Remaking the World by Sandra Buckley

Buckley, Sandra. "Remaking the World: Reflections on Huntington's Clash of Civilizations." Theory & Event, 2:4 (1998): 1-24.

“I was having a great deal of trouble trying to identify for myself what I wanted to say in this essay and in frustration I took a day off and went to visit the Monterey Aquarium with my family and there I found the answer to my dilemma. I walked from octopus to sea otter and on to reef life where I found my answer. A small child overcome with the excitement and potential of an exhibit that read “Please Touch Me” reached into a glass container of assembled reef life, grabbed onto a sea cucumber and, holding it tightly, held it up to view. What followed was a level of chaos and misunderstanding that could only be resolved with the intervention of aquarium guards, two marine biologists on-call and a public relations officer. The sea cucumber, sensing a threat, did what any self-respecting sea cucumber would do and disgorged itself of its innards, leaving the child holding an empty, slimy sac and covered in a noxiously smelly, exceedingly sticky substance that it was soon explained to his mother would be best rapidly removed at the local emergency room. What the young boy did not know when he grabbed onto the sea cucumber was that when exposed to pressure or stress this creature discharges its inner form, almost explosively, layering anyone/thing close enough with a mean and tenacious residue. Once released, the outer form of the cucumber proceeds to regrow its inner form. I cannot think of a better matched metaphor for Samuel Huntington’s project in Clash of Civilizations, which it is worthwhile remembering at this point is in fact entitled Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. From beginning to end Huntington repeatedly contrasts the Cold War and post-Cold War as he weaves his predictions and prescriptions for the continued viability of the West in the face of the transformations of the post-period.”

– Excerpt

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