Editors: This is a self syndicated column. If you wish to publish this column in your newspaper, magazine, journal or on your websites please click here: Syndicate
Muqtedar Khan, PH.D.
Article was featured in San Francisco
Examiner (Dec 23, 2002) and
ideological orientation of the world is undergoing a slow but definite
shift to the right. Compare recent elections in some key countries to
those in the mid and late nineteen nineties and this global shift becomes
the mid nineties when globalization was at its peak, nations were
generally doing well economically and felt confident in strengthening the
welfare state. Thus Bill Clinton in the US, Tony Blair in UK, and Muhammad
Khatami in Iran came to power. All of them were clearly left of center on
economic and social issues. Their major electoral strategy was to redefine
the welfare state to accommodate the rapid growth of the global economy.
Their winning constituency was a combination of women and center-left
in November 2002 alone we have seen a significant swing of the pendulum in
the opposite direction. In
the US, the right (Republican Party), has not only strengthened its hold
over the House in Congress it has now recaptured the Senate.
It has also made advances in the gubernatorial races indicating
that the shift to the right is not limited to national issues connected
with security and the war on terror but is now percolating to sub-national
Turkey the pro-Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) has unexpectedly
come to power with a massive majority of seats capable of amending the
Constitution. While the AKP maybe liberal economically, focusing on issues
of social justice, in its political outlook, social issues and foreign
policy, it is more likely to lean towards the right than the left.
a wave of popular anger over American anti-terrorist operations in
Afghanistan and Pakistan, an alliance of six conservative/religious
parties captured power in two of the four provinces in Pakistan. The
United Action Forum, whose platform is clearly hostile to the United
States, also posted significant gains in the Parliament (National
Assembly), emerging the third largest party and will play a decisive role
in the coalition government that will be formed.
is possible to connect the electoral outcomes in the US and Pakistan
directly to the aftermath of the attacks on the US on September 11th. The global feeling of insecurity and apprehension as a result
of the rhetoric of war and counter violence is the primary cause for this
global shift to the right. It is also interesting to note that along with
the shift to the right comes the resurgence of religious influence on
politics. One can see this vividly in the heightened political
significance of the Christian Right in the US and the success of pro-Islamist
parties in Turkey and Pakistan.
does all this mean? It means that security will trump trade and economics
on the global agenda. Developmental and infrastructural spending will give
way to security spending, increased defense budgets and more investment in
military technology and intelligence related assets. Fear of international
terrorism has already created tension between states and non-state actors.
States will now place more restrictions on the free flow of people, ideas,
capital and technology across border. In other words the pace of
globalization will significantly retard perhaps may even see some
reversal. Immigration and refuge procedures will come under greater
scrutiny and in spite of the call for cooperation against terrorism;
states will increasingly take unilateral actions against real or perceived
threats to national interests within their borders and overseas. The fear
of violence and the overwhelming national security environment that always
accompanies the right will continue to threaten civil liberties and
democracy in several key nations.