Thursday, January 24, 2008

Storm Clouds

The bad news of the day is, even some of those who took the lead in arguing against Samuel Huntington's "clash of civilizations" thesis now are inclined to think he was more right than wrong. Such as Fouad Ajami: "Nearly 15 years on, Huntington’s thesis about a civilizational clash seems more compelling to me than the critique I provided at that time."

That's nothing to crow about for anyone who was convinced by Huntington the first time. His book is about the waning of the West, and about bitter hard times ahead. Ajami writes:

More ominously perhaps, there ran through Huntington’s pages an anxiety about the will and the coherence of the West — openly stated at times, made by allusions throughout. The ramparts of the West are not carefully monitored and defended, Huntington feared. Islam will remain Islam, he worried, but it is “dubious” whether the West will remain true to itself and its mission. Clearly, commerce has not delivered us out of history’s passions, the World Wide Web has not cast aside blood and kin and faith. It is no fault of Samuel Huntington’s that we have not heeded his darker, and possibly truer, vision.