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Western Culture And Policies That Have Shaped The Modern World

1535 words - 7 pages

Western culture and policies have shaped the modern world, especially the Middle East, in many ways. Since the sixteenth century, the nations of Western civilization have been the driving wheels of modernization. Globalization is simply the spread of modern institutions and ideas from one high power to the wider world. Technological innovation and economic growth along with such concepts as democracy, individualism, and the rule of law administered by an impartial judiciary, set Western societies above and beyond any possible rival. Other cultures looked to the West as a model, a threat, or some combination of both. One country that was most successful in their confrontations with Western ...view middle of the document...

Rather, the cultural identity of a society expresses its fundamental self-understanding that constitutes the values of the people. In establishing religions people were looking for constitutional values. Religion became a cultural value to certain societies. For example, look at the Western political culture. It has been shaped by Greek philosophy, Roman law, feudalism, and the Renaissance. Western culture also has been shaped a great deal by Christianity, Judaism and by Islam.
Much of the Middle East experienced centuries of Ottoman rule, generally from the mid-sixteenth century up until the declining years of the nineteenth century. The Ottomans' hold on the Middle East was often tenuous and frequently interrupted. Perhaps the biggest relic of British rule was the institution of monarchy, which they secured in almost all the lands they ruled. Nevertheless, the powerful forces uniting the Middle East have at times also been sources of division and conflict. In many historical episodes subtle differences in dialect or ethnic identity have served as powerful catalysts for the communication of national or sub national loyalties.
The Middle East is far from monumental and homogenous. Its differences have been a source of both strength and inspiration. The most visible, most pervasive, and the least recognized aspects of Western influence are in the realm of material things. This involves the infrastructure, amenities, and services of the modern state and city. There was clearly no desire to reverse or even deflect the processes of modernization. Nor indeed were such things as airplanes and cars, telephones and televisions, tanks and artillery, seen as Western or as related to the Western philosophies that preceded and facilitated their invention.
Perhaps the most powerful and persistent of Western political ideas in the region has been that of revolution. The first self-styled revolutions in the Middle East were those of the constitutionalists in Iran and the Young Turks in the Ottoman Empire. In early days, this was sometimes accomplished by a nationalist struggle against foreign overlords. Later it was usually achieved by military officers deposing the rulers in whose armies they served. All of these laid claims to the title "revolutionary," which in time became the most widely accepted claim to legitimacy in government in the Middle East. The Islamic revolution in Iran was the first truly modern revolution of the electronic age. While its symbols and allusions were Islamic rather than European, its models of style and methods were often more European than Islamic. Iranian people suffered greatly from foreign wars, internal strife and repression, and a steadily worsening economic crisis. As in other revolutions, there was recurring conflict between rival factions, sometimes described as extremists and moderates.
Islamic revolutionary movements derived from the revolution in Iran developed in other Muslim countries where they became...

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