Huntington argues that the resurgence of Islam "embodies the acceptance of modernity, rejection of Western culture, and the recommitment to Islam as the guide to life in the modern world" Religion is the primary factor that distinguishes Muslim politics and society from other countries. Huntington also argues that the failure of state economies, the large young population, and the authoritarian style of governance have all contributed to the resurgence of Islam in society. During the Cold War, the bipolar world order enabled countries to identify themselves as either aligned or non-aligned.
In the post-Cold War world order, countries are no longer able to easily categorize themselves and have entered into an identity crisis. To cope with this crisis, countries started "rallying to those [cultures] with similar ancestry, religion, language, values, and institutions and distance themselves from those with different ones" Regional organizations have formed that reflect political and economic alliances.
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Huntington also describes the idea of "torn countries," or countries that have yet to entirely claim or create an identity. These countries include Russia, Turkey, Mexico, and Australia. Huntington discusses the new structure of civilizations as centered around a small number of powerful core states. Examples of core states are France and Germany for the EU. Their sphere of influence ends where Western Christendom ends. In other words, civilizations are strictly bound to religious affiliation.
Huntington argues that the Islamic civilization, which he identified earlier in the book, lacks a core state and is the factor that disallows these societies to successfully develop and modernize. The remainder of this section goes into great detail to explain the different divisions of core states throughout the world.
Huntington predicts and describes the great clashes that will occur among civilizations. First, he anticipates a coalition or cooperation between Islamic and Sinic cultures to work against a common enemy, the West. Three issues that separate the West from the rest are identified by Huntington as:. Non-Western countries see all three aspects as the Western countries attempt to enforce and maintain their status as the cultural hegemony. Huntington goes into a brief historical explanation of the conflictual nature of Islam and Christianity and then lists five factors that have exacerbated conflict between the two religions in the late twentieth century.
These factors are:. Economic development in Asia and China has resulted in an antagonistic relationship with America. As discussed in previous sections, economic success in Asia and China has created an increased sense of cultural relevancy. Huntington predicts that the combination of economic success of the East Asian countries and the heightened military power of China could result in a major world conflict. This conflict would be intensified even more by alignments between Islamic and Sinic civilizations.
The end of chapter nine provides a detailed diagram The Global Politics of Civilizations: Emerging Alliances which helps explain the complexity of the political relationships in the post-Cold War era Huntington defines the Soviet-Afghan war and the First Gulf War as the emergence of civilization wars. Huntington interprets the Afghan War as a civilization war because it was seen as the first successful resistance to a foreign power, which boosted the self-confidence, and power of many fighters in the Islamic world.
The war also "left behind an uneasy coalition of Islamic organizations intent on promoting Islam against all non-Muslim forces" In other words, the war created a generation of fighters that perceived the West to be a major threat to their way of life. The First Gulf War was a Muslim conflict in which the West intervened; the war was widely opposed by non-Westerners and widely supported by Westerners. The war was interpreted as a war of us vs.
The Validity of Samuel P. Huntington’s Thesis in “The | Bartleby
To better understand the definition of the fault line between civilizations, Huntington provides a description of characteristics and dynamics of fault line conflicts. They can be described by the following:. In the concluding sections of his book, Huntington discusses the challengers of the West, and whether or not external and internal challenges will erode the West's power.
External challenges include the emerging cultural identities in the non-Western world. Internal challenges include the erosion of principle values, morals, and beliefs within Western culture. He also contributes to the debate between multiculturalists and monoculturalists and states that, "A multicultural world is unavoidable because global empire is impossible.
The preservation of the United States and the West requires the renewal of Western identity" The ability for the West to remain a global political power, it needs to adapt to increasing power and influence of different civilizations. Without adapting, the West is destined to decline in power and influence, or it will clash with other powerful civilizations.
According to Huntington, the West clashing with another civilization is "the greatest threat to world peace, and an international order" Our inability to constructively handle intractable conflict is the most serious, and the most neglected, problem facing humanity. Solving today's tough problems depends upon finding better ways of dealing with these conflicts. Educators Consider a low-cost BI-based custom text.
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Massively Parallel Peacebuilding. Authoritarian Populism. Constructive Confrontation. Links to thought-provoking articles exploring the larger, societal dimension of intractability. Content may not be reproduced without prior written permission. Guidelines for Using Beyond Intractability resources. Citing Beyond Intractability resources. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.
Summary of "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order"
In this belligerent kind of thought, he relies heavily on a article by the veteran Orientalist Bernard Lewis, whose ideological colors are manifest in its title, "The Roots of Muslim Rage. Certainly neither Huntington nor Lewis has much time to spare for the internal dynamics and plurality of every civilization, or for the fact that the major contest in most modern cultures concerns the definition or interpretation of each culture, or for the unattractive possibility that a great deal of demagogy and downright ignorance is involved in presuming to speak for a whole religion or civilization.
No, the West is the West, and Islam Islam. The challenge for Western policy-makers, says Huntington, is to make sure that the West gets stronger and fends off all the others, Islam in particular. In fact, Huntington is an ideologist, someone who wants to make "civilizations" and "identities" into what they are not: shut-down, sealed-off entities that have been purged of the myriad currents and countercurrents that animate human history, and that over centuries have made it possible for that history not only to contain wars of religion and imperial conquest but also to be one of exchange, cross-fertilization and sharing.
This far less visible history is ignored in the rush to highlight the ludicrously compressed and constricted warfare that "the clash of civilizations" argues is the reality.
When he published his book by the same title in , Huntington tried to give his argument a little more subtlety and many, many more footnotes; all he did, however, was confuse himself and demonstrate what a clumsy writer and inelegant thinker he was. The basic paradigm of West versus the rest the cold war opposition reformulated remained untouched, and this is what has persisted, often insidiously and implicitly, in discussion since the terrible events of September Berlusconi has since made a halfhearted apology for his insult to "Islam.
Even if he did, what sort of sample is that? I remember interrupting a man who, after a lecture I had given at a West Bank university in , rose from the audience and started to attack my ideas as "Western," as opposed to the strict Islamic ones he espoused. One cannot easily do so, of course. How finally inadequate are the labels, generalizations and cultural assertions. At some level, for instance, primitive passions and sophisticated know-how converge in ways that give the lie to a fortified boundary not only between "West" and "Islam" but also between past and present, us and them, to say nothing of the very concepts of identity and nationality about which there is unending disagreement and debate.
The phenomenon distorts religion, debases tradition, and twists the political process wherever it unfolds. Theirs is a very limited and time-bound political agenda. It was Conrad, more powerfully than any of his readers at the end of the nineteenth century could have imagined, who understood that the distinctions between civilized London and "the heart of darkness" quickly collapsed in extreme situations, and that the heights of European civilization could instantaneously fall into the most barbarous practices without preparation or transition. For there are closer ties between apparently warring civilizations than most of us would like to believe; both Freud and Nietzsche showed how the traffic across carefully maintained, even policed boundaries moves with often terrifying ease.
But then such fluid ideas, full of ambiguity and skepticism about notions that we hold on to, scarcely furnish us with suitable, practical guidelines for situations such as the one we face now.
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Hence the altogether more reassuring battle orders a crusade, good versus evil, freedom against fear, etc. One further reason for its persistence is the increased presence of Muslims all over Europe and the United States. Think of the populations today of France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Britain, America, even Sweden, and you must concede that Islam is no longer on the fringes of the West but at its center. But what is so threatening about that presence?