McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams

The Clash Of Civilizations - Hypothesis

The phrase 'Clash of Civilisations' was first used by Samuel Huntington to describe the condition of the relationship between the West and the Muslim world. In this essay Samuel Huntington's claim that a 'Clash of Civilizations' between the West and Islam would be the future of world politics after the Cold War will be assessed.

Samuel Huntington argues that the conflict between liberal democracy and Marxist-Leninism in the twentieth century was "only a fleeting and superficial historical phenomenon" compared to the troubled historical relations between Islam and Christianity. The two communities, according to Huntington, have for fourteen hundred years been engaged in a struggle for power and land with some periods of "peaceful coexistence" but more often "intense rivalry" and "varying degrees of hot war" (Huntington, 1997: 209).

Although there have been many examples of different religions using suicide bombers as a weapon on a local scale, attacks on the West have only been carried out by Muslim groups. The weapon of the suicide bomber as well as causing disaster also has an ideological value and encourages others to follow in the path of the suicide bomber (Mann, 2001: 69-70). The threat of suicide bombers is very much on the mind of people in the West but despite this it is still unlikely that Western governments and the US in particular will pursue strategies that have a serious chance of reducing this threat. The measures that could change the current situation are non-military and very long term. They will also have little immediate impact and are very unlikely to be pursued thoroughly by any Western government.

Although some in the Western world may believe that terrorism enjoys widespread support in the Islamic world, it should be remembered that this is very unlikely to be true. The media, popular culture and Western governments have a lot to answer for in the development of this belief because of their misrepresentation of events. This misunderstanding could lead to a widespread radicalisation of opinions in the West and potentially to the electoral rise of extremist parties such as the British National Party. This would increase communal tensions and alienate Muslims in the West. This cycle, although unlikely at the moment, could continue to spiral out of control and eventually prove Huntington's hypothesis correct (Zunes, 2001: 1).

Related Links
To Top