Samuel P. Huntington shocked the world in 1993 when he published “The Clash of Civilizations” in the journal of Foreign Affairs. Huntington states “most important conflicts of the future will occur along the cultural fault lines separating these civilizations from one another” (Huntington 1993, 25). He claims future conflicts after the Cold War will involve divides, disagreement and splits between cultures, races, religious beliefs. Huntington states his theory as “the fundamental source of conflict in the new world will not be primarily ideological or economic, but from cultural divisions” (Huntington 1993, 22). Political and economical cultural differences are crucial to understanding and maintaining a stable country. Huntington hypothesizes future conflicts will derive from cultural and religious divides and claims Nation States will be the most important actors. He further claims the cultural clash will be at two levels. The micro level is where “civilizations struggle, often violently, over the control of territory and each other” (Huntington 1993, 29). The macro level is where “civilizations compete for relative military and economic power … control of international institutions … and competitively promote their particular political and religious values” (Huntington 1993, 29). Understanding the micro and macro levels of conflict is important because religion creates a culture. Culture then influences politics and politics can create clashes between civilizations. Conflicts between Israel and Palestine, India and Pakistan and/or Russia and Chechnya are examples of the cultural clashes at both the micro and macro levels. Huntington published his essay two years after the end of the Cold War when political scientists were searching for a new threat stream which would cause a new source of conflict. Huntington’s Cold War perspective and the “West versus the rest” point of view are referenced in his essay (Huntington 1993, 39). No two groups of civilizations are exactly alike. For example, the United States and Britain. Although The United States and Britain speak English, many customs and traditions are completely different. Huntington concludes with the bottom line “civilizations… will have to learn to coexist with others” (Huntington 1993, 49). Huntington’s main argument is broken into six different sections. The first section is why civilizations will clash followed by six examples of globalization. Second section describes the fault line between civilizations such as Muslim versus Hindu. This would be followed by the third section of civilization rallying such as the Muslim uprising in the Middle East. Section four discusses the West versus the rest then the fifth section covers the Confusion-Islamic connection. Huntington completes his essay with implications for the West. His first section discusses differences among civilizations where each civilization is differentiated by history, language, culture, tradition, and religion. Huntington says the world is becoming a smaller place yet does not make any reference to global economy or wealthy versus non-wealthy nation states. He references perspectives between the United States and the European Union regarding North African culture which migrated to France (Huntington 1993, 28). The above mentioned example is important because Huntington describes four different perceptions regarding a North African who immigrated to the European Union. “An Ibo may be … an Owerri Ibo or an Onitsha Ibo … in Lagos he is simply and Ibo. In London, he is Nigerian. In New York, he is an African” (Huntington 1993, 26). What Huntington fails to incorporate non-state actors such as Violent Extremist Organizations (VEO) and states with empowered persons. With a few exceptions, most nations will not clash over territory or land; however, will clash over political power and control of a country (Huntington 1993, 27). Economic regionalism is increasing and successful economic reform will...
Bibliography: Huntington, Samuel P. “The Clash of Civilizations.” Foreign Affairs (Summer 1993): 22-49.
McCullough, David. John Adams. New York, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, 2001, 61.
1The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). Violent Extremist Organizations. (SOCSOUTH Web, 2013) online at <http://www.start.umd.edu/start/> accessed on (20AUG13).
2 Merriam-Websters. An Encyclopædia Britannica Company. Geopolitics. (SOCSOUTH Web, 2013) online at <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/geopolitics> accessed on (20AUG13).
3 US Department of the Army, Command and General Staff. The International Security Environment – C112. Fort Leavenworth, KS: C100-Foundations. 2013.
[ 1 ]. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). Violent Extremist Organizations. (SOCSOUTH Web, 2013) online at accessed on (20AUG13).
[ 2 ]. Merriam-Webster. An Encyclopædia Britannica Company. Geopolitics. (SOCSOUTH Web, 2013) online at accessed on (20AUG13).
[ 3 ]. US Department of the Army, Command and General Staff. The International Security Environment – C112. Fort Leavenworth, KS: C100-Foundations. 2013.
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