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Anti-westernism

[NL]

“Many Asian intellectuals became some of the most eloquent – and earliest – critics of modernity. … With their anti-modern sensibility … they anticipated Europe‘s own thinkers, who were forced to re-examine their nineteenth-century belief in a progressively rational world by the slaughter of the First World War. … In fact, it was European principles of nationalism and civic patriotism that almost all native elites embraced in order to beat (or at least draw level with) the West in what seemed a Darwinian struggle for the future. …

Resistance to the West required [well] urgent adaptation to Western ideas of organizing state and society. … there was one Western idea in particular that proved irresitible to Muslim as well as Communist anti-imperialists …: the institutions and practices of the nation-state: clear boundaries, orderly government, a loyal bureaucracy, a code of rights to protect citizens, rapid economic growth through industrial capitalism or socialism, mass literacy programmes, technical knowledge and the development of a sense of common origins within a national community. … More than fifty new nation states with new names, borders and currencies appeared in just two decades after 1945. …

But the transition from criticizing foreign rule and instigating mass-movements to establishing a stable basis for self-determination proved to be very difficult. … The imported ideological passions of the Cold War aggravated political tensions in many countries, such as Pakistan and Indonesia. Separatist movements broke out in Kashmir, Aceh, East-Pakistan, Tibet and Sri Lanka. …

We can see that the seemingly wholesale adoption of Western ideologies (Chinese communism, Japanese imperialism) did not work. Attemps at syntheses (India’s parliamentary democracy, Muslim Turkey’s secular state, China’s state capitalism) were more successful, and violent rejections of the West in the form of Iran’s islamic Revolution and Islamist movements continue to have an afterlife.

Many new nations, such as Pakistan, never recovered from birthing traumas. … A year after the Arab Spring and the collapse of several pro-Western dictatorships, chaos and uncertainty may loom over a wide swathe of the Arab world for some years. But the spell of Western power has finally been broken. … The sense of humiliation that burdened several generations of Asians has greatly diminished. …

Yet this succes conceals with an immense intellectual failure, one that has profound ramifications for the world today and the near future. It is simply this: no convincingly universalist response exists today to Western ideas of politics and economy … Gandhi, thier most rigourous critic, is a forgotten figure within India today. Marxism-Leninism lies discredited and … China‘s own legacy of ethical politics and socio-economic theory remains largely unexplored. …

The ‘Bejing Consensus’ has even less universal application than its Washington counterpart; it sounds suspiciously like merely a cynical economic argument for the lack of political freedom. …

The earliest Asian modern intellectuals were beholders to European ideas. … Europe itself took hundreds of years to develop and implement the concept of a sovereign nation-state, only to then plunge into two world wars that exacted a terrible toll from ethnic and religious minorities. …

Much of the ’emerging’ world now stands to repeat, on an ominously larger scale, the West’s own tortured and often tragic experience of modern ‘development‘. In India and China, the pursuit of economic growth a all costs has created a gaudy elite, but has also widened already alarming social and economic disparities … The privileged Chinese minority aspires to nothing higher than the conveniences and gadgets of their Western consumer counterparts … a third of Indians live in conditions of extreme poverty and deprivation. More than half of the children under the age of five in India are malnourished. …

The disasters … can no longer be explained away with reference to the logic of development as manifested in Europe’s history. … The hope, that fuels the pursuit of endless economic growth – that billions of consumers in India and China will one day enjoy the lifestile of Europeans and Americans – is as absurd and dangerous a fantasy as anything dreamt up by al-Quaeda. … It condems the global environment to early destruction, and looks set to create reservoirs of nihilistic rage and disappointment among hundreds of millions of have-nots – the bitter outcome of the universal triumph of Western modernity, which turns the revenge of the East into something darkly ambigous, and all its victories truly Pyrric.”

aus:Pankaj Mishra: From the ruins of Empire. London: Penguimn 2013 (Orig.-Ausg. 2012), S.302-310

04/18

25/09/2018 (22:44) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

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