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Armenia

1) The Armenians, a Christian people in a sea of Muslims, are as European as the Greeks. Having a population of only three million, this tightly-knit culture relies on its diaspora of eight million people.

2) Like the Jews and the Kurds, the Armenians have always played an important economic role in their region through their skills as businessmen. Like the Jews and the Kurds they have found themselves shunned, and attempts have been made to exterminate them.

3) During the Russian occupation of western Armenia about 1.5 million Armenians were killed. From 1895 onwards the Turks killed up to 1 - 1.5 million Armenians in their country (Armenian Genocide). Turkey claims these to have been legitimate acts of war, and it regards Orhan Pamuk (winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize for literature) as a traitor for saying otherwise.173

4) Fearing the Turks, the Armenians have turned to their old enemies, the Russians, for support.

Asia

1) There is no proven correlation between economic success and democracy. On the contrary, many Asian countries are demonstrating that they can compete more effectively as semi-totalitarian States. ... What history does show is that the citizens of these countries will often demand greater liberty as their standard of living improves. Thus increased democracy seems to be mainly a consequence, not a cause, of better economic performance.

2) There are no real democracies in Asia. There are no dependable or trustworthy systems, only dependable persons.

3) Asia is occupied with "projects", Europe with politics and social problems.

4) Apart from Jewish-Christian civilization, only one other civilization is showing significant economic potential today, namely Confucian civilization.

5) Most other civilizations are either in a state of economic limbo or are regressing, whether in Africa, in the Middle East, or in Asia. Africa is clinging to faith if not falling apart anymore, at least not after the Chinese moved in, India is hampered by inter-ethnic and religious conflicts. The Arab-Muslim world is even in some parts moving several steps backwards. For many there, utopia is the eleventh-century Islamic age. It is a retro-utopian society. They are trying to revive a myth.

6) With tension growing between Western and Islamic cultures, the ideas of Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington about a clash between civilizations have been revived, but the clash need not necessarily be bloody.

7) Huntington defines civilizations as adhering to a specific culture and religion. He lists eight civilizations:

a) Occidental

b) Islamic

c) Hindu

d) Slavonic-Orthodox

e) African

f) Latin American

g) Japanese

h) Confucian.

8) Asian cultures are characterized by:

a) ease with ambiguity

b) preference for non-verbal communication

c) responsibility based on consensus, not on contract

d) all opinions sought, consensus within the group

e) relative values

f) feelings and emotions

g) global vision.

9) To succeed in Asia you need patience, understanding, and commitment.

10) By contrast to Western culture, Asian culture is based on collective decision-making, not on individualism. The focus is on understanding, not on contracts. Benefits are sought in the long term not the short term, but short-cuts are accepted.

11) We think of individualism as an ancient European tradition. It is not, it is an eighteenth-century European invention. In the Greek and Roman conception of freedom, a human being could not be conceived of apart from the community. The city comes first. (See e.g. Ortega y Gasset 1946: 31.)

12) The Eight Asian Tigers are: the established Four Tigers of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan, plus Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the coastal regions of China. These already comprise 500 million people, more than the newly enlarged Europe. In their hinterland another billion people are ready to join in. 700 million of them will move into cities in the next two generations to come.

13) Asia is not dependent on us any longer, for either technology or investments. For a while they will want our special areas of expertise; later, all we shall have to offer is our consumer markets.

14) Asian networks abroad include, for the Chinese, the Triads, and for the Japanese the "Black Dragon". These organizations are required to operate by Asian rules abroad.

15) The Pacific is an empty ocean three times the size of the Atlantic.

16) In Asia you have to travel by train or plane. Distances are larger than in Europe. It takes thirty minutes to travel from Calais to Dover; from Pusan (South Korea) to Japan takes twelve hours.

17) If you took China out of Asia you would have no continent left; China is indeed the "Middle Kingdom".

18) We are wasting our resources with the Chinese, talking politics, when we should focus all our energy in one area; to get the communist party to open its markets to Western companies. Our companies need to go from outsourcing in China to living, learning and producing here. That is geoeconomics, the rest is just geopolitics, and not very smart either.

 
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