By Richa Crockatt
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Additional resources for After 9 11 - Cultural Dimensions of American Global Power
5 In relation to the Gulf War of 1991, which for Huntington was a signal instance of the clash of civilizations, one critic observes that in his [Huntington’s] urge to find that relentless war across Islam’s ‘bloody borders’, Huntington buys Saddam Hussein’s interpretation of the Gulf War. It was for Saddam and Huntington a civilizational battle. But the Gulf War’s verdict was entirely different. For if there was a campaign that laid bare the interests of states, the lengths to which they will go to restore a tolerable balance of power in a place that matters, this was it.
Both 38 The role of culture in international relations realists and Marxists insist upon the ‘historicity’ of cultural as well as political phenomena and warn against the error of ‘essentialism’ – the ascription of an essence or inner being to a religion or nation or other cultural manifestation which is treated as if it were detached from the real history which produced it. ‘Islam’ is one such essentialist concept to the extent that it is taken as a self-contained explanatory category. ‘The West’ is another essentialist concoction which evidently serves both its friends and enemies as a tool or weapon in intellectual wars and debates of various sorts.
With it the issue of leadership has 20 Anti-Americanism and the clash of civilizations changed. In one sense the situation has become clearer. 30 Not that America is flawless. There are weaknesses as well as strengths in American society and the economy. There is too much domestic debt and too great a gap between rich and poor; growth areas in employment are generally in low-paid casual or temporary service jobs; and deregulated capitalism has spawned corporate fraud on a massive scale. 31 In the short to medium term, however, these weaknesses do not seem likely to affect America’s global position.