December 30, 2008

Samuel Huntington, Paleocon?  (part II)

A reader has emailed me some more thoughts on Samuel Huntington’s paleo tendencies: 

My impression is that while Huntington’s roots are as a realist Cold War ‘moderate’ liberal, most of his prescriptions were compatible with Paleoconservatism.

On Islam, Huntington notes that there is plenty of empirical evidence that Islamic civilisation is unusually hostile to all other civilisations. By contrast, some Paleos do tend towards an Islamophile stance*, but this seems predicated more on an idea that neocons are hostile to Islam, and consequent “enemy of my enemy” reasoning.  More importantly, Huntington drew the opposite lesson from Islamic hostility—rather than the neocons’ endless intervention, he advocated a separationist strategy towards the Islamic world, the West having as little to do with Islam as possible. To those not blinded by dislike of the neocons, this surely falls within the mainstream of Paleo thought.

*In particular a concern for the wellbeing of the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel, that seems at odds with the rest of Paleo thought.

On intervention in general, Huntington, writing in the ‘90s, advocated less of it, due to the risk of ‘civilisational rallying’ effects; e.g. he thought the West should draw a boundary with the Orthodox world and leave territories to the east within a Russian sphere, the opposite of the US-led encirclement policy.  One exception I noticed was that in a rather off-hand comment in the China section he advocates maintaining US hegemony in east-Asia and constraining Chinese power. This little-noticed section of the book is the only place where he arguably departs significantly from Paleo thought.

Also, over at VDARE, Peter Brimelow reminisces about Huntington’s “quite” support for 


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