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Review: Building up New Bogeymen Author(s): Stephen M. Walt Source: Foreign Policy, No. 106 (Spring, 1997), pp. 176-189 Published by: Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, LLC Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1149181 . Accessed: 01/10/2011 17:38
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P. bySamuel Huntington NewYork: Simon Schuster, & 367 pages, $26.00

M. byStephen Walt

Remaking WorldOrderis an ambitiousattempt to of formulate conceptual a framework can help citizens that and policymakers makesense of the post-Cold War to world.Insteadof focusing powerand ideology-as we on did duringthe Cold War-Huntington's paradigm emphasizes cultural competition. central thesisis straightforward. the post-Cold "In Huntington's Warworld," writes, he distinctions "themostimportant among peoarenot ideological, or economic. arecultural." ples political, They Identities loyalties shifting and are fromthe stateto the broader culturalentityof "civilization," thisshiftis creating radically and a different world order. thefirsttimein history," maintains, "For he "global and As politicshas becomemultipolar multicivilizational." a result, conflictsbetween civilizations be morefrequent will than conflicts within and conthem,and"themostpervasive, important, dangerous flictswill... [be]between to encultural peoples belonging different tities." Thereareat leastthreereasons TheClashof Civilizations is why to enjoya longer shelflifethansomeotherefforts formulate to likely
S T E P H E N M.

The and amuel Huntington's Clash Civilizations the of

socialsciencecollegiate division the University Chicago.His latestbookis at of Revolution War(Cornell and Press,1996). University

WA L T is a professor politicalscienceand masterof the of









a post-ColdWarparadigm. Huntington his First, presents argument withgreatskillandwith a keeneye forthe aptanecdote. Huntingbeenan adroit ton hasalways andhis knackforsubconceptualizer, diverse into and is frameworks suming phenomena simple memorable evidentthroughout book. He is also a master the scholarly the of soundbite, as in his observation "in Islam,God is Caesar; that in ChinaandJapan, Caesar God;in Orthodoxy, is Caesar's is God juThese stylisticfelicitiesmakethe book a livelyread niorpartner." andgreatly enhancethe seductiveness its argument. of cultural areverymuchin voguethesedays, Second, explanations whether subject foreign the is educational policy, performance, genderroles,or family values.Huntington's are arguments thusin step will with currentintellectual fashions,even if manyintellectuals recoilfromsomeof his conclusions. probably Third,Huntington's arguments primafacie possessa powerful can differences fostermisunWe plausibility. all knowthatcultural and and of derstanding suspicion, even a superficial reading history fromdifferent cultural havefought reveals thatgroups backgrounds A readof anynewspaper seemsto offer occasions. brief on countless for "Western" further Croats, Muslims, support a cultural perspective: and Serbsareat oddsin Bosnia; Muslims Hindus and"Orthodox" and "Orthodox" Russians Armenians arequarreling Kashmir; over and Muslim Chechens Azerbaijanis; trouble and havebeenfighting between Chinaanditsvarious non-Sinic nowbe brewing neighmay recenteventsseemto be remarkably bors.At firstglance,therefore, assertions. in syncwithHuntington's doesnotstand central thesis thesestrengths, book's the Yetdespite are doesnotexplain loyalties sudto closescrutiny. why Huntington up of "civilizations," to fromthe levelof nation-states that denlyshifting inshiftwillleadto greater andhe doesnot explain thisalleged why are claims consome conflict. tercivilizational Moreover, of hiscentral Huntevidence. and tradicted bothhistorical contemporary Finally, by has focuson the broadconceptof civilization led him to ington's As the overlook obscure farmorepotentroleof nationalism. a reor is sult,TheClash Civilizationsan unreliable guideto the emerging of for order a potentially and world dangerous blueprint policy.


Review Essay

begins by defining Huntington grouping of people cultural
cultural identity. .

a civilizationas the "highest and the broadest level of

. defined by .

. language, history,

religion, customs, institutions, and by the subjective selfidentificationof people."Drawingupon the workof historianssuch as William McNeill, FernandBraudel,CarrollQuigley,and Oswald Spengler, Huntington identifies six contemporary civilizations (Hindu, Islamic,Japanese,Orthodox, Sinic, and Western) and two possible candidates (African and Latin American). Five of these eight civilizationshave a dominantcore state (India,Japan,Russia, China, and the United States), but the African, Islamic,and Latin American civilizationsdo not. According to Huntington, the futureworldorderwill be shaped by several powerfultrends. First, the era of Western dominance is coming to an end, and several non-Western states are emergingas greatpowersin their own right. Second, these new greatpowersincreasingly rejectWesternvalues in favorof theirown culturalnorms, and the continuing decline in the West's material superioritywill erode its culturalappealeven more.Thus, Huntingtonrejectsthe belief that modernizationis leading to culturalconvergencebetween the West and "therest." becomemore Third, as differentcivilizations connected by marketsand media and as universalistideolotightly or gies like Marxism-Leninism liberalismcease to commandbelief, the broadculturalvalues embodiedin each civilizationwill become more importantas sourcesof personaland political identity.Taken together, these trends herald the emergence of a new multipolar worldin which each of the greatpowersis the core state of a different civilization.ForHuntington,the end of the Cold Waris the critical historicaldivide between the old worldof national rivalriesand the new worldof clashingcivilizations. What will worldpoliticslook like in this multipolar, multicivilizational world? Huntingtonrecognizesthat statesremainthe keyactors in worldpolitics,but he believesthat they increasingly define theirinterestsin civilizational terms.As a result,"theycooperatewith andally themselveswith stateswith similaror common cultureand are more
often in conflict with countries of different culture."Or, as he sayselsewhere, "alignments defined by ideology and superpower relations are 179



defined culture civilization." and way giving to alignments by will Itfollows conflicts occureitherin "cleft that countries"--definedas stateswherelarge of segments the population belongto diflike in wars" ocferent that civilizations, Ukraine--or the "fault-line The betweentwo or morecivilizations. cur alongthe boundaries as local antagolatterconflictsarelikelyto be especially complex, and fromtheircultural niststryto rallysupport brethren especially is fromthe corestate(if thereis one). The chiefdanger the possiwars" escalateinto a will bilitythatone or moreof these"fault-line boundaries. conflictthattranscends civilizational great-power The are salient. firstis Islam, Forthe West,twodangers especially a demographic a cultural and where explosion, resurgence, the abfor corestatecombine createa highpropensity to senceof a strong divided reland that is conflict.Huntington recognizes Islam deeply is weak(its shareof worldeconomic atively product less than onehim that fourth of theWest),butthesefactsdo not afford muchcomand at he fort.Indeed, seesIslam theWestasverynearly waralready, militants that Islamic observing "dedicated exploitthe opensocieties at Western of the Westandplantcarbombs selected military targets. the open skiesof Islamanddropsmart bombs exploit professionals fromIslamis inHe believes the challenge that on selected targets." and cultural likelyto be prolonged. herently

is an Clash Civilizations unreliable The of world and to guide theemerging order a for blueprint policy. potentially dangerous
from arises from The second Asia,andespecially China. challenge of of threatis partlya reflection the unruly If the Islamic energies from the of millions mobilized Muslims, Asianthreatderives young ascendance. Asia's economic and that the order discipline hasfueled
Asian societies are rejectingthe individualisticculture of the West, their economic success has reinforcedtheir self-confidenceand desire for greaterglobal influence, and Huntington sees a clash of interests-and thus, a clash of civilizations-as virtuallyinevitable.

Review Essay

Huntington'sprescriptionsfollow directly from his basic framework. In a worldcharacterized civilizationaldivisions, he favors by amongthe memgreater political,economic,and militaryintegration ber states of the West; advocatesexpandingNATOto include other and Poland); Westernstates (such as the Czech Republic,Hungary, and wants to bringLatin America into the Westernfold while preventing JapanfrommovingtowardChina. Becausethe Sinic and Islamic civilizationspose the greatestthreats,the West shouldalso accept Russianhegemonyamongthe Orthodoxcountriesand striveto limit the growthof Sinic and Islamicpower.On the home front, the from United Statesmustpreventadvocatesof "multiculturalism" unthe West'sculturaltraditionsand encourageimmigrants dermining to embraceWesternvalues. Huntingtonalso warnsthat Westerninterventionin the affairsof other civilizationswill be "thesinglemost but sourceof instability," he does not suggestthat we abdangerous stain fromsuch activitiesentirely. does not do full justice to Huntington'soften inThis summary He neatly debunksclaims of culturalconvergence sightfulanalysis. with numerous and bolstershis own arguments examplesof cross-culconflicts is turalconflict. His analysisof the dynamicsof "fault-line" as is his discussionof the conflictive character especiallyintriguing, has Islamicsocieties.The civilizational of contemporary paradigm the it seems to make sense of some important merit of simplicity,and events. So why not simplysend a copy of the book to contemporary everyhead of state, legislator,and senior governmentofficial in the that West and girdour loins for the kulturkampf lies ahead? should not become To fully graspwhy The Clash of Civilizations the blueprintfor U.S. (let alone "Western") foreignpolicy,we must first considerwhat worldpolitics was like in the past. Doing so will highlight how Huntingtonbelieves it is changing and help us to see the flaws in his argument.


wasworldpoliticslike priorto the end of the Cold

War, which Huntington identifies as the starting point for the new era of cultural competition? For the past 200 yearsor so, states-and especiallythe greatpowers-have been the key actors in world affairs. It was generally recognized that



someof these statesbelonged different to but civilizations, nobody that these differences mattered very much for argued understandinginternationalpolitics. Cultural differencesdid matter, but their main political expression took the form of The nationalism. beliefthat distinctcultural groups-or nationsshouldhave their own state provedto be an extremely powerful political ideology,and it reinforcedthe state system that has existedsincethe mid-17th century. conflictwasa common this occurrence Great-power throughout arosefor essentially Warsoccasionally "cultural" na(i.e., period. mostnotablyin the Warof ItalianUnification tionalist)reasons, andthe wars German of unification (1859) (1864,1866,and 1870). Forthe mostpart,however, conflictresulted fromthe great-power of combination fear, that of greed,andstupidity is characteristic life in the anarchic world international of politics. to conflictbefore1990was According Huntington, great-power if not entirely, intracivilizational.his words, overfour In "for largely, the hundred of years, nation-states theWest-Britain,France, Spain, the and Prussia, Austria, Germany, UnitedStates, others-constituted and a multipolar international withinWestern civilization insystem andfought witheachother." characterwars This teracted, competed, it the ization wrong, is because omits twonon-Western however, great and and competed, fought powers(Japan Russia)that "interacted, thesefourcenturies. with wars" the West(andwithothers) during whatdoesthe historical record and WithJapan Russia included, show? Therehave been fourhegemonicconflictssince 1800 (the WarI, World WarII, andthe ColdWar), World Wars, Napoleonic states from ormore two civilizations. all of whichinvolved Moreover, theircolomostof the otherwarsinvolving (including greatpowers as is nialwars) wereintercivilizationalwell.Thus,Huntington wrong firsttimein hisfor to claimthat"inthe post-ColdWarworld, the and tory,global politicshasbecomemultipolar multicivilizational." claim castsdoubt Huntington's on Amongotherthings,thiserror a historical waterthat the end of the ColdWarconstitutes radical wars that shed.It alsomeans he cannotusepastintercivilizational as these variousconflictsdid not for support his own thesis,because that or differences Huntingarisefromthe cultural "civilizational"
ton now sees as central to worldpolitics. At this point, one begins to suspect that Huntingtonhas merely

Review Essay

given a new label to an old phenomenon:Sometimesstates with different culturalbackgrounds fight with one another.Such a view receives supportfrom Huntington himself, when he writes that "the sourcesof conflict between states and groupsfromdifferentcivilizations are, in largemeasure,those which have alwaysgeneratedconflict between groups:control of people, territory,wealth, and reYet sources,and relativepower." he clearlybelievesthat somethingis differenttoday,or why bother to formulatea new paradigm? The novel featureis a shift in personalidentities.He still regards statesas the key actorsin worldpoliticsbut arguesthat the end of the Cold Warhas been accompaniedby a profoundshift in the locus of political loyalty.In a directchallenge to the concept of nationalism, he assertsthat both the elites and the masseswill increasinglyidentify with otherstatesin theirspecificculturalgroupand that this shift in identities will largelyeliminate conflict within each civilization while exacerbatingtensions between them. It is importantto recognize how fundamentaland far-reaching this claim is. For the past 2,000 years or so, assortedempires,citystates, tribes, and nation-states have repeatedly ignored cultural affinitiesin orderto pursueparticular selfish interests.These political unitshave always been willingto fightothermembers theirown of civilization and have been equallywilling to ally with groupsfrom differentcivilizationswhen it seemed advantageous do so. Huntto now claims that states are going to act very differently, howington and will place culturalvalues aboveall others. ever, Yet Huntington never explains why loyalties are shifting in the manner he depicts. He assertsthat globalizationand the increased contact between different cultures have made broadcivilizational identitiesmore powerful,but he providesno theory explainingwhy this is the case. Why are "civilizational" loyaltiesnow trumpingnationalism? Why is cultureor ethnicity no longerfocusedon the state, but on the broadernotion of "civilization"? Huntingtonprovidesno answerto these questions. Not only is an answerlacking, but many of his examples of increasing cultural assertivenessare not about "civilizational"consciousnessat all. To supporthis claim that the end of the Cold War led to a global"identitycrisis,"for example,he notes that "questions
of national identity were actively debated ... [in] Algeria, Canada,

China, Germany,Great Britain, India, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Mo183



and SouthAfrica,Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine, the rocco,Russia, Turkey, these"questions identity" UnitedStates." Mostof of arosefromnationalistmovements ratherthan fromany"civilizational" affinity, his and however, thusdo not support thesis. The devotes 300 Moreover, although Clash Civilizations roughly of of world neverexto a cultural analysis politics,Huntington pages than plainswhyconflictis morelikelyto arisebetweencivilizations that valuesarenot easilycomprowithinthem.He suggests cultural and thosewho mised thatpeople"naturally and distrust seeasthreats Yet and to aredifferent havethe capability harmthem." evenif these withhimon the are to propositions correct-andI aminclined agree conflictswill last one-they do not explainwhyintercivilizational world order. shapethe future Cultural differences not causewarby themselves, as culdo just do one turalsimilarities not guarantee Indeed, couldargue harmony. different makes that cultural conflictless likely,provided diversity As theirown politicalandsocialorders. are groups freeto establish clashes of cultural own suggests, Huntington's analysis "cleftstates" but not comeintocontact, when aremostlikely whenseparate groups cultures forcedto live in the samecommuare members different of morecompelling examples nity.Once again,manyof Huntington's of cultural conflictcomefromlocal settingsratherthan fromtrue of clashes. the waysin whichmembers different But "civilizational" from are interact cultures withina singlecommunity quitedifferent scale. interact a global on in whichwholecivilizations the ways thesisis quitethin. in of the Finally, evidence favor Huntington's conflictdo not of As we haveseen,pastexamples intercivilizational of beconflicts interest theseweresimply his thesis,because support Given differences. tweenstatesandnot the resultof "civilizational" as sees thatHuntington the civilizational only paradigm relevant for six the post-ColdWarperiod,we haveroughly yearsof experience showthus his Whatdoesthe record withwhichto evaluate claims. far? exto his by Huntington supports argument reference numerous or cultural even leaders of employing political amples contemporary at he Not rhetoric. surprisingly, takesthesestatements civilizational civievidenceof growing themas persuasive facevalueandregards
lizationalaffinities.But the question is not just what Lee KuanYew or Muammar Qadaffisay,becausetalk is cheap and political rhetoric

Review Essay

serves manyfunctions.The real issue is what these leaders(or their countries) will actuallydo, and how much blood and treasurethey interests. will devote to "civilizational" On this point, the record of state behaviorsince 1990 does not lend much supportto Huntington's Considerthe 1991 Perargument. sian Gulf war.Huntington's paradigm predictsthat conflictsbetween civilizationswill be morefrequentand intense than conflicts within them. Yet in the Gulf war,Iraqattackeda fellow Islamicstate, only to be repulsedby a coalition of Westernand Islamicstates,with tacit supportfromIsrael.Huntingtontries to salvagehis thesis by arguing that most IslamicpopulationsactuallyfavoredIraq,but, even if this were true, it merelyunderscores fact that state interestsmattered the more than looselyfelt and politicallyimpotentloyaltiesto a particular"civilizational" idenentity.In the Gulf war,in short,civilizational tities were irrelevant. What aboutBosnia,where Muslims,"Western" Croats,and "Orthodox" Serbs were at war from 1991 to 1995? Although some aspects of the Bosnian tragedyare consistent with Huntington'sargument, the overall picture is a striking refutation of it. More than 50,000 U.S.-led troops were deployedto Bosnia in 1996, but they were not there to defend Western (in this case, Croatian) culture. Rather, they were there primarilyto protect Muslims. Indeed, although severalIslamiccountriesdid send modest amountsof aid to the Bosnian Muslims,the Westernstates ultimatelydid far morefor them than did their Islamicbrethren.Similarly, Russiaofferedsome rhetoricalsupportto the Serbs, but it backedawayfrom its "Orthodox"brethrenwhen SerbianbellicositymadeBelgradean unappealing ally. Even the Westernstates failed to line up accordingto culturalcriteria,with Britainand Francebeingmoresympathetic the to the Croats,and the United States reserving Serbs,Germanybacking most of its supportfor the Muslims. What about the Rwandangenocide and the subsequentcarnage in Zaire? Huntingtonis not certain whethera true"Africancivilization"exists, but it is abundantly clearthat these bloodlettingsdid not arise from a clash of civilizations.And, as in the earlierhumanitarian missionin Somalia,outsideassistanceis beingprovidedby membersof other civilizations,once againirrespective the culturalcriof terion Huntingtonnow claims is paramount. Thus, conflict and cooperationdo not observethe civilizational



boundaries Huntington's that thesispredicts. The Interestingly, Clash decisive evidence precisely point.On this on of Civilizations provides 256 two on pages to 258,Huntington presents tables current ethnopin olitical conflicts order demonstrate conflictive to the of nature conIslam. Thesetables showthatconflicts also within civilizatemporary 50 tionsareroughly percent morefrequent thanconflictsbetween them.Thisresult contradicts core because directly Huntington's thesis, the number potential of conflictsbetweenmembers different of civiis than the number potential conflictsbelizations muchgreater of civilization. example, thereareroughly tweenmembers thesame of For 20 "Western" withwhichthe UnitedStatescouldfinditselfat states but than175non-Western thattheUnited states odds, therearemore with occurred a purely on couldquarrel aswell.Evenif conflict States wewould to from mostclashes be between random basis, expect groups if This be "civilizations." gapshould evenmorepronounced different differences a powerful are causeof conflict,as Hunt"civilizational" the he shows exactly opthat but ingtonposits, the evidence presents the is occurring. resultmerely This underscores factthatculposite in the differences of secondary are tural importance explaining origins War conflictin the post-Cold world. of global which silentabout is TheClash Civilizationsalsostrangely Israel, of in sinceitsfounding for concern U.S.foreign hasbeena central policy for couldbe justified the ColdWar, U.S. support Israel 1948.During From cultural a and on bothideological strategic perspective, grounds. is for Israel the "West" unand the however, basis closetiesbetween of is Israel not a member the West(at leastnot byHuntington's clear. fundaless as and criteria) is probably becoming "Western" religious beand becomes more salient asthe Sephardic mentalism population to A comes more influential. "civilizational" polapproach U.S.foreign descendants closetieswithEuropeans the common (as icycanjustify but of Western Moreover, thatHuntChristendom) not Israelis. given and withrivalcivilizations clashes wantsto avoid unnecessary ington withtheIslamic is of for thatU.S.support Israel a source tension given rea would seemto prescribe sharp his world, civilizational paradigm I whether state. donotknow for in duction Western support theJewish favors a step,butthatis wherethe logicof his argusuch Huntington an that His on mentleads. silence thisissue reflect awareness makmay
ing this conclusionexplicitwouldnot enhance the appealof the book, or Israelmaysimplybe an anomalythat lies outsideof his framework.

Review Essay

the limitationof the civIn eithercase,however, issuerevealsa further ilizationalparadigm.

war do differencesnotcause by Cultural do similaritiesnot themselves, ascultural just guarantee harmony.
What has gone wronghere?As should now be apparent,Huntington'scentral erroris his belief that personalloyaltiesare increasratherthan on the nation-state. If ingly centered on "civilizations" there is a dominant trend in the worldtoday,however,it is not the coalescing of a half-dozen or so multinationalcivilizations.On the contrary,the dominant trend is the tendency for existing political communitiesto split into smallerunits,organized alongethprimarily did nic or national lines. Being part of some larger"civilization" not convince the Abkhaz,Armenians,Azeris,Chechens, Croats,Eritreans, Georgians,Kurds,Ossetians, Quebecois, Serbs, or Slovaks to abandonthe quest for their own state, just as being part of the West did not slow Germany'srush to reunify.Thus, it is not civilization that is thriving in the post-Cold Warworld;it is nationalism. This neglect of nationalism is the Achilles' heel of the civilizado As tional paradigm. Huntingtonhimselfpoints out, "civilizations" culturalcategoryratherthan not makedecisions;they arean abstract a concrete political agency.States, on the other hand, have defined borders,designatedleaders,establisheddecision-making procedures, and direct control over political resources.States can mobilizetheir friends,and wagewar;in citizens,collect taxes, issue threats,reward other words,states can act. Nationalism is a tremendously powerful force preciselybecause it marriesindividualculturalaffinitiesto an agency-the state-that can actuallydo something.In the futureas in the past, the principal conflicts in the world will be between states-not civilizations-and between existing states and groups within them who seek to establishstatesof theirown. Some of these conflicts will occur acrossculturalboundaries-as in the "fault-line" areasthat Huntingtoncorrectlyhighlights-but culturaldifferences



will be at best a secondarycause of conflict. Once again, Huntington'sanalysisimplicitly acknowledgesthis within each civilizationreafpoint. His emphasison the "corestates" firmsthe central role of the greatpowers--defined in traditionalrealist terms-and he admitsthat "the issues in [core state conflicts] are the classic ones of internationalpolitics,"such as relativeinfluence, economic and military power, and the control of territory. When it comes to the greatpowers,therefore,culturedoes not matter verymuch, and the concept of civilizationlargely dropsout of his analysis. The enduringrelevance of the realist, statist paradigmis most clearlyrevealedat the end of the book, when Huntingtonlaysout a possiblescenariofor a warbetween China and the West. Severaldetails of this imaginedwarare striking.First,it beginswith a Chinese attack on Vietnam, which by Huntington'scriteriais a clash within a particularcivilizationalgroup.Thus, WorldWar III is caused not by a clash of civilizations,but by a clash within one-precisely the sort of event that increasingculturalaffinitiesweresupposedto overcome. Second, culturalfactorsplay virtuallyno role either in starting the waror in causingit to escalate;instead, it arisesfroma competition for oil and escalatesbecauseother states are worriedabout the long-termbalance of power.Third, the subsequentwarfeatures a numberof importantintercivilizationalalliances (for balance-ofpowerreasons),which furthercontradictsthe claim that culturalfactors are becoming decisive. In short, when he turns awayfrom expounding his paradigmand describeswhat a 21st-centuryconflict mightactuallylook like, Huntingtonlargelyignoreshis own creation and relieson the traditionalprinciplesof realpolitik.





the end, The Clash of Civilizations the Remaking World and of Orderis a book replete with ironies. It is ironic that a scholar ose earlierworks offered brilliant analysesof the role of the in state now offersa paradigm which states are the handmaidens of diffuseculturalgroups.It is also ironic that a scholarwho effectively challenged the "declinist"argumentsmade by Paul Kennedy and
others now goes them one better: Not only is the United States declining, but so is the rest of Western civilization. And it is surely 188

Review Essay

ironic that a scholarwho was soundingalarmbells aboutJapanonly four yearsago is now obsessedwith China and Islam and is calling ties for activeeffortsto preserve Japan's with the West.1 There maybe a common theme in these ironies,however.Huntington has alwaysbeen a staunchdefenderof Westerncivilizationin and generaland the United States in particular, he is clearlyworried cultureof the West is no longerup that the hedonistic,individualistic the worldasone to the challengesit faces.By portraying contemporary he of relentlessculturalcompetition,therefore, maybe tryingto provide us with the bogeymenwe need to keepourown house in order. of values He maybe right,and a reaffirmation certain "Western" be wholly desirable.But even if the West does need new enemight that miesin orderto hold it together,the civilizational paradigm Hunthas offeredis not a soundbasisfor makingforeignpolicy.Relyington wouldblindus to ing upon an overlybroadcategorylike "civilization" the differences withinbroad cultural and groups limitourabilityto pursue a strategyof "divideand conquer." Thus, adoptingHuntington's robpolicymakers the flexibilitythathas of paradigm mightunwittingly alwaysbeen a cardinaldiplomaticvirtue. If the worldis as dangerous as he seems to think, why limit our optionsin this way? Moreover,if we treat all states who are part of some other "civilization"as intrinsicallyhostile, we are likely to create enemies that might otherwise be neutral or friendly.In fact, a civilizational apthe proachto foreignpolicy is probably surestwayto get diverseforeign cultures to coordinate their actions and could even bring several civilizationstogether againstus. The West is still the strongest civilizationand will remain so for some time to come. Accordingly, a civilizationalstrategycould encouragetwo or more civilizationsto In gangup on us, solelyout of a sense of self-preservation. this sense, The Clashof Civilizations offersa dangerous, self-fulfillingprophecy: The more we believe it and make it the basis for action, the more likely it is to come true. Huntingtonwouldno doubtfeel vindicated, but the rest of us wouldnot be happywith the results.
'For his earlier views, see SamuelP. Huntington, "The U.S.-Decline or Renewal?" Affairs67:2 (Winter Foreign 1988/89);"America's Changing Strategic Interests,"Survival 33:1 (January1991); and "WhyInternational Primacy International 17:4 (Spring 1993). Matters," Security 189