China and civil­i­sa­tional har­mony

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - Khur­ram Min­has Email:khur­ram.min­has89@ya­

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

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