Arts & Living
Huntington's New "Clash of Civilizations"
The Clash of Civilizations & the Remaking of World Order"World politics is being reconfigured along cultural and civilizational lines. In this world the most pervasive, important and dangerous conflicts will not be between social classes, rich and poor or other economically defined groups, but between peoples belonging to different cultural entities." In this very readable, thought provoking book Samuel P. Huntington, Harvard Professor and Chairman of the Harvard Academy of International and Area Studies, writes about a "clash of civilizations" that he feels will dominate the future of global politics. Although first written in1996, his study can still help broaden our understanding of international affairs in an insightful and provocative way. His basic tenet is that after the Cold War era, which was a conflict essentially based on ideology, relationships between countries are increasingly being shaped by cultural and civilizational factors. He argues that the Western civilization became the most prominent not by having superior morals, values or ideas, be they economic, religious or ideological, but rather by its ability to conquer other civilizations with military might. In direct reaction to this 'arrogant' western approach we see the determination of non-western civilizations to proliferate and to push right back. Huntington illustrates this argument with examples from seven main civilizations: Japanese, Islamic, Western, Latin American, Hindu, Sinic (Chinese); Japanese; and African. However, in this study he concerns himself mainly with the future relationships between the Western, Asian and Islamic cultures. In fact he predicts that the two major confrontational areas within the next century will include the Western civilization versus the Islamic, and assertiveness of the Sinic (Chinese) Civilization, probably again against the Western model. He argues that war between two civilizations can evolve to become an overwhelmingly international conflict as other countries come to support and aid their own civilization. "In the coming era," says Huntington, "the avoidance of major civilizational wars requires core states to refrain from intervening in conflicts in other civilizations." Good advice if heeded.
Author: Samuel P. Huntington
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
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Edel Codd, a writer and avid reader, is currently working as staff writer for The Seoul Times. Having lived two years in Wonju she is currently working on a collection of short stories. Edel has a BA of History, Sociology and Politics from the University College Galway in Ireland.
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