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Clash of Civilizations has been a stalking horse for Islamophobia for nearly twenty years. It didn't reach that buzz status without help from neocons -- but also without containing intelligent analysis that is worth keeping in mind. In particular, the critique of the "statist model". (We only need to look at the "states" the English and French created as departing colonial powers, that took no account of cultural differences, for example India or Mali, or the whole Middle-Eastern mess from Sykes-Picot on).

However, the cookie-cutter world he proposes isn't fully convincing. Things are more complicated. As vbo points out, though the Catholic/Orthodox line separates Croatia from Serbia, overall, ethnicity, culture and language are not factors of separation. Meanwhile, ethnicity, culture and language are not the same between Walloons and Flemish, though they share deeply-rooted Catholicism. A somewhat similar point could be made about Spain. There are considerable cultural/linguistic differences from Austria (former principal "owner") down to Southern Italy, yet the religion is Catholic.

I don't know what this means for Ukraine. Apart from the religious split, there's a linguistic question that seems to be identity-polarising. And how cohesive a recently-established state can be that has a long history of being a region of one form or other of the Russian Empire, seems problematic.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 2nd, 2014 at 05:01:42 AM EST

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