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The World Politics Heavyweight Fight: Huntington vs. Fukuyama:
July 9, 2002 5:45 AM   Subscribe

The World Politics Heavyweight Fight: Huntington vs. Fukuyama: Which of these two now classic approaches offers a more plausible vision of the world's future? Huntington's Culture Clash[Foreign Affairs, 1993] or Fukuyama's Pax Democratia[National Interest, 1989]? In an updating mode, Stanley Kurtz[Policy Review, 2002] measures their chances from a political viewpoint. On the same front,Jack Miles[Cross Currents, 2002] offers a refreshingly liberal and optimistic theological perspective. Yep, it's still all about East meeting West, the Muslims and the rest of the us. Or even increasingly...
posted by MiguelCardoso (11 comments total)

 
"the Muslims and the rest of the us."

Miguel, Muslims and the "rest of us"?
How are you different from me?
posted by tamim at 6:08 AM on July 9, 2002


He's not a muslim?
posted by dagny at 6:25 AM on July 9, 2002


now that was kinda tacky.

I haven't read Pax Democratia, but Fukuyama's latest - Our Posthuman Future - is fucking retarded.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:29 AM on July 9, 2002


Which of these two now classic approaches offers a more plausible vision of the world's future?

Neither? Presenting the 'future of history' as bipolar argument between Huntingdon and Fukuyama is like presenting a party conference as a wide-ranging political debate.
posted by riviera at 6:34 AM on July 9, 2002


Terrific, we get to relive the pol sci tutorials of ten years ago all over again.

Huntington singles out 'the Muslim propensity toward violent conflict' as the most important coming challenge to world peace and American power. 'Muslim bellicosity and violence,' says Huntington, 'are late-twentieth-century facts which neither Muslims nor non-Muslims can deny.'

Let's have a little look at the Twentieth Century Bellicosity and Violence League Table, shall we? Oops, let's not, because as soon as we hit Number One we'll invoke the precious Godwin. Okay, let's make do with those infamous Muslim communities of Stalinist Russia, Khmer Rouge Cambodia, 1990s Rwanda, Europe from 1914-1918, Japan's Greater Co-Prosperity Sphere, and 1990s Yugoslavia. For starters. Except, oops, none of those examples were Muslim, apart from some of the people living within the latter, who were largely the ones being Bellicosed and Violenced against.

But, hey, who cares about a couple of World Wars that Grandpa fought in. He may have been a bellicose old bastard too, but at least he was Christian/Buddhist/Shinto/Hindi/Jewish/Atheist/Non-Muslim.
posted by rory at 6:45 AM on July 9, 2002


there's also nussbaum's cosmopolitanism, hardt & negri's multitude and of course anderson's imagined communities.
posted by kliuless at 7:39 AM on July 9, 2002


of these two now classic approaches offers a more plausible vision of the world's future?

There's no such thing as a plausible vision of the future, Miguel. Uncle Karl taught us that, remember?


Fukuyama's latest - Our Posthuman Future - is fucking retarded.

Ah, techgnollogic, finally a breath of fresh intellectual air -- who needs those weird guys at Foreign Affairs and the New York Review of Books and The Economist?
posted by matteo at 7:59 AM on July 9, 2002


(techgnollogic,
I find Fukuyama ridiculous most of the time, too. so we're apparently on the same wavelenght)
posted by matteo at 8:04 AM on July 9, 2002


I linked Huntington and Fukuyama - still the two most influential theorists in present-day Washington - to provide the necessary context for the Kurtz and Miles articles; both well worth reading. The "more plausible vision of the future" is a quote from Kurtz - not my question. I stand by my post as being descriptive and relevant to the issues mentioned in the links.

OK, there's some editorializing in my appreciation of Miles's essay and perhaps in that somewhat jaded "Yep". But that's about it. My own opinion is that fierce dichotomies such as these are simplistic but worth considering, given how influential they are. Fwiw, I think Fukuyama is a Candide-like wishful thinker and Huntington an old-fashioned geo-strategist. But they're too relevant(and clever) to dismiss off-handedly.

Anyway, why should we always discuss lightweight news items? ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:27 AM on July 9, 2002


Neither? Presenting the 'future of history' as bipolar argument between Huntingdon and Fukuyama is like presenting a party conference as a wide-ranging political debate.

You're right; they're both conservatives who'd probably agree about everything politically important; but one of them says "beware" and the other says "relax" and it's interesting to discuss which one is currently more influential with Western policy-makers.

As for party conferences, *grin* if well considered and decoded, they can tell you quite a lot about a particular political culture. You gotta learn to read between the lines, Riviera! ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:19 AM on July 9, 2002


Hey, Miguel I see were I posted wrong on my FPP, next time more reading material. Really after read.....ing, the essays, and your comment on: Muslims, War, Vs., East and West. Conclusion we have seen this before and again; The Crusades or our daily times. Yes, I think they should be discussed in todays text, so maybe we can use our history to not stop it, yet work around it or with it, either way to have some peace of mind. The authors, well no one likes "to be inside these". Unless they are the problem not the solution. And I think the authors want to be the solution. Yet ignoring seems to be the easiest and the norm of today. Maybe the reason for the romance of the crusades, and yes you can be on either side in my dreams as politics are real.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:20 AM on July 9, 2002


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