Erdem_ClashOfCivRevisited - Alternatives Turkish Journal of...

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Unformatted text preview: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.2, Summer 2002 81 The ‘Clash of Civilizations’: Revisited after September 11 Engin I. Erdem* The dissolution of the Soviet Union not only ended the Cold War era but also it terminated simplistic understanding of world politics, which was dominant during this time. The bloc mentality of the Cold War has no longer provided an outlook to delineate the picture of the new period. By the end of the Cold War, henceforth, students of international relations have witnessed several ‘contending images of world politics’ 1 . The images are basically concerned with redefining the newly emerging world politics. Interestingly, all of these images originate in the West and in the United States in particular. 2 The linkage is in fact significant as it demonstrates knowledge-power relationship in international relations. Of these ‘western’ images of world politics, especially Francis Fukayama’s the ‘End of History’ 3 and Samuel P. Huntington’s the ‘Clash of Civilizations?’ have earned utmost attention. In contrast to Fukayama’s optimistic vision of future, Huntington has called forth World War III that stems from clash of civilizations. 4 He predicts that ‘fundamental’ differences among the seven or eight major civilizations will more likely pave way to global turmoil in years to come. This paper, aims at revisiting the ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis in post-September 11 world, is consisted of six parts. After introductory section, second section will deal with Huntington’s arguments, which take place in his article, book, and his respond to the criticisms. In the third part, seven categories of criticisms on Huntington’s thesis will take place. Then, the Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.2, Summer 2002 82 thesis will be re-examined in aftermath of September 11. The fifth section will briefly touch upon Islam-the West relations. Finally, there will be a concluding part, which offers several remarks about the clash thesis and the delicate nature of Islam-the West relations in the new epoch of world politics after September 11. INTRODUCTION George F. Kennan’s ‘X’ article in Foreign Affairs of July 1947 5 not only pioneered the U.S policy of containment during the Cold War but also the article overwhelmingly framed the agenda of international relations (IR) and U.S foreign policy thereafter. ‘X’ article later became one of the most cited studies in the field of international relations. In similar to Kennan’s article, Harvard professor of political science, Samuel P. Huntington’s ‘The Clash of Civilizations?’ article, which published in Foreign Affairs of Summer 1993 has significantly shaped the post- Cold War discourse(s) of IR and U.S foreign policy. Proponents of the civilizational clash thesis and its critics afterward have created a ‘clash of scholarship’ 6 in the field. The clash of scholarship indeed has primarily induced ‘fruitful debates’...
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Erdem_ClashOfCivRevisited - Alternatives Turkish Journal of...

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