Fukuyama, Huntington, Barber, Katzenstein, and Keohane all have diverse observations on the contemporary world situation. By comparing cultures, government systems and the general lifestyle of different groups, each of the essays attempts at summarizing the present-day day global climate. Although there is no one view that can completely capture the contemporary world state, Barber’s Jihad vs. McWorld paints the most precise picture of the contemporary world. Fukuyama makes an admirable attempt with his End of History where he describes a democratic victory following the Cold War.
Fukuyama (1989, 3-18) describes a world directly after the Cold War where capitalism just triumphed over communist Russia. Once the western world successfully promoted capitalism and democracy over communism, the battle essentially is over according to Fukuyama. Liberal, pluralist democracies withstood the threat of communism. Although this view has decent general understanding of the battle between communism and liberal, capitalist democracies, it lacks a diverse worldview. Fukuyama has a narrow vision of the world as either democratic and liberal or communist.
He groups all communist nations together as one entity and all of the western societies as another. This grouping over-simplifies the two government formats. Both communism and democracy can be measured in different degrees depending on the nation and the culture of the people. Fukuyama does not fully discuss the different degrees of the government systems. Communism following the Cold War does exist despite Fukuyama’s declaration of the ending of history. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a perfect example of a developing communist state.
Fukuyama (1989, 3-18) says that: “Western democracy is the final form of human government yet the handful of communist nations that still exist such as Vietnam have potential to become developed nations as soon as 2020. ” Fukuyama underestimated nations outside of Soviet Russia. Like most Americans, post-Vietnam War, Fukuyama disregarded communist Vietnam. Once the ground troops were pulled out, interest in trade, economic relations and government relations dwindled. Although Vietnam remained under the radar for Western society, it is still becoming a newly developed nation (BBC 21 Jul. 010). The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a perfect argument against Fukuyama’s The End of History. Fukuyama’s history is continued every day in the communist country of Vietnam, therefore it has not ended. Samuel P. Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations makes a slightly better attempt at capturing the contemporary world situation. In fact, there are many agreeable statements in Huntington’s essay. His description of Western versus Middle Eastern culture is a prime example of cultures dividing over an absence of similarities.
Huntington’s ( 1993) main point was that nations could look past economic and ideological differences. However, cultural differences create an issue that cannot be as easily overlooked. Huntington explains that: “The principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future. ” This theory is quite true in the contemporary world state. The most notable current conflict that directly relates to Huntington’s theory is the Iraq War.
Due to cultural differences, the war in Iraq reached its pinnacle over a lack of understanding between the two very different cultures. Because of this clash of differing Civilizations, the Western World is blindly dabbling in Middle Eastern society. Therefore, the Iraq War is a perfect example of cultures clashing. Although Huntington makes a notable attempt in capturing the essential issue in world politics, his hypothesis is somewhat arbitrary. Huntington makes his crucial mistake when he attempts to categorize diverse civilizations under one umbrella.
A nation such as the United States is considered Western Civilization; however, there are multiple other groups within that civilization. Cosmopolitan countries can have multiple different cultural or ethnic groups within their own civilization. Because of this, Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations lacks validity. Huntington overlooks the fact that multiple nations are multicultural. Some of these cultures clash, while others cooperate adequately. Huntington’s thesis fails to acknowledge this key interaction of cultures within his broad civilizations. By concentrating so heavily on the world’s clashes, Huntington neglected to iscuss the bonds that unite all of the civilizations. Katzenstein and Keohane made a similar mistake in their attempt to capture the contemporary world situation. Their article on anti-Americanisms touched on multiple valid points as well. In this article, they focused on the world in relation to its views on the United States of America. Essentially, it evaluated different types of Anti-Americanisms and explained why every nation has its own reason to loathe America. Katzenstein and Keohane (2010, 166-168) described the contemporary world by its relations with the United States.
Essentially, the degree of hatred, the reasons for hatred and the temperament of the hatred result in a specific type of Anti-Americanism. The issue with this theory is the fact that the world cannot be accurately depicted solely based on its relationship with the United States. International relations between all of the nations should be the focus when comparing different governments. Katzenstein and Keohane both attempted to depict the world accurately, however they only succeeded in comparing the rest of the world to the United States. Benjamin R. Barber’s Jihad vs.
McWorld was the most accurate depiction of the current world situation for numerous reasons. Unlike Fukuyama, Katzenstein and Huntington, Barber compares globalization and cultural tribalism. He compares the two then describes why both conflict with democracy. Barber’s “McWorld” can be described as the globalization of the world using big corporations. McWorld simply is the capitalist, liberal democracies of the Western world. “Jihad” is best described as tribalism including, religious and cultural beliefs that infiltrate government ideology (1992, 53. . The United States is the epitome of the McWorld nations. United States’ businesses have attempted to globalize nations for decades. McWorld is essentially the desire of big businesses to spread globally with little resistance from democratic governments. It is the intention of corporations to integrate favorable governments that help stimulate economic growth for their companies.
This clashes with Jihad’s desire for traditionalism and religious based governments. Barber’s view of Jihad is essentially the idea that Islamic nations are focused around eligious and traditional government (1992, 53). The fact that Barber has these two different types of cultures competing for influence in government is the best description of the current world situation. The international situation is a feud between traditional practices and economic gains. Barber makes strong points on how these two aspects of modern culture compete with the idea of democracy. Democracy is put on the backburner for both Jihad and McWorld (1992, 53). When governments focus on one of the two the people’s votes are clouded by the desires of tribalism and consumerism.
The question of women’s equality in traditional Islamic cultures has a direct conflict with democracy in today’s world. The human rights violations in third world country sweat shops conflicts with the democracy that the world preaches every day. Barber is correct in his observation of the contemporary situation. The feud between Jihad and McWorld goes on a daily basis.
Barber, Benjamin R. “Jihad vs. McWorld. ” The Atlantic, March 1992, 53. (accessed October 20, 2010). BBC. “Vietnam country profile. ” July 2010. http://news. bbc. o. uk/?2/?hi/?asia-pacific/?country_profiles/?1243338. stm (accessed October 20, 2010). Fukuyama, Francis. “The End of History. ” National Interest (1989): 3-18. http://www. cla. wayne. edu/?polisci/?kdk/?Comparative/?SOURCES/?fukayama. htm (accessed October 20, 2010). Huntington, Samuel. “The Clash of Civilizations. ” Foreign Affairs, Summer 1993. Katzenstien, Peter, and Robert Keohane. “Anti-Americanisms: Biases as Diverse as the Country Itself. ” In Annual Editions: Comparative Politics 10/?11. , 166-168. N. p. : McGraw-Hill/?Dushkin, n. d.