Western Ideas Impact On Civilizations

John R Reeve
Int’l Seminar
Paper 3
The first article entitle “The Summoning” by Fouad Ajami begins with a quote from Marlowe that emphasizes that all civilization has been affected by western ideas and thought. Immediately he attacks Huntington’s essay “The Clash of Civilizations?” Not only does he demolish the ideas set forth by Huntington, Ajami sets forth his own ideas on the current instability among nations.

Ajami does not believe that civilizations will clash over race and does not acknowledge the “de-westernization” of societies. He believes that Huntington places far too much emphasis on tradition.
“We have been hearing from traditionalists, but we should not exaggerate their power, for traditions are often more insistent and loud when they rupture, when people no longer really believe and when age-old customs lose their ability to keep men and women at home.”
His ideas on tradition clearly undercut Huntington’s ideas on the re-emergence of tribalism. He says instead of states splintering because of secular groups they will stay coherent out of necessity and fear of chaos.
Ajami sums up his essay with an age-old philosophy of self-help and self-interest. I see this article as a welcomed alternative to the fairly depressing world that Huntington has prescribed for us.

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In “The End of Progressivism” Eisuke Sakakibara again looks over the history of conflict and does not believe that conflict comes from sheer ethnicity alone. Instead he points to economic and environmental problems. He also denies the premise made by Fukuyama. He argues that we have not entered the end of history but we are still evolving. There are still non-capitalist approaches to government and economy. He points to the example of China’s social market economy. This article seems mainly to deal with the economic side of government and conflict. He points to the fact that civilizations rise and fall and do clash with one another but more importantly civilizations have coexisted throughout most of history and will continue to do so. The article was more economically focused than I expected but the data that he provide supports his arguments well.
In “the Myth of Global Ethnic Conflict”, John R. Bowen sets out to shatter the ideas of a world enraptured in ethnic conflict. Bowen explains that ethnic conflict did not truly exist until the colonialism classifications of partners within the colonized area. The ethnic difference at the place in which conflict is occurring is much less than other places in the world. He points out that conflict arises when ethnicities are more alike than they are dissimilar. The example he sites is Malaysia, which has a large ethnically diverse population and very little ethnic conflict. The juxtaposition to this is Bosnia in which the three largest ethnicities speak the same language and have intermarried for years. This country is strife with conflict. Bowen presents many thoughts to which I personally consent. The idea that ethnic conflict will claim the world is a daunting thought and I am not sure that I believe it. His ideas seem to make much more sense. In looking in the past it is hard to find anyone of a true ethnicity. No culture has been that isolated. History has had its’ score of quarrel but it also reminds us that we still exist and that humanity has an uncanny ability to learn and survive from previously made mistakes.
Political Issues