January 25, 2019
Until the end of the Cold War, there had apparently been a critique of Western civilization. Although the controversy between the Western and the Eastern blocs had mutually been beneficial for each side of the conflict, all debates concluded with the dichotomy of “the civilized West vs. the barbaric East.”
Yet, the notion of “the civilized West” has been a theoretical weapon used not only against the Warsaw Treaty Organization, but also against all non-Western societies since the beginning of the dark age of the Enlightenment.
Thus, the real dichotomy has turned out to be “the civilized West vs. the barbaric rest.” Through this perspective of orientalist colonialism, the civilized West represents everything pertaining to democracy, science and progress, while the barbaric rest merely deserves to be conquered and exploited.
In the age of empires, even enemies had been respected. After the end of a war, although the victorious party had occupied the lands of the defeated, they still treated their people with veneration and justice to ensure their own permanence.
Both the Roman and the Ottoman empires, the two greatest empires of the past, ruled over continents thanks to such a concept of justice. Hundreds of people had justly been governed by one emperor alone as long as they had submitted to his supreme authority.
The age of the Enlightenment, on the other hand, turned out to be an age of disaster. After its victory over the scholastic mentality of the Middle Ages, Western science has made a distinction, for the first time in history, between what is expedient and inexpedient: “The West was expedient, while the rest was inexpedient.”
In the age of empires, the occupied cities or countries had been governed through their own means. With the beginning of Western colonialism, a new mentality of exploitation and destruction emerged. Western colonialist states were plundering anything they could, including natural resources and the people. They have drastically changed the rules of war and international relations.
Until World War I, the British hegemonic power had been seen as an organizing political power in the international system. During the Cold War, any occupation of a country relied on a legitimate cause due to the balance of power in a bipolar world order.
Since the Cold War ended, international actors are not required to make excuses to legitimize their actions. Resembling the period of primitive and savage capitalism, the idea of the new world order of President George H. W. Bush leaves the United States with full impunity. They did not need to tire themselves for looking for excuses just to occupy a piece of Eastern lands.
Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has occupied and devastated Iraq and Afghanistan. Then, the Middle Eastern region became even more chaotic following the outbreak of the Syrian civil war.
The Palestinian issue has long become gangrenous. Afghanistan has been left in chaos. Libya is divided into three states. Yemen has been in the midst of a devastating civil war. The Syrian crisis has been going on almost for 10 years. Iraq has been destroyed by the political competition between the U.S. and Iran.
Taking the involvement of the U.S. administration into the ongoing political crisis in Venezuela into account, it is obvious Western colonialism aims to merely exploit without differentiating between religions and people.
Today, the West no longer has the capacity to establish a world order, but it has still significant powers of destruction. Meanwhile, the gap between the West and humanity has become wider than ever before.