[Marxism] Samuel Huntington

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
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.

----

Huntington's Paranoia
By Zawahir Siddique

30 September, 2004
Countercurrents.org

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 
Africa—such as the famous Sharpeville Massacre of March 21, 1960—and 
sent copies of his meticulous indictment to each of the Academy's 
hundreds of members. Huntington's nomination was rejected twice in 
secret balloting.

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 
inflammatory.

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





More information about the Marxism mailing list