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Rethinking East And West

Pankaj Mishra with a big new take on how Asia sees the world and the West now.

A street vendor sells portraits of Indian Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore on his 150th birth anniversary in Calcutta, India, Sunday, May 9, 2010. Events across India marked the 150th birth anniversary of freedom poet Tagore. (AP)

A street vendor sells portraits of Indian Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore on his 150th birth anniversary in Calcutta, India, Sunday, May 9, 2010. Events across India marked the 150th birth anniversary of freedom poet Tagore. (AP)


Pankaj Mishra, Indian essayist and novelist.  His latest book is “From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia.”

From Tom’s Reading List

The Daily Beast “That the West is in some form of decline isn’t much in dispute. But Mishra advances the discussion by arguing that the West’s moral decline traces back a century, through two world wars, a horrific legacy of colonialism, and a failure to treat non-Western nations as equal partners. This moral decline matters, he claims, because it reflects how Western liberal democracy may not be suited to these societies.”

Bloomberg “This week, demonstrators incensed by Japan’s purchase of the disputed rocky outcrops known as the Senkaku Islands filled Chinese cities for the biggest anti- Japanese protests since 2005. These mostly young men and women holding pictures of Mao Zedong reminded me of Mao’s speech at the founding of the People’s Republic of China in September 1949: the “Chinese people, comprising one-quarter of humanity,” Mao warned, “have now stood up,” adding that “ours will no longer be a nation subject to insult and humiliation.””

Book Excerpt: The Ruins Of Empire

by Pankaj Mishra

The contemporary world first began to assume its decisive shape over two days in May 1905 in the narrow waters of the Tsushima Strait. In what is now one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, a small Japanese fleet commanded by Admiral Togo Heihachiro annihilated much of the Russian navy, which had sailed half way round the world to reach the Far East. Described by the German kaiser as the most important naval battle since Trafalgar a century earlier, and by resident Theodore Roosevelt as ‘the greatest phenomenon the world has ever seen’, the Battle of Tsushima effectively terminated a war that had been rumbling on since February 1904, fought mainly to decide whether Russia or Japan would control Korea and Manchuria. For the first time since the Middle Ages, a non-European country had vanquished a European power in a major war; and the news careened around a world that Western imperialists– and the invention of the telegraph– had closely knit together.

In Calcutta, safeguarding the British Empire’s most cherished possession, the viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, feared that ‘the reverberations of that victory have gone like a thunderclap through the whispering galleries of the East’. For once the aloof and frequently blundering Curzon had his finger on the pulse of native opinion, which was best articulated by a then unknown lawyer in South Africa
called Mohandas Gandhi (1869 – 1948), who predicted ‘so far and wide have the roots of Japanese victory spread that we cannot now visualize all the fruit it will put forth’.

In Damascus, Mustafa Kemal, a young Ottoman soldier later known as Atatürk (1881-1938), was ecstatic. Desperate to reform and strengthen the Ottoman Empire against Western threats, Kemal had, like many Turks, taken Japan as a model, and now felt vindicated. Reading the newspapers in his provincial town, the sixteen-year-old Jawaharlal Nehru ( 1889-1964), later India’s first prime minister, had excitedly followed the early stages of Japan’s war with Russia, fantasizing about his own role in ‘Indian freedom and Asiatic freedom from the thralldom of Europe’. The news from Tsushima reached him as he was travelling on a train from Dover to his English public school, Harrow; it immediately put him in ‘high good humour’. The Chinese nationalist Sun Yat-sen ( 18866-1925) was also in London when he heard the news and was similarly exultant. Returning by ship to China in late 1905, Sun was congratulated by Arab port workers at the Suez Canal who thought that he was Japanese.

Excited speculation about the implications of Japan’s success filled Turkish, Egyptian, Vietnamese, Persian and Chinese newspapers. Newborn babies in Indian villages were named after Japanese admirals. In the United States, the African-American leader W. E. B. Du Bois spoke of a worldwide eruption of ‘colored pride’. Something akin to this sentiment clearly seized the pacifist poet (and future Nobel laureate) Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), who on receiving the news from Tsushima led his students in an impromptu victory march
around a little school compound in rural Bengal.

It mattered little to which class or race they belonged; the subordinate peoples of the world keenly absorbed the deeper implications– moral and psychological– of Japan’s triumph. This diversity was startling. Nehru belonged to a family of affluent, Anglophile Brahmans; his father, a beneficiary of British rule over India, was even rumoured to send his shirts to Europe for dry-cleaning. Sun Yat-sen was the son of a poor farmer; one of his brothers died during the Californian Gold
Rush that Chinese coolie labour serviced. Abdurreshid Ibrahim (1857-1944), the foremost pan-Islamic intellectual of his time who travelled to Japan in 1909 to establish contacts with Japanese politicians and activists, was born in western Siberia. Mustafa Kemal was from Salonica (now in Greece), born to parents of Albanian and Macedonian origin. His later associate, the Turkish novelist Halide Edip (1884-1964), who named her newborn son after the Japanese admiral Togo, was a secular-minded feminist. Burma’s nationalist icon U Ottama (1879-1939), who was inspired by Japan’s victory over Russia to move to Tokyo in 1907, was a Buddhist monk.

Some of the numerous Arab, Turkish, Persian, Vietnamese and Indonesian nationalists who rejoiced over Russia’s defeat had even more diverse backgrounds. But they all shared one experience: of being subjugated by the people of the West that they had long considered upstarts, if not barbarians. And they all drew the same lesson from Japan’s victory: white men, conquerors of the world, were no longer invincible. A hundred fantasies– of national freedom, racial
dignity, or simple vengefulness– now bloomed in hearts and minds that had sullenly endured European authority over their lands.

Bullied by the Western powers in the nineteenth century, and chastened by those powers’ rough treatment of China, Japan had set itself an ambitious task of internal modernization from 1868: of replacing a semi-feudal shogunate with a constitutional monarchy and unified nation-state, and of creating a Western-style economy of high production and consumption. In a bestselling book of 1886 titled The Future Japan, Tokutomi Soho (1863-1957), Japan’s leading journalist, had laid out the likely costs of Japanese indifference to the ‘universal’ trends set by the West: ‘Those blue-eyed, red-bearded races will invade our country like a giant wave, drive our people to the islands in the sea.’

Already by the 1900’s, Japan’s growing industrial and military strength was provoking European and American visions of the ‘yellow peril’, a fearful image of Asiatic hordes overrunning the white West. The defeat of Russia proved that Japan’s programme of catching up with the West had been stunningly successful. ‘We are dispelling the myth of the inferiority of the non-white races,’ Tokutomi Soho now declared. ‘With our power we are forcing our acceptance as a member in the ranks of the world’s greatest powers.’

For many other non-white peoples, Russia’s humiliation seemed to negate the West’s racial hierarchies, mocking the European presumption to ‘civilize’ the supposedly ‘backward’ countries of Asia. ‘The logic of the “white man’s burden”,’ declared Benoy Kumar Sarkar (1887-1949), India’s pioneering sociologist, ‘has become an anachronism except only to the blindest fanatics.’ Japan had shown that Asian countries could find their own path to modern civilization, and its special vigour. The Young Turk activist, and later minister, Ahmed Riza (1859-1930) summed up this resonant admiration:

Events of the Far East have put forth evidence of the uselessness of interventions, frequent if pernicious, of Europe reforming a people. On–the contrary, the more isolated and preserved from contact with European invaders and plunderers a people is, the better is the measure of [its] evolution toward a rational renovation.

Struggling with institutionalized racism in white-ruled South Africa, Gandhi drew a similar moral lesson from Japan’s triumph: ‘When everyone in Japan, rich or poor, came to believe in self-respect, the country became free. She could give Russia a slap in the face. . . In the same way, we must, too, need to feel the spirit of self-respect.’ The Chinese philosopher Yan Fu (1854-1921) recalled a century of humiliations inflicted on China by Western ‘barbarians’, from the Opium wars to the burning of the imperial Summer Palace in Beijing, and concluded that ‘the only reason we did not devour their flesh and sleep upon their hides was that our power was insufficient’.

Japan had now shown how that power could be acquired. For many Asians, tormented by incompetent despots and predatory European businessmen, Japan’s constitution was the secret of its strength. Armed by its example, political activists across Asia helped fuel a series of popular constitutional revolutions against ossified autocracies (defeated Russia itself lurched into one in 1905). The Ottoman ruler, Sultan Abdulhamid II (1842-1918), had closely followed Japan’s modernization, especially as the ever-rising demands of European powers reduced Istanbul’s sovereignty to a pitiable fiction. But many admirers of Japan in the Muslim world were such secular, even antireligious, nationalists as the Young Turk exile and writer Abdullah Cevdet, who wrote of Japan as the carrier ‘of the sword, for the oppressors, for the insolent invaders; the torch for the oppressed, for those that shine unto themselves’. Emboldened by Japan’s victory, in 1908 the nationalist Young Turks forced Sultan Abdulhamid to reinstate a constitution suspended since 1876. The Persians, encouraged by the sight of constitutional Japan defeating autocratic Russia, created a national assembly in 1906.

(Excerpted from FROM THE RUINS OF EMPIRE by Pankaj Mishra. Copyright © 2012 by Pankaj Mishra. Published in September 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.)

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  • jacob_arnon

    Paraphrasing Mark Twain news about the death of the West has been greatly exaggerated. 

    If you think of the West as a geographical position on a map, it’s not clear that China and especially India are doing better than France or Canada economically and culturally. 

    If you think of the West as a form existence that relies on technology then China and India are part of the West too. China became Western when it embraced Marxism and India when it embraced Western  technology a means of growing the economy and making the life of tens of millions people a little easier. 

    The West is about a form of social organization that relies on technology. This was already true in antiquity and it never ceased being true. 

    Colonialism was made possible by the technology of warfare.  Colonialism is the effect and not the cause of recent Western supremacy in the world. The moment countries like Japan and China became technologically sophisticated the geographical West lost its advantage. 

    Doesn’t mean that the West is in decline, though.

    • world3

      Okay, then lets say its stagnant because once it looses its position of supremacy as you state then logically its declining but as yous say it isn’t so to me, its stagnant

  • TinaWrites

    I believe that our “moral decline” comes from our refusal to understand our own American past and its consequences.

    I have long said that we will be woefully ignorant in our foreign policy as long as we refuse to acknowledge, in a truly informed way, the horrific consequences of the founding of this country on the Native Americans, and their land and natural resource claims.  Even as the country grew, we continued to show little understanding of the colonial nature of this continuing venture:  how contact alone destabilized Native communities and alliances; how much the European-Americans  were truly condescending in their attitudes about Native people; how often massacres, betrayals, false alliances, and unilaterally abandoned treaties were part of the European-American apparatus of war. 

    Add to this, and to no lesser degree, the fact that we will be woefully ignorant in our foreign policy as long as we refuse to acknowledge, in a truly informed way, the horrific consequences on enslaved people (as well as on those designated Free People of Color!) of our country’s Slave Economy, which along with the Native-Lands land grab, allowed us as a nation to amass so much wealth!  

    Slavery was followed by two periods even less well “digested” by the dominant  U.S. culture:  the period of a bifurcated and ultimately undermined and abandoned Reconstruction; and the long period of American Aparteid and American-soil-grown Terrorism, called Jim Crow and lynching.  A lot of Jim Crow functioned thru “social custom”, but it also functioned thru many, many laws that together robbed Blacks of their full freedom, their full access to opportunity, and left them open to arrest based on the whim and motive of the accuser.  There is so much evidence of the Systemic Racism that continues to this day:  the tragic failure of segregated inner city schools; disproportionate incarceration of African-Americans (“The New Jim Crow”); disproportionate poverty of African-Americans, and lengthy periods when Black families could not “build wealth”, etc., etc.  In many of the books of scholarship that I have been reading lately, you can actually “watch” the birth and growth of “the ghetto” (now called “the inner city”), and no matter where in the country, these processes were driven by White racism.

    As eager as Black Americans were for change after the Civil War, racism reared its head in so many places:  in the South after the Civil War (especially with the twin evils of sharecropping and the even worse peonage system [“Slavery by Another Name by D. Blackmon”]; or in urban Philadelphia which had long had a strong African-American community until after Reconstruction failed, and, within 10-15 years, racism took over; and there was racism in the North during and after the Great Migration; or in our Armed Forces until really late, or in some unions until the Civil Rights era.  Having done The Work, once finally Emancipated, African-Americans, eager to taste the fruit of freedom and to work hard for their expression of the  American dream, found themselves shut out over the course of the next 150 years.  In this short version, it seems like, “yeah, I know that”, but studied in more depth, it becomes apparent that we as a nation have no right to be playing in a field we don’t even understand at home.  

    Until we see the many racist assumptions, correct them, and even start to consider the value of, and the many versions of,  reparations for them, we had best watch what we preach.  (Japanese-Americans received reparations for internment during World War II.  Congressman Conyers has proposed reparations for slavery for decades, but never gets his bill passed.  Some people consider Affirmative Action a postive form of reparations.)  And yet, as soon as the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, especially, were passed, many started calling for their repeal!!!  No sooner had Affirmative Action begun, than some Whites were fighting it; centuries of Blacks being exploited and denied access, and being denied the vote, and yet just a few years of Affirmative Action are trounced upon because of the charge of “reverse racism”!!  And now we are to understand that many conservative Republicans will be behind an effort to repeal Affirmative Action and the Voting Rights Act!!!  

    How can we expect to provide wise council for the emerging democracies of the world?  Well, there is a way, which would also help us as a nation, because, as it is now, we get horrifically bogged down in arguments based on stereotypes based on our own lack of knowledge:  we could make a gigantic national effort to study and understand our past and its consequences on us as a democracy.  We need to do a lot of study to start proposing the many answers there are to these questions:  How did we treat indigenous people?  What did we propose to do about their land claims?  How did we integrate with indigenous people?  How did we integrate with people we brought in “to work”?  How well did we really live with the presence of other sovereign nations within our national borders; within our state borders?  The only downside to our studying would be the appearance of spin doctors posing as historians who would give us a history they want us to have to get us to vote the way they want us to.  (Picture what textbooks might say if K-12 schools get privatized by for-profit schools!)  As many of you know, however, there is wonderful, true scholarship out there, and although it may be appalling to read about much in America’s past, it also provides tools to more appropriately get America’s bad karma out from under where it destabilizes the patriotism we’d like to feel.  This would decrease cynicism and increase participation which would probably result in policies that will be more legitimately designed to represent freedom, equality, opportunity, and democracy for all.  Then maybe we’ll be ready to spread our wisdom and our wings to other parts of the world, hopefully with humility and open ears!

    • TinaWrites

      Oh, the long excerpt from the guest’s book was not available yet on line when I wrote my piece here.  (I just noticed it and haven’t had a chance to read it yet). 

      • TinaWrites

        (This is my third attempt to post this without getting screwed up by some computer glitch or another!!! — sorry if you see duplicates elsewhere.)

        Now that I’ve had the chance to read the book excerpt above, I realize that I can tie my original post to the excerpt more clearly.  In the excerpt, we can see some evidence of what has caused me over the years to say that it seems like everywhere that the British went, there winds up to be initially, later, or even today, an area of major cultural, political, and/or military conflict (and, yes, psychological and socio-psycho trauma inflicted on the indigenous peoples!).  Altho I was trying to limit my discussion to the period when the United States had begun nationhood, really, even our nation falls under the category of an area experiencing major conflicts where the British were amongst the colonizers.  And, I would contend that as we expanded West, claiming more lands as our own, that we took a  British mindset (including a British system of social status, British sense of land ownership, British sense of contracts and treaties) with us, even when we had other ethnicities do the dirty work of serving in the front lines.  It is particularly interesting to read about the relationships of the indigenous peoples with other major European New World colonizers in North, Central, and South America.  As disastrous as those relationships were for the Native peoples, there is much evidence to support the idea that in many areas of life, there was less racism, as experienced personally and socially by the Native peoples in some of these specific areas.

        • TinaWrites

          It’s late, and I was afraid I’d lose yet another post to a cyber ghost!  I meant to say, “psycho-social”  (that sounds SO much better!).  

          AND, I meant to say that all this continues to haunt the world today.  

      • world3

        if only a handful of Americans would read this and take it for what it is worth, then and only then can we finally see a ray of hope.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=584989777 Brian P. Kasso Gaidry

    Tom, please ask Pankaj Mishra about the effect of geography, astronomy and astrology on the cosmological and cultural differences between East and west.

    I find it very interesting that the spiritual traditions of the East, the “Orient”, (facing the rising sun) have creation myths that say the gods (plural, both feminine and masculine) created the world and put themselves INTO everything in it, including US, and that EVERY moment is the moment of creation, including this one. In the land of the rising sun, the world is born anew in each new day and the present moment is the most important time. The Eastern spiritual traditions also teach that the world is part of an endless eternal wheel of life and death and life and death and life … that never ends.

    By stark contrast, the fundamentalist religions of the West, the “Occident”, (facing the falling sun) share a creation story that says God (singular, masculine) created the world and everything in it in way back when, in about a week, and then went home (wherever that is). In essence, God is the absent father. The western spiritual traditions also share an eschatology that says the world is just about to end in a fiery descent. Each day brings us closer to judgment day creating so much anxiety about the future and the sins of our past that it becomes nearly impossible to live in the present moment.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       The sun rises in the east and sets in the west in Europe too.  It doesn’t just pop into the high sky over England…

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       You are aware, aren’t you, that the polytheistic religions of Greece, Rome, the Celts, and the Norse peoples were Western?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HPQ77GDELGWJSVAYM5TQQGBTZ4 Sheila S.

    Which viewpoint will the U.S. adopt toward our place in the world?  It depends on our leadership.

    Peace between countries requires an approach that seeks common ground to start.  Just as our American Republican politicians often take an adversarial approach to cultural differences, Democrats tend to study these differences and seek common ground. I am NOT referring to terrorists when I speak of cultural differences. 

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The difference between the East and the West, in broad terms, looks to be one of collectivism versus individualism.  Obviously, there are exceptions, but that strikes me as the general rule.  The question of this century will be which view of humanity wins.  My vote is for the Western model, but the Eastern way has the power of the horde.

    • TinaWrites

      Were you being intentionally provocative when you used the word “horde” to describe the Eastern way; yet you used a more judgment-free term, “model” to describe the Western approach? 

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         Mass movements always worry me.  I see a horde in the Occupy groups.  I see a horde whenever a large number of people push for something.  I prefer to deal with individuals.

        • world3

          But when individuals who like dealing with individuals do so in large numbers like you purport is what the western model is then it becomes a horde of individualists. 

        • world3

          But if you deal with a group of individuals who like dealing only with individuals as I would assume is what you say the west does then the bulk of them constitute a horde!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Arab or Muslim culture isn’t like the Far East.  The Arabs, in particular, are much more Western than Eastern.

  • ToyYoda

    I’m curious to know how well will the East steward the world compared to the West when they do become the dominant force in the world?  Would they rule like the West, Gangnam style?  Or would they rule like a wise Lao-Tzu?

    • world3

      I guess we just have to wait and see. but we in the developed parts of the world, hope they will do a better job than their predecessers

  • Jengliu

    Mao’s doctrine, in a large degree, still dominates the direction of China’s policy making today.  He once said that China must move forward with its own two feet.  The tone of his speech is still reverberating in implementing the nation’s economics expansion, i.e. to be the capital of manufacturing of the world.  The exodus of the industry, the outsourcing, similar to the one ocurred in the US for the past 2 decades is not only unimaginable but also akin to the treason.   

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.weiskel Tim Weiskel

    For any Americans who have spent significant time outside of the United States, the observations of Pankaj Mishra are well known — indeed quite a polite understatement of the problem at hand.

  • Call_Me_Missouri

    Shame-based culture will never play a significant role in the west.

    • TinaWrites

      Tragically, this seems to be a major part of gang cohesion.  

      Also, at a totally different scale, I’ve known powerfully manipulative people who took their own shame-based background and learned how to insert it into others who had no such background and therefore were not alert to it and able to reject it in the early stages, later getting trapped into shame and pride (it’s polar opposite) influencing their behavior more than their own former good common sense; all, ultimately, leading to their doing the bidding of the powerful person.  

    • TinaWrites

      Also, we really need to understand shame and pride:   the good parts and the not-so-good parts.  What pride and shame inspire; what they can provoke.  There is a book by a psychologist who writes about research into “Pride and Shame”:  that’s the title.  I read it about 20 years ago and learned a lot; but I never finished the last quarter of the book, as is often my “style”.  Shame. Shame!

      By the way, I would contend that Americans’ fixations with appearing Hip and Cool comes from some Shame-based indoctrination that comes straight from television and the world of advertising and marketing.  I’m not at all certain, as you are, that a “Shame-based culture will never play a significant role in the West”.  I think we’re already thick into it.  It is one of the major differences between the generations that begin with the Baby Boomers, and the generations that preceded them when those earlier generation members did not live long enough to also be indoctrinated thru television.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.weiskel Tim Weiskel

    Unfortunately, the posture of American “exceptionalism” — so prominently championed by
    one of our major political candidates at this moment — is both
    tragically out of touch and without doubt quite harmful to the American
    future.  Ever since the publication in 1953 by K. M. Panikkar of his
    book Asia and Western Dominance: A Survey of the Vasco Da Gama Epoch of Asian History, 1498-1945 we have had a clear statement of the problem. All of Edward Said’s work on Orientalism
    points to a similar profound ignorance combined with staggering
    arrogance on the part of Western “civilization.”  More recently, the
    shock of the Western world at the revelations about how China first
    discovered the Americas (see: http://www.gavinmenzies.net/china/about/ )
    is a sad example of the insularity of western scholars and

    The intellectual history of Muslim thought throughout the nineteenth
    century was clearly set forth fifty years ago by Albert Hourani in his: Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, 1789-1939.

    This is an important contribution to an age old problem of western cultural misunderstanding:

         The East is East but the West is Best….

    Perhaps some further attention to the long history of the myopia of
    imperialism in your future programs would be quite helpful to enable us
    to understand some simple facts about why the American model is so
    widely rejected in the world today.

    This is why Pankaj Mishra’s perspective on the essential tragedy of the obverse sentiment — Asian superiority and Western transience — is so encouraging.  Perhaps we could take the conversation more in that direction towards a globalization of human consciousness.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Which Eastern model do you prefer?  I’ll keep the Western and individualist way, thanks.

    • TinaWrites

      Thank you for this post and for the phrase, “a globalization of human consciousness”.  Good for the author, good for OnPoint and good for you for getting such phrases and concepts out there especially at this  peak political period!  As you say, “perhaps we could take the conversation more in that direction”!  

    • Vigilarus

      Gavin Menzies is a charletan whose fabulist tales posing as history are refuted by abundent evidence. He is no scholar, and has been repeatedly debunked by serious historians. (e.g. http://www.1421exposed.com/ )

      Or is empiricism supposedly a Western prejudice?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Are you saying that China isn’t a currency manipulator?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001267780577 Zaheer Durrani

       China is doing just that and does not care what the west thinks. China economic policies are made in China not the west.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        Indeed, and we are in competition to determine which model will dominate this century.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The biggest shift over the last generation or so is the globalization of business. Once upon a time US investors, corporations success and the success of the US middle class were linked because it all happened here.

    Now investors and corps are global, and US middle class are now just another market to exploit. So the rich get richer and US middle class stagnates and shrinks.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VG7S3RBPBBX7ABK5B5ETBDSDBE David S

    Most interesting interview… The Eastern inprint on the economic impact of the “West” on the “East” appears to be an absorption of capitalism by traditional authoritarian systems of the East… generating an oriental fascism.  Are relatives living in India incorrect when they indicate that other than the areas “westernized” by the oppression of India the nation is a place of filth, disease and poverty? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/agni.ashwin Agni Ashwin

    Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary is coming up January 2013.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RBONPISV6DCCKAC5JIPSCOGILM Rom

    I dont really see why in this long description of “arab or muslim awakening against the west” the Ottoman empire is never mentioned!! Egypt, Algeria, these were all under domination of Turks! and even though they hold a relatively loose control over these territories, I dont think theses guys were eager to give locals self determination more than the brits or the french.
    So this is really weird to explain that occupation started in the late 19th, although many wars were fought between Europe and Ottoman empire for centuries on both continents…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brennan-Moriarty/100000655771831 Brennan Moriarty

    On Point “rethinking east & west” the prime directive of colonialism is to deny secondary normative statistics that keep the chaos of cultural war on the frontier in protective mode. The tertiary is the ecological pagan and economic savage within… treatment of civilization…
    I am very eager to retell this ever refined story of geo-sociological theory, where AMERICA being the great divide between europe and asia, and a semi-filtered filter, has yet to calculate the secondary normative cog and the thread of colonial thought , pulling this magic thread on this statistical geographic representative [pre-sent normative chemistry and level balance of civil....health,,, and environmental GENEal happiness with human rites  solved by those same tertiary talkers and yet peace revolving with informative full -combo- geographic normalcy and general happiness CARVED IN STONE like a ship through tidal climates.
    The audible left ...and the homogeneous right _ trump the ugly truth of_ autistic communism  vs Leonardo da Vinci [left handed; gay: militant]
    it is the actual primary beams/JUSTICE  ;Vs; the prime threads/directives , you can see the gears , and see them turn with vast enlightenment when informative x-file/filament arrive to subliminal informative ATTITUDE that the prime dictator wishes to ig-nore as a reIGious NORm, ambIGuous form… the elements, statistical …repeat, gets out f the boat and, and ….terror rethinks the maintained presence that must be the secondary-directive for true civility on these fine graphs of directive longitudes and resource staking territory , vs, the normative latitudinal and cultural enlightening repatriation. The continent will attempt to alienate and subjegate the island nation, especially on the far-side or the “normative cide”, …radicalism, moral decay, health.,., mind-x-pension , and basically ignorance of complex solutions suspended above COMPLICATED finality. completing X complex illuminating connection in geo-cultural normative youth %.
    Vs the complimentary/cop-out …Ed… neglect! and prevention, both the noticeable and the general, dissonant and harmony, reminders and pulls. :)
    if we do not have….{WE NEED}  an actual X-change of prisoners of A.N.N.Y.T. [alien noticeably normative youth transplant] then… talented western “left on left” youth [Kurt cobain=left-Handed han_ded LOGGING TOWN blue eyes] 
    .and ,
     undesirable[v-tech ft-hood shootings] eastern “east on east” [trail of slant / terror fears, Sherman's bulldozer to the sea;;;N.C. not caring & not China]

    [as]   If    ]]] these “heavy elements” this unthinkable stats! [[[[are not]]]] MUST BE AUTOMATICALLY x-changed. full stop, re-order, restart, RE-FEEL. and filter the primary [everybody? really check again mate] , secondary [deliverance], tertiary [all the crap, debt, ecology, prisons...] , quaternary [Education.... still wit the "everybody" thinking is an ability more than a choice ;) ], quinary, empty you mind, we are coming to a quiet level peace [around 21 December 21], , and when I say PULL, YOU F* PULL !  this will unfurl the fabric with wonderful order, funneling the precious dew to our dry and restless lips, like heavens mandate. CALIFORNIA 5.

    • ExcellentNews

      “Smoking this substance is not recommended while operating heavy machinery or surfing the web…”

  • Regular_Listener

    Mishra is a very interesting commentator and thinker, and I probably should read his book before forming any judgements.  Still, he did seem to be saying that Asia has been forced to accept a bad deal from the West, and that this is now changing, and that the West should accept its decay and the inevitable rise of Asian cultures and economies.  I think that there are a number of things wrong with this view (if it is indeed his view).  First of all, how would Asian countries have fared without colonization?  Would they really be better off today, or did the West actually provide them with education and opportunities and institutions (along with carting off a number of things we wanted for ourselves)?   Does he really want to point to Mao Zedong as some sort of exemplar?   Like his Eastern European counterparts, Mao sent millions to their deaths in pursuit of a vision of material progress and communist government, something that has not happened in America or Western Europe (although Germany did have something called National Socialism).  I can certainly understand that the rise of the West to world dominance has been a painful experience for many Asian powers, but I don’t see them surpassing us any time soon, nationalistic fervor or not.

  • ExcellentNews

    I agree that the “West” may be in decline, but I deeply disagree about the mechanisms that Mr. Mishra proposes. There are two simple reasons behind the “West decline”

    1) We let our “executive class” export our jobs to Asia and other slave-labor countries. First, manufacturing jobs, now white collar technical jobs. THAT is the reason for the economic growth abroad and relative economic decline in the West.

    2) We have replaced our moral compass for some mushy relativism. Europe – the root of the “West” – brought rational humanism, science, human rights, decent living standards, actual healthcare, working democracy…etc to the mankind. Without the West, the world today would be the way it was five centuries ago – mired in a totalitarian aristocracy, plagued by constant war, disease and general misery. The West brought LIGHT and HOPE to mankind.

    So, people of the “West” – NO APOLOGIES. No relativism. Be proud of what we have accomplished. Be CONFIDENT. We are still at our beginning, not at our end.

Sep 18, 2014
Flickr/Steve Rhodes

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