Understanding The Clash Of Civilizations Cultural Studies Essay

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In the post Cold War world few articles have influenced how Western and especially American policymakers view the world more than Samuel P. Huntington's 1993 article "The Clash of Civilizations". Published in the influential Foreign Affairs journal this article suggested the world was returning to a civilization dominated world where future conflicts would originate from clashes between civilizations. The theory has been broadly criticized for simplification and facilitation, ignoring local conflicts and for incorrectly predicting what has happened in the decade since its publication. Published while a post Cold War world was searching for a new prism to view international relations through ensured it has however proved influential.

Samuel P. Huntington's article was a rare foresight in the time it was written. I must agree that his analytical skills have proven him mostly right, up to this point. Even though his warnings on this clash of civilizations has not been taken into account by the western - especially the most dominant of them the USA - powers and have deepened hatred among the different values (and even managed to create a barrier among the so called same values as well). The conflicts listed in 1993 are thus almost all relevant. I support his thesis that the new world order of a dominant western value will end up against the rest of the world for many reasons.

Huntington divides the world's cultures into seven current civilizations, Western, Latin American, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu and Slavic-Orthodox. In addition he judged Africa only as a possible civilization, depending on how far one viewed the development of an African consciousness had developed. These civilizations seem to be defined primarily by religion with a number of ad hoc exceptions. Israel is concentrated together with the West, Buddhist states and the whole religion is completely ignored. Samuel P. Huntington writes: "Civilizations are differentiated from each other by history, language, culture, tradition, and religion". In fact that is true and it has been that way for centuries. He goes on to say that "the world is becoming a smaller place thus the interactions are more frequent and exposed mostly by the wealthy; the west". Everywhere one goes today around the world he is faced with western and more precisely American influence. Thus, spreading and exposing younger generations with these popular values.

Huntington argues that the end of ideological confrontation between liberal democracy and communism will see future conflict occurring along the borders between civilizations at a micro level. At a macro level he predicts conflict occurring between states from different civilizations for control of international institutions and for economic and military power. He views this mix of conflict as normal by asserting that nation-states are new phenomena in a world dominated for most of its history by conflicts between civilizations. This is a dubious statement as intercivilizational conflict driven mainly by geopolitical factors rather than cultural differences is an equally if not more persuasive way to view much of history.

As for me, I think that Huntington's identified civilizations are much fractured with little unity. For example, Vietnam still keeps a massive army, mostly to guard against China. The Muslim world is severely fractured along ethnic lines with Kurds, Arabs, Persians, Turks, Pakistanis, and Indonesians all having very different world views.

My opinion is that values are more easily transmitted and changed than Huntington proposes. Nations such as India and Japan have become successful democracies, and the West itself was rife with despotism and fundamentalism for most of its history. I can notice that tensions have often emerged between democratic states and that emerging or future democracies in civilizations could very well remain hostile to states belonging to civilizations which are viewed as hostile. Furthermore, the countries of different civilizations place greatly different amount of emphasis on the nature of the internal governments of countries with which they trade and support in international issues (as with India, Russia, and Japan).

Huntington is of opinion that all the conflicts are because of the cultural and religious identities among people. S. Huntington is certain about the conflicts in the future; he believes the clash of civilizations will prevail over the conflicts of the global politics.

The development of the conflict forms are to be divided into the following two forms: 1) the first form is called "fault line conflicts" which occur on a local level and are between the neighboring states belonging to different civilizations or within the states which are the territory for the populations from different civilizations; 2) the second form is called "core state conflicts" which occur on a global level between the major states of different civilizations. This type of a conflict can arise out of the first one - "fault line conflicts" - when core states are involved into that clash.

The reasons for the conflicts are numerous: relative influence or power (military or economic), discrimination against people from a different civilization or different values and culture, particularly when one civilization attempts to impose its values on people from different civilization. I can agree with Huntington, but I also think that the conflicts more occur because they strive for getting more money and power over other cultures and civilizations.

Huntington also writes about globalization process. I am sure the process of globalization is necessary in the modernization and the new politics in different countries, everybody has to make treatments with other countries, and nobody is self dependent in this world. For me the globalization is the commercial project for big economic countries. The globalization opens new opportunities to know different cultures and open new ways of communication with the different countries in all over the world. As Huntington says everybody wants to keep his cultural identity and they are closing his doors for the globalization. This has opened several new doors to the new world, ruled by only one project, and one future, but the clash of cultures and civilizations affects the economy of the world, because everybody wants to follow his ideologies, and as result we get the creation of economic blocks such as the European Community and The North American Free Trade, characterized for their culture and civilizations. I think the globalization is not always the best to have relationship with all the countries, for example, the case between China and Mexico, that China is getting all the jobs that Mexico used to provide, because you can paid less to the Chinese men for a job than to the Mexican men and leave them without jobs, this cause a clash between these two countries.

Agree or disagree, Huntington's is a thesis that deserves careful consideration. It contains some hard truths, but we must try to be objective and realistic.

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