American Exceptionalism turns Universalism then What?

Samuel P Huntington’s epos from 2004 Who Are We? is an interesting read even for Europeans. The Jews have claimed that they are God’s chosen people, which of course have irritated quite a few,  but if 300m Americans claim the same thing this must be considered preposterous, or? After the fall of the Soviet Union Francis Fukuyama, a student of Huntington, wrote a book called The End of History and the Last Man. We had, according to Fukuyama reached a point where liberal democracy was the Universal remedy for world politics. With the rise of China, without God and democracy, we have seen that East Asia can create prosperity as well. That leaves the Western Civilization divided: Europe, the cradle of Western Civilization and the Scientific Revolution, which could also be called exceptional, and the New World now led by Obama, the first Pacific President, no longer universal.

The attitude to the economy and the respective solutions to the financial crisis is different between the US and Europe. The US want to stimulate and Europe choses austerity. The welfare state is more developed in the EU. The US population is growing whereas the European countries are contracting relatively speaking. Immigration takes place in both with the US filling up with Mexicans and Asians and Europe with Africans and Muslims. The US is highly religious whereas Europe is more secular. Americans work harder than the Europeans, at least more hours per year, and are genetically from adventurous, more risk prone, Europeans. Americans have involved themselves more in world security and have a significantly larger military force. Since World War II the Americans have excelled in science and technology but the Europeans are catching up.  I will always work for maintaining good relations between the US and Europe but have seen during the last years that they are distancing themselves from each other more and more.

There is, however, one big difference: America is the United States of America but the EU can’t make up its mind about federalizing. When I started out in Political Science a few years ago, I thought the United States of Europe was a good idea. I thought English as a second language for all EU states was commendable and would keep a common culture alive trans-Atlantically. Then I realized that this was unattainable due to public nationalism. The European debt crisis gives Europe a push in the United States of Europe direction. How strong this push is going to be is an obvious question? Greeks are out demonstrating for World War II money from Germany so tensions have evolved to a malign degree.

The Davos Men or economic transnationals, that Huntington discusses, live in a global world already where they have less nationalism to start with but they might not actually need the Western Civilization either because they do a lot of business in Japan, India and China as well. However, they might just have to start thinking about getting the public with them a little considering for example the Occupy Wall Street movement. In this sense I am very Huntingtonian. They used to say there is more trans-Atlantically that we have in common than separating us. I still think this is true. The lesser evil is probably to keep the EU together, despite democracy deficit, to develop this market as a global competitor. We are going to need people around us that do business our way and that continue developing science as we started. In this way southern immigration into our civilization becomes a good thing that maintains the Western world in an amiable relationship with this world.

Inga kommentarer: