Globalization Has Replaced Cold War As Central Organizing Principle for Understanding the World

Until the end of the world wars and numerous wars for independence in Africa, Asia and the Americas, the central organizing principle for understanding the world were colonialism and imperialism.

When I was growing up, I looked at the world as bipolar: communist vs. capitalist, allied with one of the two superpowers, US or Russia; or non-aligned or neutral. It was a simple way to understand a complex world, a central organizing principle or paradigm.

With the end of the Cold War, that paradigm has shifted. Since 9/11, some see a “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the Christian West. For some, clearly Islam has replaced communism as “the other” to be terrified of, to justify killing and to fear being killed by. I remind purveyors of this fear that there are one billion Muslims in the world; surely the vast majority of them do not wish to wipe you off the planet, and surely you do not wish to wipe them off the planet. Having lived in two Muslim countries since 2009 and traveled extensively in the Middle East, Asia and Europe, I do not subscribe to that paranoid world view.

The paradigm of a “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the Christian West has fallen apart in the US given the alliance US President Donald Trump has made with authoritarian Muslim leaders in the Middle East, his expressed admiration of them and desire to do business deals with them.

I suppose you could divide the world into countries that are developed, developing and undeveloped, but that suggests that undeveloped and developing nations are far needier than developed nations. Not necessarily true. Developed nations may be highly dependent on the fossil fuels, natural resources (mining lithium for batteries, for example), economical manufacturing (of smart phones, for example), cheap textiles (shirts and shoes, for example), and inexpensive foods (bananas and sea foods, for example) of other nations.

A far more accurate description of the world’s chief organizing principle is Globalization (or globalisation, in British spelling). How is each country in the world affected by it? Nearly all are.

Globalization is the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas and other aspects of culture.Globalization – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For centuries,  . . globalization was to a great degree a one-way street — from the developed to the developing world. Explore: Developing country

Economic globalization comprises the globalization of production, markets, competition, technology, and corporations and industries. Wikipedia Explore: Economic globalization


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