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The west and the rest

The west won the cold war, but cannot and should not impose its distinct values on other world civilisations. Samuel Huntington, in an elaboration of his "Clash of Civilisations" essay published in 1993, argues that the west can only flourish in a more hostile world by abandoning its universal aspirations

By Samuel Huntington   February 1997

In the post cold war world the most important distinctions among people are not ideological, political or economic. They are cultural. People and nations are attempting to answer the most basic question humans can face: who are we? And they are answering that question in the traditional way by reference to the things that mean most to them. People define themselves in terms of ancestry, religion, language, history, values, customs and institutions. They identify with cultural groups: tribes, ethnic groups, religious communities, nations and, at the broadest level, civilisations. People use politics not just to advance their interests but also…

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