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Benjamin Barber's 1992 article, later expanded to a book, could be argued to have been well-ahead of its time, although he was not alone in positing the problems that could emerge in a post-Cold War world no longer dominated by two superpowers.
Globalization is largely a product of the post-World War II economic dominance of the United States. Not having suffered the physical destruction of Europe and Asia, the United States emerged from that war in a far stronger political and economic position relative to the rest of the world than was the case at the war's outset. America's free market capitalism spawned multinational corporations that spread American influence around the world, most infamously in the person of Ronald McDonald. McDonald's became the most potent symbol of the spread of U.S. culture and consumerism, although it was clearly not alone.
"Jihad vs. McWorld" refers to the cultural and political backlash that resulted in some parts of the world as nationalist sentiments, previously sublimated under the initial humiliation of military defeat and/or economic devastation resulting from World War II, began to reemerge and assume greater political force. Manifestations of this backlash ran the gamut from French resistance to American cuisine and English-language motion pictures to terrorist attacks against American businesses in Europe and Asia during the 1970s and 1980s.
The events of September 11, 2001, forced the issue of what the scholar Samuel Huntington referred to as a "clash of civilizations" into the public debate. While the reasons for Islamist militant terrorism go beyond the issue of globalization, the rise of Islam as a political force, most spectactularly in Iran in 1979, is in no small measure a response to the perception of anti-Islamic values represented by Western commercial and political practices. American corporations in parts of the Near East, for example, are frequently viewed as a modern form of imperialism, whereby American values are forced upon smaller, weaker cultures. American music, film and television are frequently attacked by more fundamentalist or orthodox practioners of Islam as threatening to Islamic values.
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