Was Huntington right?

No social thinker has ever had a crystal ball with which he could judge the future course of the world
"Some scholars also said that the strife between the rich and the poor will shape the future world. While as others drew a stable and peaceful picture of the future world."
"Some scholars also said that the strife between the rich and the poor will shape the future world. While as others drew a stable and peaceful picture of the future world."Special arrangement

After the Soviet Union ceased to exist, Francis Fukuyama anticipated the end of History. What he propounded was uncontested world dominance of Western Liberal democracy as the “final form of human government”, as he himself described it.

Given the void left by the Soviet Union’s collapse until the thesis presented by Samuel P Huntington, several scholars came up with disparate theses and prognosis substantiating the trajectory the world will take post-Soviet Union obliteration.

Some scholars also said that the strife between the rich and the poor will shape the future world. While as others drew a stable and peaceful picture of the future world.

Be that as it may, no social thinker has ever had a crystal ball with which he judged the future course of the world, nor will anyone ever have. Therefore, mistakes are bound to occur and if you were enough ‘firm in Knowledge’, your thesis might turn into a spectacular reality.

The proposition posited by Francis Fukuyama was immediately repudiated by the cultural and economic rejuvenation in East Asian countries, notably in China. The defiance of North Korea and China to the US hegemony rendered the Fukuyama’s thesis discarded and extraneous.

The thesis of clash between the rich and the poor by Huntington himself. Huntington wrote in his magnum opus, The clash of civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, “In this new world (post-Soviet Union world), the most pervasive, important and dangerous conflicts will not be between social classes, rich and poor or other economically defined groups but between people belonging to different cultural entities.”

According to Huntington, “Culture and cultural identities, which at the broadest level are civilization identities, are shaping the patterns of cohesion, disintegration and conflict in the post-cold war world.” The major conflictual event that helped Huntington shape his view of the future world was, the Yugoslavia breakup which ensued into a cycle of lethally violent killing.

To buttress this proposition Huntington wrote, “In the Yugoslav conflict, Russia provided diplomatic assistance to the Serbs and Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and Libya provided funds and arms to Bosnians, not for reasons of ideology, power politics or economic interest but because of cultural kinship.”

Huntington further wrote, “Societies united by ideology and historical circumstance but divided by civilization either come apart as did the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Bosnia or are subjected to intense strain as is the case with Ukraine, Nigeria, Sudan, India and Sri Lanka.”

Taking into account the breakup of Yugoslavia and invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, his analysis seems very much pertinent here. Nonetheless, concerning Islam, he definitely made an obvious mistake.

Huntington on Islam

To Huntington, “Islam is the only civilization which has put the survival of the West in doubt and it has done that at least twice.” Huntington understood the holistic nature of Islam better than many contemporary Muslim scholars.

To him, “As a revolutionary movement, Islamic fundamentalism rejects the Nation-State in favour of the unity of Islam just as Marxism rejected it in favour of the unity of International Proletariat.”

The rejection of Nation-State aspect is right; however, the comparison of Islam with Marxism is redundant given the lack of structural procedure Marxism has as against Islam which overarchingly with unshakable principles succours in defeating every kind of individual and societal devilry and vice.

Huntington attributes Islamic resurgence and the challenge it poses to the Western Civilisation to its immense demographic growth. He erringly writes, “No religious revival or cultural movement lasts indefinitely and at some point, the Islamic resurgence will subside and fade into history.”

He goes on to say, “The Islamic resurgence will show (to the Muslims) that Islam is the solution to problems of morality, identity, meaning and faith but not to the problems of social injustice, political repression, economic backwardness and military weakness.”

No astonishment whatsoever, firstly Islam and its fundamental precepts can never fade or remain in a state of dormancy for far too long. Certainly the veneer of slumber that most of us (Muslims) have decisively chosen has allowed much of the world to take it as a sign of Islamic dissipation and permanent dormancy with a docile subordination to the prevalent world order.

These are the assurances that help us get over the miseries and disillusionments we face in the face of a world that is replete with anarchy, devilry, decadence and oppression.

Secondly, the world we live in right now has substantially been successful in unleashing every kind of oppression that once would have been considered far-fetched.

Be it political, social, economic or military sphere, the Western Civilization headed by the US has been very astute in applying what Pedro Banos, a Spanish author, calls, “Kicking away the Ladder” rule.

Having said that, the world is moving towards a civilizational vacuum, which the decline of the West will create. This vacuum will eventually be another civilization as the dominant world power.

Syed Shahab u Din Andrabi is a Law Student, JMI, New Delhi

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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