Here is an excerpt from the 1996 book The Clash of Civilizations
by Samuel Huntington.
(Additional excerpts from The Clash of Civilizations
are available in this blog here.)
The emphasis, aside from that on purely linguistic elements, is added.

Chapter 5
Economics, Demography,
and the Challenger Civilizations

Indigenization [§4.2] and the revival of religion [§4.3] are global phenomena.
They have been most evident, however, in
the cultural assertiveness and challenges to the West
that have come from Asia and from Islam.
These have been
the dynamic civilizations of the last quarter of the twentieth century.
The Islamic challenge is manifest in
the pervasive cultural, social, and political
resurgence of Islam in the Muslim world
the accompanying rejection of Western values and institutions.
The Asian challenge is manifest in all the East Asian civilizations—
Sinic, Japanese, Buddhist, and Muslim—
and emphasizes their cultural differences from the West
and, at times, the commonalities they share,
often identified with Confucianism.
Both Asians and Muslims stress
the superiority of their cultures to Western culture.
In contrast, people in other non-Western civilizations—
Hindu, Orthodox, Latin American, African—
may affirm the distinctive character of their cultures,
but as of the mid-1990s had been hesitant about
proclaiming their superiority to Western culture.
Asia and Islam stand alone and at times together,
in their increasingly confident assertiveness with respect to the West.

Related but different causes lie behind these challenges.
Asian assertiveness is rooted in economic growth;
Muslim assertiveness stems in considerable measure from
social mobilization and population growth.
Each of these challenges
is having and will continue to have into the twenty-first century
a highly destabilizing impact on global politics.
The nature of those impacts, however, differs significantly.
The economic development of China and other Asian societies
provides their governments with both the incentives and the resources
to become more demanding in their dealing with other countries.
Population growth in Muslim countries,
and particularly the expansion of
the fifteen- to twenty-four-year-old age cohort,
provides recruits for
fundamentalism, terrorism, insurgency, and migration.
Economic growth strengthens Asian governments,
demographic growth threatens Muslim governments and non-Muslim societies.

Section 5.1
The Asian Affirmation

The economic development of East Asia
has been one of the most significant developments in the world
in the second half of the twentieth century.
This process began in Japan in the 1950s,
and for a while Japan was thought to be the great exception:
a non-Western country that had successfully modernized
and become economically developed.
The process of economic development, however, spread to the Four Tigers
(Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore)
and then to China, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia,
and is taking hold in the Philippines, India, and Vietnam.
These countries have often sustained for a decade or more
average growth rates of 8–10 percent or more.
An equally dramatic expansion of trade has occurred
first between Asia and the world and then within Asia.
This Asian economic performance contrasts dramatically with
the modest growth of the European and American economies
and the stagnation
that has pervaded much of the rest of the world [in the early 1990s].

The exception is thus no longer just Japan, it is increasingly all of Asia.
The identity of wealth with the West
and underdevelopment with the non-West
will not outlast the twentieth century.
The speed of this transformation has been overwhelming.
As Kishore Mahbubani has pointed out,
it took Britain and the United States
fifty-eight years and forty-seven years, respectively,
to double their per capita output,
but Japan did it in thirty-three years, Indonesia in seventeen,
South Korea in eleven,
and China in ten.
The Chinese economy grew at annual rates averaging 8 percent
during the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s,
and the Tigers were close behind.
The “Chinese Economic Area,” the World Bank declared in 1993,
had become the world’s “fourth growth pole,”
along with the United States, Japan, and Germany.
According to most estimates,
the Chinese economy will become the world’s largest
early in the twenty-first century.
With the second and third largest economies in the world in the 1990s,
Asia is likely to have four of the five largest
and seven of the ten largest by 2020.
By that date Asian societies are likely to account for
over 40 percent of the global economic product.
Most of the more competitive economies will probably be Asian.
Even if Asian economic growth
levels off sooner and more precipitously than expected,
the consequences of the growth that has already occurred
for Asia and the world are still enormous.

East Asian economic development
is altering the balance of power between Asia and the West,
specifically the United States.
Successful economic development
generates self-confidence and assertiveness
on the part of those who produce it and benefit from it.
Wealth, like power, is assumed to be proof of virtue,
a demonstration of moral and cultural superiority.
As they have become more successful economically,
East Asians have not hesitated
to emphasize the distinctiveness of their culture and
to trumpet the superiority of their values and way of life
compared to those of the West and other societies.
Asian societies are decreasingly responsive to U.S. demands and interests
and increasingly able to resist pressure
from the United States or other Western countries.

A “cultural renaissance,” Ambassador Tommy Koh noted in 1993,
“is sweeping across” Asia.
It involves a “growing self-confidence,” which means
Asians “no longer regard everything Western or American
as necessarily the best.”
This renaissance manifests itself in increasing emphasis on both
the distinctive cultural identities of individual Asian countries and
the commonalities of Asian cultures
which distinguish them from Western culture.

When the West forced itself on China and Japan in the mid-nineteenth century,
after a momentary infatuation with Kemalism,
the prevailing elites opted for a reformist strategy.
With the Meiji Restoration a dynamic group of reformers
came to power in Japan,
studied and borrowed Western techniques, practices, and institutions,
and started the process of Japanese modernization.
They did this in such a way, however,
as to preserve the essentials of traditional Japanese culture,
which in many respects contributed to modernization
and which made it possible for Japan
to invoke, reformulate, and build on the elements of that culture
to arouse support for and justify its imperialism in the 1930s and 1940s.
In China, on the other hand, the decaying Ch’ing dynasty
was unable to adopt successfully to the impact of the West.
China was defeated, exploited, and humiliated
by Japan and the European powers.
The collapse of the dynasty in 1910 was followed by
division, civil war, and invocation of competing Western concepts
by competing Chinese intellectual and political leaders:
Sun Yat Sen’s three principles of
Nationalism, Democracy, and the People’s Livelihood”;
Liang Ch’i-ch’ao’s liberalism;
Mao Tse-tung’s Marxist-Leninism.
At the end of the 1940s
the import from the Soviet Union won out over those from the West—
nationalism, liberalism, democracy, Christianity
and China was defined as a socialist society.

In Japan total defeat in World War II produced total cultural discombobulation.
“It is very difficult now,”
one Westerner deeply involved in Japan [Alex Kerr] commented in 1994,
“for us to appreciate the extent to which everything—
religion, culture, every single aspect of this country’s mental existence—
was drawn into the service of that war.
The loss of the war was a complete shock to the system.
In their minds the whole thing became worthless and was thrown out.”
In its place, everything connected
with the West and particularly the victorious United States
came to be seen as good and desirable.
Japan thus attempted to emulate the United States
even as China emulated the Soviet Union.

By the late 1970s
the failure of communism to produce economic development and
the success of capitalism in Japan and increasingly in other Asian societies
led new Chinese leadership to move away from the Soviet model.
The collapse of the Soviet Union a decade later
further underlined the failures of this import.
The Chinese thus faced the issue of whether to turn Westward
or to turn inward.
Many intellectuals and some others advocated wholesale Westernization,
a trend that reached its cultural and popular culminations
in the television series River Elegy
and the Goddess of Democracy erected in Tiananmen Square.
This Western orientation, however,
commanded the support of
neither the few hundred people who counted in Beijing
nor the 800 million peasants who lived in the countryside.
Total Westernization was no more practical at the end of the twentieth century
than it had been at the end of the nineteenth century.
The leadership instead chose a new version of Ti-Yong:
capitalism and involvement in the world economy,
on the one hand,
combined with
political authoritarianism and recommitment to traditional Chinese culture,
on the other.
In place of the revolutionary legitimacy of Marxist-Leninism,
the regime substituted
performance legitimacy provided by surging economic development
nationalist legitimacy provided by
invocation of the distinctive characteristics of Chinese culture.
“The post-Tiananmen regime,” one commentator observed,
“has eagerly embraced Chinese nationalism as a new fount of legitimacy”
and has consciously aroused anti-Americanism
to justify its power and its behavior.
A Chinese cultural nationalism is thus emerging,
epitomized in the words of one Hong Kong leader in 1994:
“We Chinese feel nationalist which we never felt before.
We are Chinese and feel proud in that.”
In China itself in the early 1990s there developed

a “popular desire to return to what is authentically Chinese,
which often is patriarchal, nativistic, and authoritarian.
Democracy, in this historical reemergence, is discredited,
as is Leninism,
as just another foreign imposition.”

In the early twentieth century Chinese intellectuals,
independently paralleling Weber [cf.],
identified Confucianism as the source of Chinese backwardness.
In the late twentieth century
Chinese political leaders, paralleling Western social scientists,
celebrate Confucianism as the source of Chinese progress.
In the 1980s
the Chinese government began to promote interest in Confucianism,
with party leaders declaring it “the mainstream” of Chinese culture.
Confucianism also, of course, became an enthusiasm of Lee Kuan Yew,
who saw it as a source of Singapore’s success
and became a missionary of Confucian values to the rest of the world.
In the 1990s
the Taiwanese government declared itself to be
“the inheritor of Confucian thought”
and President Lee Teng-hui identified roots of Taiwan’s democratization
in its Chinese “cultural heritage” stretching back to
Kao Yao (twenty-first century b.c.),
Confucius (fifth century b.c.), and
Mencius (third century b.c.).
Whether they wish to justify authoritarianism or democracy,
Chinese leaders look for legitimation
in their common Chinese culture
not in imported Western concepts.

The nationalism promoted by the regime is Han nationalism,
which helps to suppress the linguistic, regional, and economic differences
among 90 percent of the Chinese population.
At the same time,
it also underlines the differences with the non-Chinese ethnic minorities
that constitute less than 10 percent of China’s population
but occupy 60 percent of its territory.
It also provides a basis for the regime’s opposition to
Christianity, Christian organizations, and Christian proselytizing,
which offer an alternative Western faith
to fill the void left by the collapse of Maoist-Leninism.

Meanwhile in Japan in the 1980s
successful economic development contrasted with
the perceived failures and “decline” of the American economy
led Japanese to become
increasingly disenchanted with Western models and
increasingly convinced that
the sources of their success must lie within their own culture.
The Japanese culture which produced military disaster in 1945
and hence had to be rejected
had produced economic triumph by 1985
and hence could be embraced.
The increased familiarity of Japanese with Western society led them to
“realize that being Western is not magically wonderful in and of itself.
They get that out of their system.”
While the Japanese of the Meiji Restoration
adopted a policy of “disengaging from Asia and joining Europe,”
the Japanese of the late twentieth century cultural revival
endorsed a policy of “distancing from America and engaging Asia.”
This trend involved, first,
a reidentification with Japanese cultural traditions
and renewed assertion of the values of those traditions,
and second and more problematical,
an effort to “Asianize” Japan
and identify Japan, despite its distinctive civilization,
with a general Asian culture.
Given the extent to which after World War II
Japan in contrast to China identified itself with the West
and given the extent to which the West, whatever its failings,
did not collapse totally as the Soviet Union did,
the incentives for Japan to reject the West totally
have been nowhere near as great as
those for China to distance itself from both the Soviet and Western models.
On the other hand,
the uniqueness of Japanese civilization,
the memories in other countries of Japanese imperialism and
the economic centrality of Chinese in most other Asian countries
also mean that it will be easier for Japan to distance itself from the West
than it will be for it to blend itself with Asia.
By reasserting its own cultural identity,
Japan emphasizes its uniqueness
and its differences from both Western and other Asian cultures.

While Chinese and Japanese found new value in their own cultures,
they also shared in
a broader reassertion of the value of Asian culture generally
[cf. “Asian values”]
compared to that of the West.
Industrialization and the growth that accompanied it
produced in the 1980s and 1990s
articulation by East Asians of what may be appropriately termed the
Asian affirmation.
This complex of attitudes has four major components.

Asians believe that East Asia
will sustain its rapid economic development,
will soon surpass the West in economic product,

and hence
will be increasingly powerful in world affairs compared to the West.
Economic growth stimulates among Asian societies
a sense of power and
an affirmation of their ability to stand up to the West.
“The days when the United States sneezed and Asia caught cold are over,”
declared a leading Japanese journalist in 1993,
and a Malaysian official added to the medical metaphor that
“even a high fever in America will not make Asia cough.”
Asians, another Asian leader said, are
“at the end of the era of awe
and the beginning of the era of talking back”
in their relations with the United States.
“Asia’s increased prosperity,”
Malaysia’s deputy prime minister [Anwar Ibrahim] asserted,
“means that it is now in a position to offer serious alternatives
to the dominant global political, social and economic arrangements.”
If also means, East Asians argue,
that the West is rapidly losing its ability
to make Asian societies conform
to Western standards concerning human rights and other values.

Second, Asians believe
this economic success is largely a product of Asian culture,
which is superior to that of the West,
which is culturally and socially decadent.

During the heady days of the 1980s
when the Japanese economy, exports, trade balance,
and foreign exchange reserves were booming,
the Japanese, like the Saudis before them,
boasted of their new economic power,
spoke contemptuously of the decline of the West,
and attributed their success and Western failings to
the superiority of their culture and the decadence of Western culture.
In the early 1990s Asian triumphalism was articulated anew
in what can only be described as the
“Singaporean cultural offensive.”
From Lee Kuan Yew on down,
Singaporean leaders
trumpeted the rise of Asia in relation to the West and

contrasted the virtues of Asian, basically Confucian, culture
responsible for this success—
order, discipline, family responsibility,
hard work, collectivism, abstemiousness

to the
self-indulgence, sloth, individualism, crime, inferior education,
disrespect for authority, and “mental ossification”

responsible for the decline of the West.

To compete with the East, it was argued, the United States
“needs to question its fundamental assumptions
about its social and political arrangements and, in the process,
learn a thing or two from East Asian societies.”

[Take that, straight eyes!!]

For East Asians, East Asian success is particularly the result of
the East Asians cultural stress on the collectivity
rather than the individual.
“[T]he more communitarian values and practices of the East Asians—
the Japanese, Koreans, Taiwanese, Hong Kongers, and the Singaporeans—
have proved to be clear assets in the catching up process,”
argued Lee Kuan Yew.
“The values that East Asian culture upholds,
such as the primacy of group interests over individual interests,
support the total group effort necessary to develop rapidly.”
“The work ethic of the Japanese and Koreans,
consisting of discipline, loyalty, and diligence,”
Malaysia’s prime minister agreed,
“has served as the motive force for
their respective countries’ economic and social development.
This work ethic is born out of the philosophy that
the group and the country are more important than the individual.”

while recognizing the differences among Asian societies and civilizations,
East Asians argue that
there are also significant commonalities.
Central among these, one Chinese dissident observed, is
“the value system of Confucianism—
honored by history and shared by most of the countries in the region,”
particularly its emphasis on
thrift, family, work, and discipline.
Equally important is
the shared rejection of individualism and
the prevalence of “soft” authoritarianism or very limited forms of democracy.
Asian societies have common interests vis-à-vis the West in
defending these distinctive values
and promoting their own economic interests.
Asians argue that this requires
the development of new forms of intra-Asian cooperation such as
the expansion of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and
the creation of the East Asia Economic Caucus.
While the immediate economic interest of East Asian societies
is to maintain access to Western markets,
in the longer term
economic regionalism is likely to prevail
and hence East Asia must increasingly promote
intra-Asian trade and investment.
In particular,
it is necessary for Japan, as the leader in Asian development,
to move away from
its historic “policy of de-Asianization and pro-Westernization”
and to pursue “a path of re-Asianization” or, more broadly,
to promote “the Asianization of Asia,”
a path endorsed by Singaporean officials.

East Asians argue that
Asian development and Asian values are models
which other non-Western societies should emulate
in their efforts to catch up with the West
and which the West should adopt in order to renew itself.

The “Anglo-Saxon developmental model,
so revered over the past four decades [1955–1995]
as the best means of modernizing the economies of developing nations
and of building a viable political system,
isn’t working,” East Asians allege.
The East Asian model is taking its place,
as countries from Mexico and Chile
to Iran and Turkey and the former Soviet republics
now attempt to learn from its success,
even as previous generations attempted to learn from Western success.
Asia must “transmit to the rest of the world
those Asian values that are of universal worth....
the transmission of this ideal means
the export of the social system of Asia, East Asian in particular.”
It is necessary for Japan and other Asian countries
to promote “Pacific globalism,”
to “globalize Asia,”
and hence to “decisively shape the character of the new world order.”

Powerful societies are universalistic;
weak societies are particularisitic.

The mounting self-confidence of East Asia has given rise to
an emerging Asian universalism comparable to
that which has been characteristic of the West.
“Asian values are universal values.
European values are European values,”
declaimed Prime Minister Mahathir to the heads of European governments
in 1996.
Along with this also comes an Asian “Occidentalism
portraying the West in much the same uniform and negative way
which Western Orientalism allegedly once portrayed the East.
To the East Asians economic prosperity is proof of moral superiority.
If at some point India supplants East Asia
as the world’s economically most rapidly developing area,
the world should be prepared for extended disquisitions on
the superiority of Hindu culture,
the contributions of the caste system to economic development,
and how by returning to its roots
and overcoming the deadening Western legacy left by British imperialism,
India finally found its proper place in the top rank of civilizations.

Cultural assertion follows material success;
hard power generates soft power.

[End of Section 5.1, “The Asian Affirmation”,
of The Clash of Civilizations.]

Miscellaneous Articles


Modern Singapore’s Creator Is Alert to Perils
New York Times, 2007-09-02

[Most of the article; emphasis is added.]

SINGAPORE, Sept. 1 —
Lee Kuan Yew,
who turned a malarial island [Singapore]
into a modern financial center with a first-world skyline,
is peering ahead again into this city-state’s future....

For all his success, Mr. Lee, 83,
remains on the alert for perils that may exist only on the distant horizon:
the rising role of China in the region as the United States looks the other way,
the buffeting of the world economy, even
climate change.

A British-educated lawyer who led Singapore for 31 years,
Mr. Lee is one of Asia’s remarkable personalities,
a world figure whose guest book is filled with
the names of international political and financial leaders.

His creation, modern Singapore, is an economic powerhouse with
one of the world’s highest per capita incomes
and high-quality schools, health care and public services
that have made it a magnet for global labor.
Foreigners make up roughly a fifth of its 4.5 million residents.

In his office in
the former headquarters of the island’s British colonial rulers ...

“To understand Singapore,” he said,
“you’ve got to start off with an improbable story:
It should not exist.”

It is a nation
with almost no natural resources,
without a common culture
a fractured mix of Chinese, Malays and Indians,
relying on wits to stay afloat and prosper.

“We have survived so far, 42 years,” he said. “Will we survive for another 42?
It depends upon world conditions. It doesn’t depend on us alone.”

This sense of vulnerability is Mr. Lee’s answer to all his critics,
to those who say Singapore is too tightly controlled, that it
leashes the press,
suppresses free speech,
curtails democracy,
tramples on dissidents and
stunts entrepreneurship and creativity in its citizens.

“The answer lies in our genesis,” he said.
“To survive, we have to do these things.
And although what you see today — the superstructure of a modern city —
the base is a very narrow one and could easily disintegrate.”

One of his concerns now, Mr. Lee said, is that
the United States has become so preoccupied with the Middle East
that it is failing to look ahead and plan in this part of the world.

“I think it’s a real drag slowing down adjusting to the new situation,”
he said, describing what he called
a lapse that worries Southeast Asian countries that count on Washington
to balance the rising economic and diplomatic power of China.

“Without this draining of energy, attention and resources for
Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine,
there would have been deep thinking about the long-term trends —
working out possible options that the U.S. could exercise
to change the direction of long-term trends more in its favor,”
Mr. Lee said.

[This is what some might call
the opportunity cost of Washington’s Middle East obsession.]

As the United States focuses on the Middle East, Mr. Lee said,
the Chinese are busy refining their policies and
building the foundations of more cooperative long-term relationships in Asia.
“They are making strategic decisions on their relations with the region,”
he said.

And this is where tiny Singapore sees itself as a model for China,
the world’s most-populous country.
“They’ve got to be like us,” Mr. Lee said,
“with a very keen sense of what is possible, and what is not.”

Every year, he said, Chinese ministers meet twice with Singaporean ministers
to learn from their experience.
Fifty mayors of Chinese cities visit every three months
for courses in city management.

Singapore’s secret, Mr. Lee said, is that it is “ideology free.”
It possesses an unsentimental pragmatism
that infuses the workings of the country as if it were in itself an ideology,
he said.
When considering an approach to an issue, he says, the question is:
“Does it work? Let’s try it, and if it does work, fine, let’s continue it.
If it doesn’t work, toss it out, try another one.”

Singapore’s real “secret” is the high quality of its people,
their intelligence and work ethic.]

The yardstick, he said, is:
“Is this necessary for survival and progress? If it is, let’s do it.”


“I think we have to go in whatever direction world conditions dictate
if we are to survive and to be part of this modern world,” he said.
“If we are not connected to this modern world, we are dead.
We’ll go back to the fishing village we once were.”


As for people’s adherence to
the “Asian values” — hierarchy, respect and order —
that Singapore is founded on, he said:
“It’s already diluted,
and we can see it in the difference between the generations.
It’s inevitable.”

In his own family, generational values are changing.
From father to children to grandchildren, he said,
command of the Chinese language has weakened,
along with the culture it embodies.

“They had a basic set of traditional Confucian values,”
he said of his children, two sons and a daughter. “Not my grandchildren.”


This well-educated younger generation
reflects the social dichotomy of Singapore,
Mr. Lee said, in which
the top 20 percent of the population is as cosmopolitan as any,
surfing the Internet and traveling the world without constraint.
“This is not a closed society,” he insisted.

But at the same time, he said,
the government must protect the less affluent, less educated people
from information that might upset or confuse them.
These are people “who are not finding it so comfortable
to suddenly find the world changed, their world, their sense of place,
their sense of position in society.”

They are the ones who he said had to be pulled into the future
as he seeks to make Singapore “a first-world oasis in a third-world region.”

“We built up the infrastructure,” he said.
“The difficult part was getting the people to change their habits
so that they behaved more like first-world citizens,
not like third-world citizens spitting and littering all over the place.”

So Singapore embarked on what Mr. Lee called
“campaigns to do this, campaigns to do that.”

Do not chew gum.
Do not throw garbage from rooftops.
Speak good English.
Perform spontaneous acts of kindness.

Paradoxically, he said,
if Singapore had not been so poor
it might never have transformed itself and prospered as it has.

His warnings about vulnerability and collapse
are a constant theme
to persuade his people to accept limits on their freedoms.

“Supposing we had oil and gas,
do you think I could get the people to do this?” Mr. Lee said.
“No. If I had oil and gas,
I’d have a different people, with different motivations and expectations.

“It’s because we don’t have oil and gas and they know that we don’t have,
and they know that
this progress comes from their efforts,”
he said.
“So please do it and do it well.”


Stay Out of Bangkok
by Doug Bandow
National Interest, 2010-05-17