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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The commonalities of civilizations...,
Professor Huntington wrote this book 15 years ago, as an expansion of his thesis on the importance of culture in determining allegiances and identity. His original thesis was first published in "Foreign Affairs" in 1993, not that long after the Soviet Union collapsed, and with it communism as an ideology that provided a structure for the economic relationships within a...
Published on 28 Mar 2011 by John P. Jones III

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3.0 out of 5 stars Mugged by Machiavelli?
Samuel P Huntington's dark classic “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order”, first published in 1996, comes with positive blurbs from Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, hardly lightweights on the darker side of things. The 2003 edition spouts a cover showing a Muslim flag alongside the star spangled banner, to boost sales, no doubt...
Published 5 months ago by Ashtar Command


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The commonalities of civilizations...,, 28 Mar 2011
By 
John P. Jones III (Albuquerque, NM, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Clash of Civilizations: And the Remaking of World Order (Paperback)
Professor Huntington wrote this book 15 years ago, as an expansion of his thesis on the importance of culture in determining allegiances and identity. His original thesis was first published in "Foreign Affairs" in 1993, not that long after the Soviet Union collapsed, and with it communism as an ideology that provided a structure for the economic relationships within a society. It was an attempt to answer the simply question raised by many a policy wonk and think tank habitué: Now what? (after 50 years of "Cold War"). The book has been widely influential; a minor "Bible" of sorts, and there is enough in it that, like the Bible itself, you can quote a certain passage to support your point of view. The title is a bit provocative, misleading, and even inappropriate, since it has been seized upon by those who which to promote endless war; those who President Eisenhower warned Americans against, the famous military-industrial complex, who have a vested interest in promoting the "clash" aspect. How much better if it had been entitled as the subject to this review, which is indeed the title that Huntington gave to the last section in his book.

Huntington's book was one of the first to elucidate the transition from the bi-polar world of the Cold War to the multi-polar world of today. The author identifies and characterizes the multi-polar areas: the West, Latin America, the Russian or Orthodox area, China, India and the Islamic world. With the rise of other power centers, the influence and dominance of the West has declined, much to the consternation of the supporters of implicit Empire. What is one of the true strengths of this book, and seems to have been missed by so many of the 1-star reviews is that Huntington does not have an exclusive parochial Western point of view; he has a global perspective. He knows that the pompous pundits of the West, who routinely lecture the non-Western areas with their message of: "You will be a better person if you become more like me" is strongly resented in those areas, and he says it again and again: `In addition to Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and, to a lesser degree, Iran, have become modern societies without becoming Western" (p. 77). "It is a rejection of what has been termed the `Westoxification' of non-Western societies. It is a declaration of cultural independence from the West, a proud statement that: `We will be modern but we won't be you'" (p 101). He quotes Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir: "Asian values are universal values. European values are European values (p 109). Or, "What is universalism to the West is imperialism to the rest (p184).

There is much else, from his discussion of "cleft countries"; those that contain two strong cultural influences, such as the Ukraine, to the more provocative speculation about the United States becoming a cleft country, as the percentage of non-Hispanic whites falls below 50%. He presents a compilation of the world's conflicts; those that occur among cultures, and those within a given culture, and the latter predominate. Huntington is no Pollyanna. The essence of the problem of war is rooted in human nature: "...and finally is the ubiquity of conflict. It is human to hate. For self-definition and motivation people need enemies: competitors in business, rivals in achievement, opponents in politics" (p130). Although he does not say it, I'm sure he would concur that the same need for opponents is a dominant factor in academia. As to how that underlying need for conflict translates onto the global stage, consider: "The dangerous clashes of the future are likely to arise from the interaction of Western arrogance, Islamic intolerance and Sinic assertiveness" (p 183).

Nothing is inevitable in Huntington's analysis. He offers positive and prescient advise: "...and, most important, to recognize that Western intervention in the affairs of other civilizations is probably the single most dangerous source of instability and potential global conflict in a multicivilizational world (p 312). And: "This is a truth which some states, particularly the Untied States, will undoubtedly find difficult to accept. This abstention rule that core states abstain from intervention in conflicts in other civilizations is the first requirement of peace in a mulitcivilizational, multipolar world." From the Amen Corner: Amen.

On a personal note, I played the role of "the good American" in a Saudi sit-com, "Tash ma Tash." The episode concerned the impact of the events of 9-11 on Saudi nationals living in the United States. In one scene I was on a sofa, reading a book, as the events of 9-11 unfolded. I chose this book to underscore the cultural conflicts that would be enflamed by that event; I was instructed to cover the cross on the cover with my fingers so that the more conservative elements in Saudi society would not be offended (the cover was of an older edition.) I did, and they weren't. More such shows are needed to promote Huntington's concept of the commonalities of civilization, which we should all be striving for.

I do have reservations about parts of the book, like the map at the beginning that showed the colonies of Angola and Mozambique, as well as South Vietnam being part of the so-called "Free World" in the `60's. And I wish the title was different, but it is an essential book to read for how our thoughts are shaped. Furthermore, Huntington's unheeded advise, as the United States is still looking to "win" in Afghanistan, makes this a 5-star read.

(Note: Review first published at Amazon, USA, on July 05, 2010)
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prophetic and gripping, but slightly dated, 15 April 2007
By 
M. McManus - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Clash of Civilizations: And the Remaking of World Order (Paperback)
This book was written as a prophecy about what the author felt would characterise the C21st. Now that we are nearly a decade into the C21st, we have the ability to look back and see if he was right. If yes, then this book was prophetic and its lessons should be learned. If not, then he is wrong, and the book is little more than an airport novel.

On one or two dimensions, Huntingdon has been extraordinarily accurate, predicting that Islamic extremism would become the number one security threat to the West in the C21st. Ominously, he predicted that the West would be driven to attack nations that possessed WMDs in the fear they would pass them on to terrorists. This is the Bush doctrine, written before Bush was even an elected official, never mind President. Equally ominous, he predicted that Islamic radicals would rally to the cause of any Muslim state attacked in such a way, and the influx of foreign insurgents into Iraq confirms this. Interestingly, the author predicts that the Taliban and Al Qaeda would be very prominent in the C21st, yet never actually names the organisations by name (in the case of Al Qaeda because it did not adopt its current name until several years after the book was written).

Huntingdon is slightly inaccurate in his prediction that China would become more bellicose and confrontational. At least so far, China has been warm towards the West, with trade deals and cultural exchanges flourishing. Another weakness of the book is his rather arbitrary definition of societies, and his notion that a "core state" would drive forward its respective civilisation. This is not the case, with supra-national agencies taking the place of "core states".

Overall, the book is highly recommended. However, given its relative age, it would be advisable to buy a more recent book on geopolitics as well, to top up the introduction that this book provides.
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71 of 79 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Convincing arguments well-presented., 24 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Huntington's central thesis is that major conflicts are now and have always been defined by clashes between fundamentally different civilisations rather than between similar nations, and that major conflicts occur on the boundaries between them. His theories apply not only to international conflict (so for example World War II can be seen as a conflict between Eastern and Western European civilisation and between Western and Japanese) but also to internal ones where countries lie on the "fault lines" between civilisations (so the troubles in Yugoslavia are viewed as conflicts between Eastern European and Islamic civilisations and so on). Huntington identifies the scope and causes of conflict, examines the politics of post-colonialism and national identity and surveys many other potential sources of conflict awaiting the civilisations currently competing for resources and prestige. Rather similar to Paul Kennedy's "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers" in its breadth and scope, this book has much to say about the nature and causes of conflict. At times Huntington seems a little alarmist about the decline of Western civilisation, but his often strident tone can be ignored and the weight of evidence allowed to speak for itself.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clash of Values, cultures and interest., 29 Jan 2003
This review is from: The Clash of Civilizations: And the Remaking of World Order (Paperback)
Dividing the world into 7 major civilisations, in this book Huntington argues that in the post cold war era, countries tend to re-evaluate their position in the world in terms of identity. After the cold war, during which the division and conflict was between two ideologies, relations between countries in the post cold war era are increasingly shaped by cultural and civilizational factors, thus most countries tend to identify themselves in terms of civilisations.
The collapse of communism had been seen by many western scholars as an indication and a validation of the superiority of western thoughts. One example of this is Fukuyama who argues in his book The End Of History And The last Man that liberal democracy is the last stage of the evolution of the political and social systems through history. To add to this, due to its unchallenged military and its superiority since the fall of the communism, the west (mainly the US) has been able to defend its interests by defining those interests as the interests of the world community. Due to this the west is trying to impose its double standard rule on other nations using untrue terminology to describe this rule. For example, democracy is promoted but not if it brings Islamic parties to power, non-proliferation is preached for Iran but not for Israel, human rights are an issue with china but not with the US allies, aggression against oil-owning Kuwaitis is massively repulsed but not against non-oil-owning Bosnian. Huntington argues that the west won the world not by the superiority of its values, ideas or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence, and as a reaction to the arrogant western approach the revival of non-western religions is the most powerful manifestation of anti-westernism.
A fault line war, war between two countries or groups from different civilisations, is the most dangerous war, as it will evolve to an international conflict involving other countries, each to support its civilizational-kin country. To avoid such clash he stresses the need to alter the Security Council to be a civilizational council, which means that every civilization should be represented by its core state. As well he stresses the need for the west to avoid interfering in such conflicts.
In his study Huntington is predicting two major conflicts with the west (represented by the US) in the twenty first century, the first one is with Islam, the second is the sinic civilisation (represented by China). These conflicts are likely to arise from the interaction of Western arrogance, Islamic intolerance, and Sinic assertiveness.
I think it is important to mention that Huntington's shallow interpretation of Islam is based on pre-conceived ideas, which lack the needed depth and objectiveness. Finally, I believe this book is a valuable piece of work for understanding how international affairs are shaped.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and Insightful reshaping of the world, 21 Feb 2003
This review is from: The Clash of Civilizations: And the Remaking of World Order (Paperback)
This is rightly regarded as a classic in its field. That is not to say that it should be taken as gospel, far from it but that the points that it raises are all of serious consideration. The sheer breadth of scholarship is quite remarkable over an astonishing range of subjects: Buddhist theology to ancient Islamic history; and makes his arguments seem all the more compelling.
Huntingdon argues that despite globalisation the world remains a hugely diverse place and that the perceived homogenisation and Americanisation of global culture is in fact fairly superficial. One does not imbibe American values with your Coca-Cola. The relative power of the west, even of the new Hyper Power: the USA, is in decline as new centres of power rise, essentially East Asia and Islam. This is a challenge to many received wisdoms in the globalisation debate and is to be welcomed for that alone. It also seems rather convincing.
Analysing the world in terms of warring civilisations yields rich results even if Huntingdon’s taxonomy seems a little too neat and too arbitrary at times. Seeing Orthodox Christian countries as comprising a civilisation in their own right is perhaps a bit forced but it can also be quite helpful. Why were Bulgaria and Romania excluded from the EU’s recent expansion? Civilisational ties clearly bind in a way that cross civilisational ties can be merely pragmatic. Genocide and terrorism are so much more emotive when their victims are ‘people like us.’
His analysis, after the likes of Toynbee, of the shape of civilisational development is also fascinating if of little practical use.
For those who seek to make sense of the post cold war world Huntingdon provides a useful model although it will not hold in every case: the world is simply too complex for that. Like all such analysis it becomes immediately less convincing when it comes to pointing the way forward. Yet the truly global scope of his book is as rare as it is to be applauded and it is packed full of little known information. A truly impressive book which even if it won’t convince everyone should at least be considered by them.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful paradigm to approach 21 C international relations, 12 Jan 2002
By 
Mb Awan "abiriax" - See all my reviews
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Much of the problem in having a good understanding of this book is that due to it's fame/notoriety, most people approach it with a preconcieved notion on the concepts that the authour it attempting to illuminate upon. Undoubtebly, Samuel Huntington is an expert in the field of international relations and writes this book in a fluid and clear style which is engaging to read. He is capable of explaining his views and backing them up with apropriate evidence as well. I have many subtle problems with the book but i'll limit my discussion to two in this review. Firstly, his downplaying of the unipolar view of America controlling the world and two, his decidely islamophobic streak. Many have intrepreted his book to be call to arms against islam in general. I'm a muslim and i'll admit his book is far deeper than that. Finally in the light of 11/9, many including Huntington will feel his theory has borne fruit with the clear clash of Islam and the west. But i would recommend reading the book and making up your own mind
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Civilizations or Cultures?, 8 Sep 2008
By 
Ian Millard - See all my reviews
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This is a book which has had wide currency among international opinion-formers. The egregious Tony Blair has cited it many times (typically enough, without actually crediting it as such, just using the words as if the product of his own thoughts). My problem with it rests on some inadequacies of expression and treatment. The role of race is virtually ignored for one: Islam only attracts those in or descended from certain racial or sub-racial groups, where Islam has been predominant for centuries. Yes, there are a few mavericks and cranks who take it up, but these are rare exceptions. So Islam is NOT (as Huntington claims) likely to somehow take over the "West" EXCEPT by conquest, destruction or (most crucially) by Europe and elsewhere accepting vast numbers of Muslims (who have, as he says, a far higher birth rate) into the European or European-founded societies. Unfortunately this IS the case as Europe is flooded with infiltrating millions.

Huntington's view of "The West" is very Americo-centric. Instead of seeing our Age (I.E. the 2,100 years after 1415) as a whole as Anglo-American-German, as Rudolf Steiner did (he called it the "5th Post-Atlantean"), or as "the age of the white northern European", Huntington really thinks of America as the heartland of Western Civilization (and not, as some might, one of its graveyards!) and thinks that if America ceases to be "Western" by giving up individualism, the Christian church(es) etc, then America itself will be "de-Westernized" and the West would be "reduced to Europe and a few lightly populated overseas European settler countries [and] becomes a miniscule and declining part of the world's population on a small and inconsequential peninsula at the extremity of the Eurasian land mass" (paperback edition p.307).

This above viewpoint must be seen as absurdly misconceived and "little American". For one thing, even Western Europe has a population at least equivalent to that of the United States and its Canadian appendage. And some of the overseas offshoots of the European Empires (especially the British) have large populations which are still mostly of European descent, such as Australia, which is now counted as having about 20 million. And what is the obsession with mere numbers? The British ruled most of India and Africa and elsewhere with tiny groups of British/European civil servants and officers disposing of modest numbers of European police and soldiers.

To my way of thinking, the book is important because it does raise the subject, but apart from the above criticisms, it fails to note that in advanced sections of European (or, as Huntington would put it, "Western") humanity, there is a continuing evolution of consciousness which might lead to a quantum leap in civilization, particularly if Europe joins with a fully independent Russia, that is a Russia which is run by Russians and not "rootless cosmopolitans" with Russian passports. That Europe + Russia could be at least the foundation of a a REAL New Order over time!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Scholarly, insightful and timely, 11 July 2014
By 
Christopher West (UK) - See all my reviews
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This is one of those books that everyone who thinks and cares about the future should read. You probably won't agree with everything in it, but Huntington's thesis is powerful and, I fear, has a lot of truth in it. I don't think this means that 'one world' liberals should give up, but it does show that the route to a future peaceful world will be a difficult one. (But what a grand challenge for bright, well-meaning people in the next generation!)

To me, the most interesting point is the continuing role of religions in defining supranational boundaries. Rather than getting fanatical at spreading our own faith, or going down the Dawkins route of rubbishing all religion, we need to get used to this basic fact.

It's a shame this wasn't on the bookshelves in the White House and Downing Street in 2003.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect!, 4 July 2014
This review is from: The Clash of Civilizations: And the Remaking of World Order (Paperback)
Happy customer!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book, 26 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Clash of Civilizations: And the Remaking of World Order (Paperback)
I haven't finished this book yet but I am already satisfied -:) I am really loving it . However you need to like the topic to really enjoy it
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The Clash of Civilizations: And the Remaking of World Order
The Clash of Civilizations: And the Remaking of World Order by Samuel P. Huntington (Paperback - 5 Jun 2002)
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