The Geopolitics of Emotion: How Cultures of Fear, Humiliation, and Hope are Reshaping the World

The Geopolitics of Emotion: How Cultures of Fear, Humiliation, and Hope are Reshaping the World

Language: English

Pages: 192

ISBN: 0307387372

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In the first book to investigate the far-reaching emotional impact of globalization, Dominique Moïsi shows how the geopolitics of today is characterized by a “clash of emotions.” The West, he argues, is dominated and divided by fear. For Muslims and Arabs, a culture of humiliation is quickly devolving into a culture of hatred. Asia, on the other hand, has been able to concentrate on building a better future, so it is creating a new culture of hope. Moïsi, a leading authority on international affairs, explains that in order to understand our changing world, we need to confront emotion. And as he makes his case, he deciphers the driving emotions behind our cultural differences, delineating a provocative and important new perspective on globalization.

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political manipulation of humiliation has taken many forms, not only in the Arab-Islamic world but also in Asia. Muslims from India to Indonesia and from Malaysia to the Philippines have expressed through violence their sense of humiliation at the hands of the West—in particular, at the hands of America and of their own corrupt governments allied to the United States. The scandal surrounding the publication of caricatures of the Prophet in a Danish newspaper in 2005 is a case in point. Certainly

about the culture of humiliation in the Arab-Islamic world, a place where the necessary change in attitude is most likely to emanate from. The Gulf emirates are a subregion that constitutes a zone of prosperity and stability in an otherwise poor and turbulent environment. Politically these emirates are classic oligarchies, where autocracy in a Bedouin tradition is tempered by the dialogue with and concern for the interests of others. The enlightened despotism of the reigning families is

United States. In the 1960s and 1980s, when Europeans marched in the streets against the United States, they were denouncing the actions of Washington, from the Vietnam War to the deployment of Euromissiles. In the 1990s, anti-American demonstrations were aimed not so much at what America did as at what America was: a cultural swamp, a country where the death penalty ruled, a powerful but inhumane and, some might even say, uncivilized corner of the West. This reading of America did not suppress

a leading antiglobalization voice. This double vision said it all. America was the perfect mirror reflecting both the dreams and the nightmares of France and, by extension, those of all Europe. After 9/11, fear largely replaced hope in the European vision of the United States. Europeans and Americans were united against the threat of terrorism, but their divisions over the best way to fight the enemy became larger than the threat itself. For Washington, Europeans were “traitors” when they did

differences with others and give priority to my emotions.” For this very reason, learning about the emotions of other cultures will become all the more crucial. The Other will increasingly become part of us in our multicultural societies. The emotional frontiers of the world have become as important as its geographic frontiers. And the two cannot be equated in a mechanical manner. With the process of time, the mapping of emotions will become as legitimate and compulsory an exercise as the

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