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Sorry but I do not get what exactly do you mean by "civilizational" ?Please explain...

It is not my term, but Huntington's. I cannot find a section in Google Books where he defines "civilization/civilizational" more formally and in detail (I don't have the book myself).  However, (no doubt too) simply put, "civilizational" seems to mean "cultural".  

He does introduce the concept in the first paragraph of the first excerpt in this diary, and with respect to Ukraine expands on it in the second paragraph of the second excerpt in this diary (see above).

Under this "civilizational" paradigm, he classifies the world into seven or eight "civilizations":

  • Western
  • Latin American
  • Orthodox
  • Sinic
  • Hindu
  • Japan
  • Muslim
  • Buddhist
with some "lone" countries and "cleft" countres -- including Ukraine -- among and staddling these (see Wikipedia):

In the following excerpt he argues for why a civilizational model approach will be useful at this time, i.e. now that the Cold War model is obsolete, and until a new more suitable paradigm emerges to replace the civilizational one:

The world cannot be both one and fundamentally divided beteen East and West or North and South.  Nor can the nation state be the base rock of international affairs if it is fragementing and torn by proliferating civil strife.  The world is either one, or two, or 184 states, or potentially an almost infinite number of tribes, ethnic groups, and nationalities.

Viewing the world in terms of seven or eight civilizations avoids many of these difficulties.  It does not sacrifice reality to parsimony as do the one- and two-world paradigms; yet it also does not sacrifice parsimony to reality as the statist and chaos paradigms do.  It provides an easily grasped and intelligible framework for understanding the world, distinguishing what is important from what is unimportant among the multiplying conflicts, predicting future developments, and providing guidelines for policymakers.  It also builds on and incorporates elements of the other paradigms.  It is more compatible with them than they are with each other.  A civilizational approach, for instance, holds that:

  • The forces of integration in the world are real and are precisely what are generating counterforces of cultural assertion and civilizational consciousness.
  • The world is in some sense two, but the central distinction is between the West as the hitherto dominant civilization and all the others, which, however, have little if anything in common among them.  The world, in short, is divided between a Western one and a non-Western many.
  • Nation states are and will remain the most important actor in world affairs, but their interests, associations, and conflicts are increasingly shaped by cultural and civilizational factors.
  • The world is indeed anarchical, rife with tribal and nationality conflicts, but the conflicts that pose the greatest dangers for stability are those between states or groups from different civilizations.

A civilizational paradigm thus sets forth a relatively simple but not too simple map for understanding what is going on in the world as the twentieth century ends.  No paradigm, however, is good forever.  The Cold War Model of world politics was useful and relevant for forty years but became obsolete in the late 1980s, and at some point the civilizational paradigm will suffer a similar fate.  For the contemporary period, however, it provides a useful guide for distinguishing what is more important from what is less important.  Slightly less than half of the forty-eight ethnic conflicts in the world in early 1993, for example, were between groups from different civilizations.  The civilizational perspective would lead the U.N. Secretary-General and the U.S. Secretary of State to concentrate their peacemaking efforts on these conflicts which much greater potential than others to escalate into broader wars.

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, p.36-37

Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire
by marco on Sat Mar 1st, 2014 at 10:19:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The last century liberal democracy might as well be a historical aberration, the luxury of the peak industrial age. With resources tighter and global environmental problems sharper, we might know nothing better than to step back to feudal, tribal and hierarchy passions.

The global social-economic and environmental problems are very predictable, yet open discussion of them is conspicuously absent. This blatant incongruency probably shows that global leaders (and other alphas) have their own plans to resolve and settle this civilization overshot episode - and not just at the last moment. Religion, culture, wars are merely tools that had been used in similar (albeit less global) circumstances multiple times. With so much at stake, common people are just masses to manage. Huntington might as well be a prescriptor rather than a predictor.

by das monde on Sun Mar 2nd, 2014 at 10:47:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
why a civilizational model approach will be useful at this time, i.e. now that the Cold War model is obsolete, and until a new more suitable paradigm emerges to replace the civilizational one

Well, he sure argues for why it would be practical, but I don't think it has panned out that way. The West and the rest appears correct, but more in an empirial way then civilizational.

The post-cold war conflicts has not been between civilizational blocs, nor have the border areas in Huntingtons map been more conflicted then other areas (afaik). Looking at conflicts, I'd say that they occured within most blocs - except the West and Japan - and mostly started or at least supported by the West. And when the happens faultlines within society gets more marked as the state that upheld a common identity is destroyed or at least humiliated. As many has noted before, Sunni/Shia maps of Middle eastern countries or cities could instead be painted with different ethnicities in London or New York, except then the underlying racism would be clear.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 3rd, 2014 at 10:40:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You remind me of another point I wanted to make: Huntington's choice of "civilisation" is rather arbitrary.

  • He chooses to separate Orthodox and Western [Christianity], but keeps Sunni and Shi'a together, although Lebanon and Iraq and Pakistan and Bahrain showed that there is plenty of supra-national conflict potential there.
  • As for Christianity, the Orthodox-Western border is not that sharp, especially in the Ukraine: the "Western" Christians there are Greek Catholics who are Eastern rite but loyal to the Pope, and if you argue culture, that's perhaps closer to Moscow than Rome.
  • It's also telling that there is no Protestant-Catholic distinction. Huntington and his readers are all too aware that those can live along now, even though there are some real cultural differences, and that "Latin American" culture may be closer to Spain than the USA.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 3rd, 2014 at 12:13:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well said, Huntingdon's notion of culture has always been sloppy and not rooted in the research on culture. He rather just put his prejudices down on paper.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Mar 3rd, 2014 at 03:02:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I recall correctly, he extensively discuss his choice of not defining the Islamic civilization as one civilization, and not as two.

He also discusses the Ukraine unitarian point, and the catholic-protestant issue in a Latin American context.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Tue Mar 25th, 2014 at 11:14:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One "not" too much...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Mar 25th, 2014 at 11:24:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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