‘The Clash of Civilizations’ still ensorcells the Neo-Conservative coterie. Political Skeptic comments.

Headline: A Clash of Civilizations with Chinese Characteristics

Sub-headline: A civilizational struggle of the “rest” versus the West articulated by Mao Zedong and embraced by Xi Jinping is at the very core of the ideological foundations of the grand strategy of the Chinese Communist Party.


The author of this essay: Wesley Jefferies is a graduate student at the Walsh School of Foreign Service’s Security Studies Program at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Is Mr. Jefferies following the time honored tradition, of cultivating the favor of his teachers, and adapting to the current climate of opinion, of the Foreign Policy Security Experts, who will judge his academic worthiness to receive a Degree in ‘Foreign Service’s Security Studies’ ? It seems like the obvious question. The reader should consider the cost of pursuing a post-graduate degree of such a specialized area of study. In line with that, the establishment of your political credentials seems the paramount consideration?

‘The Clash’ has lain fallow for sometime, Prof. Huntington’s  hysterical xenophobia, all dressed in World Historical finery reads just like what it is, a paranoid screech against the ‘other’ that threatens the hegemony of Pax Americana. Even though later in his essay he denies the ‘othering’ of the Chinese.    

This sentence :

‘The central problem of these analogies that they all refer to competition between powers or systems of Western origin. The rise of China poses conceptual and strategic challenges that do not lend themselves to ready-made analogies from the official canon of Western military and diplomatic history.’

And the next sentence:

The conceptual and geopolitical dimensions of the Chinese threat are not accounted for the historical and theoretical explanations to which Western scholars and commentators are accustomed. 

The rise of China’ in all its benignity, is followed by ‘the Chinese threat’: propaganda must always appear to be benign, in Mr. Jefferies hands it is self-canceling? Yet the last iteration of what ‘China is’ in  ‘conceptual and geo-political terms’ is ‘threat’ the most likely to be recalled is that final term. 

What precedes this is a collection of cliché’s : The Cold War, The Great Game, the so called Thucydides Trap, as ways of providing rhetorical ballast to his essay, by mere reference, rather than an actual consideration-in sum-a of presentation of relevant arguments. Should the critical reader dub this pseudo-knowledge, as maladroit a descriptor as I could produce in the moment! 

What follows is a potted history of the geopolitical outcomes of world wars: decolonization. Here is Mr. Jefferies dizzying historical reductionism: 

The most significant geopolitical outcome of the world wars was decolonization. The most dynamic and deadly manifestations of the competition between the new superpowers that emerged after the world wars occurred in the contested spaces left behind by the former empires. The most dynamic and deadly manifestations of the competition between the new superpowers that emerged after the world wars occurred in the contested spaces left behind by the former empires. What was once the greatest prize among these spoils has become the largest player among them and the character of its resulting challenge to world order represents the axis of contemporary geopolitics. A civilizational struggle of the “rest” versus the West articulated by Mao and embraced by Xi is at the very core of the ideological foundations of the grand strategy of the Chinese Communist Party.

The titles of the successive parts of this essay are illustrative of Mr. Jefferies ‘methodology’. I will select from the essay what captures the reader’s attention. I will treat this essay as propaganda. 

Mao’s Revolution and the Rise of the Third World:

This section is devoted to a made to measure history of China, in the International System. And its participation in the colonial and post colonial eras.


The paradoxical interplay between China’s superiority complex as a former empire and victim mentality as post-colonial framed a set of ambitions and grievances for Mao that would set him at odds with the superpowers. The first task at hand for Mao, as the leader of this emerging colossus caught between the superpowers, would be to secure freedom of action in a bipolar system. The second task would be to leverage China’s sovereignty and status to claim a position as leader and champion of the post-colonial spaces over which the superpowers were competing for influence. This, in turn, would lay the ground for the third task of world revolution, in which colonialism, as much as class struggle, would be a theme. China would regain a central place in international affairs through this process. In other words, world revolution would be the vehicle for world domination.


The Rise of Xi and the “Rest” versus the West:

The relationship between the United States and China that emerged after the Sino-Soviet split has similarly encountered tensions and contradictions following the end of the Cold War. Mao’s vision of geopolitics has seen its greatest comeback under the highly personalized rule of Xi Jinping. A civilizational-scale challenge from the CCP has now emerged that goes beyond simply competing with U.S. strategic and commercial interests.

China under Xi is emulating Mao’s call for Chinese leadership of the ‘rest’ against the West while simultaneously working to undermine the societies and institutions of Western countries. The former has been articulated by Xi Jinping’s argument that the Chinese model of government and development is a better example for developing countries than the West because it will “speed up their development while preserving their independence” from Western influence. The latter is manifested by the use of corruption, espionage, and disinformation by agents of the CCP, including Chinese academic researchers and business ventures, in what FBI Director Christopher Wray described as “a whole-of-society threat” posed by Beijing.

The Geopolitical Axis of the Clash of Civilizations: 

Since the original thesis for a ‘clash of civilizations’ was popularized by Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington as a prediction for the international system after the end of the Cold War, it has become deeply controversial and unfashionable to suggest that ideas and perceptions about culture and identity might play a role in future tensions and conflicts. U.S. diplomat and scholar Kiron Skinner drew intense criticism for suggesting in 2019 that the wider civilizational gulf that exists between China and the United States than between the United States and the USSR would require a vastly different understanding and approach than what was applied to the Soviet threat.

The purpose for this focus is not “othering” the CCP or the billion and a half people subject to its rule. It is to reveal the “center of gravity” through which China under the rule of Xi seeks to displace the West and thus point to where and how U.S. strategy must change.

Mr. Huntington’s ‘Clash’ was a political document predicated upon an hysterical xenophobia, of World Historical proportions. This followed by his ‘Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity’   It is an attack on the Mestizo Hordes that are threatening Anglo-Protestant Virtue. Call Mr. Huntington a white supremacist with an impressive set of academic credentials. 

The ‘Clash’ available on the internet: The version printed in Foreign Affairs ; New York; Summer 1993; Huntington, Samuel P; (9 pages)

Click to access foreign_aff_huntington.pdf

I read this essay, thanks to one of the Librarians , at the Angelo M. Iacoboni Library in Lakewood California. She printed out a copy of the  essay, whose link is above. This essay seemed bloated when I first read, in this form, and the book remains on my shelf ,unread. Fukuyama’s ‘End of History’ essay suffered from the same rhetorical malady! The ‘critics’ swooned over the mention of Hegel. 

The ‘Reverse Kissinger’ is the high point of Mr. Jefferies remaining ‘history made to measure’

.For similar reasons, the United States must also consider the urgent necessity for exploring options for a modus vivendi with the Russian Federation. The “reverse Kissinger”  proposed by some astute writers and commentators should be considered more seriously by policymakers. Washington should see the opportunity in the risks the CCP’s ambitions in Central Asia and the Middle East pose to a Russia facing demographic decline and long vulnerable borders. What the United States has been doing instead has been adopting a punitive approach to the only country in Europe that could still conceivably balance against China. If a “grand bargain” can be reached with the Russian Federation regarding its deep-seated insecurities about its territorial integrity and historically precarious borders in Eastern Europe, as well as lingering concerns in the Kremlin over U.S. attempts to promote regime change in Russia, there will be fewer grounds for Russian leaders to convince a domestic audience that the real threat lies to the West.  

 Surprising this reader, Mr. Jefferies advocates an alliance with Modi : 

The United States should also be working for a closer partnership with India. It is the only country with a population that may exceed China’s, as well as untapped economic potential that could rival what has been achieved in China since the reforms of Deng Xiaoping. For this to work, Washington must be willing to fully support the reform agenda of Narendra Modi to overcome the myriad obstacles India faces in exploiting its domestic talent and demographic advantages. A closer alignment between India and the United States would also strike at the heart of the “rest versus the West” dynamic that lies at the ideological core of the CCP’s grand strategy.

Mr. Jefferies shares this idea with Janan Ganesh of The Financial Times of March 30.  2021. Although Ganesh looks upon it as a hypothetical. 

‘As for the largest potential friendship of all, that with India, is there anything Prime Minister Narendra Modi could do there to make the US spurn so grand a prize?


Those Anti-Muslim programs don’t figure when assuming the role of Pundit?

Headline: Fear, silent migration: A year after anti-Muslim riots in Delhi

Sub-headline: Muslim victims of last year’s Delhi violence say they have been forced to sell their properties due to a lack of security.


Nor does the Farmers Strike? 


Political Skeptic 











Click to access clash.pdf


Click to access clash.pdf


About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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