Daily Moon Phases

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Neutrality Instead of Emotional Zealotry

That is the way of growth and progress.

"While it took the US and UK 58 and 47 years, respectively, to double their per capita output, Japan did so in 33, Korea in 11, and China in 10."

This article is excerpted from "Citizendium The Citizens Compendium"

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order is an influential and controversial book on grand strategy, international relations and world futures, by the late political scientist Samuel Huntington. He does not rigorously define an abstraction of a civilization, but uses examples, although in a Foreign Affairs article he called a civilization "the highest cultural grouping and the broadest level of cultural identity short of that which distinguishes humans from other species."[1]
In the book, the chief premise is
that culture and cultural identifies, which at the broadest level are civilization identities, are shaping the patterns of cohesion, disintegration and culture in the post-Cold War world.[2]
It takes a darker view than some alternative models, such as that of Thomas P.M. Barnett in The Pentagon's New Map,[3] suggesting that major conflict is likely; "avoidance of a global war of civilization depends on world leaders accepting and cooperating to maintain the multicivilizational character of global politics." He bases this on five corollaries to the central theme:
  1. Global politics is multipolar and multicivilizational; modernization is distinct from Westernization
  2. "The balance of power among civilizations is shifting; the West is declining in relative influence"
  3. "A civilization-based world order is emerging; societies sharing cultural affinities cooperate with each other; efforts to shift societies from one civilization to another are unsuccessful
  4. "The West's universalist pretentions increasingly bring it into conflict with other civilizations, most seriously with Islam and China"
  5. "The survival of the West depends on Americans reaffirming their Western identity and Westerners accepting their civilization as unique not universal"
He rejects globalization as being neither necessary nor desirable. He specifically rejects the "end of history" model of his student, Francis Fukuyama:
we may be witnessing..the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.[4]
Note that Fukuyama has sometimes been strongly identified with neoconservatism, which has this ideal of liberal democracy, although his position keeps evolving.


He cites several paradigms that came from the Cold War, none of which he finds accurate although the latter two are closest.
  1. One world: euphoria and harmony: This is most often expressed in Francis Fukuyama's "end of history" thesis
  2. Two worlds: Us and Them: There are, however, several binary systems. From the Islamic perspective, there is the Dar al-Islam and the Dar al-Hab. Thomas P. M. Barnett speaks of the "connected core" and everyone else. Orient versus Occident is a classic, if not terribly useful division
  3. 184 States, More or Less: He sees this as the "realist" model, based on state interest. Perhaps not for 184 states, but there is some of this in Henry Kissinger's balance of power models[5]
  4. Sheer chaos: The advent of weakened and failed states supports this model, for which he cites Zbigniew Brzezinski[6] and Daniel Patrick Moynihan[7]
Instead, he proposes that a workable model groups into seven or eight civilizations takes the best of the models and builds from them. Its assumptions are:[8]
  • "The forces of integration in the world are real and are precisely what are generating counterforces of cultural assertion and civilizational consciousness
  • "The world is is in some sense two, but the central distinction is between the West as the hitherto dominant civilization and all the others, which, however, have little if anything in common among them. The world, in short, is divided between a Western one and a non-Western many.
  • "Nation states are and will remain the most important actors in world affairs, but their interests, associations, and conflicts are increasingly shaped by cultural and civilizational factors.
  • "The world is indeed anarchical, rife with tribal and nationality conflicts, but the conflicts that pose the greatest danger for stability are those between states or groups from different civilizations."
The test of a model is that it:[9]
  1. Generalizes, rationally, about reality
  2. Helps understand causality
  3. Anticipates, and sometimes predicts
  4. Separates the important from the unimportant
  5. Shows the roads to be taken to goals
Not all models are useful for all purposes, as he points out the differences between a road map for driving and a chart for air navigation.

Cultures and civilizations

Huntington's basic premise is that a number of great cultures are...  (Continued in link in title)


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