As I see it, through my sociological lenses, a much more considerable shift in US foreign policy is called for. In the short run, instead of seeking liberals throughout the Muslim world to ally ourselves with (the US just allotted 85 million dollars to democracy promotion in Iran)-- the US should recognize that the majority of the people in the Muslim world are moderates but not liberals. They do not favor free speech or women’s rights, but they do hold that other people should be free to follow their religions and, above all, they oppose violence, whether it takes the form of invading other nations or terrorism. Polls show that among the 140 million Muslims in Indonesia, the 70 million in Turkey, and the 32 million in Morocco, less than fifteen percent support suicide bombers. There are also numerous indications that there is little support for terrorism among Muslims in India, Malaysia, and Bangladesh. And eighty-four percent of Palestinians favor a peaceful solution to the conflict with Israel. (Many of the 44% that did vote for Hamas did so because of its integrity and the services it provides).Shorter version: When dealing with rogue statest we should support those who want peace, not those who want to create a "market-driven" society like America. Yet another reason why sending twentysomthing Republican idealists recruited at the Heritage foundation to do post-war reconstruction is not such a bright idea.
In the longer run we should realize that the end state of history may well be a regime that combines liberal forms of government with stronger commitments to the common good and greater concern for spiritual, religious, and cultural matters than the Fukuyama model calls for and the US promotes.
While it is true that nations such as China are now engulfed in a ‘making it,’ consumerist craze, I see this preoccupation as a child disease that nations outgrow. Europeans have long shown their strong interest in a social market and their preoccupations with cultural matters compared to economic efficiency. The same holds for many nations that are lumped together as the East. Moreover, the US itself regularly goes through periods in which it exhibit is a strong quest for more “social capital”, commitment to the common good, and moral values rather than merely various rights and liberties and material goods. The “end of history”, if there is such a thing, may lie somewhere between the individualism the US and the traditionalism favored by the Mullahs.
None of this will be of much importance until the end of the Bush Administration is followed by what might be called an Age of Restoration, in which the US conventional forces, credibility, good name overseas, alliances, and financial health are restored.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
A noteworthy observation: