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Thomas Friedman’s Olive Branch Towards Theorists of the Past — on the Negative and Positive Effects of Globalization

Political scientists often like to be prophets of doom, predicting the end of history or foreseeing an endless series of clashes of civilization and culture in the coming decades. However Thomas Friedman’s thesis, advanced in the Lexus and the Olive Tree, about the interconnected nature of the new world, and the positive benefits of globalization, although idealistic, presents a positive vision of the world that peacemakers, politicians, and people all over the world can aspire to in the future. Although Friedman may give insufficient weight to cultural, class, and religious tensions, he also points out how improved communications technology and interconnected economic systems have created a new, global culture that forces even residents of more traditional societies to see themselves in a new light. Ultimately, Friedman provides the best model of current international security environment. He suggests that change is possible, and there is a common ground for negotiation. Other theorists merely suggest that rogue regimes, class, and cultural differences make dialogue impossible, thus creating a self-fulfilling prophesy of defeat. For example, Thomas Barnett’s book The Pentagon’s New Map suggests a new clash of civilizations is inevitable between so-called outlaw regimes like Saddam Hussein’s former Iraq, that exist “dangerously disconnected from the globalizing world, from its rule sets, its norms, and all the ties that bind countries together in mutually assured dependence” (Barnett 2003: 286). According to Barnett, globalization has divided the world, even as it has brought some nations together in symbiosis. Regimes and non-state actors such as terrorists who see themselves as out of the loop of globalization turn with hatred against the developed world. This resonates with Samuel Huntington’s earlier theory advanced in The Clash of Civilizations. In 1994, Huntington wrote that cultural and ideological conflicts would ...

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Thomas Friedman’s Olive Branch Towards Theorists of the Past — on the Negative and Positive Effects of Globalization. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 05:05, September 02, 2014, from