Monday, December 29, 2008

clash of civilisations?

According to the New York Times, the Great Samuel P Huntington died on Christmas Eve.

In 1993, Professor Huntington provoked great debate among international relations theorists with the interrogatively-titled "The Clash of Civilizations?", an extremely influential, oft-cited article published in Foreign Affairs magazine. Its description of post–Cold War geopolitics contrasted with the influential End of History thesis advocated by Francis Fukuyama.

Huntington expanded "The Clash of Civilizations?" to book length and published it as The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order in 1996. The article and the book posit that post–Cold War conflict would most frequently and violently occur because of cultural rather than ideological differences. That, whilst in the Cold War, conflict likely occurred between the Capitalist West and the Communist Bloc East, it now was most likely to occur between the world's major civilizations — identifying seven, and a possible eighth: (i) Western, (ii) Latin American, (iii) Islamic, (iv) Sinic (Chinese), (v) Hindu, (vi) Orthodox, (vii) Japanese, and (viii) the African. This cultural organization contrasts the contemporary world with the classical notion of sovereign states. To understand current and future conflict, cultural rifts must be understood, and culture — rather than the State — must be accepted as the locus of war. Thus, Western nations will lose predominance if they fail to recognize the irreconcilable nature of cultural tensions.

A few more days and he would have once again seen how true his words were when he wrote that
In Eurasia the great historic fault lines between civilizations are once more aflame. This is particularly true along the boundaries of the crescent-shaped Islamic bloc of nations, from the bulge of Africa to central Asia. Violence also occurs between Muslims, on the one hand, and Orthodox Serbs in the Balkans, Jews in Israel, Hindus in India, Buddhists in Burma and Catholics in the Philippines. Islam has bloody borders

For what have we in the Gaza Strip than another tedious ongoing battle between Islam and Jew. Again. What do we have in Afghanistan than the Muslim Taliban fighting western ideology?

Huntington did say that The West should stop with their continual push of trying to spread liberal democracy as it was none of their business and rushed democracy doesn't work: for a clear example of the latter have a quick look at Russia. Really, you'll only need a wee peek.

I agree that we should stop interfering in every other country which is why I was against the war in Iraq. I am, however, in favour of the war against the Taliban and for ensuring that in North Pakistan there aren't suicide bomber training camps for the simple reason that these people are trying to kill people like me, you, my friends and family.

In general people get the government they deserve and why should we persist with this Bush Doctrine of blowing the fuck out of everyone just because they're not like us? Live and let live; maybe that's what they want.

I shall end with this rather pithy way of summing up these problems we face if we persist with trying to change the world, as said by Jack Mizon, formerly of the Grenadier Guards when fighting in Afghanistan:
“They [the Taliban] believe that when they die they’re going to wake up with 27 virgins,” he said to me one night, after a heavy day of constant fighting. “So how can you fight against someone like that who doesn’t give a shit?”

I do hope that Huntington's ideas don't go with him to his grave, because he talked an awful lot of sense and a few people out there could do well to remind themselves that we're not the world police.

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