“Clash Of Civilizations” Essay

866 words - 3 pages

Realism is the contrast of the Idealist conception that society can change on the foundation of an idea. The “Clash of Civilizations” by Samuel Huntington is a brilliant illustration that exhibits the power of ideas that has vastly influenced both foreign policies of countries, but also the discipline of International Relations. Samuel Huntington's “the clash of civilizations,” is based on the hypothesis: “In the post-Cold War world the most important distinctions among people are not ideological, political, or economic. They are cultural”. (Huntington, 1996, p. 21) Huntington recognizes the significance of the realist approach that the nation states will stay as the most influential actors in international relationships, but he refutes that nations’ interests can be described without any reference to culture (Huntington, 1996, p. 34). Instead, he suggests the civilization paradigm in which “supra-national civilizations” that act principally as nation states and practice their own civilization’s interests in a global setting that is structurally comparable to that portrayed by neo-realism (Milani & Gibbons, 2001). He claims that the clash of civilizations will dictate international politics and relationships, in particular, between the West and Islam (Huntington, 1996, p. 208). In this essay, I attempt to analyze how well Huntington's notion applies to present world scenario of international Jihadist terrorism and the United States' and other states' “war on terrorism”. - 8
According to Milani & Gibbons (2001), Huntington considers Islam as monolithic, atrocious and deficient in diversity. In actuality, Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, is splendidly varied and its history is really complex, much more than Huntington seems to acknowledge. Thus, Huntington's diminution of Islam to a solitary set of values seems unjust to Islam. Huntington depends on Bernard Lewis to demonstrate Islam's history of violence and resentment or Jihadist terrorism (Milani & Gibbons, 2001). He concludes that “Islam's borders are bloody, and so are its innards” (Huntington 1996, p. 258). Huntington overstates the most pessimistic characteristics of the connection between Islam and the West that have shaped persistent bitterness in the perception of Muslims and Westerners (Mellon, 2001). Further, he impugns Muslim states for undue militarization and blames them for Jihadist terrorism, overlooking the crucial fact that the West, the United States in particular, had initiated the militarization by significantly financing and providing arms to them in the first place (Kepel, 2003). Although some Muslim countries have subsidized acts of terrorism, I believe that they are not the sole culprits; and there is a great majority of Muslim countries that have never been involved in terrorism (Testas, 2004). Thus, Huntington's argument that the...

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