Chapter 34 key questions

9 Apr

1. The new African and Asian states had such a difficult time in establishing national identities because of the strong negative impact that the previous era of colonialism placed upon them. Deep divisions between ethnic and religious groups remained when European rulers disappeared from their former colonies. Western colonialism contributed to the internal divisions and political weaknesses of newly independent states. Nearly all national that emerged from decolonization were artificial creations. Europeans rarely took into account the interests or people who occupied these lands. Although Asian and African leaders have been acutely aware of the injustices and persecutions of minority groups that often precipitated these conflicts, none have seriously suggested changing the boundaries established in the colonial era.

2. Many instances contributed to the gaining of power by the Islamic fundamentalists in Iran. Core motivations were provided by the emphasis on religion and politics. But Khomeini’s revolution owed its initial success in seizing power to a combination of circumstances that was unique to Iran. Iran had not been formally colonized but rather had been reduced to a sphere of informal influence, divided between Great Britain and Russia. Iran thus lacked colonial bureaucratic and communications infrastructures as well as a large Western-educated middle class. Modernization policies, supported by Iran’s oil wealth, were imposed by the regime of the Pahlavi shahs. Advances resulted, but the majority of Iranians were alienated. Neither the bureaucratic not the communication infrastructures that accompanied colonial takeovers were highly developed there. Nor did a substantial Western-educated middle class emerge.

3. In contrast to the cities of Western Europe and North America, even during the decades of rapid urban expansion in the 19th century, few African or Asian cities have had the manufacturing base needed to generate growth in their surrounding regions or the nation as a whole. They take from the already impoverished country side but they are able to give little in return. Urban dependence on the countryside further stretches the already overstretched resources of the rural areas. This means that they are parasitic, they diminish national resources by drawing supplies from impoverished rural regions without replenishing or reimbursing the country side. In addition, cities in Asia, Africa and Latin America have much larger slums than cities in the West. This is due to cities spreading without proper planning. In some cases, nations concluded that only slums could provide necessary housing and thus supplied them with electrical and sanitary systems.

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