[Marxism] Samuel Huntington
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Sun Dec 28 08:06:27 MST 2008
December 28, 2008
Samuel Huntington, Political Scientist, Dies at 81
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
BOSTON (AP) Samuel P. Huntington, a political scientist best known
for his views on the clash of civilizations, died Wednesday on
Martha's Vineyard. He was 81.
His death was announced Saturday by Harvard University, where he
taught for 58 years before retiring from active teaching in 2007. His
research and teaching focused on American government,
democratization, military politics, strategy and civil-military relations.
Mr. Huntington argued that in a post-cold-war world, violent conflict
would come not from ideological friction between nations, but from
cultural and religious differences among the world's major civilizations.
He identified those civilizations as Western (including the United
States and Europe), Latin American, Islamic, African, Orthodox (with
Russia as a core state), Hindu, Japanese and "Sinic" (including
China, Korea and Vietnam).
He made the argument in a 1993 article in the journal Foreign Affairs
and then expanded the thesis into a book, "The Clash of Civilizations
and the Remaking of World Order," published in 1996. The book has
been translated into 39 languages.
Mr. Huntington wrote 17 books, including "The Soldier and the State:
The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations," published in
1957 and inspired by President Harry S. Truman's firing of Gen.
Douglas MacArthur, and "Political Power: USA/USSR," a study of cold
war dynamics, which he wrote in 1964 with Zbigniew Brzezinski.
His 1969 book "Political Order in Changing Societies" analyzed
political and economic development in the third world.
Mr. Huntington was born on April 18, 1927, in New York City. He
received a bachelor's degree from Yale in 1946, served in the Army,
earned a master's from the University of Chicago in 1948 and received
a doctorate from Harvard in 1951.
By Zawahir Siddique
30 September, 2004
Book review of Samuel P. Huntington's book "Who Are We? The
Challenges to America's National Identity" in which Huntington trains
his guns on the Hispanics and African Americans
Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, comfortably emerged victorious
in a much publicised referendum, amidst international observers that
included former US President, Jimmy Carter. The Venezuelan
President's victory came a month after he attacked American president
George W. Bush on July 21, calling him a meddling "Emperor of Evil"
who was abetting his (Chavez's) opponents in the referendum . Since
Chavez survived a coup in 2002, he has often accused the US of
wanting to overthrow him, and of supporting his opponents. Chavez is
known for his concerns for the poor but he normally infuriates the
rich and the powerful news media with his rambling speeches that
denounce the wealthy elite. As Mr Chavez grew more powerful, his
critics claimed he was leading Venezuela towards a Cuban-style
authoritarian government. He was also criticised for courting
countries which attract US or international disapproval, namely Cuba,
Iraq and Libya.
Interestingly, apart from being the world's fifth-largest exporter of
oil, Venezuela is also a Spanish-speaking country [or should we call
a "Hispanic" country?]. Samuel Huntington's latest book, Who Are We?
The Challenges to America's National Identity, warns America's
policy-makers that they must check the "Hispanization of America"
because it could become a major threat to the integrity of the
"world's [only] super power".
This most recent book from Samuel Huntington attempts to open a new
front in the existing fear-driven perpetual-war scenario. The author
admits that the Smith Richardson Foundation and other far-right
funding sources have paid him to produce this work: the same sources
that back the Dick Cheneys of America and sponsor Huntington's
Harvard University professorship.
Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations (1996) tried to persuade the
American public to accept that war between the West and Islam is
inevitable. In this new book he promotes a "white nativist movement,"
to be herded by panic and hatred against the proposed new enemy:
Hispanics, particularly Mexican immigrants. This book must be
regarded as part of a sequence of Huntington's ealier pro-fascist
productions. It began with The Soldier and the State (1957), which
complained that the second world war's aim of victory over Axis
Germany and Japan hindered the anti-Russian "balance-of-power"
objective; it includes the Trilateral Commission study, "The Crisis
of Democracy," in which Huntington demanded Hitler-Schacht austerity
instead of a constitutional republic. Later came other racist
provocations, notably against Muslims, and now this tirade against
Hispanics has arrived in America's public space.
Many are awed by Samuel Huntington's status as national-security
advisor to the corrupt rulers who run America's government. They may
not be aware that in 1986 and 1987, Huntington was twice rejected for
membership of the National Academy of Sciences, when he was exposed
as a cheap pseudoscientist.
Yale mathematics professor Serge Lang challenged Huntington's book,
Political Order In Changing Societies (1968), in which Huntington
classified South Africa under apartheid as a "satisfied society,"
with a purported social-science study of the matter as a reference.
After heated controversy, Huntington was quoted in the New Republic
as responding that "satisfaction" described "the fact that the people
for some reason are not protesting [the regime]." Huntington also
claimed that when that study was made in the early sixties, there had
been no major riots, strikes or disturbances in South Africa.
Professor Lang assembled a 50-page list of clashes in South
Africasuch as the famous Sharpeville Massacre of March 21, 1960and
sent copies of his meticulous indictment to each of the Academy's
hundreds of members. Huntington's nomination was rejected twice in
In Who Are We? Huntington portrays America as a traditionally racist
society, supposedly always allied to British imperialism; he thus
seeks to make the bestial 'war on terrorism' appear natural rather
than a usurpation. He chooses interestingly among familiar culinary
metaphors for American civic identity, rejecting "melting pot" (too
monolithic and suppressive of legitimate differences) and "tossed
salad" (too diffuse) for a sturdy Anglo-Protestant "tomato soup": new
arrivals contribute croutons and distinctive spices to it, without
changing the soup's basic constitution (Anglo-Protestantism).
The widespread adoption of the name "African American" over "black"
in the 1980s does not impress the author. "Given the pervasive
penchant of Americans to prefer single-syllable over multi-syllable
names for almost everything, this high and growing popularity of a
seven syllable, two-word name over a one-syllable, one-word name is
intriguing and perhaps significant."
It is also interesting that the author doesn't take Black Americans
seriously in this book. It was the Black civil rights movement that
made Huntington's Anglo-conformism possible for millions of
non-whites, and yet he takes no hints from that breakthrough and its
subsequent breakdowns. "The fabric of American civic trust has been
nowhere more severely tried than in blacks' cultural, electoral,
legal and public psycho-dramatic renderings of disaffection with
white America", he claims.
Huntington percieves that the attacks in the US on September 11,
2001, demonstrate that America was then more vulnerable to attack
than it had been for almost two hundred years. "The last time that
something like September 11 happened in the continental United States
was on August 25, 1814, when the British burned the White House."
Huntington pinpoints "religiously driven militant Islam" and
"non-ideological Chinese nationalism" as potential external enemies of America.
Huntington declares, unequivocally, that America has been enjoying an
unchallenged "super power" status since the collapse of the Soviet
Union "until September 11." Huntington's intellectual credibility is
further undermined when he makes a sweeping statement, typically
without supporting evidence: "When Osama bin Laden attacked America
and killed several thousand people, he also did two other things. He
filled the vacuum created by Gorbachev with an unmistakably dangerous
new enemy, and he pinpointed America's identity as a Christian
nation." The author also justifies President Bush's terming two
Muslim states "the axis of evil" as having its parallel in former
President Ronald Reagan's reference to the Soviet Union as "the evil
empire." He goes on: "The rhetoric of America's ideological war with
militant Communism has been transferred to its religious and cultural
war with militant Islam."
Huntington, however, sees "two crucial differences" between the
communist movements against "western democracies" and "contemporary
Islamist" movements. First, he points out that a single major state
supported the communist movements. Islamist movements, in
Huntington's perception, are supported by a variety of competing
states, religious organizations and individuals, and Islamic
political parties and terrorist groups have many different and often
conflicting objectives. The second alleged "crucial difference" that
Huntington points out is that the communists wanted to mobilize a
mass movement of workers, peasants, intellectuals and disaffected
middle-class people in order to bring about fundamental change in the
democratic political and capitalist economic systems of the western
societies into communist states. "Militant Islamist groups", by
contrast, thinks Huntington, do not expect to convert Europe and
America into Islamic societies. "Their principle aim is not to change
those societies but to inflict serious damage on them."
The cultural gap between Islam on the one hand, and "America's
Christianity" and "Anglo-Protestantism" on the other, as perceived by
Huntington, reinforces Islam's qualifications for the status of
America's public enemy number one. "And on September 11, 2001, Osama
bin Laden ended America's search. The attacks on New York and
Washington followed by the wars with Afghanistan and Iraq and more
diffuse 'war on terror' make militant Islam (or more broadly
political Islam) America's first enemy of the twenty-first century."
This is anti-Muslim rhetoric, incitement and provocation at its most
On America's creation, the author says, "America was created as a
Protestant society just as, and for some of the same reasons, that
Pakistan and Israel were created as Muslim and Jewish societies in
the twentieth century." According to Huntington, immigrants become
Americans only if "they absorb America's Anglo-Protestant culture and
identify primarily with America rather than with their country of
birth." This is the litmus test of what he calls "Americanization of
the immigrants." The more powerful stimulus to "white nativism",
according to Huntington, is likely to be the threat to their
language, culture and power that "Whites" see arising from the
growing demographic, social, economic and political roles of
"Hispanics" in American society.
The bifurcation of American society on the basis of two languages and
two cultures as a major cause of disintegration of America's civil
society is well described throughout the book, especially in one
chapter, "Mexican Immigration and Hispanization." Bilingual families
having more money, the spread of Spanish as America's second
language, and English-speaking whites' disadvantages in competition
for jobs and promotion because of their lack of fluency in Spanish,
are all discussed in alarmist tones. To add to these "threats", the
author also highlights "Hispanic" resistance to assimilation into
America's "Anglo-Protestant identity", massive immigration from
Mexico, and "high fertility rates" of Mexicans (Hispanics) as major
challenges to America's "National Identity."
In 1917 Theodore Roosevelt said: "we must have one flag and one
language." On June 14, 2000, President Clinton said, "I very much
hope that I'm the last President in American history who can't speak
Spanish." On May 5, 2001, President Bush celebrated Mexico's Cinco de
Mayo national holiday by inaugurating the practice of delivering the
weekly presidential radio address to the American people in both
English and Spanish. On September 4, 2003, the first debate among the
Democratic candidates for President was conducted in both English and
Spanish. Aware of these developments and the growing Hispanic
presence in America, Huntington warns, "If this trend continues, the
cultural division between Hispanics and Anglos will replace the
racial division between blacks and whites as the most serious
cleavage in American society."
Huntington therefore advocates an America not divided by two
languages and two cultures, but with one language and "one core
Anglo-Protestant culture that has existed in America for over three
centuries." In line with this narrow-minded and intolerant racist
mindset, he calls for a movement that he labels "White nativism",
which according to him "would be both racially and culturally
inspired and could be anti-Hispanic, anti-black and anti-immigrant."
The author compares the rivalry between Whites and Hispanics in
America to that of Muslims and Serbs in Bosnia. "In 1961 in
Bosnia-Herzegovina, the population was 43 percent Serb and 26 percent
Muslims. In 1991, it was 31 percent Serb and 44 percent Muslim. The
Serbs reacted with ethnic cleansing." Huntington tries to put the
White-Hispanic rivalry into a similar framework. "In 1990 the
population of California was 57 percent White and 26 percent
Hispanic. In 2040 it is predicted to be 31 percent white and 48
percent Hispanic... As the racial balance continues to shift and more
Hispanics become citizens and politically active, white groups may
look for other means of protecting their interests."
The income gap between the United States (a "First world Country")
and Mexico (a "Third World Country") is the largest in the world
between two contiguous countries. The two-thousand-mile border
between them makes it impossible to prevent "illegal immigrants" from
entering the US, although the white Americans make very difficult and
dangerous. Mexico is apparently the only country that the United
States has invaded and whose capital it has occupied, placing
American Marines in the "halls of Montezuma", and then annexing half
of its territory. Mexicans cannot forget these events, and feel that
they have special rights in these territories. Huntington's fear of
Mexican assimilation is evident when he says that "No other immigrant
group in American history has asserted or has been able to assert a
historical claim to American territory."
It is worth noting that Huntington's most famous work, The Clash of
Civilizations (1996), which induced extensive debate among makers of
foreign policy, followed an article that was written in 1993, which
triggered a national debate, and which led eventually to this book.
Similarly Who Are We? follows his essay on foreign affairs, which was
aptly called "The Hispanic Challenge."
America's recent military expeditions in Afghanistan and Iraq have
resulted in its suffering substantial setbacks. Public opinion in the
Western world has not been all that favourable to Uncle Sam's 'war on
terrorism.' Now Huntington's "White Anglo-Protestant Nativism" is
under immense threat from the "Hispanization of America." Huntington
has ignored the growing Muslim population in America, as well as the
significance of the "Afro-American" proportion in the demographic
composition of the world's only "superpower." Huntington's racist
inclinations are evident when he says that America's integrity is
based on its "White Anglo-Protestant Nativism."
Huntington also ignores such Latino responses to Black disaffection
as an editorial in San Diego's Mexican-American newspaper La Prensa
in 1992 that declared Latinos the new "bridge between blacks, whites,
Asians, and Latinos." Latinos, the editorial said, "will have to
bring an end to class, color, and ethnic warfare. To succeed, they
will have to do what the blacks failed to do: incorporate all into
the human race and exclude no one." Thus, the growing Black
consciousness and the "Hispanic Challenge" are the two inevitable
threats that confront "the world's strongest democracy" in the 21st century.
Zawahir Siddique is a PhD Student, Department of Engineering Design
and Manufacture University Malaya Kuala Lumpur
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