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Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “The Rise and fall of The Modern State System” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

The Rise and fall of The Modern State System


Given practical form by the new nation states of Western Europe such as France in the late Middle Ages or Prussia in the nineteenth century, the old state system rested on the idea that by concentrating power in a single head or center, the state itself could be sufficiently controlled and its environment sufficiently managed to achieve self-sufficiency or at least a maximum of self-sufficiency in a world which would inevitably be hostile or at best neutral toward each state’s interests and in which alliances would reflect temporary coalitions of interests that should not be expected to last beyond that convergence. The old maxim: “No state has friends, only interests,” typified that situation. The first powerful nation-states were monarchies, advocates of the divine right of kings to protect central authority and power. After a series of modern revolutions, first in thought, led by people like Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, and Rousseau, and then in practice as articulated in The Federalist, kings were stripped of their exclusive powers and new power centers formed, presumably based upon popular citizenship and consent but in fact with the same centralized powers, only vested in representative assemblies and executive officers speaking in the name of the state. Only in a few cases, where earlier dispersions of power had been constitutionalized, did they need to be taken into consideration. This led to the establishment of federations, forms of federalism that combined national supremacy with real constituent state powers, at least for purposes of foreign relations and usually defense.

The second defining element of the nation-state was its striving for – homogeneity. Every state was to be convergent with its nation and every ) nation with its state. Where people did not fit easily into that Procrustean bed, efforts were made to force them into it. This was done either through internal pressure (as in France where the French government in the name of the state warred against Bretons, Occetanians, Provencals, and Languadocians, among others, even denyiniz them the right to choose names for their children that did not appear on the official Francophone list), or external (as in the Balkans where small national states with minorities outside of their state boundaries regularly warred with one another in an effort to conquer the territories where their fellow nationals lived and either exterminate or expel those not of the same nationality). As a result, modern wars were basically of two kinds, either imperialistic wars designed to enable more powerful states to become even more self-sufficient by seizing control of populations, territories and resources that could be used in that direction, or nationalist wars designed to reunite parts of the nation with the national state.

In the end, none of these three goals could be achieved. In many cases they were not achieved at all; in others they were achieved temporarily until those disadvantaged by them succeeded in revolting. In still others they proved to be unachievable by any sustainable means, usually with a combination of all three factors that preventing their attainment. As a result, the existing states in the world, 90 percent contain minorities of 15 percent of their population or more within their boundaries (like Croatia) and of the remaining 10 percent, almost all have large national minorities living outside of their state boundaries (like Somalia). Since then, matters have gotten more complex, as we see by the great resurgence of ethnic conflict in one form or another throughout the world, a factor that has become one catalyst for the new paradigm in its search for ways to overcome those conflicts.

As we approach the end of the era of the politically sovereign nation-state, we also are beginning to recognize that state self-sufficiency, in , reality was never achievable. It is well to recall that modern economic liberalism, which was essentially based on the principle of free trade, emerged shortly after the emergence of modern statism with its economic basis in mercantilism which sought self-sufficiency, because of the problematics of mercantilism brought to the fore, inter alia, by the American revolution against Great Britain. When that policy failed, imperialism replaced it—for the powerful states—as the means to the end of self-sufficiency. Imperialism failed by the middle of the twentieth century, not only because the subjugated peoples rejected it, but because a democratic moral- sensibility came to affect the subjugators. So the world has had to find a new paradigm—and it seems that we have.

Nam In Post-Cold War Period And Its Relevance

From the period of the formation of its vision at Bandung in 1955 and first Summit at Belgrade in 1961, NAM has travelled a long and eventful path. Starting with a membership of 25 countries, its membership has grown to 114. There have also been shifts in its perspective and preoccupations necessitated by the change in international scenario. However, the changed perceptions that have come in the 1990s have placed NAM almost at Cross Roads.

With the disintegration of the erstwhile Soviet Union and break up of Socialist bloc, there have emerged new global situations and issues. The process of globalisation has also begun. Humanitarian aid to the developing world has greatly been reduced. Greater conditions are being imposed on the aid to the South, such as allowing access to transnational companies. Most of the developed and developing nations have adopted an open market policy. Again, these countries have formed an agenda of regional economic cooperation. The European Union has been established as a significant regional cooperation group. The Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has also made remarkable achievement in forming a formidable economic bloc.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has emerged as a strong economic bloc in North America and the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has also been progressing well in creating a consensus for economic cooperation in Asia and Pacific region. Most countries, even NAM members, have started taking decisions pragmatically and individually. In the context of these far-reaching developments, there has started a debate about the relevance of NAM. It is being argued by some that in the changed situation, non-alignment and most of the policies associated with it have become irrelevant.

There is, however, a significant opinion in favour of continuous relevance and role of NAM in the post-cold war world. India, as one of the active founder members of NAM is not only in the forefront of proclaiming nonalignment as the sheet anchor of its foreign policy but also advocating the continuous role of NAM with some changes in its perspectives and priorities. From the beginning of 1990s, the Movement has realised the need to shift from an approach of confrontation to one of dialogue and cooperation with industrial countries. Also, circumstances, over which many member countries of NAM had no control, compelled them to develop a variety of relations with super powers and their allies. But these States have not deviated from the basic criterion of non-alignment, namely, pursuit of policies that strengthened their existence as independent sovereign States, belief in the coexistence of States with different political and social systems and support for national liberation movements and movements against racism.

The end of cold war in many ways has vindicated the principles and policies of NAM. At the same time, it is a fact that though the cold war is over, peace in the world is still threatened by forces of extremism, discord, aggressive nationalism, terrorism and piling up of large stocks of weapons of mass destruction.

The dynamics of globalisation has thrown a whole range of new problems for the non-aligned developing countries. While the developing world is largely supportive of mutually beneficial global integration, it has major concerns which are not being addressed in the global agenda. These are: equitable balance between rights and obligations of investors particularly multinationals; extra-territorial application of domestic laws; intrusive and calculated invoking of human rights agenda; labour standards and intellectual property rights; and conditionalities of environmental protection and preservation and opening up of national economies tied to grant of aid and trade concessions. Developing countries are increasingly exposed to pressures to confirm to an agenda which is being defined and driven by others.

The need for the articulation of the viewpoint of the disadvantaged is as strong as ever. NAM provides platform to these countries for consulting and developing common positions and coordinated approaches to safeguard their rights and promote their interests. The imperatives that propelled founding fathers of NAM to get together to speak with one voice and collectively declare their determination, to assert their right to participate fully in the process of taking decisions on world issues in the light of their own national interests are still with us today.

Common to the most, if not all, NAM countries are problems of poverty, hunger, disease, ignorance, illiteracy, rising foreign debts, deteriorating terms of trade, inflation and unemployment. Therefore, the most important task that confronts the NAM today is to find ways and means to overcome these problems.

The scenario, once again, places India in a special situation. Though its problems are stupendous as a poor country, there is a measure of buoyancy in its economy. Its food position is satisfactory and its foreign exchange reserves are comfortable. Its advancements in the field of science, technology and industry permit it to render economic and technological assistance to many countries of Asia and Africa. Its economy is now much less vulnerable to external shocks or internal adverse factors. Thus, to a great extent, India remains in a position to promote the ideal of collective self-reliance among non-aligned countries.

In 1997, in the 12th meeting of NAM Foreign Minister, the former Prime Minister of India, I.K. Gujral, highlighted the points responsible for the reemergence of new imperialism of the West. He said : “The G-7 are writing the global agenda, new labour laws and social clauses; selecting global investment regimes; preaching human rights, environmental conditionalities, protectionism, etc. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council are unwilling to give up the veto. Democratisation of the UN Security Council is blocked. Too many NAM countries are living on Western dole. In several countries, treasured concepts of civilisedbehaviour have been abandoned. NAM, therefore, must deplore the fundamentalism of globalisation and the market and must not remain snout. being preached and practised at several places.

The use of World Trade Organisation (WTO) for forcing developing countries to reduce tariff walls and observe labour standards, is another case, in point. This indicates another area of dominance by the developed countries in a period of recession in their economies. Unless the developing countries, who are also the members of NAM, put up united resistance against these onslaughts by the major allied powers, the world prospects of peace, security, equality of status for nation-states and a voice for the underdeveloped World to procure foreign aid for development will remain a distant dream. At the Doha meeting of WTO in June 2002, India urged strongly on behalf of the developing countries.

Thus, even after the end of cold war and demise of power blocs, non. alignment both as an idea and a movement continues to be relevant. The efforts of NAM have to be geared towards achieving security, peaceful coexistence, international cooperation in political, economic and cultural fields’and in opposing all types of domination, neo-colonialism, hegemonism, fundamentalism, etc. India has a stake in these and is likely to play the leadership role that it has played so far.

Non-alignment has first developed as a conceptual factor in its foreign policy by India as a means to its enlightened national interest in the context of bipolarisation of world politics and situation of cold war. Later on, non-alignment became a movement of nations which had suffered the same fate. of colonialism and imperialism. Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, with the cooperation of President Tito of Yugoslavia, President Nasser of Egypt, directed this movement towards peace in the world and also aimed at securing political and economic objectives of development. At the political level, the movement aimed at keeping intact the independence of the newly-decolonised countries and support the struggle for decolonization of rest of the colonies. It sought to forge unity among anti-colonial, anti-racial forces and liberation movements and help them in achieving their objectives world wide.

The economic objective of the Non-Aligned Movement is aimed at keeping the markets of developing countries free from the domination of free market forces represented by Western capitalism and Multinational Corporations.

India remained in the forefront of the movement performing a leadership role as a founder member. In all the activities  of NAM — struggle against colonialism and racism, and infavour of disarmament and cooperation for development, and dialogue with developed world, etc. — India not only provided policy inputs but has played an active role.

With the end of cold war and bloc systems, NAM has in no way become irrelevant. If the essence of nonalignment is the assertion of independence, then non-alignment does not become irrelevant at any time. Infact developing nations have no alternative but to strive for a just world order through the forum of NAM.

While the relevance of NAM in the present day world is not in doubt, it would serve its purpose if it focuses on the current problems that the developing countries are facing. In formulating its agenda for the future, NAM would have to incorporate in it both its traditional and emerging goals and objectives and take cognisance of emerging issues and priorities on the international agenda. The NAM agenda has to be topical and flexible thereby moving in steps with the realities of time. To usher in peace, security and prosperity, NAM has to act in unison.

Neocolonialism: Betrayed Inter-National Economic Arrangement

Neocolonialism is the term describing international economic arrangements wherein former colonial powers maintained control of colonies and dependencies after World War II. Neocolonialism can obfuscate the understanding of current colonialism, given that some colonial governments continue administrating foreign territories and their populations in violation of United Nations resolutions and private, foreign business companies continue arguing that their continued exploitation of the natural resources is beneficial to subjugated, colonial peoples. The economic control inherent to neocolonialism is akin to the classical, European colonialism practiced from the 16th to the 20th centuries.

Economic Control

The contention is that governments have aimed to control other nations through indirect means. In lieu of direct military-political control, neocolonialist powers employ economic, financial, and trade policies to dominate less powerful countries. Those who subscribe to the concept maintain this amounts to a de facto control over targeted nations.

Both previous colonizing states and other powerful economic states maintain a continuing presence in the economies of former colonies, especially, where it concerns raw materials. After a hastened decolonization process o the Belgian Congo, Belgium continued to control, through The Societe Generale de Belgique, roughly 70% of the Congolese economy following the decolonization process. The most contested part was in the province of Katanga where the Union Miniere du Haut Katanga, part of the Societe, had control over the mineral and resource rich province. After a failed attempt to nationalize the mining industry in the 1960s, it was reopened to foreign investment.

Critics of neocolonialism portray the choice to grant or to refuse granting loans (particularly those financing otherwise unpayable Third World debt), especially by international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank (WB), as a decisive form of control. They argue that in order to qualify for these loans, and other forms of economic aid, weaker nations are forced to take certain steps favorable to the financial interests of the IMF and World Bank but detrimental to their own economies. These structural adjustments have the effect of increasing rather than alleviating poverty within the nation.

Some critics emphasize that neocolonialism allows certain cartels of states, such as the World Bank, to control and exploit usually lesser developed countries (LDCs) by fostering debt. In effect, third world governments give concessions and monopolies to foreign corporations in return for consolidation of power and monetary bribes. In most cases, much of the money loaned to these LDCs is returned to the favored foreign corporations. Thus, these foreign loans are in effect subsidies to corporations of the loaning state’s. This collusion is sometimes referred to as the corporatocracy. Organizations accused of participating in neo-imperialism include the World Bank, World Trade Organization and Group of Eight, and the World Economic Forum. Various “first world” states, notably the United States, are said to be involved, as described in Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins.

Critics of neocolonialism also attempt to demonstrate that investment by multinational corporations enriches few in underdeveloped countries, and causes humanitarian, and environmental and ecological devastation to the populations which inhabit the neocolonies. This, it is argued, results in unsustainable development and perpetual underdevelopment; a dependency which cultivates those countries as reservoirs of cheap labor and raw materials, while restricting their access to advanced production techniques to develop their own economies.

By contrast, proponents of neocolonialism argue that, while the First World does profit from cheap labor and raw materials in underdeveloped nations, ultimately, it does serve as a positive modernizing force for development in the Third World.

Origins in Decolonization

The term neocolonialism first saw widespread use, particularly in reference to Africa, soon after the process of decolonization which followed a struggle by many national independence movements in the colonies following World War II. Upon gaining independence, some national leaders and opposition groups argued that their countries were being subjected to a new form of colonialism, waged by the former colonial powers and other developed nations. Kwame Nkrumah, who in 1957 became leader of newly independent Ghana, expounded this idea in his Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism, in 1965. In Africa, the French played a prominent role in charges of conducting a neocolonialist policy, and that French troops in Africa were (and it is argued, still are) often involved in coup d’etats resulting in a regime acting in the interests of France but against its country’s own interests.

Denunciations of neocolonialism also became popular with some national independence movements while they were still waging anti-colonial armed struggle. During the 1970s, in the Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola for example, the rhetoric espoused by the Marxist movements FRELIMO and MPLA, which were to eventually assume power upon those nations’ independence, rejected both traditional colonialism and neocolonialism.

Anti-neocolonialists’ Allegations Against the IMF

Those who argue that neocolonialism historically supplanted or supplemented colonialism, point to the fact that Africa today pays more money every year in debt service payments to the IMF and World Bank than it receives in loans from them, thereby often depriving the inhabitants of those countries from actual necessities. This dependency, they maintain, allows the IMF and World Bank to impose Structural Adjustment Plans upon these nations. Adjustments largely consisting of privatization programs which they say result in deteriorating health, education, an inability to develop infrastructure, and in general, lower living standards.

They also point to recent statements made by United Nations Secretary. General’s Special Economic Adviser, Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, who heatedly demanded that the entire African debt (approximately $200 billion) be forgiven outright and recommended that African nations simply stop paying if the World Bank and IMF do not reciprocate:

The time has come to end this charade. The debts are unaffordable. If they won’t cancel the debts I would suggest obstruction; you do it yourselves. Africa should say: ‘thank you very much but we need this money to meet the needs of children who are dying right .now so we will put the debt servicing payments into urgent social investment in health, education, drinking water, control of AIDS and other needs.’ (Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and Special Economic Advisor to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan).

Critics of the IMF have conducted studies as to the effects of its policy which demands currency devaluations. They pose the argument that the IMF requires these devaluations as a condition for refinancing loans, while simultaneously insisting that the loan be repaid in dollars or other First World currencies against which the underdeveloped country’s currency had been devalued. This, they say, increases the respective debt by the same percentage of the currency being devalued, therefore amounting to a scheme for keeping Third World nations in perpetual indebtedness, impoverishment and neocolonial dependence.

Paternalistic neocolonialism

The term paternalistic neocolonialism involves the belief held by a neo-colonial power that their colonial subjects benefit from their occupation. This viewpoint has been described as both supremacist and racist. Critics have stated that the US “liberation” of the Iraqi people is form of paternalistic neocolonialism because the US claims that it has liberated the Iraqis from the Saddam Hussein. The oppression of the revolutionary Shiite elements in Iraq under Saddam Hussein has been replaced by the oppression of the Sunni by the current Shiite-led government. This war has cost the lives of 1 million Iraqis and has devastated Iraq socially and economically. Similarly, the United Kingdom viewed itself as a “civilizing force” bringing “progress” and modernization to its colonies, a mindset that was seen again following British intervention in Sierra Leone.

Other approaches to the concept of neocolonialism

Although the concept of neocolonialism was developed by Marxists and is generally employed by the political Left, the rhetoric of neocolonialism is

now also employed by some promoters of conspiracy theories, specifically one world government, regardless of political views. One variant of the neocolonialist view suggests the existence of cultural colonialism, the alleged desire of wealthy nations to control other nations’ values and perceptions through cultural means, such as media, language, education and religion, purportedly ultimately for economic reasons.

Cultural Imperialism And Implications

Cultural imperialism is the practice of promoting, distinguishing, separating, or artificially injecting the culture or language of one nation into another. It is usually the case that the former is a large, economically or militarily powerful nation and the latter is a smaller, less important one. Cultural imperialism can take the form of an active, ‘formal policy or a general attitude. The term is usually used in a pejorative sense, usually in conjunction with a call to reject foreign influence.

Early history

The Greek culture built gyms, theatres and public baths in places that its adherents conquered (such as ancient Judea, where Greek cultural imperialism sparked a popular revolt), with the effect that the populations became immersed in that culture. The spread of the koine (common) Greek language was another large factor in this immersion.

As exploration of the Americas increased, European nations including England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal all raced to claim territory in hopes of generating increased economic wealth for themselves. In these new colonies, the European conquerors imposed their language and culture.

Similarly, policies of Russification were carried out in the Russian Empire throughout the 19th century. A revealing instance of cultural imperialism is the Prayer Book rebellion of 1549, in which the English state sought to suppress non-English languages with the English language Book of Common Prayer. In replacing Latin with English, and under the guise of suppressing Catholicism, English was effectively imposed as the language of the Church, with the intent of it becoming the language of the people. At the time people in many areas of Cornwall did not speak or understand English.

In the lands conquered by Islamic armies, Arabic language and Arabic culture prevailed. From Morocco all the way to Indonesia, many local languages, religion, architecture, customs, even names were mixed with Arab Islamic traditions. Examples include the incorporation of Arabic calligraphy into the design of the Hagia Sofia mosque in Istanbul upon its conversion from a church. A significant amount of independence was kept for local traditions in many places that maintained daily interactions with non-Islamic lands; economically, politically, and culturally. An example is the continued existence of belly-dancing, which according to the stricter rulings of modesty and propriety in Islamic rulings is a fairly taboo practice, however, it is found all across the middle east. Less cultural tolerance for existing traditions was practiced in lands that were kept more isolated from interactions with the non-Muslim world, such as Afghanistan and Saudia Arabia, where the strictest (to the extent of distortion) practices of Islamic law are shown. Cultural imperialism is also witnessed in Islamic lands gained through the incorporation of the Arabic language into the culture and educational systems.

This dissemination of Arabic may be partly explained by the fact that according to Islamic tradition the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an, is written in Arabic that has never changed the slightest bit in content or language ever since the times of the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century AD. Furthermore, Islamic tradition has also held that translations of the Qur’an from Arabic, a metaphorical, tri-literal-root, semetic language, into other languages may introduce changes in the nuanced meanings of the words. Thus, wherever Islam spread new adherents were encouraged to master classical Arabic for their Qur’anic studies.

Theory and debate

Cultural imperialism’ can refer to either the forced acculturation of a subject population, or to the voluntary embracing of a foreign culture by individuals who do so of their own free will. Since these are two very different referents, the validity of the term has been called into question. The term cultural imperialism is understood differently in particular discourses. E.g. as “media imperialism” or as “discourse of nationality” (Tomlinson, 1991)

Cultural influence can be seen by the “receiving” culture as either a threat to or an enrichment of its cultural identity. It seems therefore useful to distinguish between cultural imperialism as an (active or passive) attitude of superiority, and the position of a culture or group that seeks to complement its own cultural production, considered partly deficient, with imported products or values.

The imported products or services can themselves represent, or be associated with, certain values (such as consumerism). According to one argument, the “receiving” culture does not necessarily perceive this link, but instead absorbs the foreign culture passively through the use of the foreign goods and services. Due to its somewhat concealed, but very potent nature, this hypothetical idea is described by some experts as “banal imperialism.” Some believe that the newly globalized economy of the late 20th and early 21st century has facilitated this process through the use of new information technology. This kind of cultural imperialism is derived from what is called “soft power.” The theory of electronic colonialism extends the issue to global cultural issues and the impact of major multi-media conglomerates, ranging from Time-Warner, Disney, News Corp., SONY, to Google and Microsoft with the focus on the hegemonic power of these mainly American communication giants.

Cultural diversity

One of the reasons often given for opposing any form of ‘cultural imperialism,’ voluntary or otherwise, is the preservation of cultural diversity, a goal seen by some as analogous to the preservation of ecological diversity. Proponents of this idea argue either that such diversity is valuable in itself, or instrumentally valuable because it makes available more ways of solving problems and responding to catastrophes, natural or otherwise.

Opponents of this idea deny the validity of the analogy to biodiversity, and/or the validity of the arguments for preserving biodiversity itself.

Said and post-colonial studies

The writer Edward Said, one of the founders of the field of post-colonial study, wrote extensively on the subject of cultural imperialism, and his work is considered by many to form an important cornerstone in this area of study. His work attempts to highlight the inaccuracies of many assumptions about cultures and societies, and is largely informed by Michel Foucault’s Concepts of discourse and power. The relatively new academic field of post-colonial theory has been the source for most of the in-depth work on the idea of discursive and other non-military mechanisms of imperialism, and its validity is disputed by those who deny that these forms are genuinely imperialistic

Rothkopf on dealing with cultural dominance

David Rothkopf, managing director of Kissinger Associates and an adjunct professor of international affairs at Columbia University (who also served as a senior Commerce Department official in the Clinton Administration), wrote about cultural imperialism in his provocatively titled “In Praise of Cultural Imperialism” in the Summer 1997 issue of Foreign Polley magazine, Rothkopf says that America should embrace “cultural imperialism” as in its self interest. But his definition of cultural imperialism stresses spreading the values of tolerance and openness to cultural change in order to avoid war and conflict between cultures as well as expanding accepted technological and legal standards to provide free traders with enough security to do business with more countries. Rothkopf’s definition almost exclusively involves allowing individuals in other nations to accept or reject foreign cultural influences. He also mentions, but only in passing, the use of English and consumption of news and popular music and film as cultural dominance that he supports. Rothkopf additionally makes the point that globalization and the Internet are accelerating the process of cultural influence.

Culture is used by the organizers of society — politicians, theologians, academics, and families — to impose and ensure order, the rudiments of which change over time as need dictates. It is less often acknowledged as the means of justifying inhumanity and warfare. […] cultural differences are often sanctified by their links to the mystical roots of culture, be they spiritual or historical. Consequently, a threat to one’s culture becomes a threat to one’s God or one’s ancestors and, therefore, to one’s core identity. This inflammatory formula has been used to justify many of humanity’s worst acts. One need only look at the 20th century’s genocides. In each one, leaders used culture to fuel the passions of their armies and other minions and to justify their actions among their people.

Rothkopf then cites genocide and massacres in Armenia, Russia, the Nazi Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Timor as examples of culture (in some cases expressed in the ideology of “political culture” or religion) being used to justify violence. He also acknowledges that cultural imperialism in the past has been guilty of forcefully eliminating the cultures of natives in the Americas and in Africa, or through use of the Inquisition, “and during the expansion of virtually every empire.” But he adds that the charge of “cultural imperialism” has too often been a rhetorical cudgel used by mullahs, dictators, authoritarians, demagogues and others to help shore up their rule in the face of influential foreign ideas about freedom, democracy, human rights and the social practices and ideas that support those ideals.

The most important way to deal with cultural influence in any nation, according to Rothkopf, is to promote tolerance and allow, or even promote, cultural diversities that are compatible with tolerance and to eliminate those cultural differences that cause violent conflict:

Successful multicultural societies, be they nations, federations, or other conglomerations of closely interrelated states, discern those aspects of culture that do not threaten union, stability, or prosperity (such as food, holidays, rituals, and music) and allow them to flourish. But they counteract or eradicate the more subversive elements of culture (exclusionary aspects of religion, language, and political/ideological beliefs). History shows that bridging cultural gaps successfully and serving as a home to diverse peoples requires certain social structures, laws, and institutions that transcend culture.

Furthermore, the history of a number of ongoing experiments in multiculturalism, such as in the European Union, India, South Africa, Canada and the United States, suggests that workable, if not perfected, integrative models exist. Each is built on the idea that tolerance is crucial to social well-being, and each at times has been threatened by both intolerance and a heightened emphasis on cultural distinctions. The greater public good warrants eliminating those cultural characteristics that promote conflict or prevent harmony, even as less-divisive, more personally observed cultural distinctions are celebrated and preserved.


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