The clash of civilizations

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order is the title of an essay on political analysis written by American Harvard professor Samuel Huntington, published in 1996 and translated into French in 1997. Very controversial since its publication, the book has given rise to many debates. The theory developed by Huntington was originally published in an article in Foreign Affairs in the summer of 1993. As this article provoked many positive and negative reactions, Huntington wanted to deepen his theory and develop all its aspects by publishing a book entitled The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Rebuilding the World Order “). Huntington’s project is to develop a new conceptual model for describing the functioning of international relations after the collapse of the Soviet bloc in the late 1980s. However, it does not claim to give its model a validity that extends beyond the end of the beginning and the beginning of and relies on a geopolitical description of the world based no longer on “political” ideological cleavages, but on more blurred cultural oppositions than he calls “civilizational”, in which the religious substratum holds a central place, and on their often conflicting relations.

In this part, Huntington gives a first map showing the division of the world into 9 civilizations. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the identity of a nation is less and less defined by its membership of a single nation. Two examples are given. On January 3, 1992 in Moscow when Russian and American academics met in a government building after the end of the USSR on December 26, 1991. The statue of Lenin was removed and the new flag of the Russian Federation was raised to backwards. At the first break, the organizers were quick to correct this mistake. This anecdote is a sign of a transition in the way peoples define their identity and symbolize it. The second anecdote dates from 18 April 1994, when 2,000 people gathered in Sarajevo waving flags of Saudi Arabia and Turkey. For Huntington, flags flutter high and proud as symbols of a cultural identity. From now on, we also raise the flags of peoples with the same cultural and identity line. Finally, he cites a third example of a demonstration in Los Angeles on 16 October 1994 against a law seeking to cut off all financial aid to illegal immigrants: the demonstrators paraded with Mexican flags and some observers wondered why they had not used the American flag . He says that we have moved from a bipolar world based on the opposition between the Western world, which he calls democratic and richer, against the communist world, which he calls poorer, to a multipolar world. The bipolar world is a world in three parts: In short, the world after the cold war has 9 great civilizations; affinities and cultural differences determine relationships, antagonisms and associations between nation states. The most important countries in the world come from different civilizations, the local conflicts that are most likely to expand take place between different civilizations. The forms of economic development differ for each civilization. The West is no longer alone in being powerful: international politics has become multipolar and multicivilizational.

After the Cold War, the bipolar model is no longer relevant to explain the nature of international relations and other models have emerged. The most famous model is that of Francis Fukuyama who advanced the thesis of the end of the story. Fukuyama, develops the theses in a controversial book published in 1992, ” The End of History and the Last Man ”, in which he defends the idea that the progression of human history, envisaged as a fight between ideologies, is coming to an end with the consensus on liberal democracy that would tend to develop after the end of the cold war. But for Huntington, if the world became different after the fall of the wall, it did not become peaceful. Harmony remains an illusion already encountered at the end of the First World War with the concept of “der der der”, the rise of fascism and nationalism, the Second World War which itself engendered the Cold War. Huntington also rejects the vision of a world resulting from a dichotomy between “them and us”, between the rich and the poor countries, the countries of the north and the countries of the south or between the owners and the possessed. This dichotomous vision does notis not relevant because it assumes a homogeneity of non-Western societies that does not exist in reality. Japanese, Chinese, Hindu or Muslim societies are far too different to be considered as one entity. This dichotomy is therefore a myth. The “realist” theory is also criticized, as is the theory of international chaos including the books Out Of Control by Zbigniew Brzezinski and Pandaemonium by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. For him, a vision of the world to 9 civilizations can condense these 4 theories and derive the benefits without taking the disadvantages.

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