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The Big Answer


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The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order

a book by Samuel P. Huntington

(our site's book review)

Clashes between Civilizations Are the Greatest Threat to World Peace

The Amazon blurb says that The classic study of post-Cold War international relations is more relevant than ever in the post-911 world—with a new foreword by Zbigniew Brzezinski. Since its initial publication The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order has become a classic work of international relations and one of the most influential books ever written about foreign affairs.

An insightful and powerful analysis of the forces driving global politics, it is as indispensable to our understanding of American foreign policy today as the day it was published. As former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski says in his new foreword to the book, it has earned a place on the shelf of only about a dozen or so truly enduring works that provide the quintessential insights necessary for a broad understanding of world affairs in our time.

Samuel Huntington explains how clashes between civilizations are the greatest threat to world peace but also how an international order based on civilizations is the best safeguard against war. Events since the publication of the book have proved the wisdom of that analysis. The 9/11 attacks and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated the threat of civilizations but have also shown how vital international cross-civilization cooperation is to restoring peace.

The failure of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated that trying to shove our values down throats in countries in non-Western civilizations is hopeless
The failure of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated that trying to shove our values down throats in countries in non-Western civilizations is hopeless


Trying to jam democracy down Iraqi throats is one of the worst ideas those clowns Dubya and Cheney ever had
Trying to jam democracy down Iraqi throats is one of the worst ideas those clowns Dubya and Cheney ever had

Ideological Distinctions among Nations Have Been Replaced by Cultural Differences

As ideological distinctions among nations have been replaced by cultural differences, world politics has been reconfigured. Across the globe, new conflicts—and new cooperation—have replaced the old order of the Cold War era. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order explains how the population explosion in Muslim countries and the economic rise of East Asia are changing global politics. These developments challenge Western dominance, promote opposition to supposedly universal Western ideals, and intensify intercivilization conflict over such issues as nuclear proliferation, immigration, human rights, and democracy. The Muslim population surge has led to many small wars. . . .

The population explosion in Muslim countries and the economic rise of East Asia are changing global politics
The population explosion in Muslim countries and the economic rise of East Asia are changing global politics

"Sam Huntington, one of the West's most eminent political scientists, presents a challenging framework for understanding the realities of global politics in the next century. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order is one of the most important books to have emerged since the end of the Cold War."—Henry A. Kissinger

Based on the author's seminal article in Foreign Affairs, Samuel P. Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order is a provocative and prescient analysis of the state of world politics after the fall of communism. In this incisive work, the renowned political scientist explains how "civilizations" have replaced nations and ideologies as the driving force in global politics today and offers a brilliant analysis of the current climate and future possibilities of our world's volatile political culture.

"An intellectual tour de force: bold, imaginative, and provocative. A seminal work that will revolutionize our understanding of international affairs."—Zbigniew Brzezinski

"The book is studded with insights, flashes of rare brilliance, great learning, and in particular, an ability to see the familiar in a new and provocative way."—Michael Elliott, The Washington Post Book World

"A benchmark for informed speculation on those always fascinating questions: Just where are we in history? What hidden hand is controlling our destiny?...A searching reflection on our global state."—Richard Bernstein, The New York Times

"This is what is so stunning about The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order: It is not just about the future, but may actually help to shape it."—Wang Gungwu, The National Interest

"On a worldwide basis Civilization seems in many respects to be yielding to barbarism, generating the image of an unprecedented phenomenon, a global Dark Ages, possibly descending on humanity."—Samuel P. Huntington

On a worldwide basis Civilization seems in many respects to be yielding to barbarism, generating the image of an unprecedented phenomenon, a global Dark Ages, possibly descending on humanity
On a worldwide basis Civilization seems in many respects to be yielding to barbarism, generating the image of an unprecedented phenomenon, a global Dark Ages, possibly descending on humanity

It Is False, Immoral and Dangerous to Try to Force Western Values down Other's Throats

Hellfire missile fired from predator drone
Hellfire missile fired from predator drone

Huntington concludes that we Westerners cannot successfully universalize rights and principles that we hold dear and apply them to other peoples, governments and states that do not observe them. Doing this, he warns, is false, immoral and dangerous. Huntington hypothesizes "Western intervention in the affairs of other civilizations is probably the single most dangerous source of instability and potential global conflict in a multicivilizational world." In plain English, they do not want us bombing them and flying killer drones over their territories any more than we want them bombing us and flying killer drones over our territories.

Dubya, the heroic born-again Crusader
Dubya, the heroic born-again Crusader

Of course, there would have been no 9/11 had the U.S. not installed the Shah of Iran as leader in the 1953 Iranian coup d'état (run by our CIA and using British intelligence officials as accomplices) and proved that our greed for cheap oil was stronger than our morals. Churchill and Eisenhower wanted control of their oil, and didn't let a little thing like internatonal law and sovereignty derail their plans. The Middle Easterners have thought of the Westerners—especially U.S. and England—as the Great Satan ever since. When Middle Easterners interfered in one another's governments, that was just jockeying for power among sects. But when the Great Satan interfered with them, that was infidels attacking the faithful—Islamics—and it was indeed a clash of civilizations. Like in the Crusades, religious wars between Christians and Muslims started primarily to secure control of holy sites considered sacred by both groups. Even today, some Muslims derisively refer to the West’s involvement in the Middle East as a “crusade.”

The Crusades
The Crusades

Evangelicals pushed the U.S. into hypermilitarism in 2003. Dubya Bush—never much of a thinker—bought into this worldview for several reasons: He was too lazy to think for himself, he wished to undo the wimp label of the Bush name his father had earned, and because he could see himself as an heroic born-again Crusader. Dubya, trying to find meaning in his shallow life of skirt chasing and military avoiding, hit on a naive and foolish quest of messianic Christian fundamentalism suffused with martial biblical certainties and goaded on by arrogant, overaggressive neocon hawks. There is little more dangerous to world peace and stability than a simpleton who knows God is on his side as he lays waste to the Middle East, becoming a legend in his own mind by fulfilling biblical prophesies.

The U.S. is addicted to oil
The U.S. is addicted to oil

In Our 2003 Iraq War Fiasco, Huntington's Advice Was Forgotten or Ignored

Our troops were used as cannon fodder to pursue the wet dreams of neocon warmongers
Our troops were used as cannon fodder to pursue the wet dreams of neocon warmongers

As the U.S. prepared to go to war for a second time (2003) against Iraq, then went to war and got stuck, every single argument, proof and piece of Huntington's advice packed into its nearly 400 pages was forgotten or ignored. All that was left was a catch-phrase, "clash of civilizations," which was denied and almost always misused. Truth is the first casualty of war. Wisdom is the second. Of course, in this case Dubya's boneheaded decision to invade Iraq unprovoked in 2003 was about as far as one could get from wisdom. It was greed for oil. We pretended WMDs were involved but everyone knew better, including the liars (Bush, Cheney, etc.) who spread the propaganda. We pretended "democratization" was involved. Most people knew that was also a lie, although one has to give all and sundry credit for keeping a straight face as they said it. Pushing our values on Islamic citizens is a terrible idea with no chance of working.

Our media obediently pushed the lie we were democratizing Iraq, when any moron could see we just wanted oil; however, millions of our least intelligent citizens drank the Kool-Aid, and, conveniently, these are also the people we asked to go fight in Iraq
Our media obediently pushed the lie we were democratizing Iraq, when any moron could see we just wanted oil; however, millions of our least intelligent citizens drank the Kool-Aid, and, conveniently, these are also the people we asked to go fight in Iraq


This has been the way the U.S. has 'democratized' various countries since WWII
This has been the way the U.S. has 'democratized' various countries since WWII

The Great Beneficiaries of the War of Civilizations Are Those Civilizations Who Avoided It

"The great beneficiaries of the war of civilizations are those civilizations who abstained from it."—Samuel P. Huntington (There are two chances the U.S. will have the sense to abstain from the war of civilizations: slim and none. Besides, we are ass-deep in it and it will only get worse, since every leader says they'll bring the troops home during the elections and every leader does the opposite once in office. The ONLY leader with a good reason to get us involved [avoiding world domination by the Third Reich] was FDR. All the others were just appeasing the shadow government's appetite for empire building. See Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire and The Shadow Government.)

The U.S. seems to have the value Might Makes Right, but we instead demonstrate the value Might Makes Stupid
The U.S. seems to have the value Might Makes Right, but we instead demonstrate the value Might Makes Stupid



The best satire yet on Dubya's and Cheney's damn fool 2003 Iraq War


Science, like politics, has turned into a massive whorehouse where ginormous corporations can get any inconvenient science fact challenged by 'experts'
Science, like politics, has turned into a massive whorehouse where ginormous corporations can get any inconvenient science fact challenged by 'experts'

We are well into the 21st century and what many feared would happen is in fact happening. Science is being replaced by religion out of fear of the future but, embarrassingly enough, also because science, like politics, has turned into a massive whorehouse where ginormous corporations can get any inconvenient science fact challenged by "experts." As the oil companies have done with global warming. They trot these experts out on talk shows to counter the scary truths about climate change, and the once ecologically aware public gets the new insight that the experts don't agree after all, so the public ceases to get behind environmentally conscious candidates and legislation. Or the public becomes apathetic about the subject, which saves Big Oil a lot of money. And religion promises to do our thinking for us as it finds all needed answers in holy books—science be damned. This is especially ominous since it is only wise thinking of intelligent species (us?) that can prevent global ecological collapse.

Humans are regressing toward pre-Enlightenment thinking that depends upon 'authorities' to guide them, rather than reason, logic, and knowledge. So life will be about two things: tyrants and religion. It's almost as though civilization is stuck in reverse.

Humans are regressing toward pre-Enlightenment thinking that depends upon "authorities" to guide them, rather than reason, logic, and knowledge. So life will be about two things: tyrants and religion. It's almost as though civilization is stuck in reverse and along with that it would seem that human evolution is stuck in reverse. Think about it: brains that cease thinking for themselves and instead let authorities do it for them are unused organs that will degenerate. (In the Middle Ages and Dark Ages, people did little thinking and neither civilization nor evolution progressed much.) Thinking takes lots of effort and energy, but replaying tired old religious dogma in one's head takes hardly any energy. Sort of like watching a movie compared to writing a movie or using an app compared to programming an app. Humans are more evolved than apes because they think (or at least they used to—now they just quiver in fear in megachurches). Nonthinking humans are like apes without body hair—not much else is different. There are sayings that point out that if something isn't growing it's dying, and a flowing river stays healthy, while a stagnant pool generates diseases and smells bad. A mind replaying tired old religious dogma in place of thinking and being closed to new experiences and ideas does not flow, grow, or create. It stagnates, degenerates, and is unproductive.

Unfortunately, the 21st century Dark Ages (a.k.a. Dark Ages 2.0) will be ripe for exploitation by tyrants, demagogues, and psychotics. Narcissistic political performers will fill leadership positions—they will be people out to gain power and wealth not for the people but for themselves—to stroke their egos and improve their lot in life. Sometimes their goal will be to try to make up for the fact they dislike themselves by getting others to admire them. See It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America.

Humans are more evolved than apes because they think (or at least they used to—now they just quiver in fear in megachurches). Nonthinking humans are like apes without body hair—not much else is different
Humans are more evolved than apes because they think (or at least they used to—now they just quiver in fear in megachurches). Nonthinking humans are like apes without body hair—not much else is different

The World Is No Longer Bipolar—Free vs. Communist—It's Now Civilization against Civilization

The author's pivotal point is that the post-Cold War world is no longer bipolar—Free vs. Communist—with the rest—the Third World—scurrying around in between. It is "multipolar" and "multicivilizational". The centers of gravity in this new world order, he argues, are various "civilizations", defined along religious, cultural and linguistic lines: Western Civilization, Latin American, African, Islamic, Sinic (Chinese), Hindu, Orthodox, Buddhist, Japanese.

Huntington, in Part II, says that "the balance of power among civilizations is shifting: the West is declining in relative influence; Asian civilizations are expanding their economic, military, and political strength; Islam is exploding demographically with destabilizing consequences for Muslim countries and their neighbors; and non-Western civilizations generally are reaffirming the value of their own cultures." See The Last Bastion of Civilization: Japan 2041, a Scenario Analysis.

The West is declining in relative influence; Asian civilizations are expanding their economic, military, and political strength
The West is declining in relative influence; Asian civilizations are expanding their economic, military, and political strength

Sure, the non-Western civilizations generally are reaffirming the value of their own cultures for multicivilizational reasons. But it's the way Western civilization has shown its true colors that really clinched the deal. American imperialism, colonialism, Western arrogance, and U.S.'s tendency to solve every difficulty with violence have given many citizens on Earth a bad feeling and left a bitter taste in their mouthes. The inventive sector of our country impresses others with its software, apps, OSs, self-driving cars, and space vehicles. Others want our affluence—however, they're slowly getting it while we're slowly losing it.

But overall, most others want little to do with our values because in spite of the fact we know how to flag-wave and talk pretty talk about democratization, freedom, rights, and empowering entrepreneurs and females, while we extend token gestures and give fancy speeches, all this is just our facade—our pretense to help us get our foot in the door so we can exploit and get our greedy paws on oil and minerals and gold and diamonds. While we shake their hand with one hand, we pick their pocket with the other hand.

While we shake other countries' hands with one hand, we pick their pocket with the other hand
While we shake other countries' hands with one hand, we pick their pocket with the other hand

Even though the author seems to pander to neocon warmongers like Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger, many critics completely miss the author's content which comes out against imperialism, colonialism, Western arrogance and the non-Westernized reality of modernity.

Our country has been merciless, greedy, violent, pushy, exploitative, and immoral in its treatment of other countries since WWII. To add to this ugly picture of greed gone viral, one of the main trends around the world is the election of immoral demagogues and the installing of authoritarian regimes. Anyone paying attention has seen that Trump is a narcissistic demagogue who is undermining democracy and deregulating whatever he can as fast as he can with help from G.O.P. accomplices—who've finally shown their true colors at last as everyone on Earth except Trump's loyal base of rednecked morons and racist nationalist bumpkins can see. These folks really don't see what is happening at all, demonstrating a failed educational system. No one but these yokels buy the ridiculous Make America Great Again line, since what Trump is doing is undoing much of what is great about the U.S. as fast as he can, to please oligarchs like himself who stand to profit handsomely. In fact, they already are.

Make America Great Again is what Trump SAYS, but Make American Oligarchs Even Richer Again is what he DOES
Make America Great Again is what Trump SAYS, but Make American Oligarchs Even Richer Again is what he DOES

It Is Very Good for the World That the Corrupt, Greedy Western Model Is Being Adopted Less and Less

It is very good for the world that the corrupt, greedy Western model is being adopted less and less, since it has betrayed us, left us deeply in debt, and American military has left behind distrust, hatred, misery, and death in many countries. We are deeper in debt than any country has ever been and yet we spend like drunken sailors and keep passing this debt on to future generations—acting about as irresponsible as it's possible to act. We used to understand the extreme immorality of passing such a huge debt on to our children and grandchildren. Now it's merely business as usual. Or as Trump's The Apprentice motto went: It's not personal, it's just business.

Policy makers in the U.S. kept their focus on enhancing American influence, wealth, and power in our past. This seemed like nationalism, and it originally was nationalism, but since the neocons assumed power, that has changed to a lame cover story. Although imperialism to build empire is the m.o. of neocons, the actual goal underneath it all is wealth and power accumulation for the neocons themselves and their oligarch buddies. American citizens will not gain but lose in this process—the empire is for the neocons. And if you think that the lion's share of the wealth these neocons will be grabbing and accumulating will originate not in foreign lands but in the wallets of us citizens, you're right! Check out the national debt. This is money WE OWE! See The Neoconserative Threat to World Order: America's Perilous War for Hegemony.

national debt

The doomsday clock is currently set at 3 minutes to midnight
The doomsday clock is currently set at 3 minutes to midnight


Unless American citizens start defecating money, the debt has put us all in deep doo-doo
Unless American citizens start defecating money, the debt has put us all in deep doo-doo

We Need to Cease Trying to Westernize and "Democratize" (Exploit)

To prevent global war, the author says we need to cease trying to Westernize and democratize and instead accept other countries as unique—not as pre-Western primitives that haven't gotten the word about Western greatness yet. Then Westerners need to begin accepting their civilization as unique, not universal, and they need to be uniting to renew and preserve it against challenges from non-Western societies.

Our foreign policy is flawed—cursed with the neocon goal of empire building. Others will want Westernism to the degree we set a good example so the U.S. is a country to admire. But the neocon goal of empire building presents the U.S. as a ravaging bull in a china shop that is anything but admirable. It's like bad parenting when the parents set a bad example and then turn around and scream at their kids to "do as I say, not as I do."

The U.S. imperialistic policies are using the cover story of democratization as it exploits various countries' resources; but only morons in the U.S. buy this nonsense—the rest of the world sees a greedy bull in a china shop
The U.S. imperialistic policies are using the cover story of democratization as it exploits various countries' resources; but only morons in the U.S. buy this nonsense—the rest of the world sees a greedy bull in a china shop

To complicate matters further, the Huntington clash of civilizations is occurring concurrently with the Alvin Toffler clash of civilizations. Toffler uses the metaphor of “waves” to describe how each new civilization clashes with and begins to supplant the previous one. So the First Wave is agricultural society, the Second Wave is the industrial revolution, and the Third Wave is a combination of the information/knowledge society and technology and imagination and everything to do with computers, the internet, and social networking. The Third Wave was written in 1980—just before the computer revolution would launch, but its forecasts were incredibly accurate in spite of its timing.

Huntington's clash of civilizations had this cast of characters vying for dominance or at least repelling would-be trespassers: Western Civilization, Latin American, African, Islamic, Sinic (Chinese), Hindu, Orthodox, Buddhist, and Japanese. Toffler had three civilizations: agricultural, industrial, and info-tech. Toffler would see these operating worldwide, overlapping Huntington's cultural designations. The most dangerous cultural conflicts are those along the fault lines between civilizations.


Francis Fukuyama's Analysis Was Wrong; Huntington's and Toffler's Were Both Right

Francis Fukuyama said, quite naively and with an embarrassing lack of insight: "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." He thought that overall liberal democracy has triumphed. If he looked around the world in 2018, he'd see democracies falling to authoritarianism (e.g., Poland) although choosing to retain the democratic facade for cosmetic purposes. Huntington strongly disagrees with Fukuyama—instead of the end of history we'll be seeing the death of the idea of a universalist, global civilization based on the Western model, which was a reductionistic and arrogant idea anyway.

People do not value democracy and freedom nearly as much today as in the past—authoritarianism scares them less than it used to
People do not value democracy and freedom nearly as much today as in the past—authoritarianism scares them less than it used to

The problem is that the U.S. is an oligarchy, not a democracy. See Democracy—an American Delusion. The only thing worse than Trump as president and oligarchy having replaced democracy is rule by goats. Or is it? They're less orange and they are not racist, sexist, narcissistic, or undermining our democracy. But, like Trump, they have bad diets and are greedy. You put a menu in front of them and ask them what they want, they eat the menu. The goats, not Trump(?). However, the menu is probably healthier than Trump's alleged diet of soft drinks and fast food.

Salon says: I suppose it could be worse. Rational Wiki lists 41 types of government; among them is a capracracy, or rule by goats. Goats could be worse. Although considering the folks running our government, we might all end up wishing they were goats instead
Salon says: I suppose it could be worse. Rational Wiki lists 41 types of government; among them is a capracracy, or rule by goats. Goats could be worse. Although considering the folks running our government, we might all end up wishing they were goats instead; [Actually, the more we ponder it, the better it sounds! Goats or Trump, goats or Trump, goats or Trump, hell—it's a no-brainer!]

"[Trump's] advisors appear to endorse a Huntingtonian view of the world [neither Dubya nor Obozo accepted this view], an impression confirmed by the administration’s earliest acts, executive orders which seek to reduce Muslim immigration and build a wall on the southern border. . . . [The Huntingtonian view of the world] seemed barbaric and out-of-touch during the 1990s, then all too prescient in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. . . . Huntington argued that future conflicts will be primarily found in civilizational borderlands and driven by opposition to Western economic and military dominance in the rapidly growing non-West." (Source: What We Get Wrong About the Clash of Civilizations, Emma Ashford, Cato Unbound)

Trump gave executive orders which seek to reduce Muslim immigration and build a wall on the southern border—pleasing the white supremacists and alt-right
Trump gave executive orders which seek to reduce Muslim immigration and build a wall on the southern border—pleasing the white supremacists and alt-right

It seems more likely that rather than accepting Huntington's ideas, Trump and his minions are wall building, limiting immigration, and treating Islamics as dangerous foes because he and his minions are racist, sexist xenophobes who rightly hate the political correctness fad but wrongly feel they must resort to white supremacy to express their feelings. Perhaps Emma Ashford is giving Trump and his minions too much credit. Perhaps none are readers—merely simple bigots. See Trump’s Hateful Rhetoric And Policies Have Created A New Kind Of Melting Pot.