Huntington book review

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huntington book review

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Huntington, the clash of civilizations, and the remaking of world order 1996. 51 la revanche de dieu. Judaism as a civilization. The evolution of civilizations: An Introduction to historical Analysis., 1979. Statesman's year-book (New York St Martin's Press, world book atlas (Chicago field Enterprises Educational Corp, 19701. Army control and Disarmament Agency, world Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers, washington. 19 3 Vaclav havel, «The new measure of Man new York times, p A27, jacques Delors, «Questions Concerning European Security address, International Institute for Strategic Studies, Brussels, 10 September 1993, p. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific revolutions, (Chicago University of Chicago Press, 1962.

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Instead, he would like to allow Russia to have a user privileged position, and to gain a dominion covering not only all the Orthodox countries but also essay "a cordon sanitaire made of weak muslim states in the south." Conquering such a buffer zone is considered. In the Islamic world, he has carefully included even Northern Nigeria and Mindanao, but kazakstan, bosnia, the north caucasus, the tatars of Volga and Crimea, east Turkestan (Sinkiang and even Kashmir have been completely excluded from the Islamic world, let alone the vast Muslim populations. Yet he has not forgotten to split Tibet from China to the buddhist civilization. Although Huntington wishes to maintain Western primacy and us leadership, he is an isolationist, who demands the us to abstain from all interventions to "the territories of other civilizations." According to huntington, each civilization should have one single core state, stronger than others, who would. Maybe because of this Huntington would allow Russia to guard discipline also in the muslim states? Huntington propagates for a multipolar world, which would be practically divided into the spheres of dominion of the "core states with the peculiar exception of an extra-large russian sphere of dominion. In practice, his world would be divided into the spheres of interest of the us, russia, and China. This recalls very much not only the constructions of the geopoliticians of the early 1900s (for example karl haushofer but also those presented after the cold War by russian geopoliticians, extending from somewhat more curtailed expressions to the naked representations of Vladimir Zhirinovski and Gennady. After all, huntington is also not far away from the religiously exclusive worldview of the modern Arab Islamists. Like other paradigms serving as justifications to political interests, huntington's civilizations theory is surely a welcome source of"tions for a wide range of various interest groups, like islamophobes and anti-immigration activists as well as those who wish Russia to maintain a special superpower status. In spite of the basically western hegemonic ethos of Huntington's work, it has also been used for anti-American purposes, for example as a justification for the criticism directed against the western support of Afghan jihad against the soviet occupation, against the interventions to the balkans.

If interpreted so, the resume book has been both influential and quite well placed. Then what kind of a "new world order" is Huntington trying to "remake or rather, to propagate? He has not hidden the answers. Quite the contrary, characteristically for a political pamphlet, they have even been underlined at the end of the book with a direct list of recommendations, addressed to the whole "West.". Firstly, like brzezinski, also huntington wishes Western hegemony in the undisputed leadership of the. Huntington demands Western unity and the maintaining of its military superiority in front of the "threat" it is facing, in the name of "the survival of the western culture." Huntington wants the eu and nato to include all the catholic and Protestant countries of Europe. Islam and China are the main bogeys of Huntington's worldview, and therefore he demands limiting their development and the rise of their military capacity.

huntington book review

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Huntington firmly believes that "Islamic culture explains the failure of democracy in most of the Islamic world." Besides, he does not report believe the westernization of Muslims to change at all the obviously primordial tendencies of "Islamic culture "Somewhere in the middle east, half a dozen. Huntington's division of "civilizations" is not established in a scientific, historical, or not even in an elegant way. Rather, huntington has been primarily thinking about the global political position of the us, in which picture he has wanted to change the old Russian enemy to the threats constituted by Islam and China. The rest of the world has been taken along mostly to have walk-on parts. For example the "African "Japanese and "Latin American" civilizations are not explained in religious terms. In fact it is sad that the wide attention that Huntington has enjoyed has overshadowed many more talented historians, who have studied the theme of civilizations in a more interesting and nuanced way. Among them, especially felipe fernández-armesto deserves mentioning especially for his work "Millennium but also "civilizations.". What is left is interpreting Huntington's bestseller as a political pamphlet, an ideological commentary to a specific time.

A third main principle of Huntington is that the loyalty and support of states at each other, as well as their mutual hostility, are determined by their civilization. Huntington defends this thesis by making references, among others, to the conflicts of the balkans and the caucasus. Yet the very same conflicts are a powerful proof of the erratic logics of Huntington's theory. For example in the karabagh conflict (which Huntington superficially uses as an example monophysitic Armenia was supported by Orthodox Russia an radical Shiite Iran, while secular Shiite-majority azerbaijan was supported by secular Sunnite turkey and Orthodox georgia. Russia supported the rebellion of the historically muslim Abkhazians against georgia, while georgia showed sympathy towards the independence struggle of the muslim Chechens. In Bosnia, the catholic Croats and Muslim Bosniaks were finally fighting together against the Orthodox Serbs, and the predominantly sufi (Muslim) Kosovar Liberation Army was supported by catholic Albanians, too. What is relevant is that in all these conflicts the patterns of loyalty and enmity were shaped more by geopolitics, history, ethnicity (language and practical Brzezinskian chess play than by religion. Finally, huntington's causal assumption that "culture" would really explain the behaviour and political motivations of states is dubious.

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huntington book review

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But even in this sense, "The Clash of civilizations" is not unproblematic. At first, huntington's leading thesis is based on the idea that "cultural similarities and differences shape the interests of states, their antagonisms and alliances." In this thought, huntington basically derives abstractions such as "political culture" and "state idea" from report something he calls "the civilization which. According to huntington's line of thinking, we should assume that antagonism would be the deeper, the more different the "civilizations" are. Why then is the world not divided so that the theologically very similar "Peoples of the book" Christians, muslims, and Jews would form one block? Why the huntington model finds Islam as the civilization most opposite to the west, although it is culturally the closest to the west, while huntington feels no special antipathies against polytheist homework Hinduism or pantheist Buddhism?

Would it not make more sense to derive the antagonisms now attributed to "civilizations" rather from geographical locations, competition of resources, history of war and imperial expansion, and myths shaping collective identification? Huntington's second main thesis is that conflicts are the more dangerous, the more different civilizations the belligerent parties represent. This thesis is not supported by history either. Most of the worst and most prolonged conflicts have taken place between culturally very close neighbours. The bloodiest religious wars have been fought within Christianity and Islam, not between them, and in borderlands such as the balkans, the caucasus, and Kashmir, "cultural" differences between people representing different concessions are often very questionable, while syncretism is common.

He would like to fence the "civilizations" tightly in their own territories, and construct clear-cut boundaries for their spheres of interest although with the remarkable exception that Russia would have an exceptional right to conquer a southern buffer zone made of Muslim territories. A clear distinction, however, between Huntington and his European precursors of the 1800s and early 1900s, is that Huntington does not include any anti-jewish elements in his theories. Rather, in a very American way, he does not need to explain anyhow why he considers the judeo-christian world as a single western entity, while Islam is rejected to the "East". In Huntington's islamophobic narrative there is no place for the recognition of the historical fact that anti-semitism was primarily a phenomenon derived from the Christian world, while in Islam there was no antipathy towards Judaism until in the 20th century, as a reaction to zionism. Also, it is peculiar to huntington's disgust towards any form of Islam, that despite of his favourable attitude towards Israel, huntington has no understanding for Turkey, or Turkey's Westernization and modernization. Quite the opposite, he openly explicates his hope that Islamists (of Necmettin Erbakan) would triumph in Turkey, so that the country could be clearly excluded from the west, into the Islamic "other".


In Huntington's model, any endeavour of Turkey or Russia as well as Romania, bulgaria or Greece to cultivate democracy and Western values, is doomed to fail. Huntington uses the method of listing up "marks" of our time and from news, which he then tries to make look as if the logic of everything would lie in a controversy between religions. Huntington's supporters seem to think that the civilizations theory would be particularly useful for bringing clarity to the "complicated" conflicts of the balkans and the caucasus. However, it is exactly in these regions that Huntington gets most badly lost, and the explanative power of his theory shows its worst shortcomings. In addition, the theorist who paints pictures of the world's "peripheries" with a very rogue brush from his distant armchair, makes dozens of rather embarrassing factual errors, which are far too numerous for the esteem of the work and its author. For example, huntington claims that the moldovans are Slavs, that kazakstan and Bosnia are Orthodox countries and Sri lanka is a hindu country, and that "the georgians decided" to allow Russian military bases in georgia for eternal times to come. The amount of errors and ignorant interpretations shows that Huntington cannot compete in the same category of knowledge-based strategic analysis with, for instance, zbigniew Brzezinski, whose work "The Grand Chessboard" (1996) would also deserve finnish translation, as one of the most important books of the. Maybe the errors concerning "details" do not bother such Western readers, who are mostly interested in the grand lines of theory, and who do not know, and are not particularly interested in knowing, the many "small" nations of Eastern Europe or Eurasia. Thus, huntington should be read primarily as a thought-waking theoretical idea.

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His supporters, on the other hand, find him saying something of immense value, which is silenced by the "politically correct" discussants. For the typical supporters of Huntington's theory, the fierce critics of Huntington are just hippies, postmodernists and the relativists, who do not understand or do not want to accept the fundamental differences between "us" and "others". In fact, both these approaches are bound to misguide the whole discourse around the civilizations theory. Of course the roots of Huntington's theory go back much farer into the past than the ending of the cold War by the west. In fact, huntington represents a return to the teachings of classical geopolitics and race theories of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century. However, in Huntington, state organisms are replaced by "civilizations" with their core states and spheres of interest, and races are replaced by "cultures". His world-political recommendations and values are marked with same kind of attraction from to imperial territorial spaces, a multipolar world divided between the spheres of interest of great powers, and aggressive alliances of the kind represented by the "Holy Alliance". Like the earlier political theorists who were occupied with the quest of defending racial purity, also huntington seems to feel inherent dislike of borderlands, meeting-points and encounters of cultures, their mixing up and interaction.

huntington book review

The world's large religions and moreover, their "different values". Especially Islam constitutes a threat. Also China is a threat. Russia, however, is not. This is about the core message, to which Huntington's theory can be reduced. He fails to explain about anything else in the civilizations theory, let alone being able to fulfil the back-cover text's promise of "describing the crucial features of each culture or explaining and forecasting regional conflicts, superpower controversies and even the development trends of global phenomena. The monumental success of Huntington's work is based on the idea that he is thought to express aloud and to formulate into a scientific form certain taboos "known to everything" about the differences between Western culture and the "others and especially about the western relationship. The general attitudes plan to huntington's civilizations theory take place through identification. His opponents see him as a prejudiced and even racist rightist, who is just recreating myths legitimizing Western imperialism.

the need of us policy-makers to declare russia a friend or at least a secondary rival, whereas the new "evil empire" was, in the realm of "civilizations located in the suitably disunited. The back-cover text of the finnish edition is faithful to huntington's hubris, stating the following: "The ideological struggle, which once divided the world into two camps, ended by the collapse of the soviet Union, and new interpretations and explanations started to be searched for the. The Clash of civilizations' is the most important of the results of this work. The Clash of civilizations' describes the crucial features of each culture sic, figures out how its influence grows in its neighbourhood, and tells what kind of controversies and their consequences our own culture sic is going to face with. The Clash of civilizations' explains the regional conflicts, the controversies around the core states of the cultures, and the development trends of global phenomena. This work has been considered elemental in explaining the Iraq War and its aftermath sic.". The almost dogmatically faithful conviction about the all-explaining strength of Huntington's theory that is expressed in the back-cover text of the finnish publisher is a rather convincing evidence of the same problems that concern also huntington's theory itself. Largely based on vague impressions, huntington and his followers think they can somehow "explain" the whole world politics and all of its particular and current phenomena. Behind everything, there is the fundamental difference of "cultures" (i.e.

He has typically formulated greatly simplified grand theories suitable for the political and social demand of the time, offering easy applicability for the use of the popular world politics for us decision-makers and especially for the media. Before the "civilizations he coined, for instance, a theory of the "waves of democratization gradually leading towards more universal acceptance of liberal democracy. This kind of ability for academic statement opinion leadership that Huntington has possessed cannot of course be but admired. However, for the very same reason, his theories contain great dangers. By creating simplified logics, by eagerly taking shortcuts over the real-world complicities in conclusions, by ignoring details, by preferring deduction from a grand hypothesis to pedantic and time-consuming induction from empirical evidence, as well as by strong interaction with general prejudices and impressions created. The original context of the appearance of Huntington's "Clash of civilizations" was to respond to the world political need for a "new world order which should be something different from the ideological bipolarity of the cold War. His article, drafting the civilization theory, was published in the "Foreign Affairs" in 1993, and it immediately raised a global stir. Soon, the amount of debate and responses for and against Huntington exceeded the debate raised by the previously most discussed article in the "Foreign Affairs" the moscow report of george kennan, published under the name "X which formulated the basic conceptions for the policy.

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Book review: Samuel Huntington: The Clash fruit of civilizations and the remaking of World Order main, the eurasian Politician - august 2004. Anssi kullberg, (translation from. Finnish this is a translation of the book review written in Finnish of the finnish edition of Samuel Huntington's famous book for the finnish historians' journal "Ennen nyt". The finnish edition is titled "Kulttuurien kamppailu ja uusi maailmanjärjestys" "The Struggle between the cultures, and the new World Order translated by kimmo pietiläinen, and published by terra cognita, helsinki, 2003. A finnish edition of Samuel Huntington's book "The Clash of civilizations and the remaking of World Order" (1996) was a long-awaited translation, which unfortunately appears almost a decade too late. For years already, huntington has been available in local languages across most of the rest of Europe, including Estonia, romania, croatia, turkey, etc. It must be remarked that for a large part the work has lost its topicality except among the keen supporters of the "civilizations" theory. The translator has translated "civilizations" into "cultures which could be understandable to some extent, although it seems a bit strange, as in the discussion people are well accustomed to talk about "civilizations also in the finnish language. Huntington is a conservative harvard professor, who can be considered as an arch-type of an eminent armchair theorist.


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  1. book revue is located in Huntington. This is a translation of the book review written in Finnish of the finnish edition of Samuel Huntington 's famous book for the finnish historians' journal "Ennen nyt". The journal also publishes book reviews and review articles on important work in early modern studies. Contact the editor at hlq@huntington.

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  3. This review appears in the may 21, 2004 issue of Executive intelligence review. Yale mathematics professor Serge lang challenged Huntington 's book, political Order In Changing Societies, in which. The clash of civilizations. Bernard Lewis, 'islamic revolution new York review of books,.

  4. Read 31 genuine guest reviews for Huntington Inn. Book online or call This call is free. 24 hours a day; 7 days a week.

  5. Geoffrey huntington Message board 6/29/2013 4:17:29 pm talk about the novels, new and used books that Huntington has written! Author Huntington 's book reviews. Huntington beach book club and Dinner hosted by April Berg. Please email me at if you have a review that you want to share for any of the recently read books.

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