Could globalization be the answer to the clash of civilizations?

Could globalization be the answer to the clash of civilizations?

Humanity has reached a critical turning point. Deepening economic crisis, governments desperate in the face of the pandemic, rising popular movements and the military conflicts that we wake up to every day showcase the coming collapse of the established order.

Those in charge of this order are finding it more and more difficult to rule.

The United States of America in its self-declared role as the world’s police force and its pawns have lost their ability and power to come up with inclusive and constructive solutions to these multiplying problems.

Washington leadership has grown increasingly volatile to anyone it perceives as a rival or a threat, especially China and Russia. These leaders are attempting to give themselves some room to maneuver via forced agreements which have not been accepted by the rest of the world, something like the Abraham Accords.


But their efforts are futile…

About a year ago, during the interview with the Pakistani Ambassador to Ankara Sajjad Qazi, when I asked about the collapse of the West, he replied with the following verses of his country’s national poet, Mohammad Iqbal:

“The springs of the Himalayas are starting to cascade again

The people of Asia, deeply asleep, are waking up.”

Yes, the awakening quoted by Ambassador Qazi, which Mohammed Iqbal wrote in his verses 100 years ago, is taking place today.

The awakening of Asia is already more or less accepted, but the question of which way it will take and what kind of social, economic and political orders it will stand for are still unknown.

The answer to the question of what an Asian-centered future will bring us is closely related to the politics of China, the continent’s driving engine.

In this regard, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the 75th Assembly of the United Nations gives us some important clues.


Although the main structure of Xi Jinping’s speech covered the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, political/economic cooperation and environmental problems, the core of the text was a highlight of his vision of an alternative mode of globalization:

“The major economies need to step up macro policy coordination. (After the pandemic) We should not only restart our own economies, but also contribute to global recovery.”

“COVID-19 will not be the last crisis to confront humanity, so we must join hands and be prepared to meet even more global challenges. First, COVID-19 reminds us that we are living in an interconnected global village with a common stake. (…) No country can gain from others’ difficulties or maintain stability by taking advantage of others’ troubles.”

In his speech, the Chinese President gave important clues about his country’s plan for the future:

“We should embrace the vision of a community with a shared future in which everyone is bound together. We should reject attempts to build blocs to keep others out and oppose a zero-sum approach.”

” We should see each other as members of the same big family, pursue win-win cooperation, and rise above ideological disputes and do not fall into the trap of ‘clash of civilizations’.”

Xi’s globalization, proposed as a solution to the threat of a West-centered “clash of civilizations”, is of historic importance. And it is obvious that these conclusions will be discussed throughout the world.


Another important and critical point is that Xi believes that economic globalization is inevitable and that it is not possible for the world’s nations to return back to protectionist/isolationist politics:

“COVID-19 reminds us that economic globalization is an indisputable reality and a historical trend. Burying one’s head in the sand like an ostrich in the face of economic globalization or trying to fight it with Don Quixote’s lance goes against the trend of history. Let this be clear: The world will never return to isolation, and no one can sever the ties between countries. (…) We should say no to unilateralism and protectionism, and work to ensure the stable and smooth functioning of global industrial and supply chains. “

Xi continued his speech with the statements that globalization in the economic field can only be protected through strengthening the United Nations and other similar global organizations and cooperation, adding that they do not wish a “cold war” with another nation.

As can be clearly understood from this speech, which we quickly showed the outlines, China is in favor of the use of globalization as a tool, but they wish to explain when it comes to the direction and the purpose of globalization.

In this context, I find it useful to convey Xi Jinping’s statements on whether they will or will not follow an oppressive political axis:

“More importantly, we should respect a country’s independent choice of development path and model. The world is diverse in nature, and we should turn this diversity into a constant source of inspiration driving human advancement. (…) This will ensure that human civilizations remain colorful and diversified.”


Chinese President Xi Jinping’s assessments on current political and economic contradictions and his future visions, raise many questions:

1. Will nation-states have a future in a globalized world?

2. Is it possible that the globalist and protectionist economies coexist?

3. How will the balance between industrialized major states and oppressed nations be established?

4. Globalization, which has been the dominant mode in the world since the early 90s, has failed to solve global ethnic and religious conflicts; theses such as Samuel Huntingon’s thesis of ‘Clash of Civilizations’ were presented to humans as fundamental rules of the society. How will the new type of globalization described by Xi offer a solution to such contradictions?

5. Can conflicts be avoided only by balancing economic interests between nations?

6. Is an alternative model of globalization possible?

The water that cascades through the springs of Asia, mixes up into the world’s rivers, seas and oceans, despite the western dams and dikes built in front of it.

“The springs of the Himalayas began to cascade again,” as the great poet Iqbal has described in his verses. A new future design is coming to life.

At this point, it is critical to think about the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s historical speech and to seek answers to the questions he has inspired.

Onur Sinan Güzaltan
Onur Sinan Güzaltan was born in Istanbul in 1985. He had his Bachelors's degree in Law, from the Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marne Universty /Paris XII and a Master's degree in International and European Law. He got his certificate of diploma equivalence at Galatasaray University. Later, he got a Master's degree in International Trade Law, at the Institut de Droit des Affaires Internationales, founded jointly by the Sorbonne Universty and the Cairo Universty. In this process, he had served as the Cairo representative for the Aydinlik Newspaper. He has several articles and television streams within the international press, in such as People's Daily, Al Yaum, Al Ahram, Russia Today FranceAl Youm Al Sabea. In addition to being the author of the Tanrı Bizi İster Mi?, a work that studies the 2011-2013 political period in Egypt, he had also contributed to the multi-author study titled Ortadoğu Çıkmazında Türkiye, with an article that focused on the Turkish-Egyptian relations. While currently working as a lawyer, he also writes a weekly column for Aydinlik Newspaper on the subject of international politics and geopolitics.

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June 2024