The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order Chapter 1: The new era in world politics

In this chapter, Samuel Huntington set the platform for his book. When you think of a civilization, almost everybody has their own definition of it. I thought a civilization was a group of people who lived together and shared some of the same values. However, in the case of the book, Huntington has a separate definition for it. It is believed that the idea of a civilization is always changing. Nothing is necessarily consistent when it comes to the world. For a start, when human existence first came about, contacts between other civilizations were nonexistent. Contacts with other civilizations didn't start happening until centuries later when West Britain, France, Spain, Austria, Prussia, Germany, the United States, and others-- “constituted a multipolar international system within Western civilization and interacted, competed, and fought wars with each other.” Or in other words, they actually started communicating with each other whether it was on good or bad terms.

Two civilizations 'interacting' with each other in a negative way. Although it is negative, they are still interacting.

While the first actions of civilizational communications started happening, (during the cold war) global politics started to divide and separate into a group of people who were made up of mostly wealthy and democratic societies which were led by the United States. The United states was and still is what everyone wanted to be, because we were the ones to lead this group. The United States always seemed to be the strongest out of most of the other civilizations so some of the countries wanted to have some of the same ideas as us.

The United States flag, a powerful country.

After the Cold War, most of the distinctions among people weren't political, economic, or ideological, they were cultural. This means we divide ourselves by ancestry, religion, language, history, values, customs, and institutions. Rather than how much money we make or if we live in poverty. There aren't really ranks. We identify ourselves with cultural groups: tribes, ethnic groups, religious communities, nations, and, at the broadest level, civilizations. As Samuel Huntington said, “We know who we are only when we know who we are not and often only when we know whom we are against.”

As said earlier, everything culturally changes. The philosophical assumptions, underlying values, social relations, customs, and overall outlooks on life differ significantly among civilizations. The revitalization of religion throughout much of the world is reinforcing these cultural differences. Cultures can change, and the nature of their impact on politics and economics can vary from one period to another. Yet the major differences in political and economic development among civilizations are clearly rooted in their different cultures.

Huntington, S. P. (1996). The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order. New York: Simon & Schuster.

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