Samuel Huntington is the author of the article entitled “The Clash of Civilizations? ” which discusses or narrates concepts that explicates world politics. According to Huntington, international conflicts that concerns politics may be justified by rational arguments or issues that are left unresolved. However, Huntington reiterates that these particular conflicts are founded on underlying issues or matters that naturally lead to political conflicts – that is culture.
According to Huntington, culture is threatening to divide nations instead of leading the way to support unity and oneness in handling international problems or issues, since culture is the primary source of irreconcilable differences and conflicts that do not provide opportunities for nations to meet in middle ground. As a means of representing concrete structures of culture, Huntingon has labeled seven civilizations being the Confucian, Hindu, Islamic, Japanese, Latin American, Slavic-Orthodox, and Western. One may notice that Huntington left out the African populace as one of the identified civilizations.
This is because Huntington was unsure about the state of the African nation, that is, whether it meets the standards and guidelines of development that is attributed to a mindful and responsive civilization. The classification of Huntington of the world population into civilizations was primary influenced by prominent religious affiliations that are a major identifier of culture. Personally, I would have to agree with Huntington on this matter, since I sincerely believe that cultural affiliations among individuals are largely influenced by the religious beliefs that they share.
Huntington believes that the strong ties of individuals to their culture and religion which grants them a sense of self or identity as an individual and as a nation, is difficult to break apart when it comes to promoting rational politics and relations that necessitates the disregard of personal worldviews as directed by a civilization’s culture. However, Huntington’s establishment of seven civilizations has also been a source of contradicting information that he has presented in his article since the classification of civilizations is complicated and inconsistent.
Moreover, Huntington mentioned that differences between people, as supported by his theory of the seven civilizations in the world, do not necessarily mean that there will be conflict, and conflict does not necessarily mean that it will lead to violence. However, the gist of Huntington’s article clearly displays how differences, particularly in culture and religion, is the primary cause of conflict and violence around the world as he studied the Cold War and the succeeding world events after it.
These contradicting thoughts that Huntington shared in his work, he also contradicted by stating how culture and religion are two important factors in promoting unity. In this case, Huntington mentioned how non-Arab Muslims were able to unite as one despite differences of culture and religion and through shared culture and religion. Upon the establishment of the seven civilizations, Huntington continued to discuss various historical evidences that support his claim. This particular issue led to the discussion of the politics between the Arabs and the West which raised violent reactions from the former.
Huntington wrote that at present time, the major players in world politics are the West and the Arab nation. Despite internal clashes between different factions or minority groups within the Arab nations, Huntington believes that in the end, it will still find a way to reconcile differences among them and be counter-reactive to the West. Although the statements of Huntington caused a stir within the Arab nation, I believe that Huntington was not pressing violent, hateful, derogatory, or discriminatory issues against the Arab nation.
Huntington magnified his discussion on the issue between the Arabs and the West since it is the current international issue or problem – the power struggle between the two civilizations which people often hear in the news. Although majority of Huntington’s arguments were based on theories, I believe that everything he said were reflective of the current situations, straying away from the assumption that he wrote the article to present his prejudiced or biased sentiments against the Arab nation.
His article was based on decades of historical evidences that created an obvious pattern relaying motivations of war in the past, which was further supported by the 9/11 incident that led to the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York. Huntington was simply observant and articulates enough to present a logical explanation of countless conflicts between nations, which may or may not have some truth to it. Frankly, I believe that major truths are embedded within theories, especially those that lend themselves to conspiratorial issues.
Setting my personal opinions aside, Huntington’s criticisms of other civilization validates the fact that he was not anti-Arab, but simple a man who wanted to illustrate world politics under a cultural context. Huntington criticized the immorality and hypocrisy of the West, stating how the Western civilization has achieved its superiority over other civilizations due to its mindful submission to organized violence in order to achieve its goals and objectives. Moreover, Huntington reiterates that the West does not promote universalism but rather act for world domination.
Moreover, Huntington believes that Christian views which originated from the West could not have influenced numerous people around the world if Christians had not come into contact with individuals from the East. Huntington then criticized Western Christianity; and then continued to criticize Western Europe. According to Huntington, some of the concepts of politics and economics claimed by the Western Civilization, particularly Western Europe, did not actually originate from it but from non-Western civilizations in other parts of the world.
In general, Huntington’s article was a seemingly balanced representation of his theories on how international conflicts, then and now, were products of cultural and religious differences. The criticisms he posed were not one-sided, attacking the Middle East or the West, or any other civilization for that matter, solely. In fact, Huntington’s theories were open discussions and arguments about the Arab and Western perspectives. Huntington acknowledged how the West is trying to portray a super power estate that works to promote unity, solidarity, democracy, diplomacy, peace, and such.
This, he identified as the Western perspective. However, Huntington argued that the West’s interests are politically motivated, geared toward staying in power and obtaining control of the majority populations. On one hand, Huntington discussed how the Arab populations are trying to overthrow the influence of the West in their land, moving them to resort to threats and violence toward non-Arab and Western nations. For Huntington, the Arab perspective is just patterned after the “us-versus-them” mentality.
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