1). In “The Sources of Soviet Conduct” George Kennan (under the alias “X”) argues that the United States was fundamentally challenged as a nation-state by the Soviet Union. In trying to account for Soviet conduct, Kennan says a lot about the nature of the United States and its role in the world. Indeed, at the end of the essay he implies that the U.S. holds a moral and political leadership over the rest of the world. Kennan’s view of the U.S. is both popular within U.S. politics and as relevant today as it was in the 1947. What can we draw from Kennan to better understand the U.S. role in the world today; and what elements of Kennan’s analysis pose challenges to global governance?
2). “As we face up to the costs both of fundamentalist terrorism and of fighting it, must we not ask ourselves how it is that when we see religion colonize every other realm of human life we call it theocracy and turn up our noses at the odor of tyranny; and when we see politics colonize every other realm of human life we call it absolutism and tremble at the prospect of totalitarianism; but when we see market relations and commercial consumerism try to colonize every other realm of human life we call it liberty and celebrate its triumph? There are too many John Walkers who begin by seeking a refuge from the aggressive secularist materialism of their suburban lives and end up slipping into someone else’s dark conspiracy to rid the earth of materialism’s infidels. If such men are impoverished and without hope as well, they become prime recruits for jihad.”
First, does a market based society alienate those marginalized from it; and if so, then is this a sufficient condition to foment terrorism, whether based on Islam or more domestic variants found in the U.S.?
3). Huntington writes, “It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerflil actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.”
Do you agree with Huntington’s hypothesis? Why or why not?