Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


This is coolbert:

The esteemed Professor Samuel Huntington is a very hot button topic of late.

It is rare that a university professor in the U.S. would garner such attention as has Huntington.

Huntington is highly thought of in some quarters, not so in others. What controversial person and person of intellect is not thought of in this manner???

Conflict [war] is of primary concern to Huntington. The reasons why and the future causes of to be exact. The nature of which, according to Huntington, is rapidly changing on the world stage.

Huntington has characterized the current jihadi campaign against the west as part and parcel of a "clash of civilizations" . Cultures and ways of thought in conflict. Irreconcilable cultures and ideas in conflict.

Huntington also sees the flow of illegal aliens to the U.S., primarily from Spanish speaking nations, as another threat to American culture and nationhood. What is occurring according to Huntington [and others too] is a "balkanization" of the U.S. into competing and diverse cultures that will be [if not already] at odds with one another.

Read a web article entitled, "A Clash of Civilizations".

Again, I have extracted salient points: [my comments in bold]

* "World politics is entering a new phase."

NOT the New World Order either.

* "it is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic."

These are the normal reasons [economic and ideological, with emphasis on the former] that have given for well over a one hundred year period as to why the nation-states of the world go to war.

* "the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future."

Warfare between tribes of peoples, culture entities, etc.

* "the peoples and governments of non-Western civilizations no longer remain the objects of history as targets of Western colonialism but join the West as movers and shapers of history."

Specifically here, Indian and China emerging as major world powers with major impact for the world.

* "During the cold war the world was divided into the First, Second and Third Worlds. Those divisions are no longer relevant"

This IS what the first President Bush was speaking about when he described the "new world order".

* "the world will be shaped in large measure by the interactions among seven or eight major civilizations. These include Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American and possibly African civilization."

* "First, differences among civilizations are not only real; they are basic."

Contrary to what some folks will tell you, ALL people around the world are basically NOT the same. Outwardly and superficially they may be, but inwardly with regard to thought, outlook, and what can be best described as world-view they are NOT the same.

* "Differences do not necessarily mean conflict, and conflict does not necessarily, mean violence. Over the centuries, however, differences among civilizations have generated the most prolonged and the most violent conflicts."

It is not inevitable, but wars, clashes if you want to call them that, WILL occur to some degree when these cultural domains meet and interact.

* "Second, the world is becoming a smaller place"

Rapid fire transport, communications, the internet, etc.

* "Third, the processes of economic modernization and social change throughout the world are separating people from longstanding local identities."

Huntington does not do a good job of explaining this. Globalization and the so-called one world phenomenon DOES create resentment among segments of populations.

* "Fourth, the growth of civilization-consciousness is enhanced by the dual role [dual role not properly defined or undestood?] of the West."

I would be more candid that Huntington. Among large portions of the non-western world, there is a very heavy "get whitey" bias. A hate of all things western. My opinion.

* "Fifth, cultural characteristics and differences are less mutable and hence less easily compromised and resolved than political and economic ones."

* "Finally, economic regionalism is increasing."

The EU, NAFTA, etc.

* "As people define their identity in ethnic and religious terms, they are likely to see an "us" versus "them" relation existing between themselves and people of different ethnicity or religion."

The very essence of most religions is exclusivity. WE are saved. THEY are damned. You CANNOT argue with GOD!!

* "The clash of civilizations thus occurs at two levels. At the micro-level, adjacent groups along the fault lines between civilizations struggle, often violently, over the control of territory and each other. At the macro-level, states from different civilizations compete for relative military and economic power, struggle over the control of international institutions and third parties, and competitively promote their particular political and religious values"

* "The fault lines between civilizations are replacing the political and ideological boundaries of the Cold War as the flash points for crisis and bloodshed."

* "Conflict along the fault line between Western and Islamic civilizations has been going on for 1,300 years"

This conflict between the west and the Moslem has been going on for a long time, and will, well, FOREVER.

* "This centuries-old military interaction between the West and Islam is unlikely to decline. It could become more virulent."

This article of Huntington's was written in 1993, well prior to 9/11.

* "Those relations are also complicated by demography"

Where ever you look, the west is at a big disadvantage with regard to demography. In even Sweden, of all places, immigration from non-white nations, a declining birthrate among native Swedes, and HIGH birth rate among the families of immigrants will mean that by the year 2100, whites in Sweden WILL BE A MINORITY OF THE POPULATION.

* "On both sides the interaction between Islam and the West is seen as a clash of civilizations."

Among the thinkers in the Islamic world, this has been perceived for a very long time, and much more stridently so. Remember Mohammad Iqbal I have mentioned in previous blog entries??

* "We are facing a mood and a movement far transcending the level of issues and policies and the governments that pursue them."

A war that has a very strong, perhaps overriding cultural dimension to it.

* "The same phrase ["new cold war"] has been applied to the increasingly difficult relations between Japan and the United States."

I find this to be excessive. Japan and the U.S. work together behind the scenes on the international stage more often than not. Peaceful economic competition, sometimes creating anger, but not ideological, religious, or cultural in nature.

* "The interactions between civilizations vary greatly in the extent to which they are likely to be characterized by violence."

The polar opposite war-peace sliding scale continuum applies here.

* "Groups or states belonging to one civilization that become involved in war with people from a different civilization naturally try to rally support from other members of their own civilization."

"When it comes to killin', likes will go with likes" - - Roots.

* "In the 1930s the Spanish Civil War provoked intervention from countries that politically were fascist, communist and democratic"

This is not entirely so. Democratic GOVERNMENTS generally boycotted the war and did not aid either side. PERSONS from democratic nations were generally communists who did NOT really participate in the fighting to any marked degree. Show only.

* "Conflicts and violence will also occur between states and groups within the same civilization. Such conflicts, however, are likely to be less intense and less likely to expand than conflicts between civilizations"

This may not be entirely true either. Conflict between Sunni and Shia in Iraq for instance, is now and will show and intensity, hate, and propensity for atrocity that will be greater than anything either side will be able to accuse American forces of.

* The next world war, if there is one, will be a war between civilizations.

Scary thought, is it not?? We thought that sort of thing was over and done with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. What is he [Huntington?] saying?? Nature abhors a vacuum and will fill one when it exists.

* The west in now at an extraordinary peak of power in relation to other civilizations.

True, and yet new threats and dangers constantly emerge. Nature hates a vacuum.

* "Differences in power and struggles for military, economic and institutional power are thus one source of conflict between the West and other civilizations."

These are the traditional sources of power and struggles and points for conflict as we have known them throughout history.

* "Differences in culture, that is basic values and beliefs, are a second source of conflict. V. S. Naipaul has argued that Western civilization is the 'universal civilization' that 'fits all men.'"

All people all over the world are basically the same and want the same basic thing and look at things in the same basic manner. That is the idea. NO!!

* "The central axis of world politics in the future is likely to be, in Kishore Mahbubani's phrase, the conflict between "the West and the Rest" and the responses of non-Western civilizations to Western power and values."

This will be true only as long as the "west" is the world's powerhouse. If the "west" were to disappear tomorrow, other conflicts and rifts would emerge, and quickly too. Nature hates a vacuum. India and China would be rivals and fight. Or the Islamic world and China would become rivals and fight, etc. Something would emerge.

* "In the future, as people differentiate themselves by civilization, countries with large numbers of peoples of different civilizations, such as the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, are candidates for dismemberment."

Yugoslavia of course was a prime candidate for dismemberment. Consisted of Catholic and Orthodox, Muslim and Christian. A bad mix with an evil brew of trouble.

* "For the United States, Mexico is the most immediate torn country."

This is without a doubt true. Mexico presents a threat to the U.S. in the sense that it wants to expand it's culture, change the culture, and live with [??] another culture, on the same land, all at the same time. NOT possible!!

* "Third, the dominant groups in the recipient civilization have to be willing to embrace the convert. All three requirements in large part exist with respect to Mexico."

Here Huntington is talking about the remainder of North American accepting the "new" Mexico into the fold. I am not sure that the dominant group DOES want to accept Mexico. Mexico seems to want the others to accept them and take them in, but at a VERY high price for the recipient [U.S. and Canada].

* "Almost without exception, Western countries are reducing their military power; under Yeltsin's leadership so also is Russia"

The decline in the Russian military has continued even after Yeltsin. And throughout the west military strength continues to decline. This is because the military and WAR is TOO EXPENSIVE. Cannot be fought in the old way. Costs TOO much money that is not had.

* "The conflict between the West and the Confucian-Islamic states focuses largely, although not exclusively, on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, ballistic missiles and other sophisticated means for delivering them, and the guidance, intelligence and other electronic capabilities for achieving that goal."

Weaponry that once the sole purview of the "west" is now obtainable and can be had by anyone that wants the weapons and has the money to pay. Many nations now can manufacture sophisticated weapons that once only a FEW nations were able to do.

* "Centrally important to the development of counter-West military capabilities is the sustained expansion of China's military power and its means to create military power."

China of course, as has been the subject of several blog entries, has almost always, but not totally, inward looking and not outwardly aggressive.

* "A Confucian-Islamic military connection has thus come into being, designed to promote acquisition by its members of the weapons and weapons technologies needed to counter the military power of the West."

China and Islam too have a historic animosity. Talas of course was the end of Chinese expansion during the Tang dynasty. Conflict could occur between these two powers in the future again.

* "This article does not argue that civilization identities will replace all other identities, that nation states will disappear, that each civilization will become a single coherent political entity, that groups within a civilization will not conflict with and even fight each other."

No. And no one would suggest such a thing. What is being suggested that the nation-state as the sole entity of power and warmaking. This may be a thing of the past. To be replaced by cultural, tribal, and "civilizational" forces.

* "This is not to advocate the desirability of conflicts between civilizations. It is to set forth descriptive hypotheses as to what the future may be like."

Huntington is trying to persuade you he DOES NOT advocate conflict. He is merely saying that it will occur and we should understand why it does. A changing source of conflict from what we are accustomed to.

* "For the relevant future, there will be no universal civilization, but instead a world of different civilizations, each of which will have to learn to coexist with the others."

Civilizations can co-exist, just as did various nation-states. War will be still be present, and the various civilizations will relate to one another along that war-peace polar opposite sliding scale continuum. But a new way of things being thought of and being done WILL exist.



Anonymous JSBolton said...

War likelihood appears to increase systematically as a country is backward and expanding demographically, and not geographically isolated.
There will be more nations, not fewer, as ethnic groups which are expanding are more and more competitively juxtaposed within existing multiethnic polities.
My proposal to lessen conflict, is to embargo countries which use child labor, unless they have large per capita oil exports. This must include all categories of traded items, otherwise the effect on population growth may not occur.
This can be justified on the grounds that it is immoral to rceive stolen goods, and the products of child labor are such, and on the grounds of valuing peace in the world. That is, not every kind of peace, but the kind which is actually preferable to war.

3:10 AM

Anonymous JSBolton said...

Also, Huntington is right to call attention to the special risk of conflict with Mexico. It can't be laughed off as a mouse that roared; at least, not so long as our policy towards them is appeasement.
It may be that there is some perfect mix of policies relative to appeasement and provocation, which is the most likely to cause war.
To hazard a guess, suppose this were ~90% appeasement, plus ~10% that would be called provocation in the context of extravagant appeasement, and ~1% actual provocation.
Some mix like that is the most likely to precipitate war; yet such a policy mix is exactly what is urged on us by 'peace' advocates relative to Mexico, moslems etc.
Along with them, we have anarchists who try to idealize competition for sovereignty, to idealize war itself, and call it advanced and practical globalization!

3:39 AM


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