Samuel Huntingtons' the "Clash of Civilizations"

Essay by bryanvepyCollege, UndergraduateA, September 2006

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People identify themselves as members of many different groups but there are certain identifications that cannot be made by choice. The most basic identifications one makes are based on indisputable fact. One's cultural identity the answer to "What civilization are you from?" "Who are you?", is the broadest and most indisputable way one can identify themselves. Civilizations and membership in one is a matter of history (did your ancestors experience the Renaissance? On which side of the great schism would you have fallen?) and religion (including religious history, i.e. Jewish history). Huntington claims that "after the iron curtain (that divides nations) falls, the velvet curtain will divide civilizations". He states that there are seven (possibly eight) modern-day civilizations and the modern day war will not be between different countries but rather between people of different civilizations. He warns that this is more dangerous than traditional ideologies for war because it is more finite because participants cannot choose whether or not to belong to a civilization; and also since the physical aggravated conflict will occur along civilization fault lines superpowers that represent the civilization being occupied in physical combattance will interfere causing the potential for rapidly escalating conflict.

There is some evidence that his claim is true such as the wars in the former Yugoslavia and Chechnya. Said however admits that there is some validity to Huntington's' claims but that mostly he is over analyzing; if we look at the Congo and the current war in Iraq it is proof that the clash is between the United States and the rest; between similar people. He claims that people generally spend more time fighting themselves than others and the future will see a pattern of what he calls "West vs. the Rest". With wars like "the War on Terror" it is easy...