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Cooperation of Empires: Winning Without a Battle

Hong Kong Economic Times, Commentary, Kwong Piu Tsang Posted: Mar 06, 2006

Original Chinese version (1 MB JPEG image)

Readers familiar with this column know that the sociology model that I admire most the theory of empires -- comes from Franz Schurmann, a historian, philosopher, and a retired professor emeritus of history and sociology at the University of California at Berkeley. This theory is still in development, but I have learned that for the world in the future, the perspective of empires will surpass the theory of the Clash of Civilizations, a theory that carries race and religious prejudices.
The Coexistence of China, Iran, and Turkey

The newest article by Schurmann is that Turkey and China will bring peace in Central Asia, even the Middle East. He said that even though the United States and Russia have significant power, they do not understand how solve problems in Central Asian and the Middle East, regions with such diverse culture and ethnic conflicts. China, Iran, and Turkey are all empires that have interacted with one another through wars, trade, migration, and cultural exchange for thousands of years. It is the only way that countries can understand the process toward peace.

Schurmann said that China and Iran have seen the rise and fall of their countries throughout history, but neither country was out to destroy the other. For example, in the Tang dynasty, Turks were defeated by the Chinese, so instead they settled far from China and established a powerful empire whose influence extended to the borders of China.

Two thousand five hundred years ago, Iran and China were large empires that had no direct conflict with each other. According to Schurmann, the Chinese called Persia Bosi, a word that most probably comes from the port of Bassra in Persia.

The late scholar Zeki Velidi Togan once said that he believes that 4000 years ago, Chinese, Iranian, and Turks already had various interactions with one another.

Improving the Quality of Life Within These Regions

When Mongolia raised 1000 years ago, all ethnic groups in the region suffered war. The poet Jalal ud-Din Rumi, who was born near the border of Afghanistan, escaped to Turkey and the Greece border to escape the Mongolian invasion. Rumis exalted poems have appeared in Muslim Russia, Muslim China, Muslim India and Pakistan.

The far-reaching cultural history of China, Turkey, and Iran is something that America and Russia cannot compete with. America and Russia cannot use technology or violence to impose their political will to people in the region.

Only China, Schurmann said, with its progress of infrastructure, communication, and oil pipelines, can really realize the wisdom of the phrase, The greatest general is one who never fought a battle.

In my thinking, Mongolia never did overcome the Middle East. Americas failure in Afghanistan and Iraq teaches us that tolerance and cooperation is the only path for the future of this region. China, Turkey, and Iran all share this same duty.

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