Samuel P. Huntington: The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order

This is one of those books that I had on my ‘to read list’ for about 4 years, I had read extracts during my first year of University yet hadn’t quite had the time to sit down and read it. With thanks to lockdown, I finally had the time to read it and it is fair to say I was not disappointed.

“In the post-Cold War world flags count and so do other symbols of cultural identity, including crosses, crescents, and even head coverings, because culture counts, and cultural identity is what is most meaningful to most people.”

If you are genuinely interested in international relations post Cold War but do not have much knowledge about it, this is a marvelous read, one which you will definitely not want to put down! And because of this, The Clash Of Civilizations I would say is one of the most important reads in the 21st Century, because there is a phenomenal amount covered from; how are religious civilizations are adapting to the modern world, how the West is dealing with orthodox civilizations and Huntington touches on the balance of power – at the time of writing; American hegemony dominated the world, which is all tied to nationalism and cultural identities. In 2020 it is so clear that American hegemony is on the decline and the rebalance of power will arise in the East, with China dominating the agenda.

“The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion […] but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.”

I personally would like to see an update on The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order in 2026, 30 years after it originally being published, to review the changes that have taken place in international relations, looking into the crisis in identity and nationalism, terrorism, the impact of the 2008 financial crisis and police brutality. 

No matter what happens (if there is a ‘30 years later’ book published), this is such a brilliant book that I believe everyone should read it. It helps you to understand why the world works the way it does. The quote below is a perfect ending for this review and hopefully entices you to find a copy of The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.

“Every civilization sees itself as the center of the world and writes its history as the central drama of human history.”

If you enjoyed reading The Clash of Civilizations, then I would highly recommend giving ‘Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations Twenty Years On’ a read.