Imperialism

I greatly enjoyed reading the “Clash of Civilizations?” because it raised my awareness to ideas revolving around the nature future political conflict.  Huntington explained how the primary source of conflict changes throughout time.  As an example, the Cold War was viewed as being fueled by ideological conflicts.  However, Huntington predicts that the primary source of conflict in the future will be cultural.  This cultural conflict is referred to as the clash of civilizations. Also, a civilization is defined as being the highest cultural grouping of people.  It is important to note that the boundaries and the characteristics of civilizations change as people’s identities are redefined. Changes within a civilization may lead to conflict, but there are several other factors that may cause civilizations to clash such as the fact that the differences among civilizations are real and basic.  Furthermore, it is obvious that the world is becoming a smaller place, which leads to increased interactions among dissimilar peoples.  Increased interactions may lead to the civilization-consciousness heightening, which leads to cultural differences and hostilities being accentuated.

 

Taking into account that Huntington’s article was published in 1993, his views on Western involvement at the global scale are true.  The article states that Western efforts to universally promote democracy and liberalism causes resentment from other civilizations.  Furthermore, by promoting these values, the Western world is continuing its military superiority and increasing its financial interests. This resentment caused by Western efforts is exemplified through Islam and the West.  This conflict also exemplifies how in a world of clashing civilizations, double standards will thrive.  The UN functions at a global scale, and it is upsetting that their representation of “the world community” is represented only by the Western world. As a result, the West uses international institutions, like the UN, to direct the world in ways that support Western dominance.  As a result, it is next to impossible for non-Western countries to join the West. Therefore, many non-Western civilizations have modernized without Westernizing.  This has also led to non-Western countries forming their own unique economic, military, and political influence.  Many of these non-Western states are becoming known as “Weapon States” because of their increased military power.  These “Weapon States” concern the Western world, which is another example of the double standard that presents itself in the conflicts because the non-Western states request to have the right to acquire and use whatever weapons are deemed necessary for security.

 

I also found the concept of “torn countries” interesting because these countries are very representative of the importance of space and place in the formation of civilizations. However, the second article by Bassin critiques Huntington’s article because the importance of space and place in political conflicts was undercut.  Huntington’s article was representative of the discipline of political geography, and for many readers, it was too antigeographical to claim to be demonstrative of political geography.

 

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