Some Critical Notes on THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS by Samuel P. Huntington

This magnificent contribution to political science requires critical review, because its wide scope of problems raised and the global distribution of The Clash of Civilizations by Samuel P. Huntington makes the book a powerful piece of ideology. Its every paragraph could influence the way of thinking around the world. Therefore, one should pay closer attention to mistakes, which the author, willingly or unwillingly, made in the edition, published by The Free Press in 2002.


Factual Errors


«Societies united by ideology or historical circumstance but divided by civilization either come apart, as did the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Bosnia…» (p. 28). Bosnia was a part of Yugoslavia. That is why, one mustn’t treat the formerly autonomous republic of Bosnia on the same level with federations like the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. It is wrong both culturally and legally.

«200 years of Tatar rule <in Russia>» (p. 45). In fact, there was no Tatar rule in Russia: Mongols invaded the country. Besides, their domination lasted for about 300 years.

«… Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have shifted from the Cyrillic script of their former Russian masters to the Western script of their Turkish kinsmen, while Persian-speaking Tajikistan has adopted Arabic script» (p. 64). Both Kyrgyz and Tajik languages still function in the Cyrillic script.

«The average ages of Westerners, Japanese, and Russians are increasingly steadily…» (p. 86). This is not true. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the average age of Russians has decreased. Now their life expectancy is closer to the one of the Third World.

«… Orthodox Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine gravitate toward Russia…» (p. 127). In case of Moldova, its Russian-speaking minority in the Transnistria region fought a secessionist war against the Moldovan majority. The separatists were supported by Russia. But the Moldovan majority definitely gravitates toward Romania and the European Union.

«… the two predominantly Slavic Orthodox republics of Belarus and Moldova…» (p. 163). The predominantly Moldovan (Romanian) Moldova has a Slavic minority.

«… <Russia> deploys military forces in <Central Asian countries> all of them» (p. 243). Now, as well as at the time of the book’s publication, Russia has no military bases in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

«In 1991 the Indian prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, was murdered…» (p. 275). He was assassinated.

«… the neighboring Orthodox Ossetians and Muslim Ingush» (p. 276). Considerable number of Ossetians have been Muslims.

«The president of Chuvash republic exempted Chuvash draftees from serving against their follow (sic!) Muslims» (p. 277). As a rule, Chuvashs have been Orthodox Christians.


Controversial Statements


«Improvements in transportation and communications technology have indeed made it easier and cheaper to move money, goods, people, knowledge, ideas, and images around the world» (p. 67). Sometimes the author sounds too optimistic. Technological progress
doesn’t necessarily mean appropriate improvements of international
relations. For example, a citizen of Russia can visit distant Brazil
without a visa. But in order to visit nearby France, he has to undergo
ridiculous bureaucratic procedures.

«More broadly, the religious resurgence throughout the world is a reaction against secularism, moral relativism, and self-indulgence, and a reaffirmation of the values of order, discipline, work, mutual help, and human solidarity» (p. 98). The religious revival has stemmed from business and ideology, not from merely spiritual aspirations. Ruling classes prefer church-going workers and peasants, not thinking members of trade unions. It is better to have human resources, which believe in mythological creatures and UFOs, than to face well-educated PERSONALITIES.

World map on the face of a man.

«… the core states of the major civilizations are supplanting the two Cold War superpowers as the principal poles of attraction and repulsion for other countries» (p. 155). Today, the world is rather monopolar than multipolar. China has enormous population and strong economy, but it lacks high technologies and its armed forces haven’t global capabilities. Basically the same can be said about India. The only advantages of Russia are raw materials and nuclear weapons. The sole remaining superpower is the USA. Full-fledged fleet of aircraft carriers, dollars, high technologies, and so forth ensure its global domination.

«The Cold War began with the extension of Soviet political and military control into Central Europe» (p. 161). Churchill declared it and his successors are still belligerent. The Warsaw Pact was dissolved in 1991, but the NATO is alive and conducts expansionist policies.

«Democratization was most successful in countries where Christian and Western influences were strong» (p. 193). Real democracy is an illusion. Independent and socialist, let alone communist, candidates stand no chances in the presidential campaign in the USA, where Democratic and Republican parties have equally well served big corporations and military-industrial complex. A scholar with revisionist views on demographics of the WWII can be imprisoned in Germany. These are just a few examples of antidemocratic activities in the so-called Free World.

P. S. There are several ethnic groups in Northern Caucasus, which originated in Kazakhstan. Their languages, religion, and customs bear strong resemblance to Kazakh ones. But, apart from such similarities, their race and lifestyle is closer to Chechens, Dagestanis, Ossetians, and other inhabitants of Northern Caucasus. So, there are no clearcut criteria of common culture (civilization).

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