Would you argue that the areas (i.e. Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa) can properly be called non-western? Why or why not? Would you agree or disagree with Huntington’s thesis...

Would you argue that the areas (i.e. Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa) can properly be called non-western? Why or why not? Would you agree or disagree with Huntington’s thesis (Huntington, S. (1993). The clash of civilizations? Foreign Affairs, 72(3), 22-49) that the differences between western and non-western cultures are an inevitable source of conflict?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Huntington defines Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa as non-western. He writes, "Civilizations are differentiated from each other by history, language, culture, tradition, and, most important, religion" (page 25). He states that economic modernization and social changes have weakened the nation-state and have made religion more important in helping people define their identities, leading to fundamentalist forms of religion. Asia, the Middle East, and Africa are partly non-western. It could be argued that they are also western in many ways, as parts of these regions also follow Christian religious traditions, which are western. In addition, their histories and languages are in part western, as the recent history of the world is interconnected, and western languages, particularly English, are now spoken almost everywhere. However, religious differences remain in these regions, particularly the Middle East. Latin America is more western in its orientation, as it has western religious traditions (mainly Catholicism), languages, and recent history.

The conflict between the western and Islamic world, as Huntington pointed out, has been going on for over 1,300 years (page 31). Increased immigration from the troubled Middle East to Europe and other areas of the west has only worsened this tension and increased forms of racism. Therefore, for the short term, it seems like the situation between civilizations will be one of conflict; however, it is difficult to predict if increased immigration to the west will eventually result in making the west more comfortable with Islam. Therefore, it is unclear whether conflict is inevitable in the long term. In addition, our relationships with China seem to be improving over time, resulting in more cooperation than conflict.