In the following sections, there is an attempt to test the validity of Huntingtons theories and predictions regarding bloody international relations. The following is a bold assertion made by Huntington in his thesis: ¦In the post-Cold War world the most important distinctions among peoples are not ideological, political, or economic. They are cultural¦ Here we identify Huntington as a fundamentalist who view the world on cultural differences. Civilization is also viewed as the highest order.
The basic premise, the heart, or the soul of his writings is: ¦Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash ofcivilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future¦ Added to this is his reiteration of the prominence of inter-civilizational conflicts rather than intra-civilizational conflicts:
¦conflict between groups in different civilizations will be more frequent, more sustained and more violent than conflicts between groups in the same civilization¦ The aforementioned statement will be dealt with later since they will placate the authors arguments in the issue. Some quirks that can easily be gleaned from the paper is the grouping or the homogenization of the individual states that make-up each civilization. Huntington did not thoroughly explain why there is a necessity for grouping and why the nations where grouped as such.
If the future conflicts is confounded on deep and fundamental culture clash, how come there is no delineation between the Catholics and the Protestants in the West? Over the coarse of history, the two had continually met in either ferocious or silent battle for religious dominion or whose theological ideas are more right. If religion is to be the defining issue in civilization, why is no stratification for the West? Is religion the only important factor in defining civilization? How come China is labeled under Sinic civilization whereas Japan is a separate entity?
Over the course of years, From his groupings, it can be gleaned that Huntingtons civilizations are culturally defined by their religion. Is his term civilization correct or well enunciated? Did he even consider that, because of diaspora, his well-defined civilizations, each with a distinct culture is not, in reality, as homogenized as he thinks? In his essay, Huntington made the basic mistake of homogenizing the different nations. Even with each of his civilizations, there is marked fracturing of cultures which makes the argument of homogenization a falsification.
The Moslems alone”the Arabs, the Persian, the Turks, the Pakistanis, the Mindanaoans, and the Indonesians”have differential concept of the world and each is unconcerned with the politics of the other except in terms of religion. Culture, ethnic groupings and the likes play a huge role in Huntingtons emotional discourse. Culture is important in each individual nation but to the point that, it would instigate war based on cultural frontiers? Such suggestion is insubstantial and un-called for.
Interracial disputes are archaic events and that the possible recurrence is far from the future. The battle between Christianity and the Moslem tribes, are things of the past. True, the Moslems theocratic government differs like North and South to the democratic separate-Church-and-State principle of governance of the West, but to create a statement that this would fuel interstate wars is a complete mockery. While religion may be of huge importance to the Moslems, this abiding faith may not be maintained in different major civilizations. Take for instance, the Sinic civilization.
They maintained a deep-rooted religious and cultural identity, yet their government is totalitarian. Is religion, an obvious definitum of Huntington, still a big deal for the rest of the world? From historical records, it can be assessed that there is a continual decline in the adoption of religion as the one of the primary culture carriers. This reflects in the morality of most of the worlds population and continual shedding of traditions associated with religion. Huntingtons exaggerated claims on the difference in beliefs in God are laughable given the present circumstances.
According to Huntington, differences in culture and religion create differences over policy issues. Huntingtons statement is incredibly strange considering that most countries adopted democratization even when it clashes with their cultural beliefs and systems (e. g. Japan). Huntington suggested that economic regionalism will reinforce civilizations consciousness. He also added that as the people crowd in and become more close to each other, [most probably referring to world population growth], they become more aware and thus more conscious of their nationality?
Is his assumption correct? True, when one becomes in contact with a person with a different personality, you can easily recognized the difference, but will this lead to a repulsive behavior? In most circumstances, such events actually end in compromise and not bloody feuds as Huntington is suggesting. It is more like that with such closed contact, culture interbreeding will take place and there will be significant reduction of differences within this formed hybrids. Huntingtons deliberate creation of imagined bloody boundaries and wars are degradation of both history and geography.
Not all conflicts are based on religious endeavors yet he had summarized and degraded it as such. Take for instance, the bloody boundary between the Western Christianity and the Orthodox Christianity. Cultural fights in broader global terms are something to think about although extremely impossible on the world grounds. The fights of the world systems took on economic grounds and not on ethnic frontiers. Note that with the current trend in globalization, global politics is only secondary to global economics.
It should be recognized that bloody interstate wars are insignificant compared to the economic wars that are the thematic schemes for most of the world. Imagine this; the trading scheme is raised at a higher international level and not just within the intra-specific states. The power of the state, Superpowers, is not as glorified as it once was in the global economic market. The powers lie in the multinationals that are spread among the globe and they, indirectly, control the fate of the state.
Economy is power and culture as Huntington claims. Economic regionalism do occur especially with the introduced international trading schema but, bear in mind that this will not foster individual state consciousness or the recognition of their culture or awareness of their culture bla-blahs. The fate of economic regions, as mentioned earlier, also lies in the hand of the MTCs or the multi-national corporations implanted within them. MTCs are not to be taken lightly because they mandate the finances of most of the people worldwide.
Inter-state wars will occur, according to Huntingtons predictions and this was personified between the US and Afghanistan. There are other wars mentioned in this article but only the US-Afghan War will be discussed as an example because the social events surrounding it is more popular compared to the other examples. Interstate war occurrence as a consequence of culture clash mirrored for that particular event? While it is true that the Moslem Afghans and democratic Americans instigated war against each other, their reasons were a far-cry from the cultural reasons Huntington posited.
The Americans vendetta in their wars were purely for economic reasons and the Afghans were merely reacting/ trying to protect themselves from the hegemonous behavior of the Americans. There had been suggestions that the September 11 bombing were merely prevaricated and behind this prevarications, lie the cunning Americans, who hoped to instigate war to the Afghanistan, hoping to gain economic affluence by maintaining monopoly on the production of weaponry and armaments. This paper still maintains that the economic wars are the thematic schemes for the world systems or for the international relations and not culture as Huntington capitalizes.
According to Huntington, interstate conflicts will arise from the culture conflicts and that there will be corresponding reduction of intra-state conflicts given the increase in culture awareness. After the Cold Wars, are there increase in the number of nation feuds against the number of civil wars? In a study conducted by Tuscijny in 2004 in assessing the civilizational conflicts, it was found that only 162 civilization clash occurred in 489 conflict-years, estimating the conflict at roughly 33%. This is opposed to Huntingtons claim that more interstate feuds will occur after the Cold War as opposed to during it.
Fourty four percent rough estimation of civilization clash occurred during the Cold War. Huntington recognizes that US is the only singular superpower now and no other states is above it. Surely such assumption is incorrect and well thought off. The US is slowly losing its economic power against the economic tigers of China and Japan. One strong argument that Huntington posited is that the West may lost its stronghold over the world in terms of military power giving way to Chinese and the Moslems.
He suggested that there is continual reduction of arms in the Western markets and dwindling biological or nuclear weaponry. If this was the case, why would US be willing to instigate war against Afghanistan? US was not lacking in armaments but because of no wars in the past years, their production must be stunted so that there is a corresponding reduction in economic loss. The world does not needs wars to recognized who is more powerful but rather by the number of multi-nationals that had spread across it. China and Japan are gaining hold of the world systems market. Who knows?
Perhaps one day they will become the Superpowers. De-westernization and its counterpart is a favorite term of Huntington. Patterns of industrialization hinges on Western behavior but will eventually reversed to its original form. Exactly what is Westernization? Is Westernization equivalent to technology that the other states had adopted? To say that the rest of the World is developing towards Westernization is distasteful and predicated on wrong grounds. The Easterns or the non-westerns, do indeed adopted the some Western concepts and more of technology but should there be equation to culture?
Perhaps, westernization is a wrong concept constructed loosely by some theorists but the main point here is that Huntington should not have brandished the term loosely especially in such predictions. Westernization is a denotata of the American concepts primary embrace of the technology and naturally, Huntington assumed that every other nation who would embrace the same technology would be Westernized. Take for instance, Japan. To say that Japan is Westernized is commiting a false and wrong statement since, the country was able to retain its rich culture even though it may have taken to adopting the different technologies.
China is also another good example for the case. The investigation of Huntingtons claims led only to a single and direct conclusion: their inaccuracy and instability contributed to a weak political theory regarding contemporary and future world securities. Rejecting the Ethnic Concept The fundamentalist concept of culture conflict or ethnic conflict (for other theorists) is a moronic because it failed to recognize other important factors that would make up civilization.
Huntingtons primary fault is that his civilization is confined to religious parameters and he failed to recognized that there are equally important factors such as history, economy, law and state of international relations. His conflict principle is full of errors with its civilizations and challenger civilizations and even isolated civilizations. If researched thoroughly, all of the countries, as of late, participate, one way or another, with their neighbors, and there is no such thing as isolated cultures.
The approach of global ethnic conflict tends to be problematic because almost always, the parameters the theorists always used are loosely defined and sometimes the arguments that they used are oxymoron-ic or hyperbole-ic. This is not to say that all theorists must always used deep scientific words to describe their theory but, they should bear in mind that a clarified and well-defined concept is better than loosely defined so that this may not be open to wrong interpretation as what had Huntington done in his Clash of Civilizations.
Two most basic words are misused here: the term culture, and civilization. It was pre-mentioned that culture was several times mis-used here and the degradative homogenization/fusion of Huntington on his groupings of individual nations. The civilization is regarded in a singular fashion and not in plural form. Such ignorance, in presuming to speak for a group is catatonic and may even lead to mistinterpretion of the culture of the place. What about the identity of the individual nations in each Civilizations? Is ethnic conflict still applicable in assessing the contemporary state of world politics?
Stereotyping the cultures via their religious and general cultural differences would result to erroneous predictions. Not all conflicts arise from culture. The current trend for the world systems, is not cultural but economic. Intercivilizational conflicts are things of the past. Even if the Moslems have participation in such conflicts, their number are insignificant. Also, such intercivilazational conflicts have no clarified roots, meaning the reasons were not cultural but rather consist of other several factors.
Cultural boundaries do not exist and Huntingtons imagination may have run rampant when he started idealizing about such boundaries. Homogenization of different nations is impossible because they are of different cultures and not like what he claims. He also failed to identify other plausible source of conflicts. His claims are weak owing the conflicts to religious differences. What about the other non-clash changes that had taken over the past century? Islam issues were not all about religion but rather their conversion to modernism. He also failed to account for this.
The anger, the religious apathy, that had fueled conflicts were merely imaginations of the author. Moslems cater to and want democratization. It is some other aspects of modernism that they do reject (e. g. divorce) which the West openly embraces. Moslems want to retain some of their Islamic traditions. Huntingtons Concept of a Clash of Civilizations is a dangerous framework for interpreting the current state of world systems and their security because the theory itself is faulty with non-parametric terms and the assertions do not reflect that of the true, living, world.
It would be moist unwise if it is used for future predictions of the international relations. The economic view in the analysis of contemporary securities, on the other hand, leaves much to think about; their roles in determining international relations is infallible. Huntington should have sticked to this view.
Bibliography Tusicisny, Andrej (2004). Civilizational Conflicts: More Frequent, Longer, and Bloodier? (PDF). Journal of Peace Research 41 (4): 485498.