The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order
Samuel P. Huntington is the man who, in recent years, has reclassified the world. Carter’s advisor and director of the Harvard Institute of International Policy, Huntington divides the world into nine civilizations: Western, Slavic (or Orthodox), Islamic, African, Latin, Chinese, Hindu, Buddhist and Japanese.
Of course his thinking is deeply influenced by the great religious divisions and presents many problems of adjustment. Not in all areas of the world this consciousness is clear and strong; the classification presents consistent regional problems, such as, for example, the presence of Israel in the Middle East.
Already then, in 1993, Huntington argued that the borders between the West and Islam would quickly bloody; but the problem is not so much the rekindling of this historic dispute, which has been going on since the year 1000 and with which we are accustomed to living with ups and downs; the biggest and deepest point is that there is a vast and articulated attack against the “irresponsible” way of life of advanced societies and the West that takes two forms: competition and aggression.
China and Russia are on the first track; on the second the Middle East, Africa and South America. It is a critique open to our privileges by companies that cannot find order and development and blame us for this tragic event. Our faults are endless but they cannot be perennial. With this work the American scholar, who is all too easy to dismiss as a conservative, brings to the fore a different entity from the states of the ancient regime, or the theme of deep cultures or civilizations.
“My hypothesis – he writes – is that the source of fundamental conflict in the new world in which we live will not be substantially ideological or economic. The great divisions of humanity and the main source of conflict will be linked to culture. National states will remain the main actors in the global context, but the most important conflicts will take place between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate world politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the lines on which the battles of the future will take place. In the history of ideological and class conflicts the key question was “who are you with?”, Today, in the conflicts of civilization the key question becomes “who are you?”. These are words we must learn to consider, they are a piece of the truth of our time.