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Sunday, March 3, 2013

4 March 2013

Let's get back into the swing of things with some classic international relations literature.
Samuel P. Huntington was a political scientist from the University of Columbia who went on to hold a prominent position in the White House as coordinator for the National Security Council.
His most famous piece was a 1993 article in Foreign Affairs journal titled Clash of Civilizations.

This article was written in 1993, a few years after the end of the Cold War had sunken in with everyone. He hypothesized a new future of conflict - not between kings and princes, or over land, or over ideologies.
No, he predicted a major clash between civilizations.
Huntington split the world up into distinct 'civilizations', represented by the geographical colouring above. Each 'civilization' was determined by a number of cultural, religious, economic and social factors.
They are:

  • The West (North America, Western Europe, Australia)
  • Latin American (South America, Mexico)
  • Orthodox (Russia, Baltic States)
  • Muslim (Middle East, Northern Africa, Asia Minor)
  • Sub-Saharan Africa (Southern Africa)
  • Buddhist, Hindu, Chinese and Japonic civilizations
  • A few 'cleft' examples like Ethiopia, Pacific Asia, Israel, Turkey etc.
Huntington predicted a number of conflicts, most notable of which was 'Islam's bloody borders'.
This meant not only bloody revolutions (Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia), but also 'border clashes' with opposing, adjacent civilizations (Turkey-Bulgaria, Israel/US-Everyone, Croatia-Serbia, Azerbijan-Armenia, Chechnya, Islamic migration into Eastern and Western Europe)

He also foresaw the growth of Turkey as a regional superpower, the growth of China and the standoff in the China Sea, and the demographic explosion of Islam. 

Well well, Mr. Huntington. Right on the money.
This is compulsory reading material for any student of IR, modern history of politics. Or, well, anyone who wishes to keep their heads out of their asses.


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