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“The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” by Huntington Essay (Book Review)

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Introduction

The book under consideration is entitled “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order”. The author of the book is Samuel Huntington — an outstanding political scientist of the 1990th. The publisher of the book is Samuel & Schuster. The publisher’s house is situated in New York City, NY. The book was published in 1996.

I knew that this book was of particular interest and that it also influenced drastically the minds of many people. As far as almost ten years have passed since its publication, I faced no difficulty in finding a free version of the book on the Internet. I used search engine tools to find the book.

Author’s background

  • Samuel Phillip Huntington was born in New York in 1927 (Klos 98);
  • Received a bachelor’s degree at Yale University in 1946;
  • In 1948, earned a master’s degree in the University of Chicago;
  • In 1951, Huntington became a doctor at Harvard University;
  • In 1957, a scientist published his first significant book — “The Soldier and the State: the Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations”;
  • He continued his career and scientific activity at Harvard since 1962;
  • The second prominent book “Political Order in Changing Societies” was introduced in 1968;
  • In 1992, Huntington became the chairperson of the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies;
  • Samuel Huntington died in 2008.

Important issues raised in the book

  • The world will face a cultural conflict based on nations’ identity after the conflict of ideologies;
  • The West versus the rest — the main ground for conflict;
  • Modernization and Westernization as significant issues related to the conflict;
  • Fault line and core state conflicts are two major types of the clash.

The structure of the work

Section I — “A World of Civilizations”

  • The world order after the Cold War has changed drastically. Huntington differentiates eight primary civilizations including Western, Orthodox, Sinic, Hindu, Japanese, Islamic, Latin American, and African civilizations (Huntington 45-48). The relations between civilizations have cultural ground;
  • The author describes the reasons for the dominant position of the West. They are historical due to the rapid expansion of Western societies and, consequently, their ideas and beliefs;
  • Modernization should not be understood as Westernization. The world faces fast globalization. Cross-cultural communication increases. It leads to the disappearance of barriers between cultures and their representatives. The West loses its power and influence because of multiculturalism.

Section II — “The Shifting Balance of Civilizations”

  • Two different views concerning the role of the West are described. First, the West still is the dominant civilization. According to the second view, the West’s power is decreasing;
  • Religion is a significant form of communication between people that predetermines differences between civilizations;
  • The rise of non-Western societies proves the fading power of the West. Asian countries such as those that belong to Four Tigers and China experience extreme economic growth and technological development without accepting Western norms. The cultural identity of Islamic societies is predetermined by their religion. Thus, Islam allows the notion of modernization, but not Westernization (Huntington 103-109).

Section III — “The Emerging Order of Civilizations”

  • After the Cold War, countries faced an identity crisis. Consequently, they began to look for contact with other states with a similar religion or ancestry. Huntington provides examples of such alliances as the European Union and the Association of the Southwest Asian Nations;
  • In such unions, smaller states rely on the most powerful countries. For instance, Germany and France are core countries for the European Union. The author emphasizes the fact that there is no core country in the Islamic countries, and that is why their development is rather hindered;
  • Some countries have not found their cultural identity yet. The author uses the term “torn countries” to describe them. According to Huntington, Russia, Australia, Mexico, and Turkey belong to these countries (Huntington 135-139).

Section IV — “Clashes of Civilizations”

  • The clash of civilizations will occur on the basis of different current politics and future visions concerning the development. The distinctive features of Western culture separate it from Islamic and Asian countries. One of such aspects is the elevation of ideas of democratic life and the significance of human rights;
  • The primary conflict is more likely to occur between the world’s largest religions — Christianity and Islam. The West aims at the modernization of Islamic countries as well. Nevertheless, Muslim people consider it as an unacceptable option;
  • Huntington defines these conflicts with the help of the term “fault lines”. Such conflicts are going to be violent, religious-oriented, and extended in time (Huntington 253-254).

Section V — “The Future Of Civilizations”

  • Samuel Huntington defines the most obvious threats to Western dominance. The internal reasons refer to the fading influence of Western beliefs, notions, and values. External reasons relate to the increasing power of non-Western societies;
  • The most appropriate decision for the West is to adjust to the future changes to remain might and political competition. The West has no chance for success in the case of the further proclamation of the superiority of its ideas (Huntington 310-311).

Point of the book

As far as Samuel Huntington was a political scientist, he paid particular attention to the state of politics in both the United States of America and the whole world. In my opinion, the author wrote the book to warn societies of potential problems. In 1996, Huntington predicted the massive scale of globalization. His main idea was to prove that the West started to lose its position in the world. The author investigated that the core reasons for the dominance of the West had historical grounds.

Thus, representatives of the Western societies were the first inventors, colonists, settlers. The notions of democracy, freedom, and human rights were also born in the West. However, all these accomplishments are in the past. The resurgence of the Islamic religion and the economic progress of Asian countries would be the primary prerequisites for the clash of civilizations.

Samuel Huntington raised such questions to prevent adverse consequences. He even predicted some of them. For instance, Huntington described Russia as a torn country that had not found its cultural identity yet. He also emphasized that there was the possibility of a conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The primary reason for conflict could be Crimea. Almost ten years later, the conflict occurred, and the reason was the same. The other example of the author’s prediction refers to 9/11 in 2001. Huntington dwelled on the increasing dissatisfaction and might of the Islamic communities. The terrible events proved that Huntington’s ideas had the right to existence.

Connection with the worldviews

Before the identification of the particular worldview, it is necessary to define the essential ideas of all three views and find links with the notions described in the book under analysis. Thus, the Dominant Western Worldview (DWW) presupposes that human beings are superior to other existing life forms of Earth. This statement is proved by the fact that people can control their lives and have preferences. Progress is another aspect that demonstrates the uniqueness of humankind (Dunlap 333).

According to the Human Exemptionalism Paradigm (the second worldview), the primary difference between human beings and animals lays in the fact that the latter possess only genetic inheritance. People have a cultural heritage that is of great significance to their lives. Supporters of HEP state that cultural and social aspects predetermine the development of human concerns. Followers of the third view, the New Ecological Paradigm, state that the laws of nature are crucial for the lives of people. Ecological and biological factors determine the way people live and develop.

HEP worldview is presented in the book under consideration. Samuel Huntington takes cultural identity as the primary factor that will predetermine the development of the world in the future. When Huntington described previous clashes, he relied on social and cultural aspects as well such as military power or ideology. For instance, he wrote that Western civilization commenced its dominance due to the development of culture (Huntington 50).

The focus of the whole book is primarily on such notions as culture, identity, and religion. All these dimensions of human life are purely social and have no connection with biological development. Huntington also writes about the significance of progress (the concept of DWW worldview), but his understanding of progress is connected with cultural heritage as well.

Works Cited

Dunlap, Riley. Sociological Theory and the Environment. Lanham, Maryland: Roman & Littlefield, 2002. Print.

Huntington, Samuel. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York City, New York: Samuel & Schuster, 1996. Print.

Klos, Stanley. Presidents Who?: Forgotten Founders. Carnegies, Pennsylvania: Estoric, 2004. Print.

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IvyPanda. "“The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” by Huntington." April 2, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-clash-of-civilizations-and-the-remaking-of-world-order-by-huntington/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "“The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” by Huntington." April 2, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-clash-of-civilizations-and-the-remaking-of-world-order-by-huntington/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) '“The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” by Huntington'. 2 April.

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