Clash of civilizations has been on my reading list for a very long time. Fortunately, I managed to find a copy of its Urdu translation in my own house. Ideally I would have loved to read the English version. However, as soon as I found the book (in Urdu) I found it so much enticing that I did not really care whether it was in English or whatever. I hope that the translation does not violate any copyright laws. Otherwise it could give rise to a new dimension to this “clash of civilizations”. The translation of the book has been published by a gazetted publisher, namely, Nigaarshaat Publishers, Lahore. It is written on the relevant page that the publisher owns the copyrights of the book. The author of the book is Samuel P. Huntington. The name of the Urdu translator is Abdul-Majeed Tahir.
So what is clash of civilizations really all about? Clash of civilizations is a theory about international conflict that is supposed to shape the political and social dynamics of the post cold war world. To this end, in as much as the book must have been a geopolitical prophecy at the time of its writing, it possibly represents the era we are living in right now. Or it might be alright to say that either we are living in the post- clash of civilizations era or that we are briskly headed to it.
So what is the theory of clash of civilizations all about? The theory of clash of civilizations colors and classifies the human world according to cultural and civilizational distances. It looks at and further draws boundaries between groups of people through various vantage points. However the main markers or factors that are used to bind a group of people together and to draw boundaries between other groups are social in nature.
The author goes in great details in describing the nature of Western civilization. West, according to the author, is composed of Europe, North America and Latin America. Whatever is left is termed as the rest according to the author. The author further proposes that the clas of civilizations can also be supposed to be a clash between the West and the rest.
The other major civilizations that are figured out by the author are the Muslim, eastern Asian and Subcontinental Indian civilizations. Eastern civilization according to him is led by China, under the influence of Confucianism and also contains other cultures such as Japanese and Taiwanese. The author also talks about Russian as an actor playing under the influence of Orthodox Christianity.
The author also talks about the tilt in balance of power between various civilizations. According to the author it appears that the West is loosing, or would loose, the power and superiority of its civilizational doctrine rapidly. This shift of balance appears to be more favorable particularly for China.
In terms of conflicts it is predicted that on a macro level the conflicts would be between the West and the Rest. Whereas on a micro level conflicts would happen between Islam and the rest. The author also talks about other factors related to inter-civilizational conflicts such as terrorism, nuclear proliferation and arms race. The author also suggests remedies and precautions that could sway, abate or dissuade the risks of conflicts.
Obviously the book is more detailed than this small summary. It is indeed worth reading the book. It is particularly quite appropriate for the times we live in.