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What is happening to our world? That seems to be the question people ask most these days in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on American monuments of economic and military might, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Indeed, amid talk of a potentially long US-led war against an unseen enemy, a vicious network of fighters headed ostensibly by millionaire terrorist Osama bin Laden, and amid prospects of a global economic recession, people are also now looking at the future with increased uncertainty, even nervousness.
In the search for an explanation to the mind-boggling turn of events, the hypothesis earlier put forward by Samuel P. Huntington about a future "clash of civilizations" has been one of the most cited, although his arguments have in the past been criticized and rejected by other scholars.
Huntington, Harvard professor of international politics, originally presented his theory in a seminal paper, "The Clash of Civilizations?," which appeared in the Foreign Affairs journal in 1993. Such was the response worldwide that Huntington expanded his essay into a full-length book, "The Clash of Civilizations and The Remaking of World Order," three years later.
Conflicts in the world are being caused by differences between groups of different civilizations, Huntington said, and it is such nature of these conflicts that they will tend to be irresolvable.
Did the Sept. 11 attacks confirm the clash of civilizations Huntington foresaw? Did the attacks signal the start of a new world war that would lead to a …