This is the second part of a three part review of Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order,” to read the first part of this review click here. It will be followed up by my assessment on how it has affected the War on Terror, whether or not Samuel Huntington is a false profit or predictor of the future and how it is affecting the current turmoil in Egypt. The segments in bold print followed by a page number are excerpts from Samuel Huntington’s book followed by my comments.
States with similar cultures and institutions will see common interest. Democratic states have commonalities with other democratic states and hence do not fight each other. Canada does not have to ally with another power to deter invasion by the United States. (p.34)
Huntington seems to be selective about which states he is referring to as democracies. He seems to think of the US as a democracy even when it interferes with the governments of other countries without the informed consent of our own people or theirs. The USA has interfered with efforts to provide a more democratic government on numerous occasions which could mean that these are fights between somewhat democratic states. In the cases of Iran and Guatemala in the 1950’s, Vietnam in the sixties and seventies and Chile in the seventies the USA has suppressed governments that had more support of their own people and at times Huntington was one of the advisers supporting this policy. However this doesn’t mean that Huntington’s assumption that “democratic states and hence do not fight each other,” is false. In fact if the USA was truly democratic and they educated the public on these issues and sought their consent I suspect none of these wars or coups would have happened. Which means the reason for these conflicts may not be because they aren’t democratic but the USA isn’t democratic.
The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion (to which few members of other civilizations were converted) but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do. p.51
This can’t be a sincere foundation for a truly democratic society. A sincere democratic society has to allow for a free exchange of ideas that isn’t based on intimidation or “democracy” at the barrel of a gun. Huntington doesn’t seem to think that this should raise any doubts about the sincerity of the democracies in the West.
This might be called the Davos Culture. Each year about a thousand businessmen, bankers, government officials, intellectuals, and journalists from scores of countries meet in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Almost all these people hold university degrees in the physical sciences, social sciences, business, or law, work with words and / or numbers, are reasonably fluent in English, are employed by governments, corporations, and academic institutions with extensive international involvement, and travel frequently outside their own country. They generally share beliefs in individualism, market economies, and political democracy, which are also common among people in western civilization. Davos People control virtually all international institutions, many of the world's governments, and the bulk of the world's economic and military capabilities. The Davos culture hence is tremendously important. Worldwide, however, how many people share this culture? Outside the west, it is probably shared by less than 50 million people or 1 percent of the world’s population and perhaps as few as one-tenth of one percent of the world’s population. It is far from a universal culture, and the leaders who share in the Davos Culture do not necessarily have a secure grip on power in their own societies. This “common intellectual culture exists,” as Hedley Bull points out, “only at the elite level: its roots are shallow in many societies ... [and] it is doubtful whether, even at the diplomatic level, it embraces what is called a common moral culture or set of common values, as distinct from a common intellectual culture.” p.57
Once again Huntington doesn’t seem to think the “Davos Culture” is incompatible with democracy. Less than 1% of the world’s population has control over the most powerful institutions and they don’t conduct the majority of their business in the open so the majority of the public isn’t aware of what they’re doing. Journalist are amongst those that meet in Davos yet they don’t report much if any of what goes on their so the majority may wonder why they’re there at all if it isn’t to report on the activities.
These people have access to advanced education which the vast majority of the public doesn’t have.
This is important when it comes to understanding how their governments operate. There are plenty of conspiracy theories around about this, and rightly so at least to some degree. If a small percentage of the public conducts activities in secrecy that affect the majority this fits the definition of a conspiracy. This doesn’t mean that the most bizarre conspiracy theories about the “Illuminati” are true and that they control everything and understand the consequences of everything they do etc; however the way this is often portrayed by the Mass Media is also misleading. They attempt to give the public the impression that either the bizarre conspiracy is true or there is nothing to it when the truth as clearly somewhere in the middle. One of the biggest problems with this isn’t necessarily a conspiracy though it is class bias and the uneven distribution of opportunities where some people are born with access to a good education and connections within the elite and others are born into families that are often suppressed by the most powerful and they are often inclined to take out their frustrations on those that can’t fight back which are often their children when they can’t strike out at those in power. This type of upbringing is often supported by their religious beliefs and people like James Dobson who provides abusive advice to his followers.
These shifts in literacy, education, and urbanization created socially mobilized populations with enhanced capabilities and higher expectations who could be activated for political purposes in ways in which illiterate peasants could not. Socially mobilized societies are more powerful societies. In 1953 when less than 15 percent of Iranians were literate and less than 17 percent urban, Kermit Roosevelt and a few CIA operatives rather easily suppressed an insurgency and restored the Shah to his throne. In 1979, when 50 percent of Iranians were literate and 47 percent lived in cities, no amount of U.S. military power could have kept the Shah on his throne. A significant gap still separates Chinese, Indians, Arabs, and Africans from Westerners, Japanese, and Russians. Yet the gap is narrowing rapidly. At the same time, a different gap is opening. p.86
Huntington has recognized the importance of education to some degree here yet he doesn’t go on to recommend that better educational opportunities should be made available to everyone if possible; nor does he offer any regrets for the fact that the USA has overthrown a government with more popular support than the one they reimposed on the Iranians. There is some acknowledgement that better educated people are less likely to tolerate tyranny. For some people who want to maintain power at the expense of the majority the logical follow up is to deprive the public of the opportunity to obtain an education that may lead to dissent. This policy was implemented when the South still kept slaves and they outlawed the education of the blacks and when they resisted the “Freedom Schools” in the sixties. The United States has criticized other countries including China when they deprived their people of education for this purpose yet at other times they have supported those that suppressed education. In the seventies they first aligned themselves with the Mujahideen who were motivated by their opposition to the education of woman and this was before the USSR invaded. In fact the USSR may have invaded as a result of terrorist acts that may have been financed by the USA according to statements by Zbigniew Brzezinski who claimed he drew the Russians into an "Afghan trap" in 1979. In the eighties they supported the Nicaraguan contras when they were attacking schools and they attempted on at least one occasion to withhold school supplies from the Vietnamese, who were still trying to recover from the war at the hands of the USA, by embargoing them.
Fourth, the sources of conflict between states and groups from different civilizations are, in large measure, those which have always generated conflict between groups: control of people, territory, wealth, and resources, and relative power, that is the ability to impose one’s own values, culture, and institutions on another group as compared to that group’s ability to do that to you. Conflict between cultural groups, however, may also involve cultural issues. Differences in secular ideology between Marxist-Leninism and liberal democracy can at least be debated if not resolved. Differences in material interest can be negotiated and often settled by compromise in a way cultural issues cannot. Hindus and Muslims are unlikely to resolve the issue of whether a temple or a mosque should be built at Ayodhya by building both, or neither, or a syncretic building that is both a mosque and a temple. Nor can what might seem to be a straightforward territorial question between Albanian Muslims and Orthodox Serbs concerning Kosovo or between Jews and Arabs concerning Jerusalem be easily settled, since each place has deep historical, cultural, and emotional meaning to both peoples. Similarly, neither French authorities nor Muslim parents are likely to accept a compromise which would allow schoolgirls to wear Muslim dress every other day during the school year. Cultural questions like these involve a yes or no, zero-sum choice.
Fifth and finally is the ubiquity of conflict. It is human to hate. For self-definition and motivation people need enemies: competitors in business, rivals in achievement, opponents in politics. They naturally distrust and see as threats those who are different and have the capability to harm them. The resolution of one conflict and the disappearance of one enemy generate personal, social, and political forces that give rise to new ones. “The ‘us’ versus ‘them’ tendency is,” as Ali Mazrui said, “in the political arena, almost universal.”In the contemporary world the “them” is more and more likely to be people from a different civilization. The end of the Cold War has not ended conflict but has rather given rise to new identities rooted in culture and to new patterns of conflict among groups from different cultures which at the broadest level are civilizations. Simultaneously, common culture also encourages cooperation among states and groups which share that culture, which can be seen in the emerging patterns of regional association among countries, particularly in the economic area. p.129-30
Most specifically the following portion of these paragraphs are worth considering: “…the ability to impose one’s own values, culture, and institutions on another group as compared to that group’s ability to do that to you…. It is human to hate. For self-definition and motivation people need enemies: competitors in business, rivals in achievement, opponents in politics.” Huntington and many other people act as if these are natural human traits that appear out of nowhere for incomprehensible reasons. This is false and there is now plenty of research available to know how this bigotry is developed and why people are so inclined to hate each other. People may be motivated by hate and the need to fight their enemies in many cases but it doesn’t have to be that way and if they understood why this is so it might not be that way. The reason so many people are motivated by hate is first developed in the way they’re raised and taught by their parents as well as whether or not they have legitimate grievances. If their parents teach them to blame others for their problems directing the blame in the wrong direction that is often what they do. This may be because it is their own parents who are abusing them in many cases or raising them in authoritarian ways. This is often the way prejudices develop.
This happens on both sides of many conflicts including the conflict between the West and the Arab world where parents on both sides often raise their children in strict disciplinarian ways and teach them to blame the other culture for their problems whether it is legitimate or not. The desire to “impose one’s own values” or have them imposed on them is also something that is taught in early childhood when the parents use strict disciplinarian ways to dictate the truth to children without compromise. Children learn that they have to either dominate others or be dominated by them. If instead parents teach their children to compromise on some things especially things that aren’t dangerous then children learn to compromise more in a reasonable way as adults. This difference is very clear when you look at the different recommendation given by people like Benjamin Spock and Barbara Coloroso compared to the recommendations given by James Dobson. Those taught in the manner recommended by Dobson are much more likely to be authoritarian and wind up in wars while those that are taught in the manner of Spock or Coloroso are more likely to reach a reasonable compromise.
There are also many cases where people of different cultures have legitimate grievances. In many cases the USA really is supporting tyrants in many parts of the world and the people from those parts of the world know it even if the propaganda they give to their own people doesn’t seem to indicate this. This enables the demagogues from the Arab world to start with legitimate grievances which can in some cases be exaggerated. When the USA declines to acknowledge the “collateral damage” done in many of the wars they fight they only make this worse and it further justifies the hatred towards us. Hatred isn’t unavoidable if it is understood however if those in power remain in denial then it may be unavoidable.
If Saddam Hussein had delayed his invasion of Kuwait for two or three years until Iraq had nuclear weapons, he very likely would be in possession of Kuwait and quite possibly the Saudi oil fields also. Non-Western states draw the obvious lessons from the Gulf War. For the North Korean military these were: “Don’t let the Americans build up their forces; don’t let them put in air power; don’t let them take the initiative; don’t let them fight a war with low U.S. casualties.” For a top Indian military official the lesson was even more explicit: “Don’t fight the United States unless you have nuclear weapons.” That lesson has been taken to heart by political leaders and military chiefs throughout the non-western world, as has a plausible corollary: “If you have nuclear weapons, the United States won’t fight you.” p.186-7
At the April 1995 conference on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty the key issue was whether it should be renewed for an indefinite period or for twenty-five years. The United States led the effort for permanent extension. A wide range of other countries, however, objected to such an extension unless it was accompanied by much more drastic reduction in nuclear arms by the five recognized nuclear powers. In addition, Egypt opposed extension unless Israel signed the treaty and accepted safeguard inspections. In the end, the United States won an overwhelming consensus on indefinite extension through a highly successful strategy of arm twisting, bribes, and threats. Neither Egypt nor Mexico, for instance, both of whom had been against the indefinite extension, could maintain its position in the face of their economic dependence on the United States. While the treaty was extended by consensus, the representatives of seven Muslim nations (Syria, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, and Malaysia) and one African nation (Nigeria) expressed dissenting views in the final debate. p.192
Huntington is very selective about the facts he is willing to acknowledge. Saddam Hussein wouldn’t have developed the weapons he had let alone nuclear weapons without the help of the United States. Huntington is using scare tactics that later may have helped justify the invasion of Iraq which took place about six years after this book went to press. The United States has often complained about the weapons that our enemies were amassing yet they are one of the biggest arms sellers in the world and they are often the ones that sell weapons to these people before they become our enemies. The messages that he claims that others are learning seem to be essentially accurate but the way to respond to these messages hardly seems to be to continue the arms race the way they have been.
As indicated previously, this is an attitude that has been developed from an early age in children that are raised in authoritarian manners. Children that are taught to respect authority based on the threat of punishment are essentially taught that they should be involved in a constant power struggle where the most powerful is right. This isn’t based on the strength of their ideas or the justice of their cause but their ability to use force. Since the only thing that deters the West in some cases seems, to them at least, to be the ability to use force this is what they learn to do. When the United States later invaded Iraq a second time this only strengthened this belief. Many of these countries may have concluded that the United States invaded not because Iraq did have weapons of mass destruction, which wasn’t supported by the most credible evidence either before or after the invasion, but because they thought they could get away with it if they used their propaganda machine to help them justify it. Just because the public in the United States couldn’t see through the propaganda doesn’t mean that those abroad that had access to more reliable information couldn’t.
Huntington later goes on to recommend that the USA withdraw from the ABM treaty so they can develop missile defense even though the greater threat, even at that time, was clearly the possibility of a terrorist act using low tech weapons and the United States didn’t have the technology to make the missile defense system work anyway. This would only encourage others to escalate the arms race. This would essentially mean that the United States would be enforcing the obedience to their authority only as long as they could enforce it, not because they are making a sincere attempt to maintain a just and democratic society. The moment the “arm twisting” of the United States stops working for one reason or another the respect for their authority will stop but the resentment for past arm twisting will still be there. The insistence on the US right to maintain a large nuclear stockpile while coercing the majority of the world to give up any claims to access to nuclear weapons is a blatant double standard that anyone should be able to see.
Not only is Western clout diminished, but the paradox of democracy also weakens Western will to promote democracy in the post-Cold War world. During the Cold War the West and the United States in particular confronted the "friendly tyrant" problem: the dilemmas of cooperating with military juntas and dictators who were anti-communist and hence useful partners in the Cold War. Such cooperation produced uneasiness and at times embarrassment when these regimes engaged in outrageous violations of human rights. Cooperation could, however, be justified as the lesser evil: these governments were usually less thoroughly repressive than communist regimes and could be expected to be less durable as well as more susceptible to American and other outside influences. Why not work with a less brutal friendly tyrant if the alternative was a more brutal unfriendly one? In the post-Cold War world the choice can be the more difficult one between a friendly tyrant and an unfriendly democracy. The West's easy assumption that democratically elected governments will be cooperative and pro-Western need not hold true in non-Western societies where electoral competition can bring anti-Western nationalists and fundamentalists to power. The West was relieved when the Algerian military intervened in 1992 and canceled the election which the fundamentalist FIS clearly was going to win. Western governments also were reassured when the fundamentalist Welfare Party in Turkey and the nationalist BJP in India were excluded from power after scoring electoral victories in 1995 and 1996. On the other hand, within the context of its revolution Iran in some respects has one of the more democratic regimes in the Islamic world, and competitive elections in many Arab countries including Saudi Arabia and Egypt would almost surely produce governments far less sympathetic to Western interests than their undemocratic predecessors. A popularly elected government in China could well be a highly nationalistic one. As Western leaders realize that democratic processes in non-Western societies often produce governments unfriendly to the West, they both attempt to influence those elections and also lose their enthusiasm for promoting democracy in those societies. p.197-8
The Cold War has been over for twenty years and there has been plenty of time to confirm or refute the assumptions that it was based on for those that are inclined to do so. A closer look at this clearly indicates that many of the reasons that we fought the cold war for were false and the assumption that it was primarily a conflict between the USA and the USSR was also false. The majority of the activity on both sides involved each side influencing the politics in countries in their own sphere of influence for their own benefit while they used the cold war to justify their support of secrecy and tyrants. The following excerpt about a conversation between Nixon and Gromyko, from Dallek’s book demonstrates the attitude many of those in power had towards those without power during the cold war: ‘Nixon countered, with implicit reference to the twenty-seven-year Soviet domination of eastern Europe, “Small nations object to having their fate decided by larger ones.” He then softened his remarks by declaring that “we wouldn’t want to anger Albania.” When the laughter subsided, Gromyko exclaimed sarcastically, “That is a very noble intention.”’ (Robert Dallek “Nixon and Kissinger” 2007 p.395)
This may be one of the most extreme examples but it is far more common than most people realize and in most cases those in power learn that they should talk in quite so blatant a manner since it could and often does eventually leak out top the public and stir up the masses. Both sides fought the Cold War based on ideological grounds and neither side made a sincere and public effort to understand the ideology that they were fighting for or against. In most cases they were fighting for or against one ideology or another based more on emotional grounds and the fact that it was “our side” than they did because they understood what the ideology was. For example the reason the United States was fighting against Communism was often because it was championed by Stalin or Brezhnev, and they were tyrants who suppressed their people, not because of the real ideology of communism. If they looked closer at this ideology they might have realized that it was supposed to be about standing up for the rights of the working class over the ruling class. How can standing up for the rights of those that do most of the work in the world be evil? This question was avoided by praying on people emotions; if they had addressed this then they still would have found problems with the Communist ideology but they could have thrown out only those ideas that were flawed not necessarily the whole package and they could have also done the same with the Capitalist ideology.
With the end of the Cold War they had even less excuse justifying the backing of tyrants. In many cases there were cultural reasons combined with legitimate grievances. These could have been addressed by trying to address them in a more open manner but instead the USA has often provided the public with propaganda about how we are always in the right even when it contradicts the facts some of which are mentioned in a much lower profile manner. The truth of the matter is that the United States has often supported the tyrants because it has been in the best interest of the corporations that have a much larger access to government officials thanks to the enormous amount of campaign contributions they make. These contributions are not referred to as bribes due to the fact that they are not accompanied by a “quid quo pro” as they often say but they do guarantee access and those without access don’t have their views represented so it accomplishes the same results. This essentially means that they’re not called bribes because those that take the bribes have provided a selective definition of the word “bribe.”
The causes of the renewed conflict between Islam and the West thus lie in the fundamental questions of power and culture. Kto Kovo? Who is to rule? Who is to be ruled? The central issue of politics defined by Lenin is the root of the contest between Islam and the West. There is, however, the additional conflict, which Lenin would have considered meaningless, between two different versions of what is right and what is wrong and, as a consequence, who is right and who is wrong. So long as Islam remains Islam (which it will) and the West remains the West (which is more dubious), this fundamental conflict between two great civilizations and ways of life will continue to define their relations in the future even as it has defined them for the past fourteen centuries. p.212
This “fundamental conflict between two great civilizations” has its roots in the way the leaders were raised, as indicated before. When they are raised in authoritarian ways from birth they learn that they have to either rule or be ruled; there is little or no effort to compromise for many people because they were never taught to do so from an early age. This attitude is demonstrated clearest if you take a good look at the child rearing techniques recommended by conservative educators like James Dobson. He teaches parents to use force from an early age to “teach” the truth to their children as the parent sees it. This essentially involves dictating the truth to small children and if they doubt it they are often intimidated with the use of force. Since this begins at a very early age it seems normal and most people don’t realize it is happening. People who are raised in this manner often fail to learn to compromise or to see things from the point of view of others. Huntington has routinely been very selective in the views and tactics that he is willing to consider; this indicates a strong possibility that he himself was raised in this manner. Regardless of how Huntington was raised the way to scale back this conflict is to put people in power that are more inclined to learn how to compromise and consider the best interest of both sides.
Arabs and other Muslims generally agreed that Saddam Hussein might be a bloody tyrant, but, paralleling FDR’s thinking, “he is our bloody tyrant.” In their view, the invasion was a family affair to be settled within the family and those who intervened in the name of some grand theory of international justice were doing so to protect their own selfish interests and to maintain Arab subordination to the West. Arab intellectuals, one study reported, “despise the Iraqi regime and deplore its brutality and authoritarianism, but regard it as constituting a center of resistance to the great enemy of the Arab world, the West.” They “define the Arab world in opposition to the West.” “What Saddam has done is wrong,” a Palestinian professor said, “but we cannot condemn Iraq for standing up to Western military intervention.” Muslims in the West and elsewhere denounced the presence of non-Muslim troops in Saudi Arabia and the resulting “desecration” of the Muslim holy sites.The prevailing view, in short, was: Saddam was wrong to invade, the West was more wrong to intervene, hence Saddam is right to fight the West, and we are right to support him. p.248-9
Huntington seems to be displaying an extremely short memory here; just a few months before Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait he was the “bloody tyrant” that the west had been supporting off and on for decades when it suited their purposes. They helped the Baath party to rise to power when it suited their purpose then when the Baath party supported the USSR they put them on the list of terrorist nations then for almost a decade they supported them because they were fighting against Iran. The United States wound up supplying both sides with weapons of mass destruction in this war; in fact the weapons that they expressed concern about that Saddam had came from the United States. Just a few weeks before Iraq invaded it was clear that something was up and the GHW Bush administration had plenty of time to caution Saddam ahead of time to let him know ahead of time that the USA wouldn’t tolerate an invasion instead they remained silent; furthermore there was also an interview between Ambassador April Glaspie and Saddam Hussein where she may have given what he considered tacit approval for his invasion indicating that the USA would do nothing. If the US spoke loud and clear before the invasion this could almost certainly have been avoided.
Americans want to identify the forces of good and the forces of evil in any foreign conflict and align themselves with the former. p.290
This certainly sounds good; but unfortunately this isn’t always the way it works. People do want to be on the side of good versus evil but this is often based on their prejudices and biases. The Mass Media and the government are often willing to give the public the hype and propaganda that they have become accustomed to and even want. The result is that they try to align themselves with good by selectively acknowledging and interpreting facts to convince themselves they’re on the side of good without making much if any effort to find out if it is true. This is especially true if fixing their mistakes involves challenging their friends and allies some of whom may get very emotional if you call them out and they may accuse you of being a “traitor;” however if these mistakes aren’t addressed we may wind up convincing ourselves we’re on the side of good while doing the opposite and causing nonstop war.
A more immediate and dangerous challenge exists in the United States. Historically American national identity has been defined culturally by the heritage of Western civilization and politically by the principles of the American Creed on which Americans overwhelmingly agree: liberty, democracy, individualism, equality before the law, constitutionalism, private property. In the late twentieth century both components of American identity have come under concentrated and sustained onslaught from a small but influential number of intellectuals and publicists. In the name of multiculturalism they have attacked the identification of the United States with Western civilization, denied the existence of a common American culture, and promoted racial, ethnic, and other subnational cultural identities and groupings. They have denounced, in the words of one of their reports, the "systematic bias toward European culture and its derivatives" in education and "the dominance of the European-American monocultural perspective." The multiculturalists are, as Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., said, "very often ethnocentric separatists who see little in the Western heritage other than Western crimes." Their "mood is one of divesting Americans of the sinful European inheritance and seeking redemptive infusions from non- Western cultures." p.305
As far as I can tell, the people that Huntington seems to be referring to as multiculturalists seem to be those that don’t agree with him. He isn’t as clear on this as he could be although I suspect he may not want to be. I suspect he is referring to the people that attempt to sort through the details of many different cultures and ideologies to find out what is true. These multiculturalists may be people who think we should try to get along better and tolerate each other more within reason. There may be some legitimate reasons to express concerns about other culture in some cases; one example might be the honor killings that many Arabs participate in. However Huntington doesn’t seem to focus on this and I doubt if the multiculturalists that he is referring to are in favor of this. One of the things that he seems to be ignoring is that fact that the “Western crimes” that Schlesinger refers to are often real. He seems to think that we should worry only about the crimes of the other side. This is a guaranteed way to ensure that these conflicts will never be resolved since the other side will certainly adopt the same attitude and we will remain in a state of permanent conflict sometimes escalating into full blown wars in between periods of peace that may only be long enough to rally forces for the next war. To put it bluntly, at times, he is referring to the causes of our problems as solutions and the solutions as causes.
All civilizations go though similar processes of emergence, rise, and decline. The West differs from other civilizations not in the way it has developed but in the distinctive character of its values and institutions. These include most notably its Christianity, pluralism, individualism, and rule of law, which made it possible for the West to invent modernity, expand throughout the world, and become the envy of other societies. In their ensemble these characteristics are peculiar to the West. Europe, as Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., has said, is "the source - the unique source" of the "ideas of individual liberty, political democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and cultural freedom. ...These are European ideas, not Asian, nor African, nor Middle Eastern ideas, except by adoption." 16 They make Western civilization unique, and Western civilization is valuable not because it is universal but because it is unique. The principal responsibility of Western leaders, consequently, is not to attempt to reshape other civilizations in the image of the West, which is beyond their declining power, but to preserve, protect, and renew the unique qualities of Western civilization. Because it is the most powerful Western country, that responsibility falls overwhelmingly on the United States of America. p.311
Both Schlesinger and Huntington seem to have a very egotistical view of the western culture; the assumption that the concept of democracy belongs only to one culture is absurd even if one culture does develop it first. This is made even worse when you consider the fact that the version of “democracy” being imposed by the west in most cases isn’t real democracy at all; it is a form of pseudo-democracy where the powerful control all the major institutions in society with little input from the majority then they use the Mass Media to indoctrinate the public into believing what the powerful think is best for them. A true democracy would involve educating the masses and exploring different ideologies not just those that are promoted by those in power. The current power structure is saturating the airways with pro Capitalist ideology without adequately examining the flaws and demonizing other ideologies without adequately examining any good points they may have. A real democracy will keep the good part of each ideology, Capitalist or not, and weed out the bad. Until the public is better educated and we sort through the details this won’t be a real democracy; just a thinly disguised sham masquerading as democracy that will only fool the uneducated and those that have been thoroughly indoctrinated.
The concluding part of this review will include a summation and speculation about whether or not Huntington is a false prophet or predictor of the future. This will also include a description of how his policies may have influenced the War on terror that escalated with 9/11 and the current uprising in Egypt. This will depend on how the public and the authorities implement policy.
To return to the introduction starting with an explanation of the basics of democracy click here
To read conclusion click here
For complete copy of “Clash of Civilizations” online click here
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