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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 30, Issue 3, 2020

Comparative Culture Studies in Philosophy and Aesthetics

Vytautas Rubavičius
Pages 55-74

The Importance of Civilizational Imagination in Contemporary Geopolitics

The heritage of civilizations in geopolitics is progressively used to consolidate the vision of a multipolar world and, thereby, to establish its important place in the arena of international affairs. Civilizational heritage and civilizational imagination become increasingly important geopolitical factors which begin to shape the relations between China, Russia, Turkey, the United States and the European Union. In global politics during the last decades, in one way or another, Samuel Huntington’s ideas of the interactions between civilizations and their development externalised with the stress on the increase of civilizational conflicts. These ideas made great impact on political elites of main world powers. The author of this article—drawing attention to the importance of cultural and especially religious factors for civilizational processes and the interactions between civilizations, which were also raised by Huntington—examines the peculiarities of the Russian and Turkish civilizational and geopolitical discourses, and connects to those discourses the current geopolitics pursued by the political elites of these countries. The promotion of the current role of the civilization and its geopolitical legacy highlights the uniqueness of civilizations and creates an effort to strengthen the civilizational imagination and to use the civilizational imperial experience and its cultural heritage in current political events. The Russian discourse is characterised by the historical anti-Western and anti-European attitude of Eurasian Messianic civilizational distinctiveness, while the Turkish rhetoric is characterised by the elevation of the imperial Ottoman Islamic cultural and political heritage. Both the discourses are linked by an imperial mentality, orientation towards a multi-civilizational and multi-polar world as well as the demand to create a new world order in line with such an emerging worldview. The article also discusses some of the ideas prevailing in the European Union that underpin the policy of creating a post-national European cosmopolitan community. However, such discourse lacks a cultural, civilizational as well as religious heritage, which brings people together and can form a long-lasting sense of civilizational community.

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