Chapter 7: Civilizations at war?
It seems appropriate for a book on civilization and war to engage with the issue of war between civilizations. With the end of the Cold War, and particularly since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, there is a growing impression that the various civilizations to which we belong are somehow fundamentally at odds with one another and prone to clashing. This is especially the case when it comes to relations between the Western and Islamic worlds, with some observers seeing their history of interactions as defined by a recurring or ongoing series of confrontations and clashes – from the eleventh-century Crusades (1095–1291) through to events being played out in the Middle East and Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11. This in turn has given rise to claims and arguments about how or why one side or the other might ultimately prevail in the clash of civilizations. Unfortunately, preoccupation with clashes and confrontations obscures what many civilizations share in common and overlooks centuries of migration, mingling, and peaceful co-operation.
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