Number of Downlaods: 15
Published Date: Jan 3, 1994
Durree Sameen Ahmed
Monograph Series # 4
In a recent widely disseminated article and interview, Harvard political scientist Sam Huntington suggested that future international conflicts will not be so much geopolitical as geocultural and involve a clash of civilisations featuring the “West versus the rest”1. The idea is not an isolated one and is shared by other foreign policy intellectuals in the United States such as Zbigniew Brzezinski who also believes that international issues are now primarily “cultural and philosophical”2. A cursory examination of such views indicates that Islam, as religion/culture, is perceived as the foremost protagonist among the “rest”:
The conflict among civilisations will be increasingly central: The West and Islam, Islam and Hindu civilisations in India. Islam vs the Slavic Orthodox Russian civilisation, China and Japan as civilisations. These are going to be the major entities among which international relations will take place…3
By now there are extensive scholarly materials which have attempted to break down the monolithic stereotypes regarding Islam, fundamentalism and the geopolitics of the subject after the end of the Cold War.4 As one scans this material, however, there is a certain sense of deja vu, leaving one wondering about the capacity of those who teach, to learn themselves. The intellectual enterprise of ‘Soviet Studies’ is a case in point.