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Revisiting Moïsi's "The Geopolitics of Emotion"

"The Geopolitics of Emotion: How Cultures of Fear, Humiliation and Hope are Reshaping the World" (Anchor Books, 2009)

I have read this remarkable work by one of France's leading scholars, Dominique Moïsi, 5 years ago. It remains as one of the best books on contemporary global politics in my collection. But nothing quite struck me of how spot-on his views were, until recently; namely the Syrian refugee crisis, the rise of the far-right anti-immigrant parties across Europe, the global appeal of the IS terrorist group, the rise and the populism of the xenophobic Republican Donald Trump in America and most recently the British fear and anger behind #Brexit.

To Moïsi, the three major global civilisations are represented by three important emotions; West; America and Europe (fear), Islamic (humiliation) and, India, China, East Asia and Africa (hope).

It is grossly insufficient to only be focusing on Trump's racism and his personality alone without understanding the appeal behind Trump-ism and the ideology of fear in America. Likewise in Europe and in the UK, the sense of fear is sweeping across the continent. 

The fear that Muslims and Islam are changing the tradition identity and culture of Europe. And the fear that migrants are bringing in foreign ideology and culture. This fear and anger was clearly manifested in the recent #Brexit referendum where 51% of British citizens voted to Leave the EU. Experts have argued that the vote was nothing about the economy but it was all about immigration and the fear of migrants "swarming" into the UK.

Second, it is insufficent to merely deny the religion of the IS without understanding the emotion that drives them to their idea of "jihad". By simply denouncing them as unIslamic, without going to the roots of the problem, does not make the problem go away. E.g. The decline of the Muslim ummah post-Ottoman caliphate, the humiliation of the Arab states in the 20th century at the hands of the Anglo-American neo-colonialism, Zionism, and the continuing instability in Palestine, Iraq, Syria etc which are all part of the contributing factors.

P/s: To all fans of geopolitics and global affairs, this book is highly recommended.

My previous post based on the same book, "Politics of Hope and Fear" (2013).

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