Samuel Huntington, esteemed political scientist and author of the 1996 book, The Clash of Civilizations, died recently. The Clash of Civilizations hypothesized that religious and cultural identities would serve as the main catalyst for post-Cold War international conflict. The theory gained traction following September 11th and provides insight into Israel’s military response to rocket attacks launched by the terrorist group Hamas.
The fighting between Israel and Hamas highlights a deeply embedded ideological divide between a people who value freedom and espouse dignity, on the one hand, and those who prize death and preach hatred on the other. The events also serve as a disturbing reminder of the world’s third civilization that exists.
The third civilization is comprised of countries, institutions, and people unsure of their place, perhaps desiring to stand with free nations, but afraid or unwilling to fight and truly destroy terrorism. This Western European mentality largely embraces democratic values, at least when compared to radical Islamic societies, but is too compromised by multi-culturalism, political correctness, post-national niceties, and increasingly radical Islamic demography to identify civility from barbarism.
Much of this third civilization bristles at the simplicities of men like President George W. Bush, who shortly after September 11th declared that “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” And by that standard, those who are “with us” should be cheering Israel’s movement into Gaza, an area from which terrorists launch rocket attacks against innocent civilians and from which children are taught to hate Americans and Israelis. Unfortunately, however, most nations throughout the world are reluctant to take a firm stand against Islamofacist and anti-Semitic forces, and, unsurprisingly, but sadly, the international reaction to Israel’s actions have ranged from ambivalence to outrage.