Clash of Civilizations by Samuel P. Huntington-A Critique

  1. Cultural Differences Create Conflicts: First, the “real” and “basic” differences among cultures will cause war, because, although “differences do not necessarily mean conflict,” still over the centuries “differences among civilizations have generated the most prolonged and the most violent conflicts.” Differences among civilizations are too basic in that civilizations are differentiated from each other by history, language, culture, tradition, and, most important, religion. These fundamental differences are the product of centuries, so they will not soon disappear.
  2. Greater Cultural Interaction Creates Tension: Second, “the world is becoming a smaller place,” and as a result, the interactions across the world are increasing. As cultures rub against one another more tightly, the process generates greater tension and intensifies civilization consciousness and awareness of differences between civilizations and commonalities within civilizations.
  3. Religion as Identity Marker: Third, modernization and social change “are separating people from long-standing social local identities, with the result “that religion has moved in to fill this gap.” providing a basis for identity and commitment that transcends national boundaries and unites civilizations.
  4. Reaction against Western Cultural Hegemony: Fourth, Huntington contends that an increasingly bitter reaction to western ideas and values will exacerbate civilizational conflicts. The growth of civilization consciousnessis enhanced by the dual role of the West. On the one hand, the West is at a peak of power. At the same time, a return-to-the-roots phenomenon is occurring among non-Western civilizations. A West at the peak of its power confronts non-Western countries that increasingly have the desire, the will, and the resources to shape the world in non-Western ways.
  5. Cultural Cohesiveness: Fifth, “cultural characteristics and differences are less mutable and hence less easily compromised and resolved than political and economic ones.”
  6. Ascendency of Economic Regionalism: Sixth and finally, “economic regionalism is increasing,” a process that “reinforces civilizational consciousness”. Economic regionalism may succeed only when it is rooted in a common civilization.

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