Essay on Review of Huntington's Clash of Civilizations

Submitted By spooky136
Words: 1418
Pages: 6

Thesis. Huntington’s position is that the future of conflict will neither be fully ideological nor economic, but will be cultural (Huntington 1993). Civilizations’ identities (who they are), rather than their nation-state ideology will be the driving force of conflict. He maintains that, while nation-states will remain the most powerful players, the actual conflicts will occur along the fault lines of these civilizations (where the culture and the nation-state ideology diverge), and the players are the civilizations themselves, acting on the global stage with the nation-state. Huntington supports his thesis on the new pattern of conflict by outlining the reasons for conflict, describing where it will occur, and what implications exist for the U.S. and other Western Nation-States. Huntington’s civilization is a cultural identity where people identify themselves on multiple levels: where they are from (tribal, geographic), what language they speak, or what religion they have aligned themselves. It is the intensity of that identification that can vary, be redefined, and even change the boundaries and composition of a civilization. Huntington argues that cultural differences between civilizations are real and that it is these differences that will play out in the form of conflict. He does not argue that civilization identities will replace other players on the global stage, or individual civilizations will replace nation-states. Rather that, while nation-states will still be onstage (through the use of military forces), the civilizations at conflict will either be the author of the screenplay or will have significant ability to write into it. Main Argument. Huntington’s main argument is that increased civilization consciousness (though he does not explain how this has occurred), results in the shift from ideological conflict (choosing sides) to civilization-based (who/ what one is) conflict, and will be become the new pattern of global conflict. Non-western actors will play bigger roles in this and it is the micro level violent conflicts that could then lead to global wars. The players on the ground will still be the military forces, and the leaders that direct those forces must understand the dynamic so they can deal with the players on the stage. Huntington concludes that end of the Cold War led to a shift from distinct world classes (1st, 2nd, and 3rd Worlds) where the second and third worlds (Non-Western) are “subjects to be ruled by the first world” to the global stage of the “West versus the Rest”, where Non-Western civilizations can and will shape events and have a say in how events play out through conflict. The result, he contends, is a clash of civilizations. Threats, Challenges, Opportunities. Huntington describes six overarching threats which can lead to clashes. (1) Civilizations are distinctively and fundamentally different- they are generations in the making, composed of traits that are less easily resolved than political ideologies. (2) Globalization has made the world a smaller place and with it comes increased interactions between cultures. (3) Global economic transactions and social change blur the lines of national identity. Religion has worked to fill this gap in belonging by recruiting youths looking to fit into something, a religious revival of sorts. (4) Increased civilization-consciousness (one must forsake their own cultural values and traditions for Western ideas) is increasingly unacceptable to those on the receiving end. (5) Cultural characteristics are less easily resolved than political or economic ones. The question is “What are you?” rather than “What side are you on?” (6) Increasing economic regionalism- groups uniting regionally to achieve economic goals that may not have full cultural alignment in other areas. As nation-states and civilizations interact with these challenges, Huntington proposes conflict will occur along the fault-lines between civilizations (the