The Clash of Civilizations

Being a student of political science, one of the more interesting books I’ve found that helps to explain the roots of our current conflict is Harvard professor Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations. This book helps explain in detail how wars are being fought less along the lines of states, and more along the lines of different civilizations. The war in Afghanistan is as much a war of the West versus Islam as it is the United States versus the Taliban. Despite all the rhetoric that this is not a war against Islam, the fact is, even those considered "moderates" espouse things that are against the very heart of human rights.

There’s an interesting interview with Huntington in the Guardian where he applies his clash of civilizations theory to the current situation. He argues that this is not yet a true civilizational clash, but if the war broadens, it well could be. Huntington also has a long, but very astute piece that further applies his thesis to the current war.

Is this a clash of civilizations? Some would say that it’s just anti-Muslim propaganda. Yet there’s more to it than that. The West and Islam have been antagonists for over a millennia now. While it would be grossly unjust to characterize all Muslims as anti-Western terrorists, the fact remains that many in the Muslim world still haven’t grasped the concept of human rights. Muslim culture, which once surpassed Christian culture in it’s appreciation of science and philosophy seems to be falling into a Dark Age of its own. It remains to be seen if this kind of militarized Islam will eventually die of its own folly as did the Soviet Union, or will need to be rooted out by force. What is certain is that it must be dealt with swiftly and surely before it can strike again.