“Clash not Culture”
Cultural differences in a post-Cold War era will not empirically lead to more frequent and
violent conflicts between civilizations, regardless of their relationship or proximity to each other.
As proven through history, conflict is inevitable and today theorists continue to debate where and
why the next war will occur. Our world is a mist a diverging global society with non-state actors
competing for new world order. Many states are suffering great turmoil, while others are gaining
economic strength and power. Although the world has reached a point that we are poised for
conflict, there has actually been a decline in conflict among ...view middle of the document...
At the end of the Cold War, Samuel P. Huntington, developed a visionary thesis, “The Clash
of Civilizations?” alleging a paradigm shift in the root cause of conflict. Huntington states, “The
fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily
economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be
cultural. He goes on to say that “The conflicts of the future will occur along the cultural fault
lines separating civilizations” as well as conflict in the immediate future between the West and
several Confucian states.
Huntington claims in his thesis that major conflict will come from a clash of two civilizations.
A study by Jonathan Fox provides a comparison of all ethnic conflicts during and after the Cold
War. Fox’s result shows a modest decline in the ratio of inter-civilization conflicts to intra-
civilization conflicts. In addition, a study by Errol Henderson and Richard Tucker on the impact
of cultural differences and the probability of international conflicts post-Cold War; shows
cultural differences would have no visible impact on the probability of wars during this period.
Looking further into the historical perspective of major wars fought through 1945, we find that
only 33% involved states from two or more civilizations. They found just the opposite of
Huntington’s prediction, the probability of conflicts between two states were greater if they were
from the same civilization.
Huntington draws a conclusion that fault lines (boundaries) play a significant role in setting
the stage for groups to clash over territory and control of each other. He predicts the next big
conflict will come from the Muslim world. As part of the Fox survey of ethnic conflicts, he
found that Islam was involved in 23.2 percent of...