The Clash of Civilizations is a thesis that people's cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post- Cold War world. The American political scientist Samuel P. Huntington argued that future wars would be fought not between countries, but between cultures. It was proposed in a lecture [1] at the American Enterprise Institute , which was then developed in a Foreign Affairs article titled "The Clash of Civilizations?

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Uno dei massimi esperti di politica estera, consigliere dell'amministrazione americana ai tempi di Jimmy Carter, direttore degli Studi strategici e internazionali di Harvard, fondatore di Foreign Policy e autore di una ventina di saggi che hanno fatto la storia della geopolitica degli ultimi vent'anni. If universalism legitimates imperialism, does relativism legitimate repression?

Once again, the answer to these questions is yes and no. Cultures are relative; morality is absolute. Instead of promoting the supposedly universal features of one civilization, the requisites for cultural coexistence demand a search for what is common to most civilizations. In a multicivilizational world, the constructive course is to renounce universalism, accept diversity, and seek commonalities. On the other side, European governments and publics have largely supported and rarely criticized actions the United States has taken against its Muslim opponents, in striking contrast to the strenuous opposition they often expressed to American actions against the Soviet Union and communism during the Cold War.

In civilizational conflicts, unlike ideological ones, kin stand by their kin. The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism.

It is Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power. It is the West, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the universality of their culture and believe that their superior, if declining, power imposes on them the obligation to extend that culture throughout the world.

These are the basic ingredients that fuel conflict between Islam and the West. In the clash of civilizations, Europe and America will hang together or hang separately. In the emerging era, clashes of civilizations are the greatest threat to world peace, and an international order based on civilizations is the surest safeguard against world war.

During most of human existence, contacts between civilizations were intermittent or nonexistent. Then, with the beginning of the modern era, about A. For over four hundred years, the nation states of the West — Britain, France, Spain, Austria, Prussia, Germany, the United States, and others — constituted a multipolar international system within Western civilization and interacted, competed, and fought wars with each other.

At the same time, Western nations also expanded, conquered, colonized, or decisively influenced every other civilization. During the Cold War global politics became bipolar and the world was divided into three parts.

A group of mostly wealthy and democratic societies, led by the United States, was engaged in a pervasive ideological, political, economic, and, at times, military competition with a group of somewhat poorer communist societies associated with and led by the Soviet Union. Much of this conflict occurred in the Third World outside these two camps, composed of countries which often were poor, lacked political stability, were recently independent, and claimed to be nonaligned.

In the late s the communist world collapsed, and the Cold War international system became history. In the post-Cold War world, the most important distinctions among peoples are not ideological, political, or economic. They are cultural. Peoples and nations are attempting to answer the most basic question humans can face: Who are we? And they are answering that question in the traditional way human beings have answered it, by reference to the things that mean most to them. People define themselves in terms of ancestry, religion, language, history, values, customs, and institutions.

They identify with cultural groups: tribes, ethnic groups, religious communities, nations, and, at the broadest level, civilizations. People use politics not just to advance their interests but also to define their identity. We know who we are only when we know who we are not and often only when we know whom we are against. Nation states remain the principal actors in world affairs. Their behavior is shaped as in the past by the pursuit of power and wealth, but it is also shaped by cultural preferences, commonalities, and differences.

Non-Western societies, particularly in East Asia, are developing their economic wealth and creating the basis for enhanced military power and political influence. If humans are ever to develop a universal civilization, it will emerge gradually through the exploration and expansion of these commonalities.

Thus, in addition to the abstention rule and the joint mediation rule, the third rule for peace in a multicivilizational world is the commonalities rule: peoples in all civilizations should search for and attempt to expand the values, institutions, and practices they have in common with peoples of other civilizations. This effort would contribute not only to limiting the clash of civilizations but also to strengthening Civilization in the singular hereafter capitalized for clarity.

The singular Civilization presumably refers to a complex mix of higher levels of morality, religion, learning, art, philosophy, technology, material well-being, and probably other things. These obviously do not necessarily vary together. Yet scholars easily identify highpoints and lowpoints in the level of Civilization in the histories of civilizations. They are relatively uncivilized.

As the civilization evolves it becomes more settled and develops the techniques and skills that make it more Civilized.

As it goes into decay as a civilization, its level of Civilization also declines until it disappears under the onslaught of a different surging civilization with a lower level of Civilization. This belief is expressed both descriptively and normatively. Descriptively it holds that peoples in all societies want to adopt Western values, institutions, and practices. Normatively the Western universalist belief posits that people throughout the world should embrace Western values, institutions, and culture because they embody the highest, most enlightened, most liberal, most rational, most modern, and most civilized thinking of humankind.

In the emerging world of ethnic conflict and civilizational clash, Western belief in the universality of Western culture suffers three problems: it is false; it is immoral; and it is dangerous. The almost-universal reach of European power in the late nineteenth century and the global dominance of the United States in the late twentieth century spread much of Western civilization across the world. European globalism, however, is no more.

American hegemony is receding if only because it is no longer needed to protect the United States against a Cold War-style Soviet military threat. Culture, as we have argued, follows power. If non-Western societies are once again to be shaped by Western culture, it will happen only as a result of the expansion, deployment, and impact of Western power.

Imperialism is the necessary logical consequence of universalism. In addition, as a maturing civilization, the West no longer has the economic or demographic dynamism required to impose its will on other societies and any effort to do so is also contrary to the Western values of self-determination and democracy. As Asian and Muslim civilizations begin more and more to assert the universal relevance of their cultures, Westerners will come to appreciate more and more the connection between universalism and imperialism.

Huntington , The Clash of Civilizations? The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation-states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics.

The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order Contesto: Some Americans have promoted multiculturalism at home; some have promoted universalism abroad; and some have done both.

Multiculturalism at home threatens the United States and the West; universalism abroad threatens the West and the world. Both deny the uniqueness of Western culture. The global monoculturalists want to make the world like America. The domestic mulitculturalists want to make America like the world. A multicultural America is impossible because a non-Western America is not American.

A multicultural world is unavoidable because global empire is impossible. The preservation of the United States and the West requires the renewal of Western identity. The security of the world requires acceptance of global multiculturality.

This is particularly true along the boundaries of the crescent-shaped Islamic bloc of nations, from the bulge of Africa to central Asia. Islam has bloody borders.

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Clash of Civilizations



Frasi di Samuel P. Huntington


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