“the Clash of Civilisations?” vs. “the Clash of Ignorance”

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“The Clash of Civilisations?” vs. “The Clash of Ignorance”

Samuel P. Huntington’s rather lengthy article “The Clash of Civilisations?” manages to cover a lot of ground (Huntington, 1993). It addresses how different civilisations interact externally and internally, devoting the most space to the “Muslim” vs. the “West” interaction. On the other hand Edward W. Said’s “The Clash of Ignorance” takes a direct aim at Huntington’s opinions and expands upon them by presenting his own views of the after mentioned interaction (Said, 2001). Although Huntington presents the world as a rather simplistic place, Said presents a more convincing argument in which the world is a much more complicated place.

According to Huntington, “the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural” and also “It is far more meaningful now to group countries not in terms of their political or economic systems or in terms of their level of economic development but rather in terms of their culture and civilization.” (Huntington, 1993, I). I can certainly argue with that. It has never been officially proven, but despite what the Bush’s administration claimed, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) were never found in Iraq in the time of Iraq-U.S. war. You can argue that the main reason the U.S. went to war with Iraq was to protect its oil stakes in that region of the world. Thus the Iraq-U.S. conflict was not based on a “clash of civilisations”; rather it was based on oil. In my opinion this makes that conflict economic despite what Huntington stated in his hypothesis (Huntington, 1993, I).

By pigeonholing countries based only on their culture and civilisation, Huntington is simplifying whole regions just because of their religion and history. I think there is more to it than that. For example, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq are in the same...
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