Monthly Archives: February 2015

Support for Clubs and the Economic Gains

One unique feature that has left the Nigerian league scene, particularly from the top flight clubs in recent times is the thrills and frills which the vociferous fans of the various clubs used to provide.

At the SWAN Centre situated at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos recently the Chairman, Lagos Branch of the Sports Writers Association (SWAN), Fred Edoreh, shared memories of the Nigeria elite with League Zone in this piece as we look forward to next weekend.

Football indeed is a communion, a convergence of the diversities and a celebration of oneness. It collapses religion, class, gender, fear and complexes to cement the bonds of mutuality and love while producing equity for all.

On March 7 when the 2014/15 Glo Premier League season will open, the web of national linkages also come alive with clubs and their players traversing the nation’s landscape with their diverse languages and cultures.

From Kano in the North, Pillars travels down to Owerri in the heart of the East while Rangers heads to the Savannah of the North East to Taraba, and Sunshine Stars will make the trip from Akure in the South West to Port Harcourt in South-South with Shooting Stars making the long journey from Ibadan in South West to Bauchi in the North East.

As the clubs travel, the players and coaches carry the pollen of love to cross-fertilize the nation and bridging the divides, showing us how much we are same people. That is the power of the league. If we have found such value and power to weld our differences in football, should we not hold it dear to our hearts by investing ourselves, our minds and substance to sustain it?

The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) has created value even beyond the shores of the country, attracting youths from neighboring countries to find trade in football here. Tamen Medrano, Sunshine Stars midfielder has his eyes desperately on the Glo Premier League title this season.

The midfielder joined Sunshine from Tiko United of Cameroon in 2010 after serving with Cotonsport Garoua and the Cameroonian national team to the 2006 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. He is a beauty to watch. He is strong, smart, wants always to win and Sunshine has warned he is not for sale. Not for any price.

Also in Akure is Chaona Mohammed from Benin Republic’s AS Dragon FC, as part of the legion of foreign stars that have kept flocking back into the Nigerian Premier League following the renewed confidence, which the LMC reforms have brought to our domestic league.

Many of them will be on parade as the season opens on March 7 and football fans can expect a rumble across the land.

In the past, there was the likes of Joetex Frimpong, remember him? He came from Ghana and was highest goal scorer in the league at some point. He is currently in Switzerland and was elated to hear that Gabros is back.

“I will always cherish the experience at Gabros. I am happy that the club is back and I will continue to follow them,” Frimpong reportedly said.

Is the feeling the same with the Igbo technocrats, businessmen, students and traders in Oba, Nnewi, Awka and among the teeming Omata people of Onitsha? Anambra people again have a club to call their own and support to produce another rich, sustainable and influential club in the guild of the defunct Udoji United and Jasper United.

While those areas, like in most Nigerian cities have a large base of football enthusiasts, it would appear that their enthusiasm have also been lost to foreign clubs whose games dominate our tubes. But in Gabros, they have yet another opportunity to rebuild and provide themselves a pride of place in world football.

The emotions that have trailed the return of Gabros cannot be too different with how the Ibadan people will be looking forward to watching Shootings Stars Sports Club (3SC) again in the big league. 3SC represents the soul of egbe omo Layipo.

It used to be their cultural identity as it “housed their home”. It is thus quite apt that the club was nicknamed “Oluyole Warriors” after the dreaded Bashorun of Ibadan who ‘took no prisoners’ in defending the ancient town during wars.

I imagine that Chief Lekan Salami will be turning in his grave on the day Shooting re-launches at home. He lived for Shooting and it is not easy to forget his talking drum:’Ibadan lo mo o, o mo Layipo’. (You may know Ibadan but Layipo is beyond your grasp)

Ganiyu Elekuru, alias Baba Eleran, would also quake in his grave. He also lived and died for “Sootin.” But, will Shooting return in a blaze? Will the people receive again that symbol of their cultural strength and oneness? Will they insist that never again will Shooting, once among the most influential and powerful clubs in Africa, exist in the shadows?

Football is more than a game. It gives hope to even the back waters. The Nwankwo Kanus, Okochas, Olisas, Siasias, Akpobories, Ikpebas, all tell the story of grass to grace. So also it may turn out for Chisom Chikatara who once hawked Kolanut for his mother but made headlines playing for Abia Warriors. There is also Kano Pillars’ Gambo Mohammed, who today serves as an inspiration to the Almajiris.

Should we therefore not invest in this league to give more hope to otherwise less privileged citizens? Our corporate organizations are encouraged to partner with the clubs in their operating cities and communities to run proper youth teams to give opportunities to more kids.

Our clubs should seek to provide tickets for thousands of their community members to go watch their local clubs and thus expand communion to enlarge the prospect of reaping from the investment

If we embrace our clubs, the economic spin off can be imagined. An attendance of 10,000 spectators could possibly enable the sales of at least 4,000 plates of food, 5,000 bottles or sachets of water, same or more volume of soft and alcoholic beverages, a surge in inter and intra city transportation demands, boost in sale of hotel rooms and, indeed, limitless business opportunities.

The choice will remain ours, to either continue to fan the colours of the foreign clubs and neglect ours or decide now, as individuals, media and corporate organizations to be part of our game, to build our society.

Support your local club and let the games begin.

Suggestions for Obama’s Last Trip to Africa As President [opinion]

Since becoming president of the United States, Barack Obama has visited five African countries: Ghana, Egypt, Senegal, Tanzania, and South Africa.

The president used his 2009 trips to Ghana and Egypt to articulate his broad and ambitious policy of engagement towards sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab world, respectively. The president’s pronouncements during the trips to Ghana and Egypt generated high expectations for a new dawn in the relationship between United States and these regions. Nevertheless, there was not much by way of new policy initiatives to back these pronouncements, and, thus, to a large extent these two visits were more symbolic than substantive. As such, during his first term a lot of criticism by policy analysts was directed at the president’s detachment from Africa. Many felt that under Obama’s presidency America was lagging behind many other countries especially China, India, Brazil, and even other smaller economies such as Turkey in its engagement with Africa.

In 2013, the president made a more extensive and substantive trip to Africa, traveling to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. During this visit, the president announced actual initiatives that aim to deepen commercial relations, support regional trade logistics, and enhance security. Also significant was the announcement of the first US-Africa Leaders Summit to be held the following year, in August 2014.

In 2013 President Obama indicated that he would visit Africa at least one more time during his presidency. The expectation is that this trip will be later in 2015 but most likely in 2016–his last full year in office. Given that planning for US presidential international trips require months, if not years, of planning, it is a good bet that the planning for the next African trip will soon be underway. Thus, his planning team should note that a good way to maximize the impact of his trip is to be more strategic in the choice of countries visited and also include a policy focus relevant to the entire continent.

While the countries visited so far are quite deserving of the honor, the omission of others has been, so far, both very significant and clearly misguided. It appears the choice of the countries visited by the president were based on what were seen as “safe bets”–those meeting some peace and governance thresholds. The president has avoided countries facing major challenges such as terrorism and poor governance records. For a more lasting impact, though, the president needs to get out of his comfort zone, visit non-“safe bet” countries, and connect with countries showing openness to reforms, are rising economic leaders, and could be key strategic security partners.

In this regard, I propose that the president trip cover at least the following countries: Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Kenya.


Nigeria, a country characterized by serious governance problems compounded by ever-intensifying incidents of terrorism imparted by Boko Haram, would not pass the “safe bet” test. Notwithstanding the failures and challenges that Nigeria faces, and regardless of how the 2015 elections turn out, this is the country that deserves a visit by President Obama.

It is a country that has long been characterized by high levels of corruption and serious ethnic and religious fractures. But Nigeria is the most important country in Africa, and it is the country that has the most influence on the direction that Africa takes. It is now the largest economy on the continent and has the largest population there. In addition, Nigeria is the dominant country in West Africa’s regional economic community–the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Despite all its shortcomings, Nigeria has, in recent years, undertaken major reforms that are helping stimulate the economy and shift it away from an overreliance on oil. By all accounts, Nigeria can be considered the continental anchor: Whatever happens in that country has large spillover effects across the continent.

The president could use the visit to articulate a strategy to fight terrorism not only in Nigeria but also across the continent. Fighting terrorist groups should be a key focus of the president’s trip in Nigeria but also during the visit to other countries given the increasing threats posed by these groups and the fact that they have potential to grow and export terror outside Africa.

In addition, this is the place where the president can focus on the importance of strengthening the institutions of governance for peaceful co-existence among the country’s very diverse ethnic and religious groups. Many of Nigeria’s problems are linked to its failure to deal with diversity, which is a problem that characterizes most of the continent and costs a great deal both in terms of violent conflicts and economic performance. Thus, Nigeria would be the perfect country for the president to articulate how the United States can work with Africans to strengthen institutions.


Ethiopia is another large country also characterized by significant governance problems. The country’s past has been characterized by dictatorships, serious conflict and devastating famines. However, since the dictator Mengistu Hailemariam was deposed, Ethiopia has made important progress, including adoption of a new federalist constitution and far-reaching economic reforms that have seen the country achieve one of the highest growth rates in the continent over the last decade. The economic reforms have attracted new foreign direct investments with the consequential emergence of new industrial clusters, especially in leather processing. Not all is perfect though: Like with governance, Ethiopia still lags far behind other countries in deregulating some key sectors of the economy especially telecommunications, land markets, banking, and finance.

This country deserves a visit by President Obama for a number of reasons. First, the leadership in Addis Ababa has demonstrated willingness to reform. Although a work in progress, the reform process is on a positive trajectory and is a good example for other African countries. Second, the country is an important ally in the war against terrorism and has been pivotal in the war against Al-Shabaab.

Finally, the president should use the trip to visit the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa. A visit to the AU headquarters by the US president would be a significant endorsement of the role of the continental organization and would, indeed, be the best forum in which to hold the next US-African Leaders Summit–building up on the success of the first summit held in Washington in 2014. Given the central role that the AU is charged with in advancing the African integration project, President Obama and the African leaders could use the summit to discuss strategies to advance the pace of regional integration especially as pertains to involvement of the US private sector, such as in the building of regional infrastructure.


As the president’s second “home,” Kenya must be included in the itinerary. Previous US presidents have shown great pride by visiting their ancestral homes. Notable are the visits by Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton to their ancestral homes in Ireland. It will be an opportunity for the president to demonstrate pride in his African roots. Although President Obama visited Kenya as a private citizen and again as a US senator, a visit as president will have great significance not only to him but also to Kenyans and indeed other Africans.

Outside of his personal connection, there are other reasons for the president to visit Kenya. Kenya has made major political and economic reforms. It now has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world and the implementation of this constitution is continuing steadily. It is the largest economy in East Africa and a leader in the integration of the East African Community. Kenya is emerging as Africa’s innovation hub and has also been at the forefront on the war against terrorism, especially against Al-Shabaab. Kenya continues to play a very important role in brokering peace initiatives in the region. For all these reasons, Kenya deserves to be included in the president’s itinerary.

Policy focus

For Obama’s final trip to Africa as president to be impactful, it is also crucial that he focuses on a few key policy issues that have continental implications as opposed to many, small fragmented policies. Furthermore, the policy approach should build on mutualism prominent in the deliberations during the US-Africa Leaders Summit. In this regard and as discussed above, key policy issues that the president should seek to focus on should include collaborative strategies in the fight against terrorist groups in Africa and support of Africa’s regional integration project especially through the participation of US private sector. Finally, the president should focus on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Specifically, he should articulate approaches of how the US would work with Africans in advancing the development agenda. It would be particularly impactful if the president will mobilize the international community to support Africa’s Post-2015 Development Agenda. US initiatives that support Africans in dealing with these broad issues is a sure way for the president to solidify an African leg.

Mwangi S. Kimenyi is senior fellow in the Africa Growth Initiative and currently serves as advisory board member of the School of Economics, University of Nairobi. The founding executive director of the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (1999-2005), he focuses on Africa’s development including institutions for economic growth, political economy, and private sector development. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Reporter. The article was first published by the Brookings Institution.

How Nigeria Can Help to End the War in Ukraine – Russian Envoy [interview]

eastern Ukraine

The Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, Nikolay Udovichenko, speaks on the war in eastern Ukraine

Do you think eastern Ukraine should be part of Russia?

I think the question sounds a bit strange, since never had Russia questioned the integrity of Ukraine. Quite the opposite, we consistently advocated and supported the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. Our position did not change even after we saw a constitutionally elected government overthrown by a US-backed coup d’etat in Kiev, in February 2014.

Why does Russia care so much about what happens in Ukraine?

It is not surprising that we take to heart everything that happens in Ukraine. It is well known that Ukrainian and Russian people are a single ethnic Slavs nation. Historical ties between the two nations are very close. For almost 80 years, our people lived in one state, the Soviet Union, where economic, cultural, social and family ties were fully integrated. Now we have millions of mixed families with Russians and Ukrainians living in both countries, speaking the Russian language.

We can’t remain indifferent when the rights of Russian speaking people, specifically our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children, are rudely and shamelessly violated. Their only offence is that they did not support a nationalist coup in the country and demanded respect for their rights.

As the crisis in Ukraine grows, there looms interruption of economic relations that existed between our two countries. The problem is not only that Ukraine is a recipient of Russian gas and a transit country for Russian gas supplies to Europe, but also in close commercial ties, including industrial and aerospace complex. The conflict affects both the economy of Ukraine and Russia, on those of its strategically important sectors, which are closely related to the enterprises located on the territory of Ukraine.

Recall that the south-east of Ukraine is home to large industries where transformers, various parts of motors, manufacturing and industrial equipment, etc. are being produced in cooperation with Russian companies and shipped to Russia. Today, the partnership between the two countries in these sectors is hanging.

Russia has long denied military involvement in Ukraine but the passports of many Russian troops have been found in Ukraine territory. How do you explain this?

Russian regular armed forces are not involved and have never been involved in the conflict in Ukraine. No wonder neither the Ukrainian officials nor NATO have been able to present real evidence on that. As for all the funny fables or fake photos about the flow of Russian troops and arms, they provide them in abundance. Indeed, the show must go on. The serious institutions like the OSCE (Organisation on Security and Cooperation in Europe) saw no Russian regular military troops in Ukraine’s east.

It is no secret that citizens of different countries are taking part in combat operations in the south-east of Ukraine. We, in turn, also can’t forbid Russian volunteers from going to Ukraine and protecting their relatives and families, while Ukrainian authorities use mercenaries from Great Britain, Sweden, Poland and other countries. The US has recently sent military advisers to Ukraine clearly not to engage in agriculture development.

As for the Russian passports Poroshenko juggled, it again comes from the same stories, of which I spoke earlier. Besides, Russian military personnel don’t have passports, what they have is a special military ID.

How hard does Putin want to go on the shelling on eastern Ukraine?

Let’s look at the facts. Shortly after the violent coup, the new Kiev regime, not Russia, started using enforcement bodies and police against ethnic Russians in south-eastern Ukraine who did not agree to such a revolution and refused to accept a new order in Kiev. Using the army, the new regime tried to carry out punitive operations with heavy artillery, prohibited worldwide weapons, such as cluster munitions, against residential areas and settlements.

Self-defence forces in Ukraine’s east were forced to defend themselves and responded by fighting. So I can’t accept your question. Russia is the least of all that would like to see military action in a neighboring friendly Ukraine, because it is a direct threat to our national security. You should look for those who benefit from it.

Is Russia affected by the sanctions imposed by the US and its allies?

Of course, sanctions imposed on Russia in violation of international law are not very helpful but they will not achieve their goals. At the same time we see a positive side of that. Russia had focused too much on the European market and integration with it, the sanctions have forced us to further develop domestic production, strengthen relations with other parts of the world such as Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Besides, all sanctions have a boomerang effect hitting the economy of the initiators. Whatever they say, businesses in Europe suffer losses.

What’s going on, on the sanctions the United States previously imposed on Russia?

These sanctions are also counter-productive and affect everyone, including Russia, but Russia will emerge from this situation with an advantage. The countries that triggered the spiral of sanctions will not escape the negative effects in light of the global redistribution of economic and social power. So it’s not our problem. As I mentioned earlier, we have a good opportunity to develop our economy.

I want to emphasize another important point. It’s necessary to clearly understand that Russia has emerged as a sovereign country pursuing an independent, assertive foreign policy designed to defend its own national interests and to ensure peace and international security as the number of conflict areas in the world is growing and it doesn’t happen by itself. These sanctions are attempts to punish Russia for its independent foreign policy, its sovereignty and its unwillingness to blindly obey the outside demands.

Eastern Ukraine peace remain uncertain. When do you think solution will be found in Ukraine?

Russia is interested in a speedy resolution of the conflict in Ukraine more than any other country. We are convinced that the Kiev government is not able to resolve the conflict by military means.

We do want the Ukrainian people to restore their unity but it should be done on the basis of real nationwide dialogue. Moscow is consistently and patiently calling for the start of direct talks between Kiev and Donetsk and Lugansk on practical steps to restore the common economic, social and political space within the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The Kiev government should learn to listen and talk to the people in the eastern part of Ukraine. This is the only way to find a really long-lasting solution to the conflict.

Is Russia ready for peace talk?

We are not just ready, but unlike many partners, we are doing everything possible to scale down tensions and to achieve a political settlement in Ukraine. We firmly believe that there is no alternative to an exclusively peaceful settlement. Given the acute crisis in south-east Ukraine, only the people of Ukraine without any foreign interference must determine their future. Direct contact between Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics are of fundamental importance in this context.

All other formats involving external players, including the Normandy and many other formats, as well as the OSCE activities, must be aimed at assisting a direct and sustainable dialogue on issues that need to be resolved to settle the crisis. On its part, Russia will continue to assist the creation of favourable conditions to settle Ukraine’s formidable problems in this spirit.

We also want the EU and the US to increase their influence on Kiev and to urge the new regime to speak with its citizens as they have done in other conflicts like in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan where they called for dialogue with the opposition forces, part of which consisted of very radical groups. Now we are disappointed to see a totally different approach to everything that concerns the crisis in Ukraine’s east.

Lesotho votes amid instability (Daily Nation (Kenya))

By the time you’re reading this, the tallying of the ballots for Lesotho’s parliamentary elections held on Saturday will be well under way.

Despite 23 parties having been registered for yesterday’s election, only three were considered strong enough to be deemed the frontrunners. Among them are the two parties that constitute incumbent Prime Minister Tom Thabane’s shaky coalition government.

They are Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) and its coalition partner Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) led by Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing.

Also deemed a frontrunner is Lesotho’s main opposition party Democratic Congress (DC) led by former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili. Intriguingly, according to the South Africabased Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the DC and LCD had prior to yesterday’s polls formed a formidable alliance that was expected to keep Thabane on his toes.

The coalition came even as a top Lesotho government official was recently quoted as saying that no party was likely to get enough votes to govern alone. In the meantime, another observer was quick to point out that even if Mosisili does not win outright “he is almost certain to lead a coalition government”.

As if to give that view even more credence, ISS researcher Dimpho Motsamai was last week quoted as saying that Mr Mosisili had run the best campaign and done the best job of explaining Lesotho’s prevailing political uncertainty in his favour. The researcher added that Mr Mosisili had consequently “won the public relations battle.”

Poignantly, during the last election in 2012, the DC won the largest number of seats (48), but failed to get a majority. The result was that in the end, three other parties formed the country’s first coalition government.

These were ABC, which had 30 seats, LCD (26 seats) and the Basotho National Party (BNP) with five seats.

However, soon there were ramblings that set the stage for perennial squabbling over power between Thabane (ABC), Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing (LCD) and Sports Minister Thesele ‘Maseribane (BNP).

Unfortunately, that state of affairs set the scene for the coalition’s inevitable failure. In the meantime, a spirited anticorruption drive by Mr Thabane became a major spanner in the works, particularly when Mr Metsing emerged as the subject of a major corruption probe.

Furiously fighting back, the deputy prime minister in June 2014 openly declared that he would go out of his way to oust Mr Thabane. The latter responded by suspending Parliament, even as a major showdown loomed between the two denizens of the Lesotho political scene.

The outcome was a convoluted coup attempt that took place in August last year, ushering in a new period of uncertainty. During that episode, nearly five months ago, soldiers raided Mr Thabane’s residence and the police headquarters in the capital Maseru, raising tension even as Mr Thabane hurriedly fled to South Africa.

Given that Lesotho’s armed forces are notorious for meddling in politics, the events of last August were made even more worrying by the fact that the military is known to have close ties with Mr Metsing, while Mr Thabane is said to have close ties with the police.

Considering that the two leaders had been embroiled in a longstanding battle for political supremacy, it was not surprising that Mr Metsing took over the reins in Mr Thabane’s absence.


In the meantime, both Mr Metsing and the army denied that there had been a coup, with the army saying that the raids were aimed at disarming rogue elements within the police force who were allegedly preparing to supply weapons to some political parties.

Alarmed by the latest developments in the historically volatile Lesotho, both South Africa and the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc said “the activities of the Lesotho Defence Force . . .(bore) the hallmarks of a coup d’etat”.

Despite consequent efforts by SADC countries to stabilise Lesotho, political tensions were not totally eased in the landlocked country surrounded on all sides by South Africa.

Even as Saturday’s polls neared, there were fears about the future of the country, which has 2 million residents and is ruled by King Letsie III, whose duties are however mainly ceremonial.

Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations (The News Today (Bangladesh))

The theory of Clash of Civilizations relates to people’s cultural and religious identities that will be the primary source of conflict in the postCold War world. It was proposed at the American Enterprise Institute by political scientist Samuel P. Huntington in a 1992 lecture, which was then developed in a 1993 Foreign Affairs article titled “The Clash of Civilizations?

In response to his former student Francis Fukuyama’s 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man. Huntington later expanded his thesis in a 1996 book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Bernard Lewis in an article in the September 1990 issue of The Atlantic Monthly titled “The Roots of Muslim Rage”, used the phrase earlier. Even earlier, the phrase appears in a 1926 book regarding the Middle East by Basil Mathews: Young Islam on Trek: A Study in the Clash of Civilizations. This expression derives from clash of cultures, already used during the colonial period and the Belle A‰poque.

Huntington began his thinking by surveying the diverse theories about the nature of global politics in the postCold War period. Some theorists and writers argued that human rights, liberal democracy, and capitalist free market economy had become the only remaining ideological alternative for nations in the postCold War world. Specifically, Francis Fukuyama argued that in a Hegelian sense the world had reached the ‘end of history’.

The identification of Western civilization with the Western Christianity (CatholicProtestant) was not Huntington’s original idea. It was rather the traditional Western viewpoint and subdivision before the Cold War period. Huntington believed that while the age of ideology had ended, the world had only reverted to a normal state of affairs characterized by cultural conflict. In his thesis, he “argued that the primary axis of conflict in the future will be along cultural and religious lines”.

As an extension, he posits that the concept of different civilizations, as the highest rank of cultural identity, will become increasingly useful in analyzing the potential for conflict. In the 1993 Foreign Affairs article, 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 powerful 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”. In the end of the article, he writes: “This is not to advocate the desirability of conflicts between civilizations. It is to set forth descriptive hypothesis as to what the future may be like”. The clash of civilizations, for Huntington, represents a development of history.

In the old time, the history of international system was mainly about the struggles between monarchs, nations and ideologies. Those conflicts were primarily seen within Western civilization. But with the end of the Cold War, world politics had moved into a new aspect in which nonWestern civilizations were no more the exploited recipients of Western civilization but became another important actor joining the West to shape and move the world history.

Huntington divided the world into “major civilizations” in his thesis as such: Western civilization, comprising the United States and Canada, Western and Central Europe, Australia and Oceania.

The Eastern world is the mix of the Buddhist, Chinese, Hindu, and Japonica civilizations. The Muslim world comprises of the Greater Middle East (excluding Armenia, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Georgia, Israel, Malta and South Sudan), northern West Africa, Albania, Bangladesh, Brunei, Comoros, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Maldives.

The civilization of SubSaharan Africa located in Southern Africa, Middle Africa (excluding Chad), East Africa (excluding Ethiopia, Comoros, Kenya, Mauritius, and Tanzania), Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone is considered as a possible 8th civilization by Huntington. Huntington writes, instead of belonging to one of the “major” civilizations, Ethiopia and Haiti are labeled as “Lone” countries. Israel could be considered a unique state with its own civilization, but one which is extremely similar to the West. Huntington also believes that the Anglophone Caribbean, former British colonies in the Caribbean, constitutes a distinct entity.

There are also others which are considered “cleft countries” because they contain very large groups of people identified with separate civilizations. Huntington terms, Russia and India as ‘swing civilizations’ and may favour either side. According to Huntington Russia, for example, clashes with the many Muslim ethnic groups on its southern border (such as Chechnya) but cooperates with Iran to avoid further MuslimOrthodox violence in Southern Russia, and to help continue the flow of oil.

A “SinoIslamic connection”, Huntington argues, is emerging in which China will cooperate more closely with Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other states to augment its international position. Civilization conflicts are “particularly prevalent between Muslims and nonMuslims”, identifying the “bloody borders” between Islamic and nonIslamic civilizations, Huntington also argues.

This conflict dates as far back as the initial thrust of Islam into Europe, its eventual expulsion in the Iberian reconquest and the attacks of the Ottoman Turks on Eastern Europe and Vienna. Huntington also believes that some of the factors contributing to this conflict are that both Christianity (which has influenced Western civilization) and Islam are: Missionary religions, seeking conversion of others.

Universal, “allornothing” religions, both believe that only their faith is the correct one, and that their values and beliefs represent the goals of existence and purpose in human existence.

Irreligious people who violate the base principles of those religions are perceived to be furthering their own pointless aims, which lead to violent interactions. Huntington wrote, more recent factors contributing to a WesternIslamic clash, are the Islamic Resurgence and demographic explosion in Islam.

Added to this are that infuriate Islamic followers the values of Western universalism that is, the view that all civilizations should adopt Western values. Huntington wrote briefly in his Foreign Affairs article that all these historical and modern factors combined, and in much more detail in his 1996 book, would lead to a bloody clash between the Islamic and Western civilizations.

The political party Hizb utTahrir also reiterates Huntington’s views in their published book, The Inevitability of Clash of Civilization. Huntington offers six main causes for why civilizations will clash: “(i) Differences among civilizations are too basic in that civilizations are differentiated from each other by history, language, culture, tradition, and, most important, religion.

These fundamental differences are the product of centuries, so they will not soon disappear. (ii) As the world is becoming a smaller place the interactions across the world are increasing, and they intensify civilization consciousness and awareness of differences between civilizations and commonalities within civilizations. (iii) Due to the economic modernization and social change, people are separated from longstanding local identities. Religion has replaced this gap, which provides a basis for identity and commitment that transcends national boundaries and unites civilizations.

(iv) The growth of civilizationconsciousness is enhanced by the dual role of the West: West is at a peak of power and a return to the roots phenomenon is occurring among nonWestern civilizations. A West at the peak of its power confronts nonWestern countries that increasingly have the desire, the will and the resources to shape the world in nonWestern ways. (v) Cultural characteristics and differences are less mutable and hence less easily compromised and resolved than political and economic ones. (vi) Economic regionalism is increasing. Successful economic regionalism will reinforce civilizationconsciousness. Economic regionalism may succeed only when it is rooted in a common civilization”.

The future central axis of world politics tends to be the conflict between Western and nonWestern civilizations the conflict between “the West and the Rest”, Huntington suggests. Huntington believes that the increasing power of nonWestern civilizations in international society will make the West begin to develop a better understanding of the cultural fundamentals underlying other civilizations. Therefore, Western civilization will cease to be regarded as “universal” but different civilizations will learn to coexist and join to shape the future world.

In Huntington’s view, intercivilizational conflict manifests itself in two forms: fault line conflicts and core state conflicts. “(i) Fault line conflicts are on a local level and occur between adjacent states belonging to different civilizations or within states that are home to populations from different civilizations. (ii) Core state conflicts are on a global level between the major states of different civilizations.

Core state conflicts can arise out of fault line conflicts when core states become involved”. Such conflicts may result from a number of causes, for example: relative influence or power (military or economic), discrimination against people from a different civilization, intervention to protect kinsmen in a different civilization, or different values and culture particularly when one civilization attempts to impose its values on people of a different civilization. The writer is a retired Professor of Economics, BCS General Education Cadre.