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As the neatest term available to refer to Western Europe, the United States, and other countries of European settlement in one breath, the word connotes an ideal of secular and democratic liberalism and economic growth which peoples in Russia, Turkey, China, and elsewhere have pursued and rejected by turns throughout the modern period. This was subsequently overlaid, from the later 1940s, by Cold War ideological and military rivalry between an avowedly communist East under Soviet and Chinese leadership and a West, now clearly centred upon the United States and often taken to include Japan, in which the values of consumerism, economic growth, and personal liberty assumed heightened prominence. It is against this supposedly degenerate modern culture, in the aftermath of the Cold War, that Islamic states as different from one another as Iran and Saudi Arabia have continued to define themselves, though without abandoning the standards of technological and military sophistication and material well‐being first achieved in the West.


Subjects: Politics.

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