[T]he survival of the West depends on Americans, Europeans and other Westerners reaffirming their shared civilization as unique—and uniting to defend it against challenges from non-Western civilizations....I question whether either model is really "the world as it is," but I certainly agree that it's crucial to face reality. Nevertheless, our ideals form a part of the reality that exists now and the reality that we are making for the future. Ali never explains why the "Clash of Civilizations" template works better in the real world than Obama's idea. I'd guess that one needs to check one's perceptions alternately with both templates and that Obama does that and more as he decides what actions to take and what to say in speeches. He may do that badly on many occasions, but it's inconceivable that his aspirations toward mutual respect and shared principles blot out his awareness of the discord and disconnect.
President Obama, in his own way, is a One Worlder. In his 2009 Cairo speech, he called for a new era of understanding between America and the Muslim world. It would be a world based on "mutual respect, and . . . upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles."
The president's hope was that moderate Muslims would eagerly accept this invitation to be friends. The extremist minority—nonstate actors like al Qaeda—could then be picked off with drones....
The greatest advantage of Huntington's civilizational model of international relations is that it reflects the world as it is—not as we wish it to be. It allows us to distinguish friends from enemies....
Our civilization is not indestructible: It needs to be actively defended. This was perhaps Huntington's most important insight. The first step towards winning this clash of civilizations is to understand how the other side is waging it—and to rid ourselves of the One World illusion.
August 19, 2010
... and on other "religious tolerance" issues in the news lately (such as "the eviction of American missionaries from Morocco earlier this year, the minaret ban in Switzerland last year, and the recent burka ban in France"). She'd like to reframe these issues in terms "of what the late Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington called the 'Clash of Civilizations.'"