THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS by Samuel P. Huntigton (1996)

Referred by Lars-Olof Fredriksson/Wikipedia

Huntington began his thinking by surveying the diverse theories about the nature of global politics in the post-Cold War period. Some theorists and writers argued that human rights, liberal democracy, and capitalist free market economy had become the only remaining ideological alternative for nations in the post-Cold War world. Specifically, Francis Fukuyama argued that the world had reached the 'end of history' in a Hegelian sense. The identification of Western civilization with the Western Christianity (Catholic-Protestant) was not Huntington's original idea, it was rather the traditional Western viewpoint and subdivision before the Cold War era.

Huntington believed that while the age of ideology had ended, the world had only reverted to a normal state of affairs characterized by cultural conflict. In his thesis, he argued that the primary axis of conflict in the future will be along cultural and religious lines.

His hypothesis is that the fundamental source of conflict in this new 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.

Huntington divided the world into the "major civilizations" in his thesis as such:

Western civilization, comprising the United States and Canada, Western and Central Europe, Australia and Oceania. Whether Latin America and the former member states of the Soviet Union are included, or are instead their own separate civilizations, will be an important future consideration for those regions. 

Latin American. Includes Central America, South America (excluding Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana), Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. May be considered a part of Western civilization, though it has slightly distinct social and political structures from Europe, the United States and Canada. Many people of the Southern Cone, however, regard themselves as full members of the Western civilization.

The Orthodox world of the former Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavia (except Croatia and Slovenia), Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Romania. Countries with non-Orthodox majority are usually excluded (Shia Muslim Azerbaijan, Sunni Muslim Albania and most of Central Asia, Roman Catholic Slovenia and Croatia, Protestant Baltic states), still Armenia (where Armenian Apostolic Church is a part of Oriental Orthodoxy rather than Eastern Orthodox Church) is included.

The Eastern world is the mix of the Buddhist, Chinese, Hindu, and Japonic civilizations.

The Buddhist areas of Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand are identified as separate from other civilizations, but Huntington believes that they do not constitute a major civilization in the sense of international affairs.

The Sinic civilization of China, the Koreas, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam. This group also includes the Chinese diaspora, especially in relation to Southeast Asia.

Hindu civilization, located chiefly in India, Bhutan and Nepal, and culturally adhered to by the global Indian diaspora.

Japan, considered a hybrid of Chinese civilization and older Altaic patterns.

The Muslim world of the Greater Middle East (excluding Armenia, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Georgia, Israel, Malta and South Sudan), northern West Africa, Albania, Bangladesh, Brunei, Comoros, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Maldives. 

The civilization of Sub-Saharan Africa located in Southern Africa, Middle Africa (excluding Chad), East Africa (excluding Ethiopia, Comoros, Kenya, Mauritius, and Tanzania), Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

There are also others which are considered "cleft countries" because they contain very large groups of people identifying with separate civilizations.


   From the Peloponnesian War, a contradiction between the rising civilization and the receding civilization has been called the Thukykdidee trap. The history of war knows a number of such situations where an intensifying power group has won the old when their interrests and the nation's living space have contradicted. Competition on power and living space was Hitler's argument for the World Wars. Some modern researchers see same phenomenons in example in relations between China and the United States.

    Since Hitler’s fight there hasn’t been any worlvide use of armed power in the threat of destruction to all parties. The duality of the Cold War and, for example the Cuban crisis, resulted with the conclusion that the nuclear war has no winners. After the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, it seemed that the era of power politics was over and there were even talks about the end of history. The Soviet Union lost its internal and external credibility and the army was left to its own. A hope of peace was flourching and no signs of a new arms race was in sight before Putin era and command.

   A major issue in international politics is the rise of China as the world's mighty one. A centrally managed and well-controlled society is making China an Asian strong point with highly disciplined society,  competitiveness of world class and rapid growth compared with the rest of the world. Both political and economic leadership are under close scrutiny of the presidential and party leadership, as well as the faithful people's army. China has its own dream as it is in the United States making it first!

   Without real leadership, own ideology, and without a strong army, Europe has been condemned to lose through the doctrine of Thukydide. The traditional revolutions are falling into history and are replaced by structural power-based means of influence. The two polar world order is changing into multi polar construction with leadership of strong power groups and strong ideology. In the future, many nations are unprepared, to cope and adapt to the will of shanging power centers.

Lars-Olof Fredriksson, Master in International Politics