Today I want to just stir curiosity and discuss a book that has been popular in academia for quite some time, The Clash Of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington. It is an interesting diagnosis of society and perspective on why society acts in the ways that it does. You may not adhere to the same beliefs as Samuel, but it is an interesting take on global politics nonetheless. Below are some of my thoughts on the subject, but I would be more than curious to know what some of my readers think about this subject. As global policies become more stringent and more overarching, it is crucial that we review material that may shed light on why policy makers act in the ways that they do. By studying material like this, we may better understand the philosophies of policy makers, and better poised to share opposing views. If you are not familiar with the book I have provided a short video that summarizes some of the points from the book at the end of the post. As always, I hope that provides good insight, and stirs curiosity, Enjoy!
Many things have changed since the end of the cold war on a global political level, and Samuel Huntington’s clash of civilizations is certainly a great thesis into why and how, and where to next. He does a great job of addressing new age issues and how the world may be solving them a bit different than before. Lets face it, the world is constantly evolving, and the idea that we can solve new problems with our old school of thought is just unrealistic. Times are changing and as a current super-power we must adapt to stay in the game.
As people gaze at the world, we are starting to notice new similarities. Before we saw ideologies as ways to define us, but in modern times we are beginning to notice even more basic similarities, like language, history, religion, and customs. Essentially we are beginning to group according to culture, which is proposed by Samuel, and these basic commonalities are what define civilizations. He goes on to say the world will be made up of 8 of these civilizations and that the bond held between these civilizations will be much stronger than modern times. I could not agree more with Samuel on this subject, and think that these bonds held by future civilizations will be much stronger than current times, especially in the west. For like stated in “Roots of Muslim Rage” we as Americans lack culture, and Lewis, the author, even says that some countries see the west as soulless and artificial. Though this may be a bit of an extreme assumption I think there is some truth to it. We lack meaning and purpose to an extent, because we don’t share cultural values, and beliefs, but instead share individual greed. And our greed does not end at our borders, but rather extends across the globe and finds itself in other countries, and is commonly referred to as westernization. Which can be summed up as cultural influence imposed on others, through media, to expand Western capitalistic fundamentals on the world.
Westernization in my eyes is driven by greed, I believe westerners want to open up foreign markets, and exploit other countries, with limited liability, and much more lenient laws. Though capitalism and all its glory work locally for us (kind of), when it is transferred to other countries it becomes messy. And the fact that we are slamming it down people’s throats is not helping our cause. We get a bunch of countries to trust and invest in our system and then it fails, so no wonder people are upset with us. Recently there has been a growing trend around the world to de-westernize, and according to Huntington it may be in our best interest to let that happen. We need no longer sell the world on westernization because we have found that it is not the universal miracle system we thought it was. As the world grows and things continue to change I believe we will see a growing rise in religion/spirituality, because like Samuel, I believe it may be the only thing to transcend national boundaries and unite civilizations.
I think that Samuel Harrington has presented a very interesting and very thoughtful proposal to the future of mankind. He has analyzed many issues we have faced in history, and proposed scenarios we may face in the future. Often times we as intelligent humans over think things, and that is especially true when it comes to politics and policy, but thinking too much may be what got us into trouble in the first place. With a focus on civilization, we may be able to create bonds and relationships between civilizations that we have never before witnessed. Bonds that seem to erase any differences that we may have once held, and establish a sense of community that has never before been seen. Regardless of the outcome I think this is an effective model of looking at global politics since the Cold War, and as time goes on I believe the world will materialize very similar to how Samuel theorizes.
Here is a short video outlining some of the points from the book for those that are unfamiliar.