September 15, 2012

Is This the Clash of Civilizations?

Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest

AP Photo

The person who comes out of all this looking smartest is Samuel Huntington. His book on the “clash of civilizations” was widely and unfairly trashed as predicting an inevitable conflict between Islam and the west, and he was also accused of ‘demonizing’ Islam. That’s not what I get from his book. As I understand it, Huntington’s core thesis was that while good relations between countries and people with roots in different civilizations are possible and ought to be promoted, civilizational fault lines often lead to misunderstandings and tensions that can (not must, but can) lead to violence and when conflicts do occur, civilizational differences can make those conflicts worse. The last few days are a textbook example of the forces he warned about.

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TAGGED: al-Qaeda, 2012, Barack Obama, United States, Libya, Egypt

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