Talk:Clash of Civilizations/Archive 1

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Move to talk for elaboration. I don't see how this thesis applies to the Taiwan straits. Arguing that Taiwan is Chinese, doesn't explain the situation, nor does arguing that Taiwan is Western explain things like the fact that the United States has limited support for Chen Shuibian.

Some other events which have vindicated Huntington include the role played by the United States and other Western countries in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the Western concern over whether Iran's nuclear program will result in Iran obtaining nuclear weapons, the crisis in the Taiwan Straits, the problems in Kosovo, and the continuing problems in Cyprus.


I signed your comment above.

I'm guessing that what the author of the above passage was trying to get at was that the Taiwan Straits conflict is one between the PRC (a Sinic civilization) and the United States (a Western civilization). --Lowellian 18:55, May 21, 2004 (UTC)

That's one interpretation, but it's one that hardly vindicates Huntington's thesis. Huntington's thesis would not account for the fact that the US has at times tilted (however slightly) toward Beijing in the last year.

Roadrunner 19:41, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

This needs to be attributed. Who thinks this?

Universalizing civilizations include: The West, Orthodox-Slavic (to some degree), and the Islamic civilization. Particularistic civilizations that stress differences among peoples include: China (though with some semi-universalizing traits), Japan, and to some degree the Hindu civilization. Therefore the critics of the theory often demonstrate its predicition through subtle synthesis.

Roadrunner 19:43, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

Nizhny Novgorod:

I am the author of the "universalizing civilizations" section. I also wrote the "Modernizing without Westernizing". I have recently registered this account (after I wrote the section). If anyone has any advice on changes/improvements I will alter the section. I also know the person who wrote the Taiwan Strait section on this article. He thinks that the Taiwan Strait section should be edited or perhaps removed however he wants to keep the rest of section (Cyprus, Kosovo, et al).

Nizhny Novgorod: I added a section entitled: "Possible resolution of the conflict."

The German science of geography has pointed out that Huntington's regions of "civilizations" are affected by the concept of the "Kulturerdteile" (culture-continents) of the geographer Albert Kolb - a deprecated theory from 1962. In this theory, the effect of religious aspects were less important than historical and social aspects. Am I the only one for whom that passage carries no meaning? --Christofurio 20:18, Dec 13, 2004 (UTC)

Indo-Pak conflict not a clash of civilizations[edit]

There seems to be a mistake when you classify India & Pakistans war as a clash of two different civilizations. Most modern-day Pakistanis are descendents of Indian Hindus who converted (or were compeld to convert) to Islam. The basic population of Pakistan & of North India is or Aryan stalk. The language Urdu used by Pakistanis and Indian Muslims is nothing but Hindi loaded with Arabic words & written in Persian script.Moreover you cannot distinguish between Indian Muslims who number 160million and Pakistanis. Hence even though Pakistanis dont accept it they are a part of Indian Culture. So India & Pakistan conflict can be termed as a clash within a civilization not clash of civilizations.

According to the author Pakistan is the Islamic sphere of civilizations. The article is about his theory. :ChrisG 18:39, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Value of ON content and quality of reference[edit]

The content added from the ON reference remains in this article, but the reference has been removed. This action is disputed and a conversation is ongoing here. Uriah923 06:33, 2 September 2005 (UTC)


Voltairnet is not an encyclopedic source of information. Moreover, the article linked to does not deal with the topic of this article directly, rather it is an extended and sensationalized polemic about U.S.-Islamic interactions. Needless to say, this is only a very small piece of Huntington's theory. The Voltairnet link ought not be kept. —thames 21:20, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Just to clarify, my edit [1] was not intended to re-inserted the link that thames had removed [2], but merely to correct the link internal link to the Réseau Voltaire set by User:Didier Marie [3]. I am not competent to discuss the issue of the inclusion of this link or not, and do not intend to.
As a general principle, I do not approve of sensationalistic and extremist links overflowing legitimate ones. Rama 14:34, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

French Riots[edit]

Could we get some sources for these claims? Huntington writes about immigration and might agree with some of these ideas, but the clash of civilizations is a bit more specific and focused on geopolitics. Tfine80 23:12, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

As you stated, Huntington has written about Civilizational/cultural clash within individual nations, specifically in "Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity". Huntington also refers to culturally/'civilizationally' 'torn' nations in his Clash of Civilizations thesis itself. The French Muslim situation is textbook Huntington.


Where does Huntington place Israel in his theory? It's in the Mideast but seems to me to be more a Jewish part of the Western world in some ways, or a Jewish part of the Mideast in some other ways. 01:42, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

What is meant by "...West's...inability to unify and even a decadent society, risked significant dangers"[edit]

I am not sure what is meant by the sentence: The demographic decline of the West, combined with its inability to unify and even a decadent society, risked significant dangers.

Can someone who has read Huntingtn clarify? Is the following rewrite accurate: "The demographic decline of the West, combined with its inability to present a united front, and a state that Huntington considers decadent mean the West will face significant dangers."

Texteditor 18:30, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

  • Yes, though the decadence aspect is less important in Huntington's theory. The main aspects are the demographic decline against a demographic boom for other cultures, especially in how this weakens Western states (e.g. rise of Hispanic population in U.S. and even more outstandingly the rise of Muslim population in Europe), and trans-Atlantic tension that weakens the West's respose to other civilizations. Christopher Parham (talk) 20:13, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Another bit that's hard to understand[edit]

What is this all about? "Clash of Civilizations critics often target traditional culture and internal reformers who do not wish to Westernize whilst modernizing. They sometimes claim that to modernize is to necessarily become Westernized to a very large extent. Those who consider the Clash of Civilizations thesis accurate often offer in refutation of its argument the example of Japan, claiming that is not a Western state at its core."

Why would those who consider the thesis accurate offer a refutation of its arguments? Something has gone wrong here, but I can't edit it because I find these sentences incomprehensible in their current form. Can someone who understands what is intended please edit this bit so that the meaning is clear? Metamagician3000 08:31, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Not necessarily: the theory of a "Clash of Civilisations" says that unavoidable conflicts are born from a fundamental incompatibility of cultures. Arguing that traditional cultures become hostile to the Western culture when confronted to the necessity to modernise removes this burden from a hypothetical fundamental incompatibility, and puts the blame on the fact that any traditional culture in the modernisation phase will feel "westernised". This explains why countries and people of traditional cultures sometimes seem to have a deep hostility to the Western culture, without using any sort of fundamental incompatibility in the explanation. Rama 08:52, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
Actually, I think it should be "this argument" (referring to the one in the pervious sentence). The point is that unlike some development theorists who equate modernization and Westernization, Huntington focuses his definition of "Western" on Christianity and the liberal tradition, and not especially markets and capitalism. Thus in Huntington's model, while non-Western states might adopt some institutions from the West as they modernize, they will retain their own civilizational identity. While a lot of third-world reformers want to Westernize their countries in order to modernize, Huntington sees any explicit program to Westernize a country as extremely likely to fail (cf. his thoughts on core countries). Christopher Parham (talk) 15:13, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

I've rewritten the paragraph in the light of the above comments. What is there now makes sense to me, at least. :) Would you folks like to check it and see if you think it is right, and whether you can improve it? Metamagician3000

Aside from a few typos, that edit looked solid, I think it brings out the point well. Christopher Parham (talk) 04:10, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks. Sorry about the typos. I just fixed another one. Metamagician3000 06:28, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Language of the Bird[edit]

"Civilization is a damned good thing, if somebody would try it" Charlie Parker (1920 - 1955) ( 11:37, 14 March 2006 (UTC))

Japan as a separate civilization is a flawed assertion[edit]

Taking Japan out of East Asian civilization is one of the weakest points of Huntington's argument. Because if he does not separate Japan from East Asian civilization ("Sinic" as Huntington calls it), then he has to explain the Sino-Japanese and Korean-Japanese tensions in the world today. Huntington arbitrarily takes Japan out of East Asian civilization as a matter of intellectual convenience.

From Journal of World Systems Research, Volume 4, Number 2 (Fall 1998):
"In his original Foreign Affairs article (Huntington 1993), Huntington designated China, along with a number of nearby smaller countries who have been influenced by its culture, as Confucianist. Perhaps belatedly realizing that hardly anyone in China now refers to themselves as a "Confucianist" and that China has spent most of the past century in rebellion against its own traditional culture, Huntington resorts, in his book, to the even more ambiguous label of "Sinic" to designate this part of the world. Huntington regards Japan as a unique civilization all by itself, despite the heavy influence of China in Japan's history and culture and Japan's adoption of Western-style political institutions over the past half century. Huntington is typically vague about the particular cultural features that ostensibly distinguish Japan so uniquely from other civilizations."

There exist several points that are problematic in taking Japan out of East Asia:

First, Japan still uses the Chinese script (the Japanese use it far more than the "Sinic" Koreans and Vietnamese) and Japan's literary tradition absolutely depends on the mastering of Chinese characters. 65% of modern Japanese vocabulary have Sinitic origins, the remainder being native Japanese and Western loanwords. Western civilization is dependent upon the Latin alphabet, Orthodox civilization is dependent on the Cyrillic alphabet, Hindi civilization is dependent upon Sanskrit derivative scripts, and Islamic civilization is strongly influenced by the Arabic script. This leaves "Japanese civilization" the only non-derivative, core-state civilization whose main script depends on that of another civilization ("Sinic" or East Asian civilization). This is a glaring inconsistency that is only weakly glossed over by Huntington.

Second, and perhaps the most important point, Japanese thought immediately preceding its modernization was directly influenced by its contemporary Chinese thinkers. In other words, many aspects of contemporaneous Chinese thought paved the way for Japan to modernize, and strongly influenced the formation of Japanese identity in the modern era. This is in direct contrast to Huntington's cariculture-like assertion that Japan while being influenced by China in its early history, was able to develop into an independent civilization in the second millennium. The reality is that 15th and 16th century Chinese neo-Confucian intellectuals like Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming (Oyomei in Japanese) continued to strongly influence Japanese neo-Confucianists like Ogyu Sorai and reformers like Matsudaira Sadanobu, and paved the way intellectually for anti-Confucianists like Motoori Norinaga. In Asia, it was the Chinese thinker Wang Yangming who first in the 16th century argued the existence of innate knowing (that every person from birth knows the difference between good and evil, that such knowledge was intuitive and cannot be completely rationalized). His ideas inspired what is today considered the Japanese "samurai ethic." Copying Wang Yangming ideas, Motoori Norinaga in his pursuit of characterizing an unique identity for the Japanese argued that the Japanese people alone, because of their Shinto deities, had an intuitive ability to distinguish good and evil without complex rationalization. Norinaga argued that the Chinese Confucianists were too fixated on reason and rationalized virtue, and that the heritage of ancient Japan was one of natural spontaneity in feelings and spirit. Not only did Norinaga adopt Wang Yangming's ideas wholesale, his philological methodology (critical reading of ancient texts) was also similar to Chinese and Japanese neo-Confucianists like Zhu Xi and Sorai. Norinaga's ideas would later play a critical role in the Meiji government during Japan's modernization.

Third, the modernization of "Sinic" societies in the last two decades such as South Korea, Taiwan and even mainland China have blasted another gaping hole through Huntington's decision to take Japanese civilization out of East Asian civilization. Chinese society today in an era of rapid economic growth is looking ever more similar to Meiji Japan a hundred years ago.

Huntington in 1993 wrote in the Foreign Affairs article: "Apart from Japan, the West faces no economic challenge." This statement would be laughed out of the room today considering the economic rise of China, a new development that Huntington could not predict in 1993.

Huntington's decision of taking Japan out of East Asian civilization amounts to a cop-out. Naus 07:17, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

  • The point being? Christopher Parham (talk) 07:33, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
    • Just some points to demonstrate that the criteria of Huntington's proposed civilizational delineations are not clear. Huntington is a poor historian, especially on East Asian history. Being a less than careful historian weakens his overall argument since his entire theory is about the clash between civilizations; arbitrarily delineating civilizations makes his theory about as relevant as the chicken and egg debate, it's circular reasoning. Naus 07:50, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, if you refer to decent sources, you can add it in the criticism section. Good work. Sijo Ripa 15:42, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
Sure. Here's an excerpt of the abstract of an article ("On Huntington's Civilizational Paradigm: A Reappraisal") published in Issues & Studies (Taiwan) by Myonsob Kim and Horace Jeffery Hodges in June 2005. The article itself is 30 pages long and goes into more detail.
"Second comes a negative reappraisal of the Huntingtonian civilizational paradigm, especially in the East Asian context. Huntington seems to be exaggerating in arguing that "Babelization prevails over universalization." Even though predictions of cultural homogenization were wrong, the centrifugal process has not at all tended toward a Tower of Babel, pure cultural anarchy. There have surely been gravitational forces restraining the centrifugal tendencies and organizing them. We have also some reservations about the accuracy of Huntington’s paradigm regarding East Asia. Huntington seems to have drawn arbitrary civilizational fault lines through East Asian civilization. Huntington's simplification of the whole of East Asia (excluding Japan) as "Sinic" overlooks the strong resistance against the Sino-monocentric order. Huntington's logic in recognizing Japan as a civilization also raises many questions." Naus 20:46, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Let me guess: Naus is one of those Chinese folks who contends that everyone on earth should be required to call China by the name Zhōngguó (Central Country) or Zhōnghuá (Central Efflorescence). Am I correct?
Although I am not by any means trying to support Huntington's thesis of a looming "clash of civilizations," I do believe that there are valid reasons for considering Japan, its people, and their culture to be rather distinct and separate from those of continental East Asia, or those societies that were classified as "Sinic" in Huntington's analysis. The cultural (not to mention genetic) differences between the Sinic world as a whole and Japan are much more significant than any internal differences between the Sinic societies of China, Korea, and Vietnam. For example, the contrast between the Sinic and Japanese views of familial relationships is just as great as that between, say, the Sinic and Western European views on the matter. Chinese, Koreans, and Vietnamese have specific names for every relative, distinguishing those on the paternal from those on the maternal side, out to at least the fourth degree of consanguinity, if I am not mistaken. This is because the traditional family structure in these societies is one of an extended clan, in which every member has a publicly recognized relationship to all the other members of his clan, and he is expected to be partial to the members of his clan, and even take responsibility for them (financially or otherwise) when requested to do so. This is completely different from Japanese society, which is structured in a manner much more similar to the societies of Western Europe, in which the nuclear family is the fundamental unit of society. The Sinic worldview can be summed up by the saying, "Blood is thicker than water," while the Japanese worldview is best expressed by the Japanese expression, tooku-no shinrui-yori chikaku-no tanin ((One ought to concern oneself more with) a nearby stranger rather than a distant kinsman).
As for the writing systems of these societies, you have obviously failed to recognize the important contrast between the traditional use of Chinese characters in the Sinic civilizations and their use in the Japanese civilization: the Sinic civilizations used Chinese characters either as their sole form of written language or otherwise used them to transcribe words of Sinitic etymology; historically, the Japanese used Chinese characters mostly to represent words of native Japanese etymology according to their kun'yomi, or else they did not use Chinese characters at all, generally preferring to use the kana syllabaries for works of Japanese poetry or literature. True Chinese writing was used in Japan only for the composition of Chinese-style poetry (a sort of stilted cultural pursuit of the upper classes, much like the study and composition of English prose is for the Japanese of today), diplomatic correspondence with foreign governments, and the copying and transmission of Buddhist scriptures. To put it succinctly, Chinese language has never achieved a position in Japanese culture beyond the position of Latin in medieval Europe, or English in the world of the present day: it has always been a decidedly foreign language, studied by people of means for academic, ecclesiastical, or other reasons. Among the Sinic cultures of Korea and Vietnam, however, Chinese language has wielded a degree of influence on par with or even exceeding that of Norman French on the English language, with words and idioms of direct Chinese extraction being used commonly in everyday speech. For example, Modern Korean does not even have a native word for "tomorrow," as this concept is indicated exclusively by the Chinese-derived word 내일 nay-ir (來日).
Please don't try to counter that Modern Japanese makes extensive use of Chinese character compounds; although that is true, the overwhelming majority of such Chinese character-based compounds are neologisms coined by educated Japanese around the time of the Meiji Restoration in the mid-19th century. Many of these Chinese character-based neologisms have subsequently been loaned to the Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese languages, often through the vector of students from these Sinic cultures who have gone overseas to Meiji Period Japan for education (especially in the case of the Chinese) or through direct social and cultural influence from Japan (especially in the case of the Koreans). This phenomenon is equivalent to a modern Italian or Greek scientist's making use of taxonomic vocabulary or other Latin- or Classical Greek-based neologisms coined by ethnic German, British, Russian, or American scientists. The fact that these neologisms are based on Sinitic, Latin, or Classical Greek etyma does not change the fact that they were invented by individuals of Japanese, Dutch, Jewish, Czech, or other ethnocultural affiliation. Numerous languages around the world have absorbed a great number of words of Latin, Greek, Russian, German, or English etymology for use as academic or scientific terminology; this does not necessarily place the societies that use such terminology any closer to the Western European or Huntington's so-called "Orthodox" cultural spheres, although it is certainly indicative of a certain degree of cultural and linguistic contact and interaction at some point in history.
Besides, Huntington himself opines that the Japanese civilization is the product of a hybridization of native Japanese traditions and traditions that were introduced through contact with the Sinic cultural sphere. He is not claiming that Japan has remained completely isolated from continental influence. However, Japan's unique geographical situation has certainly helped it to preserve and develop some important cultural (and other) differences from the societies of continental East Asia. The influence of the cultures of certain regions of ancient Korea, in particular, has profoundly affected the historical development of the Japanese people and civilization; however, this ancient influence was like that of the introduction of a foreign seed to a new continent, where it may later grow and develop, perhaps hybridize with a native strain, and be bred to become an entirely novel and unique variety. This certain degree of ancient influence does not consign the people and culture of Japan to be eternally affiliated with the peoples and cultures of East Asia, located hundreds of kilometers away across the open ocean. Ebizur 04:45, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Some quotes of Huntington regarding China:

"I think it makes sense to try to contain China and limit the expansion of Chinese influence in other Asian countries."
"One doesn't know whether that economic growth will continue at its recent rates, and China may well go into an economic slide."

Huntington clearly has ulterior intentions. In fact one can argue that his entire thesis of the Clash of Civilizations is designed to target specifically against the muslims and Chinese. He is clearly confusing Communism in China with the Chinese civilization, and that's a shame. Chinese civilizational influence on other Asian countries is millennia long, if Huntington believes the US has the capacity to limit Chinese influence in Asia as China grows, he is in a for a sharp awakening. 19:58, 20 March 2006 (UTC)


I came across an interview on Booknotes where SPH mentions the arrival of the Huntingtons in the U.S. in 1633. This may be of interest but I'm not sure where you would put that. It may have some bearing on his world view.Abu Amaal 03:17, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

THIS ARTICLE is full of wrongly worded phrases that dont make sense[edit]

"Whereas, Western civilization includes both Protestant and Catholic branches; and the Germanic and Romance cultural differences in Western Europe are also disregarded"? WTF is that about? this article needs serious attention from a competent person familiar with both huntington and english

Current media use vs Huntington's title/thesis[edit]

This isn't mean to be political, only an observation. In the course of the War on Terror "Clash of Civilizations" has become almost a cachet for the conflict with Islamism. Certainly Islamism itself does see it that way from their perspective on history - and destiny. What struck me while pondering various news bits today, knitting them together as it were, is that the US seems unaware of the scale of the game which goes far beyond two civilizations. However the various spheres of civilization are defined or distinguished, the urgent fact of the increasingly global community - the immediacy of everywhere else, and the growing similarities and convergence of all civilizations; either in a violent dialectic, or one that comes to a peaceful resolution - the most unlikely of all outcomes, unfortunately. Add onto to that the growing planetary emergency of global warming, and there's a lot at stake in the bigger game.

It's not the doom and gloom that must all sound like a listing of that I'm concerned with here; I've grown used to it. What I'm raising is the notion that the current public usage of it - in the US media arena, that the theme of civilization-clash (wie sagt es auf Deutsch, bitte?) is limited in that usage to Islam vs Christendom - as if nothing else were a problem. Well, other than North Korea, but that also involves China directly, unlike Afghanistan, where China's interests are in maintaining the stability of its own Islamic populations just east and northeast of there; so supporting the American cause from there over to the MidEast is in China's best interests. India cannot take part because of its own Islamic neighbour-state, only recently being drawn into peace talks (perhaps by the American presence in the region, as a precaution; a united subcontinent would be immensely more powerful than a divided one - as Gandhi and Nehru knew. It is interesting that Europe, even Russia, is almost a bystander in the whole affair in terms of the realpolitik; the cause is American geopolitics, not European but as with China it may be the only way to stem the variour problems with Islamism in their own nations, and also in global tactical terms; for a united Europe is, too, potentially a global superpower on the same order as China or the United States or - soon, again - Russia (if not as part of Europe, that is).

The Great Game is afoot, for those out there who know their 19th Century diplomacy; only there's more players now than there were then, and the weaponry is at lot nastier and potentially world-destroying if ever used (by any side, but a launch would never be only one side....).

Sorry for the long digression; I know this isn't a blogging page and I don't mean to overly rhapsodize on world politics; it only strikes me that the scale of Huntington's thesis or the multi-civilization geopolitic of the current era is a very different sense of "clash of civilizations" than in the way that CNN, Time and others have used and repeated it; taking the title of the book, but only one geopolitical theme and coopting the phrase to a purely binary meaning; almost apocalyptic in tone sometimes in its use, but I don't mean to politicize. The idea is that the page should reflect something to the effect that the popular usage - as derived from or directedd by media usage - is different from the full scope of what's in the book. I note that the "Recent issues" section is entirely West vs. Islam events; giving the impression that the clash of civilizations is only about that dialectic, and no other forces are at play, as if there were no other players in the game.

What was a simple observation was not meant to become an essay; the essence is that there is a divergence between how this (and Hayakawa's title) can be so easily taken out of context, and are; and that listing of civilization-clash events in other eras and regions, both current and historical; those connected with the US-themed usage of "clash of civilizations" could be so grouped as "current American media use" (and, well, like I said, where Al-Queda is coming from on their end is also a clash of civilizations; that's how they define themselves) and that the rest of the list would be the US vs China in the western Pacific, or the Islam-Christendom thing in sub-Saharan Africa (in which Darfur is only the latest pawn in the game), and so on.

I'll leave it at that, and hope someone can condense my thoughts, if they're worthwhile, into Wikipedia-style text, which my habitual writing/thinking style isn't. If this should be on some other page somewhere and does not fit in terms of usage of this Talk page let me know and I'll move/remove it elsewhere.Skookum1 02:59, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Toynbee vs. Huntington[edit]

No doubt the common currency of the phrase "Clash of Civilizations" is due to Huntington's book and thesis; but is his thesis all that original in historiography? I'm thinking back to Toynbee's extensive works on "spheres of civilization" and the ways they have interacted over the centuries; and are bound to. Classical geopolitics - Ratzel, the shatterbelt theorists, and others, also deal with the concept of "clash of civilizations", and I'd even venture that this easy-to-construct phrase is not of Huntington's coinage. Not that this is Da Vinci Code vs Holy Blood and Holy Grail, only that perhaps this article shouldn't be so focussed on the contemporary account as popularized by Huntington, but also make at least some comment that the ideas expressed were already current in histographical/geopolitical circles before popularized to the masses in best-seller form...Skookum1 19:37, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

And all that by way of someone's suggestion for a map; Toynbee's vintage works have several that would be suitable....Skookum1 19:38, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

introduction of discussion of civilizations[edit]

fictitious name:angel right/05.07.2006/09:10 U T C

the last president of iran has set forth the discussion of civilizations. approximately most of the world , accepted this opinion . but i did not hear that anyone found it out or declared that he has decided to introduce the islamic civilisation not iranian civilisation. he decided to mix the original ancient iranian culture and civilization with imported islamic orders and introduce it as iranian civilization. in the event that the iranian original ancient religion has been zoroastrian not islam. i as an iranian and approximately all real iranians are impatiently waiting a real discussion of civilations with permition of defend of national civilization to any non government defender. we request of any powerfull ternational society to provide this opportunity. thanks, angel right -- 16:59, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

External links[edit]

The information about is misleading. It's an Islamist website, probably connected with Hizb-ut-Tahrir, since it talks a lot about the caliphate.

World map[edit]

Are you sure everything's OK with the map? Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina are coloured in red ("Western Christendom"), when in fact they're Muslim-majority countries that don't have stronger ties with Western culture than other Southeastern European countries. Especially Albania has nothing to do with the West, and Bosnia certainly isn't more "Western" than Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, etc.

I know the theory is controversial, not quite up-to-date with current events (e.g. EU enlargement, economic development and geopolitical stance of Balkan countries) and all, but did Huntington actually specify Albania and Bosnia as part of the Western world in the book? I see no reason that they should be in red and not "lone" like Turkey (as secular Muslim and, in the case of Albania, until recently totally isolated from the rest of Europe) or anything else.

As a person from Southeastern Europe who's well aware of the situation here, referring to Bosnia and espcially Albania as "Western" is quite funny, if I really have to be sincere :) And that "Orthodox world" group seems totally undue today, but that's another thing. TodorBozhinov 18:43, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Huntingon's map depicts B-H as being in the Orthodox civilization and Albania as being Muslim. Overall the map is different from Huntington's in a number of places; it appears to be based on the list in the article rather than the actual content of the book. Christopher Parham (talk) 19:12, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Now, this sounds somewhat more sensible. But why is the map different? I really think it should exactly illustrate the theory and should just be a recreation of Huntington's map. TodorBozhinov 20:04, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
I can't really answer for whoever made the map. Feel free to remove it if you think the problems are substantial, although at the small size it appears in the article most of the errors are impossible to make out. I'm not capable to fix it; the other image in the article represents about the limit of my graphic skills. Christopher Parham (talk) 20:14, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

This map differs the one I have seen in Huntington's book. In that map there are "rifts" in the middle of Ukraine and Romania. 07:07, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

The structure of Huntington's world map of civilisations is somewhat fluid, and was criticized as being inaccurate from its inception. As such, some difference in regard to contemporary ethnic societies is to be expected.

If anyone is still following this thread: The map shows (Mongolian) Bhuddism sloshing over into Russia, but Bhuddist Tibet and Islamic Sinkiang/ Xinjiang have been prematurely totally wiped out. How does Huntington show it? BTW, can anyone explain why Japan isn't a "lone" country, like Israel and Ethiopia, if it is the only one in its civilization? And if religion is the criterion, why aren't Monophysite Armenia and Ethiopia together in the same group, that would make sense in this system. Sukkoth 09:59, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry it's a complex topic, so let's divide your question in few:
  1. What exactly a problem with Bhuddists in Russia? You doubt their existence?
  2. Probably both Israel and Japan qualifies for lone civilizations.
  3. I'd say that Ethiopia is too heterogeneous to use only religious definition.
-- tasc wordsdeeds 10:13, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for answering, and quickly. No, I believe there are Bhuddists in that area -- Buryat speakers, for example. However, if they are marked, why isn't Tibet also marked? Is this H's version?
My comment about Israel/ Japan etc is of course a notice of possible inconsistency in the system.
Your answer about Ethiopia would apply to many other cases of course, and my question was intended to suggest the problem of the system: Criteria seem to be freely selected or ignored to fit the intended conclusions, with potentially absurd results. Maybe out of place here, sorry.
Sukkoth 10:39, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm confused. Tibetans probably are not marked 'cause they don't have almost any authonomity/ religious freedom. -- tasc wordsdeeds 11:02, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
Hey, I also noticed an inconsistency in the wikimap. In the book the Northern Philippines are labeled Sinic and Western, not just Western as they are on the wikimap. Basser g 01:05, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Is the map from the book available online somewhere? --Astrokey44 11:10, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Mistakes concerning major civilizations[edit]

The author of this article lists Huntington's civilizations (Sinic, Western Christendom, Orthodox, etc, etc). But the list is wrong. I don't mean Huntington's list is wrong (well, it is a bit nuts, but that's another matter). I mean that the author of the Wiki article made at least two major mistakes in what should have been an easy task.

First, the author would have us believe that Huntington listed "Buddhist" as one of the major civiliazations. That is flat-out not true. In fact, on page 48 of his book, says, "...Buddhism, although a major religion, has not been the basis of a major civilization."

Secondly, Huntington did NOT include "Western Christendom" as a civilization. It was "Western" in the book - see page 46. Yes, he does delve into the obvious identity-cultural link between Christianity and "the West." But for him, the West is NOT one of the civlizations that defines itself by a major world religion. That is a major underlying point in the book - the West's pluralism and secularism.

Third, Huntington does not list the British Caribbean islands as a distinct civilization.

I think that the first point above is quite serious and needs to be corrected in this article.

Huntington lists the Buddhist civilization among the major civilizations, but you are right that he is not completely consistent in this case. I deleted the word "Christendom" because of the reasons that you mentioned. The British Caribbean islands are considered a distinct civilization in Huntington's book, but they do not constitute a major civilization. I hope the text is now clearer. Tankred 21:50, 4 October 2006 (UTC)


I deleted the short "Misconceptions" section recently added by The section made two claims. First, the hypothesis that "The clash of civilizations predicts increased numbers of wars" is argued not to be derived from Huntington's theory. Well, the hypothesis is in line with Huntington's own words. In his essay, Huntigton explicitly predicted a change in frequency of conflicts: "conflict between groups in different civilizations will be more frequent, more sustained and more violent than conflicts between groups in the same civilization". Second, argued that Huntington's critics ignore his view that states would remain the key actors in IR. Well, none of the critical studies cited in this article does it. Tankred 00:45, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Huntington predicted a change in the frequency of different types of conflicts, relative to one another, not a change in the overall level of conflict. (per the quote you give above). Christopher Parham (talk) 02:26, 24 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes, of course. I mean, the whole "misconbceptions" section was not very relevant because the cited critical studies of Huntington deal with the relative, not absolute numbers. Tankred 16:07, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Recent Issues[edit]

I'm wondering if it's appropriate to put the Toronto Terrorism case in as a "Islam & the West" story, considering that Mubin Shaikh, a conservative Muslim who in his words "did it for Islam," worked as an informant for the RCMP and collected most of the evidence used to bring the suspects to trial.


1:30 Nov 6, 2006

Balkan Wars[edit]

Should we consider war between Croatia and Serbia Western-Orthodox clash, and wars Croatia and Serbia led against Bosnian Muslims Western-Islam and Orthodox-Islam clashes?

Cultural reflexivity and controversy[edit]

While this article is referred to as controversial (and rightly so), it currently lacks any section addressing the actual arguments for and against this theory.

One example of this is the concept of social reflexivity. Given Huntington's background and the seriousness with which this text was taken at upper levels, it would not at all be surprising to consider the possibility that a broad, civilisational perspective WOULD be taken by increasing numbers of people over time. The fact that this could occur promotes the article and book's abilities as persuasive pieces, not analytical fact. A comparison in this regard could be made to the viewpoints of ethical egoists.

On a related note, I think that there are currently too many examples of events that may align with Huntington's theory in that list, there. The criterion for application is simply that violence is, broadly, nationalistic, given Huntington's claims. As such, we don't really need a listing of all or most human conflict linked here.

Confusing wording[edit]

Would anyone care to clarify this passage please:

He believes that some of the factors contributing to this conflict are that both Christianity (upon which Western civilization is based) and Islam are: Missionary religions, seeking conversion by others Universal, "all-or-nothing" religions, in the sense that it is believed by both sides that only their faith is the correct one. Teleological religions, that is, that their values and beliefs represent the goals of existence and purpose in human existence More recent factors contributing to a Western-Islamic clash, Huntington wrote, are the Islamic Resurgence and demographic explosion in Islam, coupled with the values of Western universalism - that is, the view that all civilizations should adopt Western values - that infuriate islamic fundamentalists.

What is "conversion by others Universal"? And, what is the predicate of the sentence beginning with the word "Teleological", and where does it stop? Maybe "conversion of others" is meant, and some periods are missing? I don't want to fix it myself cause I'm not sure what is meant.


Sukkoth 10:13, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Error in "Recent issues"[edit]

The Darfur conflict cannot be an example here, as that conflict is between Arabic-speaking Black African Muslims, and non-Arabic speaking Black African Muslims (without prejudice as to the cause of the conflict). See any Wiki article about it, for example, Janjaweed. Therefore, This is not a conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims. Perhaps the cotributor confused it with the conflict in South-Sudan/ Equatoria.

The conflicts in northern Nigeria might be a better example of an Islamic-"African" conflict, although Islamic-Christian would be more accurate.

Sukkoth 10:26, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Recent issues[edit]

I have recently reverted the addition of "Ethinic cleansing in Bangladesh" by User:Sujoyiit (aka The list of "recent issues" should include articles in Wikipedia. It is not a list of external links. If we start adding external links about all ethnic conflicts in the world, this will become the longest article ever. Moreover, websites are often partisan and they contradict each other. To sum up, I believe the [4] edit put an external link to an inappropriate place of an inappropriate article. Tankred 17:44, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Ethnic cleansing of minorities in Bangladesh[edit]

I differ with user:tankred in that the "recent issues" need not "necessarily" include articles within wikipedia ( although this is mostly the case). The external link is provided "only" for the user reference. Websites can be partisan and contradict but that is for the users to decide which one to accept. Removing edits just because someone doubts authenticity of a source is not a wiki policy. Finally, I disagree that the link is inappropiate since is at the core of "Hindu-Islamic clash" as mentioned in the book (although not this particular case). I expect user who wish to omit my addition to "first settle" the issue with me (user:sujoyiit) by email or talk page instead resorting to unilateral deletions.--Sujoyiit 18:48, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Would you mind creating an article (at least a stub) on Wikipedia about that conflict? I am still not convinced that putting two external links inside the list of "recent issues" is a good idea. I am afraid that someone from Bangladesh will put there a third link with an opposing POV. I do not question inclusion of the conflict itself, but the description should follow the style of the list, it should be NPOV and it would be safer for the integrity of this article if you add a link to an article in Wikipedia instead of two other websites. Tankred 19:14, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice and accomodating my viewpoint. I am new to working in wiki, so I'm unaware of the details. I would work to create an article on the conflict. As far as someone adding an opposing POV, I welcome different POVs. I believe wiki encourages different POVs in its articles as long as it doesnot start an editing war. The onus lies on the readers to judge. Sujoyiit 20:24, 1 December 2006 (UTC)