ANALYSIS OF SAMUEL HUNTINGTON’S CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS
INTL 5000 INTRODUCTION TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
In 1993, in the aftermath of the Cold War, Samuel P. Huntington wrote a radical article called the Clash of Civilizations, published in the Foreign Affairs journal which challenged all pre existing International Relations theories concerning conflict. After its publication the theory had been ridiculed by the who’s who of IR experts on the grounds of its heavy reliance on stereotypes and oversimplification of cultures. However, in the past decade and the unfortunate events of 9/11 many have argued that Huntington’s theory has been vindicated.
Huntington predicted that the "great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural". He then goes to broadly categorise the world into seven dominant civilizations. These he says are Western, Latin American, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu and Slavic-Orthodox. He further goes on to ignore the whole of Africa calling it only a possible civilization due to existing underdevelopment and clubs Israel with the West. He completely ignores Buddhist states and other indigenous communities. He categorises these civilizations primarily on the basis of religion and ignores other significant factors like race, history and geographical location.
The end of the Cold War, Huntington theorises will bring in the end of decades long ideological conflict and usher in an era of cultural clashes. He then goes on to provide us with a definition of civilization. He states that “a civilization is the highest cultural grouping of people and the broadest level of cultural identity people have short of that which distinguishes humans from other species”. On the basis of this vague definition he continues to argue that future conflicts will be initiated by non-Western civilizations with a particular...