By the time of the presidential campaign in 2016, the issue of the relationship between the US and the Muslim-majority world was very much in the spotlight. During the electoral process, the republican candidate for president, Donald Trump, stated (among many other things) that ‘I think Islam hates us’ (2017). There was no attempt to clarify that he was referring only to ‘radical Islamic terrorists’ (Trump 2017). Few on the hard-right thought he needed to offer any clarification or qualification.
The argument in this brief piece is not that Huntington’s article and book were so important because his argument was ‘correct’ or ‘right’. My claim is twofold: First, Huntington’s article was and is important because it captured perfectly the end-of-the-Cold War zeitgeist, a way of seeing the world which has endured in the uncertain years which have followed, as exemplified by the hostility shown to ‘Islam’ by candidate (now President) Trump. Second, Huntington’s argument has proved to be an abiding statement about globalisation and the hopes and fears that it conveys. It is almost irrelevant that his focal point: the impossibility of the West – read; the US – and ‘Islam’ – read; ‘Islamic radicalism/fundamentalism’ – living together in harmony was laughingly over-simplified, redolent of the paranoia of someone experiencing the shattering of a stable, safe and unchanging world suddenly and demonstrably confronted with the scenario of the post-World War II paradigm smashed to smithereens. What was a card-carrying Realist, such as Huntington, to do under these circumstances? The response was to find a new enemy and dress it up in the same preposterous ‘baddy’ clothes that had marked the treatment by US Realists of the Soviet Union from the start of the Cold War in the late 1940s and transfer the characteristics of conflict to a new ‘actor’: ‘Islamic fundamentalism.’
It may be worth recalling that a quarter century ago in the early 1990s, the world was just emerging from a 50-year period of secular ideological polarization, focused on the US and the Soviet Union, the poster children of very different worldviews: ‘liberal democracy’ and ‘global communism’. Contrary to today’s triumphalist claims of some in the US, the US did not ‘win’ the Cold War; rather, the Soviet Union ‘lost’ it. Unable to compete with America in a competition for global dominance, its shaky, dysfunctional and misanthropic solitical/social/economic system spectacularly imploded within a seemingly impossibly short period of time: apparently as strong as ever in the mid-1980s, by 1991, the Soviet Union and its system as well as its parasitic coterie of attendant nations were no more. This left a gulf, a hole, a vacuum.
In liberalism, it allows citizens to be free and reiterates the fact that all humans are self-interested, sociable, inclined to cooperation, and opened to new things. Globalization internationally has had a positive impact economically, politically, and socially. In contemporary terms, it has allowed individuals to integrate in society for closer interaction with one another. I subject the neorealism paradigm that the Huntington portrays in the Clash of Civilizations book and leaning towards the liberalist paradigm of this scenario.
Globalization is the connectedness that emerges itself to “unglobalized nations” that create different trends by unfamiliar people. This act will not only create oneness but it will call for a desire to enhance their nation. With globalization, people come together to develop newer ideas to have their nation advancing. It has somewhat caused perpetuation the gap between the rich and the poor in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere of the world but overtime the poor are advancing. There is a general Assumption that “Since human race is constantly progressing in cultural matters (in keeping with its natural purpose), it is also engaged in progressive improvement in relation to the moral end of its existence.’(Maier, Slide 17). In Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations book, he emphasized how the West must stop trying to universalize, and must instead allow other civilizations to hold on to their unique cultures and values.
The rapid rise of the competition state, in an increasingly crowded and heterogeneous world economy, has given rise to a further paradox.“Non-western civilizations will continue to attempt to acquire wealth, technology, skills, machines, and weapons that are a part of being modern (Huntington, page 48).”