The New States of West Africa. Ken Post. Penguin Books, 4s. 6d.
Ballot Box and Bayonet—People and Government in Emergent Asian Countries.
Hugh Tinker. Chatham House Essays, r.i.i.a., 8s. 6d.
These books, in their different ways, illustrate the dilemma of western political scientists confronted with the paroxysm of the ‘emergent’ world of post-colonial Asia and Africa. Traditional terms, hypotheses, assumptions clearly will not do: but what is to replace them? The authors, who differ in their experience, orientation and method, converge significantly in their failure to resolve this problem. Neither completely succeeds in liberating himself from debilitating ideological and methodological preconceptions; and, despite some penetrating observations, neither has been able to invent a unified and inclusive analytic scheme.
Hugh Tinker, former Indian Civil Servant turned academic, is Indophile, pragmatic, a liberal propelled towards a somewhat hazy paternalism. Conditions of historical backwardness, he finds, mock ‘institutional transfer’; nationalism almost irresistably degenerates into mystique and étatisme; the classical corporate and institutional groups (political parties, bureaucracy, military) prove variously incapable of assuring progress or democracy. Before this depressing perspective, Tinker turns to new solutions: the ‘politics of consensus’ (‘the outspreading of the sense of mutual loyalties, interests and obligations from the village or tribe to enfold the Great Society of the whole connexion’) or ‘pyramidal democracy’ as exemplified in Pakistan, Nepal and the Sudan. He has kind words for ‘bluff and genial’ Ayub Khan, for Mahendra, Vinoba Bhave, Jayaprakash Narayan; Swatantra ‘lays emphasis on the need to reaffirm moral and spiritual values’. His essay, which makes no pretensions to factual comprehensiveness, starkly discloses the fundamental inability of liberalism—lacking a global theory of society and history—to establish any autonomous purchase on the phenomena of the under-developed world.