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"LATITUDES AND ATTITUDES" BY THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN AND "THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS" BY SAMUEL P. HUNTINGTON (A BOOK REVIEW) This paper will compare and contrast the views on the nature of the international system contained in the books Longitudes and Attitudes (by Thomas L. Friedman) and The Clash of Civilizations (by Samuel P. Huntington). According to

Friedman, a new international system, known as globalization, emerged in the late 1980s to replace the Cold War system that had existed since the end of the Second World War. Whereas the

Cold War world was characterized by “division,” the globalized world is characterized by “integration” (Friedman 4). Thus, the

world of today, according to Friedman, is a world in which countries, corporations and individuals are all becoming increasingly connected through transportation technologies, financial markets, and communications systems. However, Friedman also notes that not everyone benefits from globalization; some individuals and groups are overwhelmed by the system and this results in the threat of acts of violence, or “backlash” (4). As an example, Friedman indicates

that the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict is caused in part by a failure to adapt to the new realities of globalization. As

Friedman says, Arab societies are somewhat disconnected from the

Since the end of the Cold War. is still able to maintain a position of leadership in the West. the U. The second major power balance in the globalized world is that which exists between nation-states and global markets (5). has used its power for the purpose of upholding “global security and financial stability” (34). As Friedman claims.S. democratized (15).. Friedman also argues that the most predominant threat in the current globalized world is that of “superempowered individuals. globalization has resulted in there being three types of balance of power. the United States As has been the sole dominant “superpower” in the world (4). globalization has enabled individuals to increasingly have the ability to “act on the . This is mainly because the U.S. globalized and. as Friedman notes.S. Furthermore. The third balance of power exists between nation-states and individuals. Friedman notes.” According to Friedman. both sides have built literal and figurative “walls” to try to partition themselves from the other side (35).All Rights Reserved By Berkeley Research 2 rest of the world because their leaders refuse to foster debate on how they can become more modernized. The first of these is the traditional balance of power between nation-states. the impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be seen as being related to a failure to attain connectivity. especially. However. even though many European leaders resent and criticize the power of the U.

. In actuality. at the broadest level. Huntington claims that there are “seven or eight” major civilization groupings to be found in the post-Cold War world. Islamic. This poses a great security risk. people have come to be identified in terms of their different cultural backgrounds. Huntington further claims that. during the Cold War period. political and economic distinctions. according to his map of the “world of civilizations. unmediated by a state” (5). Huntington argues that a new international system emerged with the end of the Cold War period. However. According to Huntington. Huntington argues that the world has become more “multicivilizational” and divisive than before. in the post-Cold War world. Hindu. Like Friedman. in contrast to Friedman’s claim that the world has become more “globalized” and integrated. This situation helps to explain why terrorism has become such a serious threat. Western. people have come to be identified with whatever “civilization” they belong to (21). because many of these “super-empowered individuals” are resentful of their inability to attain the benefits of globalization.” there are nine. Huntington notes that these broad entities (“civilizations”) interact and overlap. and while the lines between them are seldom sharp. they are real” (43). people were identified in terms of their ideological. African. they are “nonetheless meaningful entities. Latin American. Sinic. namely.All Rights Reserved By Berkeley Research 3 world stage directly. yet.

Buddhist and Japanese (26-27). According to Huntington. as Huntington argues. Still others have assumed that modernization has contributed to the development of a universal civilization. However. others have rejected both of these. as Huntington demonstrates. Others have assumed that increased global interactions are creating a “common world culture” (67). if a universal civilization is emerging. a claim that is implied in the writing of Friedman. Therefore. modernization does not necessarily result in the adoption of a . Huntington specifically argues against the claim that a “universal civilization” is emerging as a result of the globalization trend. as Huntington points out. although some nonWestern societies have accepted both Westernization and modernization. For example. and still others have accepted modernization while rejecting Westernization (72). based on the dominant Western model. some people have assumed that the fall of Soviet communism meant a universal victory for liberal democracy (67).All Rights Reserved By Berkeley Research 4 Orthodox. then there should also be the emergence of a universal language and a universal religion (because these are the “central elements of any culture or civilization”) (59). However. Huntington claims that the view of an emerging universal civilization is based on assumptions. linguistic and religious differences between peoples have become emphasized in recent years rather than eliminated.

civilization identities are not only “shaping the patterns of cohesion. the West” (46). Furthermore. Similar to Friedman.” Rather. Huntington argues that the greatest threat of conflict in today’s world is to be found in the potential “clash” between civilizations. Huntington claims that “the West is and will remain for years to come the most powerful civilization” (29). In addition.” This is because “other states and groups from these . like Friedman. As Huntington states in the Introduction to his book. is declining (29). Huntington also argues that this type of conflict carries with it a great “potential for escalation. Huntington does not share Friedman’s view that the greatest security threat is to be found in the existence of “super-empowered individuals.” but are also shaping the patterns of “disintegration. relative to that of the world’s other civilizations. Huntington notes that the United States has come to be acknowledged as the leader of this “broader entity. strengthens those cultures and reduces the relative power of the West” (78). Therefore. Huntington indicates that the United States is still the major “superpower” in today’s world. Huntington also emphasizes the view that the West’s power. instead. “modernization. unlike Friedman. or cultural entities. in fact. However.All Rights Reserved By Berkeley Research 5 universal (Western) culture nor in the abandonment of local cultures. and conflict in the post-Cold War world” (20).

According to Huntington. but rather the “clash of civilizations. continues to maintain a position of leadership in the West. Friedman also indicates that the United States. and this creates a source of conflict.S. Friedman refers to the growing threat of “backlash” (or retaliations) from individual terrorists who have become “super-empowered” as a result of the globalized world’s interconnectivity. in general. religion and cultural values. but he also argues that the power of the West. contrast. and it seems that the full truth of the situation is to be found in . Friedman argues that the international system has become increasingly globalized and integrated. Huntington also makes the specific point that a threat exists whenever non-Western societies assert their “own cultural values and reject those ‘imposed’ on them by the West” (28).” Both Friedman and Huntington make good points in their arguments. Huntington agrees that By the U. Huntington argues that the world has become increasingly “multicivilizational” and divided in terms of language.All Rights Reserved By Berkeley Research 6 civilizations rally to the support of their ‘kin countries’” (28). is in a position to help solve the problems and threats that exist in the world today. the greatest threat in the world today is not the acts of individual terrorists. However. certain individuals and groups are not strongly connected to this system. as a global leader. In conclusion. is undergoing a decline. In particular.

. by their rejection of Western culture and power. that the individuals involved in the September 11 attacks and other acts of terrorism have been motivated by their personal cultural values and ideals and. it is also important to note. particularly. in accordance with Huntington’s argument. Indeed. as Friedman argues. Friedman (unlike Huntington) formulated his perspective in response to the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11.All Rights Reserved By Berkeley Research 7 a combination of their views. the threat of “super-empowered individuals” has moved to the forefront in the wake of September 11. However. 2001.

New York: Touchstone. 1996. Thomas L. Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.All Rights Reserved By Berkeley Research 8 BIBLIOGRAPHY Friedman. Samuel P. Straus and Giroux. Huntington. New York: Farrar. . 2002.