In his article, "Analyzing East/West Power Politics in Comparative Cultural Studies," William H. Thornton acknowledges culture as a central force on the geopolitical map and undertakes at once to preserve the strategic potency of political realism and to move beyond the "billiard ball" externality of both neo- and traditional realisms. Although Huntington and Fukuyama are taken seriously on the question of East/West power politics, Thornton develops a world view by grounding balance-of-power politics in national and local (not just civilizational) social reality. Further, Thornton argues against external democratic teleologies both Huntington and Fukuyama have imposed on the cultural Other. The thrust of Thornton's argumentation goes beyond the monolithic fallacies of political modernism, namely, political realism on the one hand and today's "reverse domino" globalization on the other. Once political realism takes this postmodern turn, it confronts the agonistic realities that killed the New World Order in its infancy. Although Huntington's Clash of Civilizations also confronted these grim realities, but did so in terms of a negative and retreatist realism. For Thornton, in the post-Cold War world that Huntington well describes but declines to fully engage, any effective realism must temper cultural agonistics with Bakhtinian cultural dialogics.
Thornton, William H.
"Analyzing East/West Power Politics in Comparative Cultural Studies."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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