I should have picked up Huntingdon’s work earlier. It is awesome. He argues (or at least the structure of his thought necessarily suggests such) that the utopian vision of liberal democracy (whether right or left-wing) has failed miserably and that societies will revert back to their original civilizational paradigms.
By that he doesn’t mean that societies will simply turn back the clock. Rather, the civilizations from which nation-states emerged have a stronger pull upon the states that some post-Enlightenment view of “democratic capitalism.” In short, “people and culture” trump artificial ideology.
Huntingdon lists several civilizations:
- Sinic/Hindu: China, Southeast Asia, and India. I realize that India could legitimately be a separate civilization (and I believe it is), but I’m listing it under China for several reasons: to keep the list from multiplying unnecessarily and because India will probably ally itself with China in the near future.
- Islamic: Most of the Middle East and all of northern Africa. Malaysia and Indonesia are also Islamic, but they will be subsumed under China in terms of influence. One caveat: I do not believe the Islamic civilization can be delineated the way Huntingdon portrays it.
- African: Subcontinent; northern Africa is distinct from area below Sudan.
- Western: originating from Western Christendom (post AD 800-1204), but largely trashing that heritage today. Nevertheless, maintains the skeleton of Charlemagne and Christendom, especially seen in the form of the European Union and NATO.
- Orthodox/Slavic: Russia is the de facto leader of this civilization, given her wealth, size, and influence. Includes eastern Ukraine, Belarus, most of the Balkans. Interestingly, I would identify much of Western Europe pre 600 AD as “Orthodox.” Inheritor of Byzantium. Religious differences notwithstanding, this civilization is able to make strong ties/alliances with Middle East. Syria is 30% Orthodox anyway. Likely to form some kind of coalition with Middle Eastern countries and China to offset NATO/EU’s march of mutual destruction.
- Latin America
However, I disagree with Huntingdon on the Middle East. I think the Middle East is in an identity crisis between Fundamentalism and Nationalism. Islamic countries like Syria and Turkey, for all of their problems, lean closer to nationalism than “jihadism.” Likewise, I maintain that Iran is more nationalist than fundamentalist, though it is very much the latter, too.