The Clash of Civilizations’ thesis, proposed by Huntington, could be applicable in the period between 1816 and 1992; yet, it is inadmissible and unacceptable in the present-world model. Today, the key dependent variable on the global scale is economic development, and it determines on whether this or that state will be allowed to enter the civilized world or not.
The war we have today is much worse than the Cold War, for it is invisible and shadowed by other factors, like mentioned by Huntington (religion, geographic position, cultural values, etc. ), therefore, neither scholars, nor various institutions have researched and developed the clear and effective models and strategies to prevent and forecast the outcomes of this clash, just like Huntington and Henderson failed to complete. Research question The whole research, presented by Errol Henderson and Richard Tucker, is turning on the single question: what is the conflict probability between dissimilar civilizations, divided by language, type of regime, distance, religion, ethnicity and national identity?
Theory Disregarding the Huntington’s thesis, Henderson provides a new theory, which is based on the researches and historical facts. It asserts that the states, which belong to related civilizations, are more likely to clash with one another (contradicting Huntington) and the high likelihood of interstate war can hardly be linked with civilization membership. Dependent variable Culture has replaced the ideological dependent variable and became the core conflict factor in world politics.
The Iron Curtain had diminished the borders between the civilizations, yet, it has widened the cultural gap, which had been growing in people’s minds throughout the centuries. The democracy of the twentieth century has turned upside down the mentality of the states, raised in patriarchy and monarchy; the great empires of the past were replaced by civilizations of freedom and independence. “IR: approach to research”
Independent variables Henderson had called the “geographic proximity, regime-type, and relative capability” (p. 326) the ‘control’ or ‘predictor’ variables. The liberal democracy, so spread today, is more likely to establish peace between the states, separated by distance. Moreover, the less interaction is present between the states, the less likelihood of war exists. Nevertheless, power parity of different states has a high probability of interstate war.
This very factor had been holding the world in ‘cold’ arms of potential war between two nuclear-missile countries. Most interesting finding The Huntington thesis of clash of civilizations’ adaptation in present world arena and his approach to foreign policy will result in, at least, the trade-damp, for the era, which has started after the fall of Iron Curtain, makes any effort to embed the democracy and establish communication in every sphere of living, rather than in every state.
Economic developments, democracy, network of communication have reduced the risk of the intercivilizational clashes. All export-import deals, foreign affairs and interrelation between the states represent little or no interest for those, who regard any state as a potential threat and treat it with hostility.
On the other hand, Henderson has found out the fact that all intercivilizational wars happen on the basis of religion (according to Huntington’s statement) are far from reality: only 11 out of 30 wars (or 37 percent) of 1816-19920-time-span were “between Islamic and Christian states” (p. 323). Due to lack of researches in the field of war-causes and intercivilizational foreign-policy model, Henderson and Tucker have just refuted the Huntington’s thesis and provided their research with facts and analyses of ‘ill-advised’ model.
However, they failed to perform any clear evidences of ‘well-advised’ model and, as a result, have concluded with an empty sound. In order to improve this research, the scholars must find effective strategies that will be relevant in present-world society with its changing markets and economies.
References Henderson, E. and Tucker, R. (2001). Clear and Present strangers: The Clash of Civilizations and International Conflict. International Studies Quarterly 45: 317-338