Samuel P. Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations?", Foreign Affairs, Vol. 72, No. 3, (Summer 1993.) pp. 22-49

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In his 1993 Foreign Affairs article, Samuel P. Huntington argues that in the future civilizations rather than nation-states and ideologies might be  primary combatants in global warfare.  Some compare his article to the July 1947 Foreign Affairs article by X (George Kennan) "The Sources of Soviet Conduct" which defined the Cold War from 1947 to 1991. 


What is a civilization?  What are the current functioning and surviving civilizations?

If civilizations are to clash, then why? If not. then why not?

What have others thought of Huntington's hypothesis?  What are its problems and weaknesses? 
What do some of Huntington's critics place their hope in to prevent the clash?

Who are we?  What unifies as into "Western civilization?"  What divides us?  What threatens us? What pleases us collectively as a civilization? What do we desire and seek as a people?  What is the fundamental nature of our civilization?  Our traditions, values, beliefs?

What is the nature of Western civilization in the small corner of which we currently function as enrolled students and employed faculty of an accredited university, located in the Municipality of Toronto, in the County of York, in the Province of Ontario, in the nation of Canada?  How might it be different from Western civilization just 90 miles away across the Niagara River border in the municipality of  Buffalo, Erie County, State of New York, United States of America?

What is the role of ideology and theology in warfare and civilization formation?

What are the fundamental natures of other current civilizations? Their divisions and fears? What are the differences between them?  Between them and us? What are the similarities?  Must civilizations clash?   "Why can't we just all get along?" [Rodney King]

How are all the civilizations divided among themselves and even divided upon their perception of other civilizations?

What is the role of traditions, myth and cultural beliefs in civilizations and in warfare?

How do epochs unify civilizations into the agrarian, industrial, and information 'civilizations' and what impact do these passages have on society and warfare?  What are the dimensions of these divisions in the context of Huntington's hypothesis?

Is warfare a natural state of civilization?   What has been the cause of wars in the past?  Today?

What are the different things wars are fought over? 

In 2010 is it the "West and the rest"?

What impact has 9/11 had on Huntington's 1993 hypothesis?

What is genocide?  What is war?

Is genocide a clash of civilizations?  What role does it play in civilization?  In warfare?  Is warfare inherently going to be genocidal?

Can civilization maintain a "perpetual peace?"  What is required?

How does Gandhi view civilization?   How does he understand the relationship  between Western civilization and the Hindu civilization?  How does this view fit into the colonial context between Britain and India?

What is sovereignty and its relationship to war?

Can war be "regulated"?  The laws of war.  War Crimes.


The constantly increasing rate of change / "the velocity of history."

"Future Shock" Alvin Toffler (1970)

Huntington's "seven or eight" civilizations:
Western; Confucian; Japanese; Islamic; Hindu; Slavic-Orthodox; Latin American; “possibly” African

Three Pillars of Western European-North American Civilization: 
Democracy, Justice and Christianity / which we get respectively  from the Greeks, Romans, and Jews (Judean-Israelites)

What is Justice? What are the Western civilization's premises of Justice?

Wars over slavery.

Justinian Code 
Justinian's Institutes
published in Constantinople, A,D. (C,E,) 533 

Napoleonic Code

Blackwell's Commentaries on the Law

Common Law (England, Canada)

Codified Law (United States)

Codified Napoleonic (Europe)

Foreign Affairs and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)
[What is it?]  Who says?
Who published Huntington's article?  (And X's article.)

American Isolationism [non-entanglement]

 X and "The Sources of Soviet Conduct" in Foreign Affairs, (July 1947)

Cold War - Truman Doctrine -  Containment Theory

Nuclear weapons development

George F.  Kennan

LINK "The Long Telegram"  February 22, 1946 <<<>>> 861.00/2 - 2246: Telegram, The Charge in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Secretary of State
Moscow, February 22, 1946--9 p.m. [Received February 22--3: 52 p.m.]     

The Hamitic Myth / "The Curse of Ham"

Tribes - Chiefs / Kingdoms - Kings / Empires - Emperors/ Nations - Statesmen [Presidents, Premiers, Chairmen, Prime Ministers

Treaty Of Westphalia (Peace of Westphalia) 1648

Religious Wars (Wars Of Religion)

Dynastic Wars

Kant - Tolstoy - Ghandi - Nietzsche - Mussolini - Hitler

Kant:  "Perpetual Peace" vs Perpetual Struggle (War)

the Enlightenment

French Revolution 1789-1799

Ideological Wars

Slavery - Corporations and slave trading -- slave wars? 

Wars over slavery.

Lecture Resume For Sec 1 Oct 18
You must do the readings before lecture!  Next week readings:  Terrorists and Freedom Fighters.

Industrial Wars

The Four Great Industrial Wars  Total War (totalen Krieg)   Wars of Attrition

World Wars   blitzkrieg (lightening war) rattenkrieg (rat war) sitzkrieg (sitting war)

Racial War   War of Extermination 

War of Liberation   War of Rebellion   Colonial War   Guerrilla War  Proxy War  Class War

Low Intensity War   Pre-emptive War   United Nations Chartered War



Hamitic Myth

The Hamitic Myth


Kant "Perpetual Peace"

  • empirical epistemology vs. rational epistemology

  • Einstein's theory of relativity vs. evidence  Quantum Physics

  • the Enlightenment

  • the relationship between the weak and the strong

  • is "perpetual peace possible?"


  • 'just say "no"

  • biblical proscriptions on oath taking - Jehovah Witnesses

  • the soldier and the oath

  • obedience to orders

  • Ordinary Men:  Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher Browning


  • What is civilization?

  • Can "wrongs" or "injustices" be a part of a civilization or are they simply wrong and unjust no mater what the civilization?  Are they defects, not aspects of a civilization?

  • Between aggression and "turning the other cheek." 

  • Passive resistance.


  • the Anti-Christ

  • power is happiness

  • How literal was Nietzsche in his assertions?

  • Darwin - "survival of the fittest."

  • "Life Worthy of Life"


  • fascist

  • the tyranny of democracy  -- "thousand tyrants"

  • the benevolent despot (King... dictator)

  • peace corrupts / war is regenerative - inspiring


  • national socialist (nazi)

  • Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei
    (National Socialist German Workers' Party, NSDAP)

  • life is struggle

  • the "racial soul"   Volk  ("  the people")

  • no such thing as "Aryan Race" 
    Aryan language group India/Iran

  • one fights or perishes

  • pure blood as the lifeline of civilization

  • a scale of superior and inferior races

  • euthanasia vs. medical murder

  • (Authorization of the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life.)
    Binding & Hoche, (1920) Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens