The Clash of Civilizations: a Summary of Samuel Huntington's Controversial Political Analysis and Its Critics

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POLI 100 - F10N01

Gabrielle Bishop

The Clash of Civilizations:
A Summary of Samuel Huntington’s controversial Political Analysis and its Critics

“Culture and cultural identities, which at the broadest level are civilizational identities, are shaping patterns of cohesion, disintegration, and conflict in the post-Cold War World” - Samuel Huntington

POLI 100 - F10N01!

Gabrielle Bishop

In a 1993 article published in Foreign Affairs, Harvard Professor of Government and Political Scientist Samuel Huntington made a prediction for the 21st century that would go on to be both disputed and supported by experts around the globe. As the Iron Curtain of ideology of the Cold War had fallen, Huntington theorized that a new “Velvet
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Feles instead proposes that he “[pay] more attention to detail, of the sort provided by anthropology” 12. Only then, she states, will his predictions improve from a “constantly risk-running sort to a relatively risk-averse one”13.

Huntington begins the next section, “Part 2: The Shifting Balance of Civilizations”, by stating that the power and influence the West once held is now dying14. Although the civilization did experience success with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Huntington argues that the West has become “exhausted”15. He brings to light two opposing arguments:

(A): That the West still holds a monopoly over economic consumption, military strength, and technology;16 and,

(B): That the West is losing its influence and power.17

Huntington takes the side of Argument B, and expands on it further. He notes that while the West’s power and influence may indeed be declining, it will be a very slow process and is therefore not an immediate threat presently to global forces 18. Huntington stresses the growing role religion is now playing in global politics. He notes that religion often gains popularity in response to a society’s changing needs. He mentions, for example, how many South Koreans have abandoned their traditional Buddhist beliefs in exchange for Christianity as their nation has become increasingly urban and

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