Asian Affirmation And Islamic Resurgence Essay, Research Paper
Two civilizations that were challenging the theory of Western supremacy and stressing the importance of their own culture in relation to that of the West were the Asian and Islamic civilizations. Both the Asian culture and the Islamic religion entered a great stage of revival and expansion which led to an increase in their self-confidence. Asian self-confidence was the result of rapid economic growth and development while Islamic superiority resulted from its population growth.
Asian Affirmation dealt with the economic development of East Asia. It helped prove the wrong the idea that Asia lacked the incentive and the means to successfully become economically self-sufficient. Its origin was in Japan during the mid 1900s and led to Japan becoming the first economically prosperous non-Western country. By the end of the Twentieth Century the Asian Affirmation had moved through the region which consisted of the Four Tigers – Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore – and was beginning to spread throughout the other countries such as China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.
Huntington stated how the Asian economic growth in comparison to Western economic growth was much more rapid. “… it took Britain and the United States fifty-eight years and forty-seven years to double their per capita output, but Japan did it in thirty-three, Indonesia in seventeen, South Korea in eleven, and China in ten.” (Huntington, 1996, 103) This growth was in part due to Asia’s unique culture and its belief that its inhabitants led a better and more meaningful life than those who were members of the Western world. This newly found confidence to stand up to Western society instead of succumbing to its every command was due to East Asia’s realization that its chance of success lay within its own culture and traditions.
The Asian Affirmation consisted of four parts. The first one was the belief that East Asia will continue to expand economically and eventually become more powerful than the West. The second one stated the Asian belief that its economic and social growth was due to the superiority of its culture when compared to that of the West. The third dealt with the commonality of all Asian cultures. East Asia believed in the Confucian teachings which stressed the importance of family, education, responsibility, and hard work. The forth component was a belief “…that Asian development and values are models which other non-Western societies should emulate in their efforts to catch up with the West…” (Huntington, 1996, 109) Countries such as Iran and Mexico, who in the past tried to learn from the West, are now beginning to look to Asian culture in order to grow.
Islamic Resurgence is the rise of Islam again. It is a move away form the West and the belief that all of the answers lay within the Islamic way of life. The Resurgence replaced the previously embedded Western law with Islamic law. It also paid more attention to religious observances such as praying and fasting, education, and the codes of social behavior. It was partly brought about by the rapid increase in the population growth during the late Twentieth Century and was further stimulated by the abnormally high proportion of the younger population.
Some defined the Resurgence as an increase in Islamic activism which had been fostered by Islamic movements throughout the world. These movements emphasized Islam, not just as a set of beliefs and rituals, but as a moral and social movement to establish the Islamic order. These ideological movements worked for the unification of the so-called sects in Islam. They accepted modernization without compromising the original principles of Islam, and denied westernization. They acted as the alternative movements to unite all sectors of the Muslim society like the ‘ulama, the western oriented Muslims, the students, professionals, and working class, to work together for the cause of Islam.
The movements did not receive much support from the rural and the elderly population. Just like in any other revolutionary movements, the majority of the members were young and modern. One section consisted of students and scholars who were members of organizations run by fundamentalists.
They were young, in their twenties and thirties. Eighty percent were either university students or graduates. Over half came from elite colleges. Over 70 percent were from lower middle-class and were the first in their family to get higher education. (Huntington, 1996, 113)
Another section of the movements consisted of the urban middle-class who were mostly lawyers, doctors, or teachers. The third section consisted of those who had immigrated to the cities and needed the help provided by these Islamic organizations.
The Resurgence was further motivated by the oil boom during the 1970s which brought with it the power and prestige that the Islamic nations had been hoping to achieve. The oil boom gave them the superiority to finally control the West as the West had previously controlled them.
Development refers to the economic and political conditions of a country and whether they are benefiting the inhabitants of the country. The people should be able to read and write, they should be living comfortably, and be healthy. The people should be equipped with all the essentials necessary to lead a comfortable life in a country with a stable form of government. Dependency is the reliance of one country on another country to survive. It leads to the country importing a large amount of products from an economically self- sufficient country and being indebted to that country. The oil boom in the countries such as Saudi Arabia and Libya allowed the Muslims to stop being dependent on the West and to use their wealth to increase development within themselves. In the Asian region, Malaysia which at first had been dependent on the West later followed Japan and China and used its own culture to further its economic development.
In conclusion, both the Asian and the Islamic civilizations will continue to globally expand and each leave their own mark in history. Economic and social development in Asia will continue to flourish and lead to a further increase in the living conditions of the middle-class. Islam will continue to gain political power in world countries and reemphasize the idea that the solution to every problem lies within Islamic religion. Both civilizations in the end became more self-sufficient and self- confident in their dealings with the West.
Huntington, Samuel P., 1996, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Simon & Schuster Inc.
Mazrui, Ali A., 1990, Cultural Forces in World Politics, James Currey Ltd.