People, Power, and Politics
Clash of Civilizations: A Closer Look
Culture, Religion, Ethnicity, these are all things that makes people of the world different. Because of these differences many people have alternate views on issues and how things should be done. One way to look at this is that it is a good thing and difference of views and opinions can help us look at issues from many angles. Although, sometimes these diversities in thinking can cause problems and conflict.
According to Huntington’s thesis, these differences in culture, religion and beliefs can potentially be the reason why nations will fight and have conflict in the future. He also believes that these differences in culture will start a war between nations with different social and political views. He then ends with the statement, ‘fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future”.
Many believe that the “Clash of Civilizations” is written in an ultra-conservative way. To this, I agree. According to Edward Said, the clash of civilizations is a very “us” versus “them” type of claim. Huntington gives a few examples of what he thinks about Islam belief and how he can see them being an issue in the future. He groups Islam under one umbrella but according to Aijaz Ahmad, there is no “one” Islamic culture but instead multiple forms of Islam and many types of Islamism and political views in the Muslim community. Many critics of Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’ say that he is inconsistent in the way he undifferentiated between culture, religion and civilization.
This article and its definition on the ‘war on terror’ in America is interesting, to say the least. Huntington’s opinion is a strong conservative one that has some truths. Having differences in cultural beliefs can cause problems between civilizations. I believe, that grouping all of one specific group as “dangerous” or “violent” is not the fairest thing to do. In Huntington’s writing he states that Differences in anything will not always mean conflict, and that conflict does not always mean violence. I agree with this statement completely and I feel like it supports my claim of not trying to group a specific religion or culture in being violent or dangerous. He then goes on to bring history into his writing to support his way of thinking. While this does make his text stronger, I think that the way the world works is constantly changing and the way we deal with conflict is also changing. This, in my opinion, is for the better and I see situations today being dealt with much differently than they were in the past.
In conclusion, I found Huntington’s ‘Clash of the Civilizations’ very interesting to read. After reading and seeing the opinions of others, I can say this an important piece of literature that many should review. The writing makes you think but also entices you to form a decision on if you believe in this way of thinking. While I don’t agree with everything he states, I do agree that future conflict could potentially be caused by differences in belief. I think that the way problems will be handled could be based on the way that civilization functions versus the way the opposing civilization functions. It will be very interesting to see what the future hold and I hope that conflicts can be handled in a “civilized” manor.
Huntington, S. P. (1993). The Clash of Civilizations?
Presbey, Gail. (2007). Philosophical Perspectives on “War on Terrorism”.
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