The Clash of Barbarisms: The Making of the New World Disorder

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Paradigm Publishers, 2006 - Political Science - 192 pages
The London bombings of July 7th, 2005, revived the debates that raged after 9/11. What relation did they bear to the foreign and war policies of the United Kingdom and the United States? Were they symptoms of a cultural clash between deep-seated values or signs of a social crisis at the root of the ongoing conflict? How should we analyze the present-day emergence of fanatical forms of Islamic fundamentalism?

The title of the book alludes to the famous thesis on the Clash of Civilizations. Achcar develops a counterthesis, namely that the clashes we are witnessing do not oppose civilizations, but their dark sides. Each civilization produces a specific form of barbarism, which tends to take over in periods of crisis. Accordingly, the Bush administration doesn’t embody the values of Western civilization nor does Islamic fanaticism of the al-Qa‘ida type represent Islamic civilization. The clash between them is a clash of barbarisms in which the main culprit remains the most powerful.

The war of aggression and occupation in Iraq led to blatant manifestations of Western barbarism, most strikingly epitomized by the torture at Abu Ghraib, and inevitably nurtured fanatical Islamic and other counterbarbarisms.

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User Review  - James.Igoe - LibraryThing

I had the opportunity to listen to Achcar lecture at La Maison Francaise at NYU, and found his view intriguing, if not entirely acceptable, and certainly worthy of inclusion into a broader worldview ... Read full review


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About the author (2006)

Gilbert Achcar, who lived in Lebanon for many years before moving to France, now teaches politics and international relations at the University of Paris. He is the author of several books on contemporary politics and is a frequent contributor to Le Monde Diplomatique.

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