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Document Details :
Author(s): VERSTRAETEN, Johan
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 1 Issue: 3 Date: September 1994
In one of the most noteworthy and criticized articles from the prominent periodical Foreign Affairs, Samuel Huntington defends the position that the most important geo-strategic problem of the future is the ‘clash of civilizations’. This replaces the older cold war paradigm and the one-sided conceptual model based on relations between states with the paradigm of cultural conflicts. According to Huntington, what ultimately counts for people is not political ideology or economic interests: “Faith and family, blood and belief, are what people identify with and what they will fight and die for.”
Despite many nuances, Huntington primarily emphasizes a global cultural conflict between the ‘West and the Rest’ of the world. In broad terms, he speaks of a ‘Confucian-Islamic connection’ that threatens and weakens Western values and power. He has in mind the connection between Islamic and Confucian countries that are quickly becoming industrialized, that are acquiring military as well as economic power, but that are also either unwilling or unable to adapt to Western culture. We could look upon China’s rejection of the universal declaration of human rights for being ‘myopically Western’ as a classic example.