Based on Samuel P. Huntington's book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order, what is the relationship between modernization and westernization, and what are historical...

Based on Samuel P. Huntington's book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order, what is the relationship between modernization and westernization, and what are historical examples of the relationship?  What is the nature of the response of peoples, religions, or nations to both of these movements?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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According to theorist Samuel P. Huntington, in his book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order, westernization spurred modernization by infecting the world with Western culture's own ideology. The end of the Cold War and the fall of Eastern European communism brought with it a new focus in ideology; suddenly, most of the world's nations believed that capitalism, democracy, and human rights were the only ideals left, as opposed to having ideologies of their own. Historic examples of Western influence on modernization can be seen with respect to any country that has become democratic. Many examples can be seen in Latin America. One specific example is Venezuela, originally a Spanish colony that declared full independence in the 19th century, between 1811 and 1821; however, the country then became dominated by military strongmen, called caudillos, until the mid-20th century. While the country tried to establish a democracy, their system of government was on fairly shaky ground, and a democracy was not strongly established until later in the 20th century. Regardless, a democracy was established showing that Venezuela was influenced by and adopted Western ideology.

Huntington argues that the response to modernization and Western ideology is cultural conflict. Since most of the world's nations have adopted Western ideology, the one thing left to fight about is cultural differences. This battle between cultural differences can most easily be seen in the conflict between Muslim and non-Muslim nations, such as the conflict between the US and Islamic nations or between Israel and Islamic nations. As Huntington explains, the Muslim-non-Muslim cultural conflict exists because both Christianity and Islam are missionary, "all-or-nothing" religions that believe their values and beliefs are the purpose of human existence and that violating such beliefs is a crime against humanity worthy of being stopped through violence.

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