The Clash Of Civilizations: And The Remaking Of World Order Paperback – 5 Jun 2002
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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.
"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 AdviserSee all Product Description
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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?Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A book I have meaning to read for years - one of the most controversial, interesting and thought provoking texts of its kind published over the last 50 years. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Seeker
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