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By Zaki Laidi

During this provocative and incisive publication, Zaki Laidi argues that as our global turns into ever greater, our skill to discover which means in it diminishes. With the tip of communism got here the tip of the intimate alliance among strength and beliefs. No strength in our globalised international can from now on declare to supply which means. In depression we glance again to previous types (religious traditions, nationalism, ethnicity) to provide us a feeling of id. yet in a globalised international in an enduring kingdom of flux, just how powerful are those outdated certainties?

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6 In Africa, the regime in Zimbabwe bears witness to an amazing capacity for survival, despite the death of the two political resources on which its political legitimacy was founded: the model of ‘scientific socialism’ and the foil of a racist South Africa. The case of China is even more spectacular in that it had to undergo both the de-legitimization of the communist system and the regional economic pressure of the new Asian powers. 7 Although the events which took place in Tiananmen Square highlighted the existence of Western-style democratic protests in that country, we can be under no false illusion about how deep ‘democratic’ values really go.

Thus Western states seem to see the absence of a systematic, global challenge to their values as a sign of their universal legitimacy, whereas a thousand challenges to or deviations from democracy and market can be discovered, including within these same states. The fact that these actions are not thought through in a coherent way does not affect their reality and vitality, except for thinking that the problems or threats might call for a systematization and ordering similar to those of communism.

Simultaneously, ‘market democracy’, which had been thought unsurpassable, was THE FALL OF THE WALL 27 revealed to be fragile and vulnerable, not only in Eastern Europe and Southern nations but also in the developed societies of the West. One explanation for this reversal depends, as we saw above, on seeing the inheritance of the Enlightenment in the most optimistic events. It was of course predictable that the rapid, peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union would fuel historical optimism. 4 In its first stages the impact of a new idea from outside is powerful, taking those who experience it almost unawares.

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