The Clash of Civilizations?

The Clash of Civilizations? : The Debate

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According to Samuel Huntington's seminal 1993 essay, The Clash of Civilizations, world politics is entering a new phase, in which the great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of international conflict will be cultural. Civilizations—the highest cultural groupings of people—are differentiated from each other by religion, history, language and tradition. In the resulting era of cultural conflict that is emerging, the United States must forge alliances with similar cultures and spread its values wherever possible. In Huntington's final analysis, the West must be accommodating if possible and confrontational if necessary; moreover, all civilizations will have to learn to tolerate each other. This collection includes a series of responses to Huntington's original essay by eminent writers in the field. Contents includes articles originally published in Foreign Affairs including:      • "The Clash of Civilizations?" by Samuel Huntington, Foreign Affairs, Summer 1993      • "The Summoning" by Fouad Ajami, Foreign Affairs, September/October 1993      • "The Dangers of Decadence" by Kishore Mahbubani, Foreign Affairs, September/October 1993      • "The Case for Optimism" by Robert L. Bartley, Foreign Affairs, September/October 1993      • "Civilization Grafting" by Liu Binyan, Foreign Affairs, September/October 1993      • "The Modernizing Imperative" by Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, Foreign Affairs, September/October 1993      • "Do Civilizations Hold?" by Albert L. Weeks, Foreign Affairs, September/October 1993      • "The West is the Best" by Gerard Piel, Foreign Affairs, September/October 1993      • "If Not Civilizations, What?" by Samuel Huntington, Foreign Affairs, November/December 1993show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 72 pages
  • 147.3 x 215.9 x 12.7mm | 226.8g
  • Council on Foreign Relations
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1 map
  • 0876091648
  • 9780876091647
  • 390,597

Review Text

This characterization of the present precarious state of the international order is provocative, scholarly, mostly objective, and an example of how to stretch a single insight into a book-length manuscript. Huntington (Strategic Studies/Harvard; American Politics: The Promise of Disharmomy, 1981, etc.) argues that in the post-Cold War world the potential for major and minor clashes between "civilizations" - defined primarily by religion - has replaced East/West conflict as the critical backdrop of international relations. A seemingly endless array of examples and statistics from every conceivable angle is employed in defending this claim and analyzing the implications of a multipolar world. Anyone who has already escaped from the myopia of the long-prevailing bipolar perspective will find this discussion tedious. AS Huntington correctly assumes, however, Americans tend to identify Western ideas and institutions as civilization rather than as one version of it, leaving us ill equipped to understand societies that reject our beliefs as sincerely as we reject theirs. Moreover, he sees Western universalism as "dangerous" because it could lead to a "major intercivilizational war." This kind of brutal honesty is not limited to discussion of the West; the unflattering characterization of Muslim civilization will undoubtedly draw unfair charges of xenophobia. Huntington submits that the requirements for preserving Western civilization in the face of declining Western power include higher levels of political, economic, and military integration among Western states, the "Westernization" of Latin America, and maintenance of Western technological and military superiority. Even those who share his perspective may disagree with these proposals, but Huntington should be given his due: He takes his own analysis seriously and calls for limiting Western intervention in other civilizations, a departure from the aggressive foreign policy pronouncements of his Cold War days. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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