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The West Unique, Not Universal

Samuel P. Huntington
Foreign Affairs
Vol. 75, No. 6 (Nov. - Dec., 1996), pp. 28-46
DOI: 10.2307/20047828
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20047828
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The West Unique, Not Universal
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Abstract

Many in the West believe the world is moving toward a single, global culture that is basically Western. This belief is arrogant, false, and dangerous. The spread of Western consumer goods is not the spread of Western culture. Drinking Coca-Cola makes a Russian no more Western than eating sushi makes an American Japanese. The essence of the West is the Magna Carta, not the Magna Mac. As countries modernize, they may westernize in superficial ways, but not in the most important measures of culture--language, religion, values. In fact, as countries modernize they seek refuge from the modern world in their traditional, parochial cultures and religions. Around the globe, education and democracy are leading to "indigenization." And as the power of the West ebbs, "the rest" will become more and more assertive. For the West to survive as a vibrant and powerful civilization, it must abandon the pretense of universality and close ranks. Its future depends on its unity. The peoples of the West must hang together, or they will hang separately.

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