Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Clash of Civilizations Revisited

Yesterday, Wednesday, 15 December, the German talk show host Sandra Maischberger interviewed former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt who is now in his 90's, on German Television for North America (DWTV). Unfortunately, the interview is only available in German. For those who understand German it is available at:

http://mediathek.daserste.de/daserste/servlet/content/6073858?pageId=&moduleId=311210&categoryId=&goto=&show=

During the interview the topic came around to the question of religion and contemporary social issues. To my surprise Schmidt, who is a member of the German socialist, SDP, endorsed the Samuel P. Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (1996). Interestingly, Schmidt did not see this as a religious issue. Rather, he argued it was social and cultural.

Nevertheless, here in North American the left have lambasted Huntington for his “right wing” views. Schmidt’s endorsement appears to mark a change, at least in the way Europeans, and particularly Germans, are thinking about these issues. Perhaps, we should all take a second look at Huntington.

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