A Review of “The Clash of Civilizations”


By: inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

In 1996 scholar Samuel P. Huntington wrote a famous book titled “The Clash of Civilizations.” Huntington postulated that after the Cold War:

In this new world, local politics is the politics of ethnicity; global politics is the politics of civilizations. The rivalry of the superpowers is replaced by the clash of civilizations. In this new world the most pervasive, important, and dangerous conflicts will not be between social classes, rich and poor, or other economically defined groups, but between peoples belonging to different cultural entities. Tribal wars and ethnic conflicts will occur within civilizations.

I recently had the pleasure of reading through much of Huntington’s book. Huntington posits that the West will be challenged by two civilizations: the “Islamic civilization” and the “Sinic civilization.”

The book was written more than a decade ago (and the Foreign Affairs article which led to the book almost two decades ago). Despite this, the book has withstood extremely well the test of time. Much of Huntington said in 1996 could be duplicated without changing a single word today.

This is especially true with regards to what Huntington writes with regards to the “Islamic civilization”. Huntington wrote his book before the September 11 attacks. His thoughts about the Islamic-Western conflict are thus very prophetic. Many have criticized the “Islamic civilization” in similar ways that Huntington does in his book. However, most of these criticisms were written after 9/11. Huntington wrote that the West would clash with Islam before 9/11. He got it absolutely right.

(One minor critique: the West does work with Islamists. See: Libya, Syria.)

Huntington’s words with regards to the “Sinic civilization” have also withstood the test of time. Indeed, one could make the exact same analysis today as Huntington did more than a decade ago with regards to relations between the West and the “Sinic civilization.” It’s amazing how the East Asian situation today is exactly the same as the East Asian situation circa 1996.

There is one thing which Huntington gets badly wrong, however. And he gets it wrong in two distinct ways. This is Japan.

Firstly, Huntington classifies Japan as a separate civilization from the rest of East Asia. But there is just as much difference between China and South Korea as there is between China and Japan. Why, then, isn’t there a “Korean civilization” according to Huntington’s scheme? Or why not a “Vietnamese civilization” or “Xinjiang civilization”? There really is no good reason for this. The only difference, in fact, between Japan and the other parts of the “Sinic civilization” is that Japan successfully adapted to the West a century before the rest of East Asia the world.

In reality Japan is part of the “Sinic civilization.” See this graphic if you don’t believe me.

Of course, putting Japan and the rest of East Asia in one civilization really screws up Huntington’s analysis.

Secondly, Huntington spends a lot of time describing the economic tensions between Japan and the United States during the early 1990s. He does this because it fits well with his theory of clashing civilizations. Japan and the United States are doomed to clash because they belong to different civilizations.

Unfortunately, this is one part of the book that failed to withstand the test of time. Today relations between Japan and the United States are better than ever. After the collapse of the Japanese bubble, economic conflict (indeed, any conflict at all) between the two “civilizations” has essentially disappeared.

All in all, reading Huntington definitely makes you think. While I’m not particularly a fan of Huntington’s tone, he definitely is an articulate and intelligent writer.



What Do Hamid Karzai, Lindsey Graham, and the Stock Market Have in Common? (And Some Great WV Elections!)

I haven't put out a diary in awhile, and therefore it makes me sad.  So in celebration of the end of my hiatus amongst the blogosphere, I have a diary of quality substance with several different stories chocked into one...hopefully.

Anyway, to answer the question posed by the title of this diary now.  What Do Hamid Karzai, Lindsey Graham, and the Stock Market all have in common?  If you answered that they were all mentioned by the media as potential SCOTUS nominees, you may partially be correct... but not for the context of this diary.  Though this title doesn't really pertain to the actual substance of the diary, I just wanted to point out that all three are incredibly moody.  I wish to see the day where Karzai and Graham both have Facebook and update their statuses with how great their day went, then 10 minutes later put up an emo status about how much their lives suck and how they really don't think its time to push that climate bill or "I'll just haul myself over to Taliban HQ and see what America thinks of THAT!"

Okay....  so now for real substance, sorry I just figured some lame comic-relief was needed.

Election day is today in West Virginia and I personally can't wait.  I will cast my vote, and not reveal who it is I am voting for.  The first Congressional district is up for grabs and it should indeed be an exciting race!  State Senator Michael Oliverio is up for the Democratic Party's nomination, against incumbent virtuoso Alan Mollohan (D-WV). I haven't found any recent reliable polls so the race is pretty up in the air.  The winner of this primary challenge will face the winner of a slew of Republican candidates.

In West Virginia's 1st Congressional District, incumbent U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., faces state Sen. Mike Oliverio, D-Monongalia, for the Democratic nomination to the seat. The nominee will face the winner of the Republican primary in the Nov. 2 general election. The six GOP hopefuls include Cindy Hall, Patricia VanGilder Levenson and David B. McKinley of Wheeling, Sarah Minear and Mac Warner of Morgantown and Thomas Stark of Parkersburg.

Source:  Wheeling Intelligencer

In my opinion, I think the district will stay blue regardless however it will be a battle.  

Not in the national spotlight but still an awesome story, is a race in the West Virginia House of Delegates.  David Eplin, a Democrat from Logan County, set out in a unique way to file his candidacy for House of Delegates.

When David Eplin traveled from Logan County to Charleston to file paperwork at the secretary of state's office this week, he took the typical route: U.S. 119.  But the 23-year-old says he trekked the 40-some miles by foot.

Eplin, a Chapmanville resident, is running for a seat in the House of Delegates 19th District. The Democrat works as a warehouseman at the Pepsi Bottling Group in Logan.

He wanted to prove his dedication to potential constituents, he said. So he walked -- and sometimes ran -- to the Capitol.

Source:  Charleston Gazette

A unique, and dedicated, way to file your candidacy and show the voters of your district that you care about them and want to serve them well.  This should come as now surprise, the citizens of West Virginia are among the most caring and thoughtful individuals this state has to offer.  Election day is going to be an exciting day, and I look forward to bringing a full report once results come in.


The Use of Twitter in Times of Crisis

I was once a skeptic of Twitter.  It didn't seem to serve a very beneficial purpose to me, and I didn't find it to be as good of a social networking tool as Facebook.  I registered for a Twitter account, mostly out of spite, to see if I would like it or could find use of it.  This particular account was dormant for the better part of a year.

Twitter made news headlines a lot after the Iranian presidential election in 2009, where a base of protesters rallied support when many other media outlets/communication was blocked.  I was still a skeptic of twitter even after this, although I certainly saw its merits.

Then came the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster.  I stumbled upon twitter a day or so before because an op-ed I wrote was retweeted by someone, so I decided to log on to see if I could get wrapped up in the cocaine-like twitter phenomenon.  

Once the mine disaster had occurred, I tuned into the Rachel Maddow Show to see Charleston Gazette Veteran Reporter Ken Ward Jr. being interviewed.  At the end of the interview it was mentioned that the public watching could follow Ken Ward for mine updates on twitter as they were developing.  I did just so.  

Literally every 15-20 minutes Ken Ward would update via twitter the continuing news of the disaster, keeping myself as well as many others informed well before any news outlet could.  In times of crisis, this type of information is of great importance.  When people needed to hear news of the developing aftermath, they would refer to twitter instead of other news sources because Ward was reporting right from the source.  
(as a side-note, I cannot commend Ken Ward Jr. enough for the up-to-date information at ground zero of the mine disaster.  Incredible reporting and truly an asset for the concerned and distraught members of the state of West Virginia who wanted to stay informed as much as possible

Though still not a double-digit tweet a day twitter junkie, I have started to use it more and have seen firsthand the use it offers in times of crisis.  Social-networking has become truly a revolutionary tool in politics and emergencies, as well as many other situations and outlets.

Just some food for thought.



`Expands west' vs. `Traditional map weakness necessitates looking elsewhere'

How long after Obama is the presumptive nominee (i.e. after June 4th) will it take for the media to change its tune from 'Obama expands the electoral map to the west' to 'Obama's weakness in traditional and swing states necessitates capturing several hard to attain western states'?

There's more...

Thoughts on West Virginia primary and aftermath

     It has become increasingly clear that both the Obama campaign and the media are of the opinion that the Democratic race is over and that Hillary Clinton should simply drop her presidential bid for the sake of "party unity." Apparently fooled that an Obama victory in a state whose demographics heavily favored him (North Carolina with its large African American population) somehow coronated him the Democratic nominee, the Obama campaign has deftly manipulated the announcement of numerous endorsements (superdelegates, John Edwards, etc.) to give himself an "aura of inevitability" and force Clinton to withdraw from the race. Now that he (is of the opinion that he) does not need to win greater numbers of pledged delegates, his whole "platform" of every state counts (except of course for Florida and Michigan)has suddenly disappeared, with Obama entirely disregarding several of the remaining contests for the simple reason that they favor Clinton. By not campaigning in West Virginia, knowing full well that it would be almost impossible to win more than 30 % of the vote, he sufficiently lowered expectations and managed to convince the media the next day to converge on John Edward's endorsement. This quick fix, however, was not enough to quite conceal Senator Obama's glaring weakness among working class white democrats, a fact which will likely be further accentuated in Tuesday's Kentucky primary. I know that many of you credit Clinton's win in this state entirely to lingering racism, a somewhat plausible suggestion given that a former KKK member represents the state in the senate. However, does that give me free license to insult the people of the numerous states, such as Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolin, North Carolina, etc., that Senator Obama won by relying almost entirely on the African American vote? I think not, so please extend the same courtesy to the voters in states that CLinton won, like West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. A forty-one point blowout after the "nominee" has been annointed simply cannot be explained away so easily and polls show (see surveyusa) that Clinton would win (or almost win)this state while Obama would be crushed, a similar scenario to other states like Arkansas,Florida, Kentucky, etc. I am sure that come Tuesday Hillary Clinton's  greater than thirty point margin of victory in Kentucky will be once again viewed as the "same old racial politics" by many including the media. However, Obama, the so called uniter, is only further dividing the country by ignoring (and by many accounts insulting) a crucial voting bloc in the general election. From my last diary, you may have known that I live in Florida. Here, many people perceive Obama to be an "empty suit," saying that he has not elaborated on any finite foreign policy plans (though of course McCain's plans are simply to remain mired in Iraq) and has failed to fully expiate the association with Reverend Wright. These people, many of them hard working Democrats, are not racist; rather, they feel that Obama's lofty rhetoric and opposition to the full seating of the Florida delegates merit the loss of their support in the G.E.
        Senator Obama loves to claim that he has put together a winning coalition for the G.E. that is comprised of wealthy, educated "latte liberals" and of course his inordinate African American retinue. This starts to become reminiscent of George McGovern's crushing defeat, a low point in the history of the Democratic party. The point, however, strikes home; Senator Obama will not be able to win in November without the support of Clinton's base and from his campaign's condescending drivel toward the Clintons, it is clear that he has no desire to earn their support. In an Obama McCain matchup, I think that Obama would lose the popular vote by a relatively narrow margin but lose the electoral vote by a significant number. (see 1992 election) It is for this reason that I hope Hillary CLinton takes her campaign to the convention so that the elaborate and sophisticated plans that she has proposed can take effect. In short, I trust Hillary, not Barack, to get the job done right. Call me a Republican troll, an idiot, a traitor, or any other wonderful names that I have not yet been called by Obama supporters, whose attitude toward dissent is starting to resemble a reemergence of fascism. However, I am first and foremost a Democrat, albeit one who positively abhors the empty rhetoric of Senator Obama, who cannot stand the "100 years in Iraq" and "strict constructionist justices" polices promoted by the likes of John McCain. This was supposed to be the election where we choose the better of two candidates, not the lesser of two evils. I am an avid supporter of my local Democratic party officials and would campaign for them in the November election. However, neither Obama NOR McCain is qualified to assume control of the Oval Office. Call me a divider, user of Rovian tactics, I do not care. I like many other Democrats, feel that we need someone that we can count on in the White house, someone with a proven track record, represents ALL democrats even the "racist" blue collar workers, and who is well versed in foreign policy. Regrettably, this person is not Senator Barack Hussein Obama. It is clearly Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

There's more...


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