THE CLASH OF CIVILISATIONS AND THE REMAKING OF WORLD ORDER
Preeti John Puliyankunnel
Registration number: 08PG4029
Department of Media Studies
International relations is a field of application and study that has in recent years gained impetus owing to the need for maintaining good, friendly, cordial relations with other states in times of widespread global conflict. The study of the field has emerged to understand past relations, prevalent trends as well as future patterns. Many theories and theses have been propounded to explain and present the many facets of international relations. There are many historical theories that have evolved through time, which still hold true. There are also a few theories that have emerged in the last 30 years or so that could seemingly be more relevant to modern international relations since they exist to explain the present scenario. The Clash of Civilisations theory propounded by political scientist late Samuel P. Huntington first appeared as an article published in the Foreign Affairs journal in 1993. Applicable to the field of international relations and global politics, the article was elaborated into a theory, exploring issues raised by Huntington in the original piece, as well as identifying the potential cause of and protection against war. The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order was published in 1996. The theory, in its essences talks about a global conflict arising post the breakup of the Soviet Union in a non-Cold War world. Lucubrating over the same with historical relevance as well as modern day contexts, Huntington deliberates over the role of religion and culture in dividing the world into civilizations, thus presenting a scenario of global tension and possible war. It is important to note that Huntington doesn’t have any clear precise criteria through which he identifies the countries that make up each civilisation. Multiple factors including religion, geographical proximity and language are cited as reasons for the formation of these civilisations. Another point of significance is that Huntington doesn’t define nor specific the exact number of civilisations anywhere in his book. Thus, the ambiguity of the very term is something that led to much debate about the authenticity of the theory and his thesis. He propagates that conflicts will arise amongst civilisations purely because of their inherent differences. Further, he states that some civilisations are predisposed to dislike another thus leading to constant tensions and a situation perpetually conducive to conflict. Conflicts between the Western and Islamic worlds are nothing new, and are constant irrespective of who is at the helm of the core states. Huntington believes it is the need of the people to identify, and align themselves with a group of people sharing similarities in terms of appearance, language spoken, manner of living, religion, culture, thought process etc that has led to a clannish mentality the world over, which in turn has led to the formation of these civilisations. Thus, people, and states are more likely to align themselves with other states that they share similarities with rather than one they have nothing in common with. This leads to a situation of grouping that is visible across the world today where countries that understandably belong to the civilisations (according to Huntington’s division) concord against another set of grouped countries. This is most visible among the Western and Islamic countries. United States of America, along with Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany etc align together and are automatically pitted against Islamic states like Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Middle Eastern states etc. The Clash theory also talks about the problems caused by the reluctance of the West to identify and accept other patterns of...