Prof. Sam Huntington’s quotes

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion […] but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.

The relations between countries in the coming decade are most likely to reflect their cultural commitments, their cultural ties and antagonism with other countries.

It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new [post-Cold-War] world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.

The colonial experience all Muslim countries went through may be a factor in the fight against Western domination, British, French or whatever. They were until recently largely rural societies with land owning governing elites in most of them. I think they are certainly moving toward urbanization and much more pluralistic political systems. In almost every Muslim country, that is occurring. Obviously they are increasing their involvement with non-Muslim societies. One peak aspect of this, of course, is the migration of Muslims into Europe.

Countries will cooperate with each other, and are more likely to cooperate with each other when they share a common culture, as is most dramatically illustrated in the European Union. But other groupings of countries are emerging in East Asia and in South America. Basically, as I said, these politics will be oriented around, in large part, cultural similarities and cultural antagonism.

Islam’s borders are bloody and so are its innards. The fundamental problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilisation whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power.

(From AZ Quotes). European colonialism was based on the assumed superiority of the ‘white race’ and its weaponry. It was bloody too.

 

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A likely clash of civilisations?

In the light of the nature of the human being (comparable to that of a self-focussed recalcitrant teenager), it is not surprising that cultures clash with one another. In reality, they do not have to. Unlike teenagers with their unpredictable emotional outbursts, those responsible for cultural clashes are quite urbane, suave.

For instance, those who are opposed to (say) voluntary euthanasia (repeat, voluntary) for religious reasons (especially the ethicists and theologians) deny this compassionate right (repeat, compassionate) to those not of their faith. What they mean is ‘If I can’t have it, you can’t have it,’ while uttering misleading arguments about ‘killing,’ going down a ‘slippery slope’ (presumably morally), and how palliative care is not only all that is required, but that it ‘shortens life’ as well. Reminds me of my undergraduate days! The need to be ‘top dog’ can thus be manifest in the most subtle of ways.

Religious conversion has always been a popular means of acquiring power. Brutal European buccaneers seeking trade routes and access to foreign ports, as well as the resources in the hinterland of these ports, used their priests to gather souls for Christ, and the associated bodies to do the heavy lifting in concessional foreign lands. These were initially acquired to facilitate trade – and to satisfy a unilateral rapacity benefiting the intruder. Purely incidentally, I note that, while the Indians seem to have forgiven the British for what they did, the Chinese have not indicated whether they will forgive the Europeans, as well as Japan, for what was done to their people.

The authority for the conversion of ‘native’ peoples (the heathens) is apparently to be found in the Bible. Purely as an aside, where Jesus is claimed to have said to his fellow Semites ‘Only through me shall ye know God,’ the Hindus’ Krishna is alleged to have counselled ‘Whatever God you pray to, it is I who answers.’ I encountered this need to convert the assumed heathen as soon as I arrived in Australia.

I was invited by fellow students at university – only one of whom had that collar – to join ‘the faith’ for my ‘salvation.’ I responded by asking each as follows: ‘You know that I was an ardent temple-goer before I arrived. How do you claim that you are saved, but not me?’ The priest was the only one to ignore my challenge by walking away – an honest man!

Since the teenager at the top of the faunal tree is a slow developer morally, what is the likelihood of wars between the major cultures currently on Earth continuing? Then, a clash of civilisations has been forecast by an American academic.