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Huntington's clash of civilizations theory

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    Posted: 25 Jun 2009 at 16:53
What is the opinion of Samuel P. Huntington's clash of civilizations theory.?

I know when I posted news that Huntington had died the reaction was quite negative of him and his theories. However I think that Huntington's Clash of Civilizations theory can't be considered racist because he had more then one reason besides cultural to classify certain nations like those in Eastern Europe or Latin America as non-western such as political and economic factors.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Etnad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2009 at 17:10
Huntingtons idea of the clash of civilizations is definitly not based on racial reasons.
The different actors in the global society have been replaced, there's an common interest in democracy and the battle of ideologies no longer exists.
However no civilization is fundemental and there are a lot of different cultures in the so-called "civilizations".
Even so I think Huntingtons theory is just a statement that humans, no matter what or when in time, tries to exterminate eachother on various reasons. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2009 at 22:05
Huntington's theory more than anything demonstrates the need to find the quintessential 'other' at a time when Francis Fukuyama decided to dizzily proclaim the total victory of the USA over any other ideological contender on the planet.

Huntington grouped people on the planet into competing groups based on common history, language and culture. While these factors do have geopolitical significance, there are often other geopolitical factors which are more important in determining conflict and cooperation in the international arena. His failure to incorporate these and instead focus on cultural background is the greatest flaw in his theory (which is geopolitical at its root).

Let's leave the rabid accusations of racism and other vitriol at the door. The man proposed a geopolitical theory based on cultural affinity, not the separation of human beings into different groups based on skull shape.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2009 at 13:31
Huntington is dead now. We can turn the page.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2009 at 14:56
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Huntington is dead now. We can turn the page.


Jesus Christ, Mohammad and Abraham are all dead too. Not much page turning on that front (A truly bizarre statement)
http://xkcd.com/15/



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dolphin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2009 at 15:46

Michael Jackson is also dead.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2009 at 16:07
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Huntington is dead now. We can turn the page.


Jesus Christ, Mohammad and Abraham are all dead too. Not much page turning on that front (A truly bizarre statement)
 
But Huntington left nothing worth to be remembered at all... just his bigotry Angry
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2009 at 17:36
Care to elaborate how he left nothing but bigotry? Or must we accept such a nonsense statement which is clearly incorrect?
http://xkcd.com/15/



Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it. ~George Bernard Shaw
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2009 at 19:28
Do you want to start it again? We already discussed it, and I believe you already know what I think about the topic.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2009 at 21:21
The notion of a "clash of civilizations" is hardly unique to the present and it can be found easily in the Ancient World, itself. The insistent perorations of Cato the Elder over Carthage, usually summarized as Carthago delenda est, is a classic example of this obsession, but then the Greek view of the Persians in the 4th century BC is barely different. That he was a Political Scientist rather than a historian should provide a clue to a full understanding of his constructs, which were actually limited to the geo-politics of the 20th century. That he really had no grasp on what constitutes "culture" is obvious to even a first year student and his hysteria over immigration could actually classify him as a quack! I do believe he read too much Spengler as a child!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2009 at 21:29
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

Care to elaborate how he left nothing but bigotry? Or must we accept such a nonsense statement which is clearly incorrect?
 
Parnell, go easy on the Pinguino, because Huntington does have a questionable resume as a result of his views on modernization and "traditional" societies. I am afraid that I too would classify him as an artful practitioner of bunkum under the mantle of the scientific! Hence, I was in full agreement with Serge Lang and his withering critique of the methodology adopted by the late S. P. Huntington.
 
PS: We will not even go into his role with the Brazilian military after the overthrow of Joao Goulart.


Edited by drgonzaga - 26 Jun 2009 at 21:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2009 at 03:32
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

The notion of a "clash of civilizations" is hardly unique to the present and it can be found easily in the Ancient World, itself. The insistent perorations of Cato the Elder over Carthage, usually summarized as Carthago delenda est, is a classic example of this obsession, but then the Greek view of the Persians in the 4th century BC is barely different.


I can certainly agree with you that 'clash of civilisations' was a concept in the ancient world. When city states grew large enough that they incorporated culturally similar people around them into an empire, they may eventually find on the fringes of their empire other empires of a markedly different central culture. Rome and Parthia are good examples. So are the Hittites and Egyptians.

I would be cautious about citing Cato the Elder as a propogator of a 'clash of civilisations' approach. Cato himself was a novus homo in the Roman Senate, and as such he needed to find his political 'niche' to ensure continued support. And find it he certainly did: in hard nosed conservatism. Cato's approach to Kart-Hadast was typical of a stiff necked conservative Roman, suspicious of all foreign influence and power to the extent he would call for its suffocation and destruction. Cato's attitude towards Carthage was more a product of him fulfilling his political niche than what Huntington describes.

As to the Third Punic War, this was an inevitability ensured by the unique Roman mindset. This mindset determined that any power sizable enough to be a potential threat must be utterly subjugated. The fact that the child of Phoenicia had come so close (more than any other single power) to destroying Rome half a century before would only harden the Roman attitude. Even after the most humiliating concessions had been agreed to by Carthage, the Romans pushed even further beyond any sort of reasonable thinking. As for the Hellenistic Kingdoms in the East, the Romans were motivated by other more typical geopolitical goals rather than cultural distrust. Namely: greed, fear and power lust.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2009 at 03:57
Well Constantine I did not wish to go into details on either Rome or Cato since Huntington's knowledge of historical background and the interconnectivity of cultures was abysmal! Just as Lange ably proved that this Samuel could not annoint anyone since his mathematical chrism was far from divine, no historian worth his salt would accept his constructs on the history of Latin American societies. However, I would question your dismissal of Cato as a result of his novus homo status, since it was just this type that would emphasize the exterior threat so as to prove himself more Roman than a Roman! Certainly, one could see a similar urge at play in the career of Philip of Macedon...after all to Demosthenes there were no greater parvenus than those smelly MacedoniansBig smile .
 
The travesty in S. P. Huntington was his borrowing of what had long cultural roots (something as simple as conflict and competition) and employing the vocabulary of culture so as to turn the travails of international politics as a study of civilization in struggle with the new barbarians. What's worse he posited such as provable through the science of mathematics!
 
Let us just say that as with Chomsky today, certain over-intellectualized fools convince themselves of the sweet smell of their own garbage.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2009 at 04:31
I dissagree. Samuel H. wasn't an intellectual. In fact, he wasn't very smart at all. His theories were full of holes and inconsistencies.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ResoundingEagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2009 at 06:58
Originally posted by Kevin Kevin wrote:

What is the opinion of Samuel P. Huntington's clash of civilizations theory.?

I know when I posted news that Huntington had died the reaction was quite negative of him and his theories. However I think that Huntington's Clash of Civilizations theory can't be considered racist because he had more then one reason besides cultural to classify certain nations like those in Eastern Europe or Latin America as non-western such as political and economic factors.   


Naturally, this is a rather large ended topic involving philosophy and politics in a very wide spectrum. An interesting question nonetheless. =) I don't know how worthwhile of an answer I will produce, but I'll do my best.

Well, this is only opinion, but I feel that these theories he created were unfortunately logically flawed , in the assumption that humanity is always doomed to repeat the process, or processes of destroying each other.

Hypothetically speaking, in logical order, the source of all violence and such things would be ignorance - any possible diatribe, thought, pattern, or form or mental and emotional manipulation, intended or not, has always been the cause, I would argue, of such folly and repetition as Huntington describes. (to my understanding at least, I'm no expert on him) I believe such, because any ignorance, or certainly fostered and encouraged ignorance, will always breed such things. People begin to seek quick solutions or views, they 'bandwagon', look for someone to dump volatile misdirected hostility at , etc etc. In short - 'whatever's convenient - not thought out - whatever is quick and works and provides continued excuses to avoid effort of any understanding, or simply looking for things to use as props for an argument, while ignoring any evidence contrary.

...And this is where the phrase, "All is relative", begins to manifest its validity with incalcuable multipliers. One thing breeds of another, and so on. And the more any of this subjective or ignorant mindset manifests wihthin someone, the far easier they are to control and manipulate, or motivate, or puppeteer their strings. This likely sounds all too familiar to many historians.

In such, if the aforementioned proves correct, then, perhaps, Huntington's theories could easily be reversed in the same fashion of which they came. For example, on such a basis, one could strongly argue that the human element is not fixed or certainly ascirbed to such things by nature, but by direction. Nearly every age in history that has exhibited the characteristics he describes, has had some form of manipulation and encouraged ignorance within the formation of its structure as a whole - at somepoint in its lifetime. Some may argue to not have some 'evil' in a political or social structure is impossible, and that's another argument entirely -  but, can they prove its our sole nature as human beings to be so beyond any doubt? Or use that argument, however valid or invalid, to suggest so? I say thats going a bit far, and certainly insufficient grounds for stating such.

I realize this argument could go on for quite some topics and discussions, but in short-  The whole of what I have seen of his theories, in as least subjective terms I can muster at the moment, were, in my opinion, highly debatable on a number of levels, and, arguably, unworthy of the title of 'theories' - due to the fact that they could not be substantiated other than with mostly statistical implications. The subjects he spoke of go far beyond politics, and well into other realms of which he had very little study, arguably, to be able to fairly speak of in his works.

Perhaps then, such refusal of varying viewpoints or variables,  is the real cause of all such violence perpetuating theories, and any support of such in history. I cannot say for certain, but I can say that neither can he. ;)




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2009 at 00:44
So where are we with geopolitics as regards any Clash?  Probably nowhere.  We have been over all this before, and it should be continued in the Archives.
 
Geopolitics is always less likely to be affected by culture than it is by economic and strategic geography.  There may be some crossover with Huntington's theories, but mostly those are fuzzy futurism.
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 28 Jun 2009 at 00:45
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2009 at 02:23
Huntington was anti-Mexican. That's all what matters to me about that dumb schollar.
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