Civilization escalated to the most urgent issue of global order
One aspect of great changes that is particularly glaring is that civilization clashes and cultural governance have escalated into prominent conflicts in international politics. Culture has not been the main focus of politics, and the subject of culture has remained dormant compared with defense, economy, security, and technology. Moreover, it has always been ignored until major international crises break out and extreme social movements take place. Therefore, when it comes to international politics, we generally refer to conflict, competition, and cooperation within the global economy, politics, and defense; cultural battles are rarely mentioned. Even when we do, we tend to refer to culture as factors that indirectly impact the ideas and thinking of the leadership. Nevertheless, standing at the 20th- and 21st-century threshold, culture has come to the fore.
International cultural governance as an important part of international governance
Cultural governance as part of international governance does not belong in traditional areas of governance. Capitalist countries in the West favor international economic governance. From their perspective, the entire world should be under the canopy of capitalist political culture. Since the basis of international society builds itself on European culture and the institution of sovereignty and international law was primarily of the West, not to mention that the current order was established by the West, Western powers are so confident about their cultural dominance that they seldom harbor the sense of crisis in terms of culture. Britain and America as hegemonies have long been concerned with the rise of strong military powers or emerging economies that try to challenge their international status. However, there are three key factors that make culture an important part of
Prologue xiii international governance. The first factor is that culnire is becoming a basic and major player in the process of regional integration. Since the 1990s, both the E.U. and ASEAN have consensually regarded regional cultural planning as one of the three main tasks, making the establishment of the socio-cultural community the pillar strategy. The second factor is the so-called “Clashes of Civilizations” in global governance. The purpose of the theory was to help the strategic circle wake up to the importance of civilization in international politics, which had not received due attention. Yet, to emphasize that the theme of international politics in the future would be clashes of civilizations is somewhat exaggerated; it underestimates the possibility of civilizational communication and mutual learning. But it is fair to say that the theory has, to some extent, mirrored the potentials that differences among civilizations do influence international cooperation—a truly universal phenomenon indeed. The third factor is the intensity superpowers exhibit in the competition and conflict that shape cultural soft power. Since peace and development have become the theme of the times, the interdependence among nations has been deepening, and the common frailty in economic development and identity crisis in cultural spheres have gained strength, countries all over the world, especially superpowers, have begun to seek profound and everlasting cooperation. Therefore, they would incorporate into their national strategy the awareness of reinforcing socio-economic cooperation, developing the cultural hospitality industry, improving the international image, strengthening cultural soft power, and enhancing communication capabilities.