Clash of Civilizations. . . Again

Huntington’s 1993 piece seeks to direct American world policy toward a new battleground in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union.  His “Clash of Civilizations” theory places the world into eight power blocs based on shared cultural and religious identity.  He believes that these blocs divide the globe into economic and political zones based on this overreaching principle.  This theory echoes the entangling system of alliances which gave rise to World War One.  The dawn of the 20th century was ushered by competition across the globe by imperialist powers who identified themselves on a cultural basis within the parameters of westernized societies.  Even with the advent of non-western powers, or civilizations, the principle of a world run by a few powerful states can have disastrous consequences.  For example, if Huntington’s worldview was realized and the Chinese civilization came into conflict with the neighboring South Asian Hindu bloc, a war could break out which would involve entire continents.  A protracted conflict over a single flashpoint would drag in the entire economies and peoples of both civilizations and their allies.  Huntington’s system promotes world wars and pits literal billions of people at war with societies that would otherwise offer them no threat.  One would like to believe that the world has moved beyond allowing petty imperialist struggles encompass the globe. Views like Huntington’s promote a means to an end, not a way forward

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