Bowen And Huntington On Global Conflict - UTM - Essay

1111 words - 5 pages

Bowen and Huntington on Global Conflict
Selina Sabetti-Franklin
February 16, 2018
Valérie Kindarji
Sabetti 1
“The Clash of Civilizations?”, written by Samuel P. Huntington, hypothesizes that
post-Cold War conflict is predominantly based on people’s religious, cultural, or ethnic
identities. He also predicts that the majority of future conflicts will be between the west and
non-west countries, and that Islamic extremism will be the main threat to world peace. On the
other hand, in “The Myth of Global Ethnic Conflict,” John R. Bowen believes that the
concept of ethnic conflict is misleading since it is a product of political choices, not of
tension between different ethnicities. While Huntington and Bowen do share some
commonality in their arguments, their ideas regarding ethnic conflict, for the most part, are
Huntington explains that, while nation states will remain the most powerful pawns in
global affairs, the principal conflicts that will dominate global politics will be the clash of
different civilizations due to cultural differences, rather than due to ideological or economic
conflict (Huntington, 2016). A civilization is “the highest cultural grouping of people and the
broadest level of cultural identity people have that distinguishes humans from other species,”
(Huntington, 2016). Under this definition, civilizations are categorized by language, history,
customs, and primarily religion; subjective attributes people use to mark self-identify
(Huntington, 2016). Civilizations are not permanent as people can redefine their identities
and civilizations can rise, fall, and overlap (Huntington, 2016). Today there are 21 major
civilizations, however there are about eight major civilizations that will clash, creating fault
lines that will shape the future world; specifically Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic,
Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American, and African civilizations (Huntington, 2016).
Differences among civilizations will be the main cause of conflict between nations and the
increasing awareness of this will cause the conflict to intensify and be more of a threat in the
future (Huntington, 2016). One cause of the increase in civilization consciousness is that the
Sabetti 2
world is becoming more connected and interactions between people of different civilizations
is increasing (Huntington, 2016). This magnifies the awareness of the differences between
civilizations and, in turn, invigorates animosities embedded deeply in history (Huntington,
2016). Huntington cautions that cultural differences are much less mutable and compromising
than differences among political and economic ideologies (Huntington, 2016). In ideological
conflicts, people can easily switch sides, but civilization identity cannot be as easily changed
(Huntington, 2016). For example, it is much harder to convert from Catholicism to Islam
than it is to switch political positions (Huntington, 2016). As people define their identity...

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