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Indra Dhoj Kshetri


Third World War: Where will Nepal stand?

Thirteen years ago, an American scholar Samuel P Huntington wrote on an article ‘The Clash of Civilizations?’ that the central and most dangerous dimension of the emerging global politics would be conflicts between the groups from differing civilizations. He opined that the twenty first century global conflicts will be dominated by the clashes between those civilizations. In the extended form of the article which came as the book ‘The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of world order’ in 1996, Huntington elaborated that major conflicts would revolve around the Sinic (Chinese/ Buddhist), Western (Christianity led by the US) and Islam civilizations. He has divided the world into nine civilizations i.e. Western, Sinic (Chinese), Islam, Russian Orthodox, Japanese, Latin American, African, Indian (Hindu), and the Buddhist. However, He has said the major conflicts will be between the Sinic civilization supported by Islam and the US led western civilization. The core of the Sinic civilization will be China in the East Asia; the western civilization will be led by the US and supported by the European nations whereas the core of the Islam civilization will be the Middle East. Huntington has pointed out that major conflicts will arise between the Western and the Sinic civilization supported by the Islam. He has pointed out that the latter will challenge the US hegemony in the post cold war period. Huntington, however, has neglected the South Asian Civilization based on Hindu religious philosophy which could have the balancing power or at least as the super power in the South Asian continent. This civilization is being led by India and Nepal is on its periphery.

There are clear signs that what Huntington predicted is going to be proved. The US led western hegemony is on its continuous decline. The US is fighting a losing battle in Iraq. The result is not very happy in Afghanistan as well. As Israel, the close ally of the US, could not sustain fighting with an insurgent group of the Lebanon, it will be another losing battle for the US to declare war against Iran. So why, it is seeking the support from the UN Security Council. The US might have realized that the Middle East Coalition among the Muslim nations like Syria, Iran, Iraqi and Hezbollah militants and potential coalition with other neighbors will be a nightmare for it.

To the next hand, Russia is gaining rapid economic growth and firmly is being established as one of the major civilizations, on Huntington’s words, Russian Orthodox. The emergence of China as a regional super power, in terms of its military and economic growth, has been posing a big threat to the US hegemony. No doubt, it has established as a regional super power and is on the way towards being a balancing power to the US hegemony (Western Civilization). They have outright denied that the US defined concept of individual freedom, human rights and development are no more the universal.

Then the question arises is the world preparing for the next world war? Huntington has assumed a war by 2010 that begins with Chinese intervention on Vietnam over the disputes over South China Sea and US retaliation. Does it occur in reality? Is that an inevitable or a fantasy?

On his prediction, Huntington has declared that the whole north, regardless of the US and China, will be destroyed and the power will shift from north to South. He has said Indonesia will lead the surviving countries from New Zealand to Myanmar and Sri Lanka on the west and Vietnam to the north.

Despite rapid economic growth, India has failed to give an impact as a balancing power neither to Sinic nor any western civilization. But it is highly conflictual with the Islam civilization and is probable that it will form ally with the US to counter Muslim intervention. However, Huntington has implied possibility of survival as the US and China targeting each other. It will be a tough choice for Nepal as well.

Are we panicked to think where will Nepal stand if the war really breaks? Is it high time we assumed the Nepal’s position on this assumed war? In the previous two world wars, Nepal didn’t take any stances. It just supported the British because they, in return, agreed to support the tyrant rule. Will the similar situation prevail in future too? Or it will blindly support India as the core state of Hindu civilization?

These questions have to be broadly studied again on Huntington’s ground of differing civilizations. Nepal has at least two significant civilizations i.e. Hinduism and Buddhism. They are located in geographically divided areas. The Buddhism is close to the China in the north whereas Hinduism is surely close to India in the south. Given choices, the northern residents will be supporting China whereas; the majority in the south will be supporting India. Here another question comes, is it possible for the single state to support both the sides? Never. Then, will Nepal be divided? It is high time that our security experts and politicians pondered over this question and seriously thought about deteriorating civilization owing to the rapid modernization and haphazard westernization.

(Note: Readers are requested to furnish their suggestions with the ways to avoid such war and the policy Nepal should develop, in case the war really occurs.)