Category: Review

The world politics embraces a new phase, and the variety of versions about the course of the phase has been suggested. The article “The Clash of Civilizations” written by the world-renowned American political scientist Samuel P. Huntington’s and first published in the journal Foreign Affairs caused a lively debate in academic and political circles in many countries, splitting opinions into diametrically different ones. The main counterargument to Huntington’s thesis was the assertion about the assembly of world civilization. His endeavors to go beyond the narrow meaning of pacifism met a barrage of criticism and rejection at first. He also claims that the conflict unfolds between nations and countries belonging to different civilizations. This paper aims to examine the main point of Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilizations” and make their summations to find out whether his work reveals all the aspect of civilization alongside its specific features and relevance to current states of affair.

The coming conflict between civilizations is the final phase of the evolution of global conflicts in the world today. In over 150 years after the Peace of Westphalia, the current international system was created, and conflicts unfolded mainly between rulers namely, kings, emperors, absolute and constitutional monarchy seeking to expand their bureaucracies, increase the army to strengthen the economic power, and, most importantly, to join new land to their possessions. This process gave rise to a nation-state, and since the French Revolution, the main lines of the conflict were not so much between the rulers, but more between the nations. This is the preamble to Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilizations” theory.

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Background

Samuel Phillips Huntington is American sociologist and political scientist, the author of the concept of ethnocultural division of civilizations that was announced in an article “The Clash Civilizations?” published in 1993 in the journal Foreign Affairs and then in 1996 in the book The Clash of Civilizations. He claims that the geographical proximity of civilizations often leads to confrontation and even conflict between them. These conflicts typically occur at the junction amorphous or delineated borders civilizations. Sometimes, these conflicts can be predicted based on the logic of development and interaction of civilizations. The scope of his main interests include issues of national security strategy, relations between civilians and the military, the problems of democratization and economic development of developing countries, cultural factors in world politics, and the problems of American national identity.

Specific Features of the Concept

The summation of Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations theses is presented as following: civilization is a large conglomerate of countries that have any common defining features (culture, language, religion). As a rule, the main defining feature is a common religion. Usually, civilizations, unlike countries, exist for a long time. As a rule, they exist for more than a millennium. After the occurrence of the earliest civilizations (Ancient Egypt, Ancient Sumer, Babylonia, Ancient China, and Ancient India), for almost three millennia between them, there were no contacts, or those contacts were very rare and limited. Each civilization sees itself as the most important center of the world and represents the history of mankind according to this understanding. Western civilization emerged in the 5-9th centuries AD. It reached its zenith in the early 20th century. Western civilization has had a decisive influence on the rest of civilization. Religious fanaticism is often a reaction to the layman on modernization, westernization, or a combination of both. Some civilizations (Western, Hindu, Orthodox, Buddhist and Japanese) have their ‘core’, for instance, the main countries (core states), while other civilizations (Islamic, Latin American and African) do not have core states. Civilizations with core states are generally more stable.