Is augury turning into reality or is it just a fallacy?

Aug 23, 2022 Book reviews

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order

Author: Samuel P. Huntington, Category: Communism & Socialism, National & International Security, History & Theory of Politics

“The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” has emerged as one of the most significant works of the contemporary era of warfare. It ranks among the most influential books ever written about foreign affairs and has become a classic work of international relations. It is still crucial to our comprehension of American foreign policy today as it was the day it was published. The forces affecting global events analyze in this notable book eloquently and poignantly.

According to Samuel Huntington's “The Clash of Civilizations,” the key sources of conflict in the post-Cold War age will not be solely ideological or economically driven. Cultural and religious differences will be the principal source of conflict and the cause of the divisions within humanity. The most influential actors in world affairs will continue to be country states, but the main disputes in world politics will be between nations and groups of various civilizations.
In response to his former student Francis Fukuyama's 1992 book “The End of History and the Last Man,” it is initially raised in a 1992 speech at the American Enterprise Institute and subsequently expanded in a 1993 paper titled "The Clash of Civilizations" in Foreign Affairs. Huntington later develops his perspective in the book “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order,” that is published in 1996.

It's simple to misinterpret "Clash of Civilizations." Because Huntington pragmatically predicted that there would be widespread upheaval after the Cold War but the news stories over the years raise questions.

Many of us believe that the ending of the Cold War has made the world a better and more compassionate place and that we are all moving towards a higher standard of living. We're back to the basics, as Huntington implies, and the “Cold War” is merely an ideological exception. He asserts that the conflict among the civilizations will dominate global politics. His eight major "civilizations"—Asian, Western, Orthodox Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Japanese, Latin American, and African—are divided into the world's major regions. In essence, he argues that once the age of ideology has passed, conflicts will mostly be fueled by cultural and civilizational distinctions. The only way the West can continue to exist is to grow stronger militarily and economically and to build alliances with countries that share its ideologies to obstruct the rise of Islamic and Confucian nations. He portrays civilization as an all-encompassing, unified notion, overlooking all the dynamics and diversity within a specific culture. But the question arises: what is the best way to describe those civilizations? No one country embodies the ideology of the Islamic Foundation; therefore, it could be any country that practices Islam. Greece considers to be part of the "Orthodox" world, yet its citizens are more politically and economically tied to the West than they are to the Orthodox. The majority of Bosnians are Muslims. But Bosnia and Herzegovina are regarded as being in the Orthodox orbit, and their government supports the Western orbit. Though both Vietnam and South Korea consider being "Sinic" countries, the Vietnamese frequently disagree with their Chinese cousins, and South Korea retains larger political, military, and economic links with the West than with China. Taiwan, where many individuals claim to be both Chinese and independent of China, is another contentious subject. Even culturally, Africans and Latin Americans are not quite on the same page.

This book is unquestionably a must-read if you are interested in global politics. But it doesn't mean you will have to concur with the ideas made in the book. This book drastically oversimplifies the current condition of world affairs and attempts to put current events into a deceptively simple worldview that, despite being presented as a new paradigm, oddly resembles the cold-war paradigm on repeat. The current state of the world can be seen as a collision of civilizations.The validity of the analysis is reinforced by events that have occurred since the book's release. The 9/11 attacks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have underlined the danger posed by different civilizations. But we cannot claim that a small number of Muslims are waging a "civilizational war" against a country whose population is only one-fourth that of the "West." Although some of them are Saudi, let's put that to the side for a moment because they are the US’s closest allies in the area. The Islamic world perceives the Soviet Union's loss in Afghanistan as the triumph of religious jihad against a superpower, in contrast to how the United States sees it as a win for the West against communism. The West, and the United States, in particular, appear unable to let go of their Cold War worldview. But they don’t know that the globe is today getting more complicated due to the presence of multiple rivaling powers instead of major powers.

Huntington’s prognosis regarding the conflict between Ukraine and Russia serves as an effective illustration of the use of his model. He describes a country divided between two civilizations as a "cleft country," and he predicts that Ukraine will be one of them. The fissure in the Ukrainian case is between Orthodox Eastern Ukraine and the Uniate Western Ukraine. Years after the book's publication, Putin stated that the Crimeans desire the peninsula to be "liberated." However, human prediction only consistently succeeds in a small number of cases.
Huntington is correct that there will still be interstate conflicts in the futureand the existence of conflict along the fault lines of civilizational boundaries does not necessarily refute his claim. But as they become more ingrained in their respective cultures, values, and religions, it weakens the argument that conflict will break out along the fault lines where civilizations are divided. Cultures may therefore be working harder to create their own unique identities in resistance to globalization.

Contemporary conflict has a wide range of causes. It emerges from a combination of numerous interconnected factors. It is undeniable that cultural influences are a component in most disputes, especially in the post-Communist era, nations experiencing conflict always split along ethnic or religious lines. Conflicts, however, won't always happen along cultural or civilizational lines.

Many people believe in the Clash of Civilizations, and commentators have noted that looking at the world through Huntington's lens increases the risk of making his predictions come true. If the Statesmen are swayed by his auguries, their decisions will spark or escalate hostilities. Because of this, Huntington's thesis should consider “the clash of dialogues” rather than “the clash of civilizations”.

Overall, this crucial book will help to increase your knowledge of the post-Cold War world and also serve as a unifying reference point for almost all current discussions regarding how diverse groups can coexist in relative harmony rather than hostility.

Buy this book at Amazon Book Store.

 

This article is authored by: Sheuly Ahmed

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