Read p22-39 of this article by Samuel P. Huntington – http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/pnorris/Acrobat/Huntington_Clash.pdf – (You can read it all if you like buit the main ideas are in the first part).
What predictions does the article make about future wars and conflicts? Identify the arguments Huntington uses to support these predictions. To what extent do you agree with his arguments?
Huntington distinguishes between Orthodox Christians and Western Christians – (see map – http://www.humanbiologicaldiversity.com/Photos/Huntington-Civilizations.jpg). Huntington didn’t differentiate between the Mediterranean countries like Spain, Italy and Greece and the northern European countries but to what extent do you think that the crisis the EU is going through has to do with cultural differences between the people of the north and south of Europe? Explain. (Please do not just give your opinion to these questions without supporting what you say with statistics or academic/professional opinion).
Huntington in his 1993 article has come up with conclusions hat the world is bound to come to a downfall along religious and cultural lines being experienced globally. He predicts that the world will soon be in conflicts due to the ongoing cultural differences, globalism, and tribalism that will affect the world economy by a big percentage. He also points out that the root cause of the conflict will not be along economic basis but cultural differences that are taking place between different civilizations and states. Therefore, the future battles will be based on the misunderstanding between civilizations (Huntington, 1993).
In the olden days, Huntington argues that the history of the international system was mainly based on struggles like those between ideologies, monarchs, and states. These conflicts were mainly experienced by the western civilization but after the cold war, the world politics have taken another direction whereby the non-western nations have joined the western civilizations to shape the world history today. He makes predictive arguments about what will cause the future wars and conflicts. One of the issues he addressed was that the world is increasingly becoming smaller. Due to this fact, the interactions across the world nations are on the rise and this has helped in intensifying civilization perception and awareness of the different civilizations. Economic regionalism is also on the increase. Successful regionalism strengthens civilization awareness and it can only thrive where there is familiar civilization.
Huntington also explains that the characteristics of culture and its differences are rigid compared to economic and political issues. Therefore, this will make culture less compromised and continue to divide nations along the tribal lines. It is also evident that dissimilar civilizations are very basic because they are differentiated from each other by culture, religion, language, tradition, and history. He argues that because these fundamental differences have been there since the early times, it would be impossible for them to fade away. In the world today, people are being separated from ancient local identities through economic modernization and social change. Because of this, religion has increasingly filled the gap and this has provided a base for commitment and identity that exceeds state boundaries and brings together civilizations.
Huntington uses different arguments to support his predictions. He suggests that non-western countries can try to achieve segregation in order to conserve their own values and defend themselves from intrusion by the western civilization. On the other hand, he makes it clear that the costs involved in meeting this action are high and only a few countries can afford it. Non-western countries can make effective effort to balance the western authority through reconstruction. It is possible for them to develop military and economic power and cooperate with non-western states against the west while still protecting their institutions and values. Therefore, western civilization will stop to be seen as universal and different civilizations will learn how to coexist by joining hands to shape the future world. The non-western nations can also join and accept the western culture as explained by the band-wagon theory.
He also uses the idea of core state and fault line conflicts to support the ideas. Fault line conflicts refer to local level wars occurring between adjacent countries belonging to different civilizations. On the other hand, core state conflicts refer to wars that are global between states of different civilizations. There many causes of these conflicts, for instance, power, discrimination and relative influence against people from different civilization. I strongly agree with Huntington’s ideas, as they are the one that can lead to better civilization and understanding among the different nations.
According to Huntington 25, there are about eight major civilizations. These include Islamic, Hindu, Western, Japanese, Slavic-Orthodox, Confucian, Latin American, and African civilization. The people to the East and West in the Ottoman were Orthodox or Muslim and had little interactions with events in the rest of Europe. They were also more developed economically and less likely to form steady democratic political systems. Although there are signs that indicate many people in the world are unwilling to conform to a global culture, especially the Orthodox religion, whose resistance is unlikely to cause global conflicts along cultural lines. For example, although there have been long disagreements leading to chaotic murders between Muslims and Christians, the two rivals are still cooperating in molding the world economy.
The conflict of civilizations is deeply rooted in Asia. There have been historic clashes between Hindu and Muslim in the subcontinent that are evident in the rivalry between India and Pakistan which have led to increased religious friction within India. For example, the destruction of the Ayodhya mosque in December 1992 raised the concern of whether India will remain to be a secular democratic nation or a Hindu one (Huntington, 34). In East Asia, china has experienced long lasting territorial disputes with nearly all its neighbors. All these conflicts seem to be brought up by the different culture of the nations.
In conclusion, although civilization has led to many conflicts, it does not mean that the world is going to be westernized. This is despite the Middle East and the Asian practices and customs finding their way into the western culture. Most nations and individuals are willing to adopt only what is relevant for their economic establishment and ignoring the rest. This is crucial in enhancing the global economics for development and maintaining traditional culture and values.
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