Civilizational Dialogue: Huntington & Fukuyama Theories

Introduction

Many intellectuals tend to perceive the end of the world in terms of emerging political differences. Although conflicts among states are evident in the world of economics and development, the argument presented in this essay is against such ideas. From a personal viewpoint, the end of world history can be explained from a political angle where most of the points of disagreement are based on differences between the superpower nations and their collaborators. Many nations appreciate civilized dialogues as apt methods for resolving conflicts among nations. This essay provides an insight into civilization dialogue by analyzing various points of view in ‘Clash of civilization theory’ by Huntington and the ‘End of History’ theory by Fukuyama. It further elaborates on the United Nation’s stand against the theories and calls for dialogue.

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Main arguments of the ‘Theory of Clash of Civilisation’ and ‘End of World History’

According to Huntington (1993), a clash of civilizations is seen in the context of politics that is based on the cultural differences amongst nations. The interrelationship between the Western and Asian cultures is defined by their behavior. Huntington (1993) states that civilization can clash due to a number of factors. At the outset, the aspects of civilization are unique in terms of historical backgrounds, linguistics, cultural origin, traditions, and/or religious backgrounds (Huntington 1993). However, the differences cannot end or disappear. This situation results in a clash of civilizations.

Another factor that enhances social and cultural interactions between people is globalization (Huntington 1993). The increased international relations have significant effects on the civilization amongst different people. Huntington (1993) also mentioned that religion plays a critical role in bridging the gap between differences among people. Such disparities are caused by economic activities and changes in social statuses (Huntington1993). Another issue that will bring about the clash is the influence of the West on non-West cultures. Huntington (1993) notes that the West has variously attempted to express its powers to non-west states. Different societies have unique characteristics that are difficult to mute or change; hence, a clash is likely to arise due to resistance to transformation (Huntington 1993).

Arguments of Huntington in His Theory

In his theory, Huntington (1993) specifies five main arguments on civilization. The first argument entails the differences of modern civilization due to uniqueness and nonconformity to both westernization and non-westernization. The influence of western civilization has significantly diminished. Islam is currently on the rise. As a result, economic expansion is evident among the Asian communities. According to Huntington (1993), most non-westernized countries are presently rebuilding their cultures and values.

Furthermore, civilized new world order is emerging. It encompasses a host of cultural attributes that are shared by races. These characteristics include collaboration among countries that share the same locality, immense cooperation among people, and a constant change of social behaviors (Huntington 1993). Tensions arising from the West, especially from Asia and China, due to unsuccessful civilization have led to wars that are evident between Muslim and non-Muslim communities (Huntington 1993).

Arguments of Fukuyama on his theory of ‘End of World History’

In his essay ‘End of World History’, Francis Fukuyama narrated the existence and disappearances of various ideologies such as absolutism and communism among others. He proposed that human history is a battlefield where different ideologies have been exhausted. This claim implies that the history of humankind has reached an end due to the democratization and liberalization of westernized cultures. Fukuyama (1992) stated that western culture has currently dominated the ideologies of other communities since the majority of the world’s nations embrace consumerism, liberalization, and democracy (Fukuyama 1992). One of the primary arguments in the essay implies that capitalism is the main economic driver in contemporary societies. It is also noted that the beginning and rise of democracy have led to peace. Finally, yet importantly, the western democracies have resulted at the end of the socio-cultural evolution of humanity (Fukuyama 1992).

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Main Arguments against the Two Theories

Various arguments against Huntington’s theory of Clash Civilisation include the issue of ‘cultural diversity that reflects on western civilization. However, this theory fails to appreciate cultural diversity (Sen 1999). Another argument that contradicts the theory is that clash civilization is based on non-existing conflicts. Nonetheless, there are no types of civilizations such as Islamic, Western, and/or non-Western civilizations that lead to a clash. Many people who reside in western nations are foreigners (Sen 1999). A civilization clash only arises due to differing dogmas that exist among people of various cultural backgrounds (Berman 2003). According to Said (2004), there is an aspect of dynamism and dependency among different nations.

Fukuyama’s theory of ‘End of World History’ also faces a number of counterarguments. A major criticism is placed on liberalization that is demonstrated by the USA and other western nations. In reality, these countries do not implement liberalization or democracy effectively (Said 2004). Another point that underpins the theory is the resurgence of economies and political power among non-western nations such as Russia and China. These two countries practice authoritarian and single-party state systems respectively. The issue of liberal democracy is not factored in their government formations (Said 2004).

World Order

Chief factors that escalated the cold war were the differing societal philosophies about totalitarianism and democracy as well as the geopolitical powers and forces against the integration of countries on the international scene. The differences in political, economic, cultural, and religious landscapes among others also enhanced the conflicts (Picco & Aboulmagd 2001). The world order came into life due to the consequences of the cold war. This situation happened when various countries that formed the Soviet Union to gain their independence disintegrated leaving the USA as the only superpower nation (Lebow & Risse-Kappen 1995). The cold war brought about a significant meltdown in the world’s economy. The end of the cold war and bipolar world paved way for cooperation among various nations. The news about the world order was mainly the international cooperation and military interventions in the post-cold war era. This move ensured economic recession, improvement of security, and peacebuilding (Lebow & Risse-Kappen 1995).

Solutions of the World Order

The new world order was geared towards interdependency with a view of recovering the world economy. This state of affairs was ensured through the formation of multinational trade cooperation. For instance, most European countries and other developed nations played a crucial role in improving the world’s economy. The world order also brought about security. This situation was ensured through the formation of collective security after the war. Eventually, the United Nations (UN) was formed. Up to date, the international organization solves diplomatic issues (Tharoor 2003). Another significant advantage was peace. According to Lynch (2000), peace was established through democracy. This situation promoted trade among nations, tourism, and interaction amongst people of different cultural backgrounds (Lynch 2000).

The UN and Call for dialogue

The UN always proposes a call for dialogue, especially in International conferences. These dialogues lead to a better understanding and appreciation of various cultural differences. An example of dialogue was evident where Muslims and Christians came together to discuss their religions (Tharoor 2003). Therefore, dialogue ensures a proper understanding of diversity. This state of affairs enhances the prevention of conflicts; hence, it results in the peaceful coexistence of people (Lynch 2000).

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The UN once organized an international dialogue that encompassed governments, the various bodies of the UN, and NGOs among others at the general assembly. The plan was to initiate a dialogue among the various civilizations in the world. The call for dialogue promotes international relations (Lynch 2000). For instance, the UN has managed to end some conflicts in Iran and Iraq through dialogue. However, the UN does not support either of the theories since they entail the creation of conflicts. Fukuyama’s theory that supports virtuous liberalization is a notion based on the philosophies of the western superpower instead of dwelling in peaceful coexistence (WAN 2003). On the other hand, Huntington’s theory supports a clash of civilizations that only enhances defragmentation of various cultures rather than appreciating cultural diversity (Huntington 1993).

In a personal viewpoint, both theories fail to support peaceful coexistence among nations; hence, they escalate the differences among the nations. As a result, I highly criticize their application in everyday life. Although the followers of Fukuyama’s theory appreciate liberal democracy, it ordains some discriminating aspect that disregards other nations. An issue of racism is also evident in Huntington’s theory of civilization clash.

Most Interesting and Challenging Issues

An interesting issue is a fact that the education systems that are implemented in different cultural backgrounds play a critical role in better understanding of these theories. For example, a Russian student who is fond of authoritarianism and communism has trouble adopting liberalism and capitalism aspects.

Topics of Interest in the Areas Discussed

Various topics that are of great interest include an appreciation of cultural diversity, democratization, and the importance of dialogue among the various civilizations with a view of enhancing peaceful coexistence.

The most challenging Topics from the Theories

One of the most challenging topics from the theories includes the application of democracy to a global scene to realize a greater value. There is also a difficulty in establishing a common ground with a view of appreciating the culture of civilization amidst the notion of the clash because of ideological differences. Another challenge lies in the various means of ending the clash of civilizations.

Lessons Learnt

Most governments ensure cooperation and peaceful coexistence through civilization dialogue. The appreciation of diversity is paramount to the establishment of diplomatic societies. In addition, cultural diversity can be understood through dialogue. Various nations can solve conflicts through dialogue. For instance, the UN successfully implemented the technique in Iraq and Iran. However, people must be aware of the ever-changing cultures and civilizations due to factors such as integration and globalization that serve as opportunities for identifying various causes of conflicts and economic improvement.

Conclusion

The civilization dialogue is a technique that is implemented by many nations with a view of promoting peace, diversity appreciation and cooperation among communities and nations. This essay has explored the civilization dialogue by analyzing the theories of ‘Clash of Civilisation’ by Huntington and ‘End of World History’ by Fukuyama. The theories have also elaborated on the lack of peaceful coexistence among nations.

References

Berman, P 2004, Terror, and liberalism, WW Norton & Company, New York, NY.

Fukuyama, F 1992, The End of History and the Last Man, Simon, and Schuster, New York, NY.

Huntington, S 1993, ‘The clash of civilisations’, Foreign affairs, vol. 72 no. 3, pp. 22-49.

Lebow, R & Risse-Kappen, T 1995, International Relations theory and the end of the Cold War, Columbia University Press, New York, NY.

Lynch, M 2000, ‘The dialogue of civilizations and international public spheres’, Millennium-Journal of International Studies, vol. 29 no. 2, pp. 307-30.

Picco, G & Aboulmagd, A 2001, Crossing the divide, Dialogue among civilizations, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ.

Said, E 2004, From Oslo to Iraq and the Road Map, Pantheon, New York, NY.

Sen, A 1999, ‘Democracy as a Universal Value’, Journal of Democracy, vol. 10 no. 3, pp. 3-17.

Tharoor, S 2003, ‘Why America Still Needs the United Nations’, Foreign Affairs, vol. 82 no. 5, pp. 67-80.

Wan, J, Zou, G, Lu, F, Wang, X & Tang, W 2003, ‘Dialogue with Civilisation: Philosophical Understanding of Iraqi War’, Hebei Academic Journal, vol. 5 no. 1, pp. 4.

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