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Nombre de messages : 654
Localisation : Washington D.C.
Date d'inscription : 14/06/2005


The conflict between the West and the
Confucian-Islamic states focuses largely, although not
exclusively, on nuclear, chemical and biological
weapons, ballistic missiles and other sophisticated
means for delivering them, and the guidance,
intelligence and other electronic capabilities for
achieving that goal. The West promotes
nonproliferation as a universal norm and nonproliferation
treaties and inspections as means of realizing that
norm. It also threatens a variety of sanctions
against those who promote the spread of sophisticated
weapons and proposes some benefits for those who
do not. The attention of the West focuses,
naturally, on nations that are actually or potentially
hostile to the West.

The non-Western nations, on the other hand,
assert their right to acquire and to deploy whatever
weapons they think necessary for their security.
They also have absorbed, to the full, the truth of
the response of the Indian defense minister when
asked what lesson he learned from the Gulf War:
"Don't fight the United States unless you have
nuclear weapons." Nuclear weapons, chemical weapons
and missiles are viewed, probably erroneously, as
the potential equalizer of superior Western
conventional power. China, of course, already has
nuclear weapons; Pakistan and India have the
capability to deploy them. North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya
and Algeria appear to be attempting to acquire
them. A top Iranian official has declared that all
Muslim states should acquire nuclear weapons, and
in 1988 the president of Iran reportedly issued a
directive calling for development of "offensive
and defensive chemical, biological and
radiological weapons."

Centrally important to the development of
counter-West military capabilities is the sustained
expansion of China's military power and its means to
create military power. Buoyed by spectacular
economic development, China is rapidly increasing its
military spending and vigorously moving forward
with the modernization of its armed forces. It is
purchasing weapons from the former Soviet states;
it is developing long-range missiles; in 1992 it
tested a one-megaton nuclear device. It is
developing power-projection capabilities, acquiring
aerial refueling technology, and trying to purchase
an aircraft carrier. Its military buildup and
assertion of sovereignty over the South China Sea
are provoking a multilateral regional arms race in
East Asia. China is also a major exporter of arms
and weapons technology. It has exported materials
to Libya and Iraq that could be used to
manufacture nuclear weapons and nerve gas. It has helped
Algeria build a reactor suitable for nuclear
weapons research and production. China has sold to
Iran nuclear technology that American officials
believe could only be used to create weapons and
apparently has shipped components of 300-mile-range
missiles to Pakistan. North Korea has had a
nuclear weapons program under way for some while and
has sold advanced missiles and missile technology
to Syria and Iran. The flow of weapons and weapons
technology is generally from East Asia to the
Middle East. There is, however, some movement in the
reverse direction; China has received Stinger
missiles from Pakistan.

A Confucian-Islamic military connection has thus
come into being, designed to promote acquisition
by its members of the weapons and weapons
technologies needed to counter the military power of the
West. It may or may not last. At present,
however, it is, as Dave McCurdy has said, "a renegades'
mutual support pact, run by the proliferators and
their backers." A new form of arms competition is
thus occurring between Islamic-Confucian states
and the West. In an old-fashioned arms race, each
side developed its own arms to balance or to
achieve superiority against the other side. In this
new form of arms competition, one side is
developing its arms and the other side is attempting not
to balance but to limit and prevent that arms
build-up while at the same time reducing its own
military capabilities.


This article does not argue that civilization
identities will replace all other identities, that
nation states will disappear, that each
civilization will become a single coherent political
entity, that groups within a civilization will not
conflict with and even fight each other. This paper
does set forth the hypotheses that differences
between civilizations are real and important;
civilization- consciousness is increasing; conflict
between civilizations will supplant ideological and
other forms of conflict as the dominant global
form of conflict; international relations,
historically a game played out within Western
civilization, will increasingly be de-Westernized and become
a game in which non-Western civilizations are
actors and not simply objects; successful political,
security and economic international institutions
are more likely to develop within civilizations
than across civilizations; conflicts between
groups in different civilizations will be more
frequent, more sustained and more violent than conflicts
between groups in the same civilization; violent
conflicts between groups in different
civilizations are the most likely and most dangerous source
of escalation that could lead to global wars; the
paramount axis of world politics will be the
relations between "the West and the Rest"; the elites
in some torn non-Western countries will try to
make their countries part of the West, but in most
cases face major obstacles to accomplishing this;
a central focus of conflict for the immediate
future will be between the West and several Islamic-
Confucian states.

This is not to advocate the desirability of
conflicts between civilizations. It is to set forth
descriptive hypotheses as to what the future may be
like. If these are plausible hypotheses, however,
it is necessary to consider their implications
for Western policy. These implications should be
divided between short-term advantage and long- term
accommodation. In the short term it is clearly in
the interest of the West to promote greater
cooperation and unity within its own civilization,
particularly between its European and North American
components; to incorporate into the West
societies in Eastern Europe and Latin America whose
cultures are close to those of the West; to promote
and maintain cooperative relations with Russia and
Japan; to prevent escalation of local
inter-civilization conflicts into major inter-civilization
wars; to limit the expansion of the military
strength of Confucian and Islamic states; to moderate
the reduction of Western military capabilities
and maintain military superiority in East and
Southwest Asia; to exploit differences and conflicts
among Confucian and Islamic states; to support in
other civilizations groups sympathetic to Western
values and interests; to strengthen international
institutions that reflect and legitimate Western
interests and values and to promote the
involvement of non-Western states in those institutions.

In the longer term other measures would be called
for. Western civilization is both Western and
modern. Non-Western civilizations have attempted to
become modern without becoming Western. To date
only Japan has fully succeeded in this quest.
Non-Western civilizations will continue to attempt to
acquire the wealth, technology, skills, machines
and weapons that are part of being modern. They
will also attempt to reconcile this modernity with
their traditional culture and values. Their
economic and military strength relative to the West
will increase. Hence the West will increasingly
have to accommodate these non-Western modern
civilizations whose power approaches that of the West
but whose values and interests differ significantly
from those of the West. This will require the
West to maintain the economic and military power
necessary to protect its interests in relation to
these civilizations. It will also, however, require
the West to develop a more profound understanding
of the basic religious and philosophical
assumptions underlying other civilizations and the ways
in which people in those civilizations see their
interests. It will require an effort to identify
elements of commonality between Western and other
civilizations. For the relevant future, there
will be no universal civilization, but instead a
world of different civilizations, each of which will
have to learn to coexist with the others.

(1) Murray Weidenbaum, Greater China: The Next
Economic Superpower?, St. Louis: Washington
University Center for the Study of American Business,
Contemporary Issues, Series 57, February 1993, pp.

(2) Bernard Lewis, "The Roots of Muslim Rage,"
The Atlantic Monthly, vol. 266, September 1990, p.
6o; Time, June 15, 1992, pp. 24-28.

(3) Archie Roosevelt, For Lust of Knowing,
Boston: Little, Brown, i988, PP 332-333.

(4) Almost invariably Western leaders claim they
are acting on behalf of "the world community."
One minor lapse occurred during the run-up to the
Gulf War. In an interview on "Good Morning
America," Dec. 21, 1990, British Prime Minister John
Major referred to the actions "the West" was taking
against Saddam Hussein. He quickly corrected
himself and subsequently referred to "the world
community." He was, however, right when he erred.

(5) Harry C. Triandis, The New York Times, Dec.
2S, 1990, p. 41, and "Cross-Cultural Studies of
Individualism and Collectivism," Nebraska Symposium
on Motivation, vol. 37, 1989, pp. 41-133.

(6) Kishore Mahbubani, "The West and the Rest,"
The National Interest, Summer 1992, pp. 3-13.

(7) Sergei Stankevich, "Russia in Search of
Itself," The National Interest, Summer 1992, pp.
47-51; Daniel Schneider, "A Russian Movement Rejects
Western Tilt," Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 5,
1993, pp. 5-7.

(Cool Owen Harries has pointed out that Australia
is trying (unwisely in his view) to become a torn
country in reverse. Although it has been a full
member not only of the West but also of the ABCA
military and intelligence core of the West, its
current leaders are in effect proposing that it
defect from the West, redefine itself as an Asian
country and cultivate dose ties with its neighbors.
Australia's future, they argue, is with the
dynamic economies of East Asia. But, as I have
suggested, close economic cooperation normally requires
a common cultural base. In addition, none of the
three conditions necessary for a torn country to
join another civilization is likely to exist in
Australia's case.

Samuel P. Huntington is the Eaton Professor of
the Science of Government and Director of the John
M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at
Harvard University. This article is the product of the
Olin Institute's project on "The Changing
Security Environment and American National Interests."

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