" This is one of the founding texts of neo-conservatism, but it shouldn't be lightly dismissed as an ideological argument devoid of facts or scholarship. Huntington is, as Henry Kissinger reminds us on the back cover of my edition, an "eminent political scientist," who has done his homework and looked seriously at the post-Cold War world to consider what challenges the new world situation presented a dominant America just after the fall of the Soviet Union. He concluded that old political alliances are breaking down in favor of cultural commonalities on a "civilizational" level - interestingly his civilizations are largely defined by religious tendencies. This allowed him to isolate Islam before most of his colleagues had as the likely "next threat" after Communism, although it does create some problems in terms of "mixed" cases like India (he seems to define it as a mix of Islamic and Hindu, ignoring the Buddhist influences) or South Africa (which he lumps in with other African nations, probably based on the fall of Apartheid and expectations of white flight, ignoring its alliance to "The West" through tradition). Huntington is not unaware that there are many conflicts within civilizations, as he defines them, but he insists that the civilizational paradigm will allow peacemakers to focus on such conflicts as have the potential to escalate into more serious wars (it would seem that civil wars within the "African civilization" which have escalated into genocide are not worthy of such close attention). Most interestingly, Huntington identifies Israel as unabashedly Western, ignoring the very reason for the foundation of the state in the first place - the disparity between Jews and Europeans and the consequent inability of Jews to live without their own national state.
In short, there are many problems with Huntington's position, but this is all the more reason why serious political thinkers should examine it for themselves, consider what aspects of his case make sense and where there are weaknesses. Paradoxically, moving away from the civilizational paradigm is more likely to offer solutions to civilizational conflicts, because what needs to be understood is not the differences among peoples, but their commonalities. "
— Michael, 2/15/2014