on its southern border (such as Chechnya) but—according to Huntington—cooperates with Iran to avoid further Muslim-Orthodox violence in Southern Russia, and to help continue the flow of oil. Huntington argues that a “Sino-Islamic connection” is emerging in which China will cooperate more closely with Iran, Pakistan, and other states to augment its international position.
Huntington also argues that civilizational conflicts are “particularly prevalent between Muslims and non-Muslims”, identifying the “bloody borders” between Islamic and non-Islamic civilizations. This conflict dates back as far as the initial thrust of Islam into Europe, its eventual expulsion in the Iberian reconquest and the attacks of the Ottoman Turks on Eastern Europe and Vienna. Huntington also believes that some of the factors contributing to this conflict are that both Christianity (which has influenced Western civilization) and Islam are:

  • Missionary religions, seeking conversion of others
  • Universal, “all-or-nothing” religions, in the sense that it is believed by both sides that only their faith is the correct one
  • Teleological religions, that is, that their values and beliefs represent the goals of existence and purpose in human existence.
  • Religions that perceive irreligious people who violate the base principles of those religions to be furthering their own pointless aims, which leads to violent interactions.

More recent factors contributing to a Western-Islamic clash, Huntington wrote, are the Islamic Resurgence and demographic explosion in Islam, coupled with the values of Western universalism—that is, the view that all civilizations should adopt Western values—that infuriate Islamic fundamentalists. All these historical and modern factors combined, Huntington wrote briefly in his Foreign Affairs article and in much more detail in his 1996 book, would lead to a bloody clash between the Islamic and Western civilizations. The political party Hizb ut-Tahrir also reiterate Huntington’s views in their published book, The Inevitability of Clash of Civilisation.”

“Islamist views emphasize the implementation of Sharia (Islamic law); of pan-Islamic political unity; and of the selective removal of non-Muslim, particularly Western military, economic, political, social, or cultural influences in the Muslim world that they believe to be incompatible with Islam.”

“Moderate and reformist Islamists who accept and work within the democratic process include parties like the Tunisian Ennahda MovementJamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan is basically a socio-political and democratic Vanguard party but has also gained political influence through military coup d’état in past.The Islamist groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine participate in democratic and political process as well as armed attacks, seeking to abolish the state of IsraelRadical Islamist organizations like al-Qaeda and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and groups such as the Taliban, entirely reject democracy, often declaring as kuffar those Muslims who support it (see takfirism), as well as calling for violent jihad or urging and conducting attacks on a religious basis.”

“Another major division within Islamism is between what Graham E. Fuller has described as the fundamentalist “guardians of the tradition” (Salafis, such as those in the Wahhabi movement) and the “vanguard of change and Islamic reform” centered around the Muslim BrotherhoodOlivier Roy argues that “Sunni pan-Islamism underwent a remarkable shift in the second half of the 20th century” when the Muslim Brotherhood movement and its focus on Islamisation of pan-Arabismwas eclipsed by the Salafi movement with its emphasis on “sharia rather than the building of Islamic institutions,” and rejection of Shia Islam. Following the Arab Spring, Roy has described Islamism as “increasingly interdependent” with democracy in much of the Arab Muslim world, such that “neither can now survive without the other.” While Islamist political culture itself may not be democratic, Islamists need democratic elections to maintain their legitimacy. At the same time, their popularity is such that no government can call itself democratic that excludes mainstream Islamist groups.”

“Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood, “are well known for providing shelters, educational assistance, free or low cost medical clinics, housing assistance to students from out of town, student advisory groups, facilitation of inexpensive mass marriage ceremonies to avoid prohibitively costly dowry demands, legal assistance, sports facilities, and women’s groups.” All this compares very favourably against incompetent, inefficient, or neglectful governments whose commitment to social justice is limited to rhetoric.”

“Muslim alienation from Western ways, including its political ways.

  • The memory in Muslim societies of the many centuries of “cultural and institutional success” of Islamic civilization that have created an “intense resistance to an alternative ‘civilizational order'”, such as Western civilization,

Outside Islamdom, Christian missionaries from Europe usually succeeded in making converts. Whether for spiritual reasons or for material ones, substantial numbers of Native AmericanAfricansHindusBuddhists, and Confucians accepted the Gospels. But Muslims did not.”

  • The proximity of the core of the Muslim world to Europe and Christendom where it first conquered and then was conquered. Iberia in the seventh century, the Crusades which began in the eleventh century, then for centuries the Ottoman Empire, were all fields of war between Europe and Islam.
The Islamic world was aware of European fear and hatred:

For almost a thousand years, from the first Moorish landing in Spain to the second Turkish siege of Vienna, Europe was under constant threat from Islam. In the early centuries it was a double threat — not only of invasion and conquest, but also of conversion and assimilation. All but the easternmost provinces of the Islamic realm had been taken from Christian rulers, and the vast majority of the first Muslims west of Iran and Arabia were converts from Christianity … Their loss was sorely felt and it heightened the fear that a similar fate was in store for Europe.

and also felt its own anger and resentment at the much more recent technological superiority of westerners who,

are the perpetual teachers; we, the perpetual students. Generation after generation, this asymmetry has generated an inferiority complex, forever exacerbated by the fact that their innovations progress at a faster pace than we can absorb them. … The best tool to reverse the inferiority complex to a superiority complex … Islam would give the whole culture a sense of dignity.

For Islamists, the primary threat of the West is cultural rather than political or economic. Cultural dependency robs one of faith and identity and thus destroys Islam and the Islamic community (ummah) far more effectively than political rule.
  • The end of the Cold War and Soviet occupation of Afghanistan has eliminated the common atheist Communist enemy uniting some religious Muslims and the capitalist west.


  • The Arab world – the original heart of the Muslim world – has been afflicted with economic stagnation. For example, it has been estimated that in the mid 1990s the exports of Finland, a European country of five million, exceeded those of the entire Arab world of 260 million, excluding oil revenue. This economic stagnation is argued to have commenced with the demise of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924, with trade networks being disrupted and societies torn apart with the creation of new nation states; prior to this, the Middle East had a diverse and growing economy and more general prosperity.
  • Strong population growth combined with economic stagnation has created urban conglomerations in CairoIstanbulTehranKarachiDhaka, and Jakarta each with well over 12 million citizens, millions of them young and unemployed or underemployed. Such a demographic, alienated from the westernized ways of the urban elite, but uprooted from the comforts and more passive traditions of the villages they came from, is understandably favourably disposed to an Islamic system promising a better world– an ideology providing an “emotionally familiar basis for group identity, solidarity, and exclusion; an acceptable basis for legitimacy and authority; an immediately intelligible formulation of principles for both a critique of the present and a program for the future.”


“The U.S. government has engaged in efforts to counter Islamism, or violent Islamism, since 2001. These efforts were centred in the U.S. around public diplomacy programmes conducted by the State Department. There have been calls to create an independent agency in the U.S. with a specific mission of undermining Islamism and jihadism. Christian Whiton, an official in the George W. Bush administration, called for a new agency focused on the nonviolent practice of “political warfare” aimed at undermining the ideology. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates called for establishing something similar to the defunct U.S. Information Agency, which was charged with undermining the communist ideology during the Cold War.”

“The international organization of Christian democratic parties, the Centrist Democrat International (CDI), formerly known as the Christian Democratic International, is the second largest international political organization in the world (second only to the Socialist International). European Christian democratic parties have their own regional organization called the European People’s Party, which form the largest group in the European Parliament, the EPP Group.”

As a generalization, it can be said that Christian democratic parties in Europe tend to be moderately conservative, and in several cases form the main conservative party in their respective countries (e.g. in Germany, Spain, and Belgium). In Latin America, by contrast, Christian democratic parties tend to be progressive and to some degree influenced by liberation theology. These generalizations, however, must be nuanced by the consideration that Christian democracy does not fit precisely into the usual categories of political thought, but rather includes elements common to several other political ideologies:

  • In common with conservatism, traditional moral values (on marriage, abortion, etc.), opposition to secularization, a view of the evolutionary (as opposed to revolutionary) development of society, an emphasis on law and order, and a rejection of communism.
  • In contrast to conservatism, open to change (for example, in the structure of society) and not necessarily supportive of the social status quo.
  • In common with liberalism, an emphasis on human rights and individual initiative.
  • In contrast to liberalism, a rejection of secularism, and an emphasis on the fact that the individual is part of a community and has duties towards it.
  • In common with socialism, an emphasis on the community, social justice and solidarity, support for a welfare state and support for regulation of market forces.
  • In contrast to socialism, most European Christian Democrats support a market economy and do not adhere to the concept of class struggle. This has not always carried over to some Latin American Christian Democratic Parties, which have been influenced by liberation theology.

Geoffrey K. Roberts and Patricia Hogwood have noted that “Christian democracy has incorporated many of the views held by liberals, conservatives and socialists within a wider framework of moral and Christian principles.”
Christian democrats are usually socially conservative, and, as such, generally have a relatively skeptical stance towards abortion and same-sex marriage, though some Christian democratic parties have accepted the limited legalization of both. Christian democratic parties are often likely to assert the Christian heritage of their country, and to affirm explicitly Christian ethics, rather than adopting a more liberal or secular stance.
On economic issues, Christian democrats normally do not completely oppose capitalism as an economic system, unlike their repudiation of atheistic communism and similar ideologies, though they do see the economy as being at the service of humanity. The duty of the state towards society is of real importance for Christian democrats, though some would see this duty as being mostly to create the conditions for civil society to flourish, while others would see it as a more direct duty of the state towards citizens. In recent decades, some right-leaning Christian democratic parties in Europe have adopted policies consistent with an economically liberal point of view but still support a regulated economy with a welfare state, while by contrast other Christian democrats at times seem to hold views similar to Christian socialism.”

“Liberation theology is a Christian response to the conditions of poverty in Roman Catholic theology which interprets the teachings of Jesus Christ in relation to a liberation from unjust economic, political, or social conditions. It has been described as “an interpretation of Christian faith through the poor’s suffering, their struggle and hope, and a critique of society and the Catholic faith and Christianity through the eyes of the poor”. Detractors have called it Christianized Marxism.”

“Although liberation theology has grown into an international and inter-denominational movement, it began as a movement within the Catholic Church in Latin America in the 1950s–1960s. Liberation theology arose principally as a moral reaction to the poverty caused by social injusticein that region. The term was coined in 1971 by the Peruvian priest Gustavo Gutiérrez, who wrote one of the movement’s most famous books, A Theology of Liberation. Other noted exponents are Leonardo Boff of Brazil, Jon Sobrino of SpainÓscar Romero of El Salvador, and Juan Luis Segundo of Uruguay.”

“The influence of liberation theology diminished after proponents were accused of using “Marxist concepts” leading to admonishment by the Vatican‘s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in 1984 and 1986. The Vatican criticized certain strains of liberation theology for focusing on institutionalized or systemic sin, apparently to the exclusion of individual offenders and offences; and for identifying Catholic Church hierarchy in South America as members of the same privileged class that had long been oppressing indigenous populations since the arrival of Pizarro onward.”

“Secularism is the principle of the separation of government institutions and persons mandated to represent the state from religious institutionsand religious dignitaries. One manifestation of secularism is asserting the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, or, in a state declared to be neutral on matters of belief, from the imposition by government of religion or religious practices upon its people. Another manifestation of secularism is the view that public activities and decisions, especially political ones, should be uninfluenced by religious beliefs and/or practices.”

“Secularism draws its intellectual roots from Greek and Roman philosophers such as Marcus Aurelius and Epicurus; from Enlightenmentthinkers such as Denis DiderotVoltaireBaruch SpinozaJames MadisonThomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine; and from more recent freethinkers and atheists such as Robert Ingersoll and Bertrand Russell.
The purposes and arguments in support of secularism vary widely. In European laicism, it has been argued that secularism is a movement toward modernization, and away from traditional religious values (also known as secularization). This type of secularism, on a social or philosophical level, has often occurred while maintaining an official state church or other state support of religion. In the United States, some argue that state secularism has served to a greater extent to protect religion and the religious from governmental interference, while secularism on a social level is less prevalent. Within countries as well, differing political movements support secularism for varying reasons.”

“The word laïcité (laicity) has been used, from the end of the 19th century on, to mean the freedom of public institutions, especially primary schools, from the influence of the Catholic Church  in countries where it had retained its influence, in the context of a secularizationprocess. Today, the concept covers other religious movements as well.”

Supporters argue that Laïcité by itself does not necessarily imply any hostility of the government with respect to religion. It is best described as a belief that government and political issues should be kept separate from religious organizations and religious issues (as long as the latter do not have notable social consequences). This is meant to protect both the government from any possible interference from religious organizations, and to protect the religious organization from political quarrels and controversies.”

“Critics of laïcité argue that it is a disguised form of anti-clericalism and infringement on individual right to religious expression, and that, instead of promoting freedom of thought and freedom of religion, it prevents the believer from observing his or her religion.”

“Another critique is that, in countries historically dominated by one religious tradition, officially avoiding taking any positions on religious matters favors the dominant religious tradition of the relevant country. Even in the current French Fifth Republic (1958–), school holidays mostly follow the Christian liturgical year, though Easter holidays have been replaced by Spring holidays which may or may not include Easter, depending on the vagaries of the liturgical calendar. However, schools have long given leave to students for important holidays of their specific non-majority religions, and food menus served in secondary schools pay particular attention to ensuring that each religious observer may respect his religion’s specific restrictions concerning diets. To counter the traditional influence of Christian festivals educationalists in line with market forces have often promoted references to Santa Claus, Valentines and Halloween, particularly at primary school level.”

“Other countries, following in the French model, have forms of Laïcité – examples include Mexico and Turkey.

“In the United States there have been various attempts to create Christian democratic parties, similar to their European and Latin American counterparts, but efforts have generally run against the formidable strength of the existing bipartisan Republican/Democratic party system. One such party, the Christian Democratic Party USA, recently changed its name to the American Solidarity Party. The name is based on the Polish Solidarity Movement, whose first chairman was Lech Walesa. The Party has incorporated the Consistent Life Ethic into its platform. Its emblem is the Pelican, a traditional Christian symbol of charity.”

“The self-sacrificial aspect of the pelican was reinforced by the widely read mediaeval bestiaries. The device of “a pelican in her piety” or “a pelican vulning (from Latin vulno to wound) herself” was used in heraldry. An older version of the myth is that the pelican used to kill its young then resurrect them with its blood, again analogous to the sacrifice of Jesus. Likewise a folktale from India says that a pelican killed her young by rough treatment but was then so contrite that she resurrected them with her own blood.”

“Pelicans have featured extensively in heraldry, generally using the Christian symbolism of the pelican as a caring and self-sacrificing parent. The image became linked to the medieval religious feast of Corpus Christi.”

“The pelican (Henet in Egyptian) was associated in Ancient Egypt with death and the afterlife. It was depicted in art on the walls of tombs, and figured in funerary texts, as a protective symbol against snakes. Henet was also referred to in the Pyramid Texts as the “mother of the king” and thus seen as a goddess. References in non-royal funerary papyrishow that the pelican was believed to possess the ability to prophesy safe passage in the underworld for someone who had died.”

Maybe the Christian “Pelican”(the Egyptian “Henet”) is the answer to modern day I.S.I.S./I.S.I.L. (which acts more like the Old Egyptian “Set”and/or “Apep” than its namesake “Isis”)….

“Set /sɛt/ or Seth (/sɛθ/; also spelled Setesh, Sutekh, Setekh, or Suty) is a god of the desertstorms, disorder, violence and foreigners in ancient Egyptian religion. In Ancient Greek, the god’s name is given as Sēth (Σήθ). Set is not, however, a god to be ignored or avoided; he has a positive role where he is employed by Ra on his solar boat to repel the serpent of Chaos Apep. Set had a vital role as a reconciled combatant. He was lord of the red (desert) land where he was the balance to Horus’ role as lord of the black (soil) land.

“In Egyptian mythology, Set is portrayed as the usurper who killed and mutilated his own brother Osiris. Osiris’ wife Isisreassembled Osiris’ corpse and resurrected him long enough to conceive his son and heir Horus. Horus sought revenge upon Set, and the myths describe their conflicts. The death of Osiris and the battle between Horus and Set is a popular theme in Egyptian mythology.”

“Apep (/ˈæˌpɛp/ or /ˈɑːˌpɛp/) or Apophis (/ˈæpəfɨs/Ancient GreekἌποφις; also spelled Apepi or Aapep) was an evil god in ancient Egyptian religion depicted as a snake/serpent and a dragon, the deification of darkness and chaos (ı͗zft in Egyptian), and thus opponent of light and Ma’at(order/truth), whose existence was believed from the 8th Dynasty (mentioned at Moalla) onwards. His name is reconstructed by Egyptologists as *ʻAʼpāpī, as it was written ꜥꜣpp(y) and survived in later Coptic as Aphōph. Apep is honored in the names of the 14th Dynasty king ‘Apepi and of the Greater Hyksos king Apophis.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/25/world/asia/china-signs-agreement-with-20-other-nations-to-establish-international-development-bank.html?_r=0
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_Infrastructure_Investment_Bank
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kishore_Mahbubani
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clash_of_Civilizations
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_democracy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberation_theology
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secularization
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secularism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelican
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Set_(mythology)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apep
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_State_of_Iraq_and_the_Levant

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