An Analysis of the "Clash of Civilizations" Theory
Introduction of Government Course B.A Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy The Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya International Program
Humans have an unquenchable appetite for power and this inherent flaw of the human race is locking humanity in an eternal struggle among itself. After millions of years of astounding human progress and advancement in almost all aspects of life, this rule remains true. Despite all the "Enlightenments", people are still as power hungry and war mongering as they ever were, just in a different context (Bramhall, 2011). Samuel P. Huntington discusses the nature of this endless conflict in his book "Clash of Civilizations" (1996), where he argues that the end of the Cold War will not bring an era of peace among nations, but rather shift the focus from a battle of ideologies to a battle of civilizations. This conflict will supersede the classic struggle between nation states and fundamentally redefine the characteristics of 21st century international engagements (Hague and Harrop, 2010).
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the term civilization describes "the stage of human social development and organization which is considered most advanced." Huntington's definition of civilization, however, is quite different from the original meaning. In his book, he defines civilizations as cross-national societies that share cultural kinships and a broad level of common identity, usually in a certain cultural region (Hague and Harrop, 2010). By grouping different nations together and referring to civilization as a massive cultural identity, he attempts to prove that civilizations will be the key players in the future of international politics. Huntington uses the terms culture and civilization interchangeably, arguing that they are practically the same in the long run, and that somewhat different cultures sharing religion and language are bound to eventually become one (Chiozza, 2002). "Huntington's definition of Civilization as the broadest cultural entity aided him to create a visionary new world order consisting of eight major civilizations: Western, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American, Chinese and African. A civilization based world order, where countries group themselves around the lead of core states of their civilization." (Hague and Harrop, 2010, p. 116) Methodology
In this paper, the Clash of Civilizations theory will be tested against modern day occurrences and concepts, since the year 2000. The word civilization as it appears in the paper will be referring to the meaning mentioned above. Since the theory was established before the 21st century, Huntington was unable to draw conclusion from recent events to support it; the past 13 years since the inception of the new millennia have been eventful with international significant occurrences. Each of the two main principles of the theory will be explained and followed by an argument whether it was validated in modern times. Principle 1: Similar cultures will unite to form one civilization Huntington's theory supports the notion that certain modern day countries will unite under one banner of civilization, fostering mutual support between those countries, and lowering the chances of conflict among them (Chiozza, 2002). Today no nation state sees itself as part of an official civilization, and the only single-state civilization mentioned in Huntington's thesis is Japan, as it is the only state that constitutes the Japanese civilization. As a result, since the Cold War, Huntington's prediction of countries recognizing themselves as integral parts of a grand civilization has proven false. Moreover, military conflicts within civilizations are still a common occurrence and serve as a definitive proof that nation-states, even when sharing similar culture, are still as war prone as they...
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Hague and Harrop. (2010). Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction. Palgrave Macmillan.
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Swan, D. (2010, July 20). A criticism of Huntington 's "Clash of Civilizations". Retrieved December 07, 2013, from Academica.edu: https://www.academia.edu/1416654/A_Criticism_of_Huntingtons_Clash_of_Civilizations_
Annex 2 – Map presenting the world 's separation to civilization entities as described by Huntington in his book "Clash of Civilizations" (1996).
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