In his article the , SamuelHuntington attempts to proffer a cultural perception intointernational affairs and politics thus, proposes a newinternational relations paradigm as a reaction to conflictdevelopments. Huntington proposed the introduction of cultural aspectinto international relations. Through this paper, the writer aims tooffer a reaction to the concepts adopted by Huntington in thisarticle.
The article raises various points of argument, which can be analyzedon different perspectives. In the first place, Huntington argues thatthe differences in the world cultures will lead to unending conflictsin the future1.I disagree with this notion since the modern world is not developedthrough cultural and territorial competitions, but rather onacademic-based knowledge that applies to all cultures. I disproveHuntington’s based on modern practices. This is in respect to thefact that most of the conflicts that occur in today’s world areeconomically, politically, and criminally motivated. There are fewercases where culture is the causative factor of conflict betweencountries as Huntington implies in his article2.
In another instance, Huntington intimates that global affairs arebecoming a contest between the western nations against the rest ofthe world. I believe he went too far to try to force thisgeneralization into people minds. The civilization of the countriesnot categorized as western disproves this generalization as othercountries within Asian, South American and African continents arestaking their place in global affairs and roles3.As such, no single country or region can stand on its own withoutcollaborating with other countries. This is true in political andeconomic aspects that globalization has helped to popularize all overthe world.
On another light, Huntington dwells too much on the issue of culturearguing that it is the basic aspect in the formation of a people’sidentity and as such, it will become the highest instigator ofconflicts between people and nations. Instead of concentrating ondividing the world on cultural backgrounds, it would be better if weunderstood cultures as a way of reveling in the diversity of theworld and as a means of producing cultural hybrids for the future.This is in opposition to using civilizations to instigate conflictsand disagreements. As such, we should use civilizations as tools ofharmonization and advancing peace in the world.
While different regions of the world became civilized at differenttimes in history, the prevailing wave of globalization puts allnations almost on the same level of civilization and development4.When combined with religion, the universal nature of both factors isenough to show that other factors play a role in causing conflictsother than civilization. Those who start conflicts between countriesor establishments are not reliant on the differentials incivilization by the countries, but by deeper ideologies that definetheir personalities and actions5.While the actions of these people may represent a win for somecountries and loss for the countries affected, the fact thatconflicts arise between people of the same nation is enough reasonthat differences in civilizations are not entirely responsible forthe conflicts we experience.
Throughout the world, different cultures reflect varying levels ofcivilization. While Huntington implies that the world has differentcivilizations, it is evident that the most influential civilizationoriginates from the western countries. However, it is also evidentthat the western culture has been assimilated into different regionsin Africa, Asia, and Latin America. As such, it is not plausible toargue on a point of civilization differentiation, but on the rate atwhich civilization from different cultures is becoming universallyaccepted in all parts of the world.
Huntington regards religion as the most inclusive element in aparticular civilization. With different types of religion takingshape in the world, it would be assumed on the basis of Huntington’sthesis that religion would be the most hit with conflicts6.However, the harmony that exists between the majority of Hindus,Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists weakens Huntington’s argument ofcivilizations causing conflicts.
Huntington’s thesis falls short in the way he confuses between therole of culture and ideologies in the clash of civilizations. He usesone term to refer to the other, thus, creating a mix up of ideas. Bycategorizing the world societies into civilizations, Huntingtoncreates a division of people based on unsupported background. On theother hand, culture is a mentally adopted term that is widely used torefer to the practices of people and as such, should not be used torelate to civilization in its context of causing conflicts. My beliefis that the actions of people are the ones that define their identityas opposed to the notion in the article that claims the reverse.
This article tries to define civilizations for what they are not andshould be regarded on an ideologist basis. The writer, while tryingto prove his point, errs by choosing to focus his thoughts on thehistorical cases of political and religious conflicts and ignoringthe instances where civilizations are responsible for interaction,exchange, and crossover of civilizations.
Hunter, Shireen. The future of Islam and the West: clash ofcivilizations or peaceful coexistence?. Greenwood PublishingGroup, 1998.
Huntington, Samuel P.. The clash of civilizations and theremaking of world order. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.
Rashid, Salim, and Samuel P. Huntington.The clash ofcivilizations?: Asian responses. Karachi: Oxford UniversityPress, 1997.
1 Hunter, Shireen. The future of Islam and the West: clash of civilizations or peaceful coexistence?. Greenwood Publishing Group, 19.
2 Hunter, Shireen. The future of Islam and the West: clash of civilizations or peaceful coexistence?. 22
4 Huntington, Samuel P.. The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order. New York: Simon & Schuster, 4.
5 Rashid, Salim, and Huntington, Samuel P. The clash of civilizations?: Asian responses. Karachi: Oxford University Press, 23.
6 Rashid, Salim, and Huntington, Samuel P. The clash of civilizations?: Asian responses, 26