China and civilisational harmony
THE Clash of Civilisations is a hypothesis introduced by Samuel P. Huntington in 1992. It argues that people’s regional and religious identities, growing inequality among the regions and ideological differences will be primary sources of conflict in the post-Cold War world. The concept of ‘Clash of Civilisations’ was in response to Francis Fukuyama’s 1992 book, ‘The End of History and the Last Man’. Samuel P. Huntington later expanded his thesis in a 1996 book ‘The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order’. The growing inequality among various regions and political and economic monopoly of West are two variables, which had been identified by Huntington in his book.
His idea was widely criticized by various scholars. However, over the years, Huntington’s theory proved correct in its postulates as the world observed strong rages among different civilisations based on socio-economic and political inequality. The world has witnessed growing inequality in wealth for last two decades. On the contrary, China with 21 percent of total population of the world only maintains 9 percent of the total wealth of the world. Furthermore, the US had created capitalism for betterment of one percent, while it had ignored 99 percent of total world population, which created numerous socio-economic problems. Therefore, a new just economic world order is required to mitigate numerous existing socio-economic problems.
Meanwhile, China has emerged as a new hope for the civilisational harmony in the world. It has started various political and economic initiatives for the promotion of civilisational harmony among various regions. In this regard, New Development Bank (NDB) of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) are two milestones towards breaking the monopoly of the West over world economic order. Poverty index in South Asia is increasing since 2008. Currently, Pakistan’s poverty stands at 22 percent, while 30 percent of Indian public is living below the poverty line. On the contrary, China has uplifted 600 million people from poverty. In this regard, SouthAsian countries can learn from China, how China has uplifted such a large number of its people from extreme poverty.
Chinese One Road and One Belt (OBOR) initiative is another breath of fresh air in the time of civilisational clash. The OBOR initiative is an effort to further decrease the inequality ratio among the regions. China would invest 21 trillion US dollars in next 20 years on various economic corridors under OBOR initiative. Currently, China has spent 800 billion US dollars on six under construction economic corridors. Living standard of 64 percent of world’s population would improve under Chinese vision of connectivity through corridors, i.e. One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiative. The construction of six corridors under OBOR initiatives would also in- crease the people to people contacts of different regions from Europe to South Asia for economic purposes, which would diminish various stereotypes about each other. Elimination of various stereotypes would help in spreading harmony among various regions.
Harmony is the key to prosperity for all civilisations. In this regard, China is playing a vital role to create peace and stability in the world. Pakistan is also actively supporting Chinese dream of civilisational harmony through working on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). China and Pakistan nations are committed to save humanity from various issues ranging from terrorism to climate change and civilsational clash through increased trading activities among various regions. However, it is also the duty of international community to cooperate with these two nations for the betterment of human beings. — The writer works for Islamabad Policy Research Institute, a think tank based in Islamabad