“Clash of Civilizations”

Better Essays
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 t...

... middle of paper ...

...of civilizations fitted the modern world dynamics. In the mid-term election in 2006, the American voters challenged the clash of civilizations by opposing to Bush Administration's policy towards Iraq (Kellner, 2004). – 3 (spelling punctuation,wordiness)

In conclusion, Huntington's approach of outlining the cultural differences between the West and Islam doesn't entirely explain the present world Jihadist terrorism and response of the US and its allies to it. The inclination of his paradigm is that one culture must win and another must lose. His hypothesis thus promotes political actors, policy makers and citizens to understand cultural dissimilarities as devastating and to support such differences. Consequently, his civilizations approach may not provide a standard paradigm, but it may add to realist and liberal approaches to explain international relations. – 3
Get Access