In the beginning of the twenty first century, the following three words aptly describe American foreign policy: globalization, religion, and war. Globalization, described by Sacks (2002) as “the interconnectedness of the world through new systems of communication,” always brings the word ‘integration’ to mind, as it relies on the Web (26). Thus, globalization is conducive to both peace and economic growth. In fact, Sacks believes that globalization may result in tremendous economic progress throughout the world. Eventually, the world civilization may reach its peak in advancement, thanks to this new system (Sacks, 24-25).
But, what if we cannot make peace despite our goal to reach the peak of advancement? Sacks explains that it is possible that we would further destroy our world by not being able to manage globalization (25). As of today, Americanization and globalization go together, and the backlash against globalization comes from have-nots that do not possess the resources of the United States and could therefore turn out to be America’s enemies. Various authors mention terrorism in this context, and relate its causes to America’s success in the global economy. To put it another way, Americanization is a symbol of America’s power around the globe. And, this calls for envy and resentment on the part of those who have not the markets and the military might of the United States. With “individual acts of terror,” these envious individuals “can destabilize large parts of the world” (Sacks, 199). Hence, Sacks calls religious leaders and ordinary folks practicing their faiths “to address widespread poverty and disease” that global capitalism is not set to (Sacks 18). After all, religions do not only teach peace but also service to humanity. Western politics, on the other hand, “marginalize moral considerations” (Sacks, 11).
So, globalization has not ended wars around the world in spite of the fact that it promises to bring the world together. Sacks writes that there is anxiety, fear, and violence that negatively impact lives around the globe today (Sacks, 2). Globalization or an increase in international trade is accompanied by an increase in income inequality, seeing that the majority of the people in developing nations are poor and cannot afford to purchase relatively expensive foreign goods in the local market, nor form big enterprises to sell to the foreign public. Sacks agrees that globalization increases income inequality around the world, not only within but also between countries (105-106). He further suggests that if globalization is managed correctly, it is expected to help our world in significant ways (Sacks, 97). However, the author does not suggest that the United States could play a unique role in stabilizing the system of globalization. Rather, according to Sacks, people of monotheistic faith, in particular, must come together, respecting their differences as they seek solutions for problems confronting humanity (Sacks, 97).
After all, it is essential to consider reasons why political problems between the United States, European Union and the developing world cannot be sufficiently resolved for everybody to benefit from globalization. The United States, for example, could have opted to support developing countries in joining financial markets on the Internet. Instead, the United States and the European Union engage in war after war in poor countries where terrorists fight for income equality. Of course, there is a new belief system that has been adopted by Western nations at the same time as the system of globalization is analyzed and reanalyzed throughout the world. Samuel Huntington’s thesis in “The Clash of Civilizations” is based on the assumption that the world requires perpetual conflict to go on existing, which is why civilizations must clash in the post-Cold War era. The author insists, in particular, that Islam must certainly clash with the West during this period. Although Huntington’s prophecy has been fulfilled, especially after the events of September 11, 2001, many believe that this clash of civilizations is sustained by separatists, bigots or racists alone. Hence, this clash was neither unavoidable, and nor is it impossible to put an end to it. In other words, it is still possible to avoid this clash (Sacks, 2).
Sacks asks, “Why has religion returned to the world stage with such elemental force” (39)? As an example, terrorists are all considered Islamists nowadays, as U.S. foreign policy is focused on fighting Islamic extremism. Muslims are offended that the word, Islamist, is being applied in politically incorrect ways. Moreover, Muslims have been experiencing racial profiling in Western nations as nearly all of them are considered suspected terrorists. There are wars being waged in one Muslim country after another. Countless innoccent Muslims are losing their lives in the war on terror. Just the same, the perpetrators claim to be fighting a war of peace. They are looking for Osama bin Laden and his likes, and blaming innumerable innocent Muslims for crimes they have not committed.
Sacks believes that these trends can be used to the world’s advantage. As the world renalyzes religion, it is for religious leaders and their followers to seek solutions to global problems from their scriptures. As a matter of fact, all scriptures provide solutions for fear, anxiety, violence, poverty and diseases – issues that contemporary politics cannot handle. As followers of different religions seek these solutions from their scriptures, they would not only come together to save the world but also manage globalization. Instead of war, they would end up making peace thus, as their religious principles require them to. In this way alone, globalization would actually become conducive to both peace and economic progress.
Sacks, J. (2002). The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations. New York,