Twenty years after Clash of Civilizations: Are we living in Huntington’s world order?

In the summer of 1993, Foreign Affairs published  “Clash of Civilizations?” by Samuel P. Huntington. Few thinkers have provoked such criticism as Huntington did twenty years ago. Nevertheless, the critics did not succeed in dismissing his article as irrelevant. In the post Nine Eleven world, where conflicts largely take place between various ethnical and cultural entities, it is hard to not admit that Huntington was at least partially right.

“Clash of Civilizations?” launched the theory of a new world order after the Cold War where cultural and religious identities would be the primary source of conflict. Huntington believed that future wars would mainly take place between the Western, Muslim and Confucian civilizations.

On November 12th The Stockholm Free World Forum arranged the conference “Twenty Years after Clash of Civilizations: Are we Living in Huntington’s World Order”. Key note speaker was James Kirchick. Other speakers were Oda Fiskum, Magnus Norell and Eli Göndör. The conference was moderated by Thomas Gür.

Questions  adressed during the conference: The antagonism between the West and the Muslim world – are we experiencing a clash of civilizations? More than two decades after the Cold War – where is authoritarian Russia heading? Soft power – how China challenges the rest of the world by cultural impact.

See the video from the conference below

Part 1

Part 2


James Kirchick
is a journalist and foreign correspondent based in Washington DC and Berlin. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Prospect, The Spectator, among many other publications. Kirchick is a fellow with the Foreign Policy Initiative in Washington DC. He is a leading voice on American gay politics and international gay rights.




Oda Fiskum
 is a Sinologist and playwright educated at London School of Oriental and African Studies and Central Academy of Drama (Beijing). For several years, she has engaged in cultural issues in China; as a playwright, producer, consultant and public diplomacy officer at the Norwegian embassy in Beijing. Fiskum has also worked with theatre shows and festivals, both in China and in Europe.



Magnus Norell

Magnus Norell is a researcher and analyst focused on terrorism, democracy and security and defence policy in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. Norell is an Adjunct Scholar at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington DC and a Senior Policy Advisor at The European Fundation for Democracy in Brussels.




Eli Göndör has a PhD in History of Religion, with focus on Islam. He recently published the books Jag har mina känslor och mitt förstånd Muslimska kvinnor i Israel (Atlantis 2012), Religionen i demokratin ett politiskt dilemmas återkomst (red, Timbro 2013) and the report Islam Ett hinder för frihet i Guds namn? (Frivärld 2013).



Photo: Ake Gunnarsson /VUE AB
Thomas Gür is a writer and Public Affairs and Investor Relations consultant. He is the CEO of Accelerator Nordic AB. His latest book (together with Patrik Engellau) is Den övermodiga beskyddaren – hur välfärdsstaten underminerar det civila samhället och urholkar dygderna (2012).