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The Clash Of Civilizations: And The Remaking Of World Order Paperback – 5 Jun 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; Reissue edition (5 Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074323149X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743231497
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The thesis of the provocative and potentially important Clash of Civilizations is that the increasing threat of violence arising from renewed conflicts between countries and cultures that base their traditions on religious faith and dogma. This argument moves past the notion of ethnicity to examine the growing influence of a handful of major cultures--Western, Eastern Orthodox, Latin American, Islamic, Japanese, Chinese, Hindu and African--in current struggles across the globe. Samuel P Huntington, a political scientist at Harvard University and foreign policy aide to President Clinton, argues that policymakers should be mindful of this development when they interfere in other nations' affairs. --Christine Buttery --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"One of the most important books to have emerged since the end of the Cold War" Henry Kissinger; "The book is dazzling in its scope and grasp of the intricacies of contemporary global politics" Francis Fukuyama; "An intellectual tour de force: bold, imaginative, and provocative. A seminal work that will revolutionize our understanding of international affairs" Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser

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Format: Paperback
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. Huntington's work is controversial, both among the official optimists á la Fukuyama, Clinton and Dubya who believe that America-with-a-capital-A will spread “liberal democracy” and “free market” economy all around the world, and those who prefer a dialogue between civilizations to a clash (or support one of the non-Western civilizations).

However, Huntington's work is actually *less* bellicose than I expected. Somewhat surprisingly, the author calls for a multi-polar world! Of course, it's a multi-polar world of a more “realist” kind than the harmonious co-existence most of us would have preferred. In Huntington's version, “fault line wars” between countries of different civilizations are never far away, and in a worst case scenario they may even lead to a new world war. The solution is a new balance of power between “core states” (the regional great powers of each civilization), the most important of which are the United States, Russia, China, India and Japan. The “core states” are also responsible for policing the rogues and rednecks of their respective civilizations, to make sure that “fault line wars” are kept to a minimum. Thus, the Russians should police the Serbs, India should police the Tamils, and (I suppose) the West should cool down the Croats or the Ukrainians. (Are we?
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: 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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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.
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