Causes of Conflict between Islamic and Western Worlds
Over the past two decades, the world has experienced a growing intensity in strife between the Islamic and western nations. Such strife-filled situations became more evident during the Gulf wars in the 1990’s and the Iraq war of 2003 (Hafez 27). These two instances represented the peak of conflict between the two parties. Over these two decades, stakeholders have propagated various theories and ideologies suggested to be the root causes of the conflict. Distant perspective on the issue proposes rational causes like the clash in civilization, power vacuum and varied cosmopolitan views on human rights between the fighting parties (Huntington 57). Empirical evidence from practical situations serves the purpose of backing up these claims postulated by objective analysts of international conflicts (Hafez 32). Interested parties in the conflict, especially western nations and the US adopt realist theory as a mechanism of developing a coherent understanding on the justification behind their engagement.
In this part, it is good to acknowledge that the theory justify actions but do not explain the root cause of a problem. Realist theory asserts the need of adopting justifiable objectives in any given political undertaking, both at domestic and foreign platforms (Barkin 67). In this context, moral and rational laws provide a guideline concerning development of various political goals. Realist theory emphasizes that at an international level, foreign policies should inherently possess the qualities of rationality and moral praiseworthiness. In actual practice of this theory, involved parties incline towards the constituent principles that will support their political interests (Barkin 69). With regard to the conflict under consideration, both parties chose to pursue objectives that contain pronounced elements of imperfection and partiality in their structures. In this case, both the Islamic world and the western world inculcate such objectives. However imperfectly formed and one-sidedly objectives could be, they will pursue their goals as long as they are illuminated by reason and supported by evidence (Barkin 78).
Based on the theory, western powers argue that the character of Islamic foreign policies can be known through political acts and the predictable consequences of their actions. Therefore, the west prefers to pursue their partial and imperfect objectives since they are supported by evidence and reason resulting from the consequences of terrorist actions (Yetivn 112). On the contrary, realist theory postulates that not all foreign policies results from rational thinking. It acknowledges the influence of contingent components like personality and prejudice during formulation of foreign policies (Barkin 61). In this case, one party might present their policies through their philosophy and political sympathies with the aim of gaining popular support from radical members of the society. In this context, Islamic world terms objectives held by western powers as irrational and subjective; only motivated by misguided policies developed out of prejudice against the Muslim society in the Middle East (Hafez 43).
Causes backed by empirical evidence include existence of a power vacuum after the 1990 and different cosmopolitan views on human rights. After the cold war, the power vacuum encouraged proliferation of insurgent militant groups across Iraq (Yetiv 89). This led to Saddam Hussein’s insurgency on Kuwait. Western nations moved in to quench the unjustified objectives of Saddam, hence resulting in the Gulf War. Powerful Muslim radicals in the Middle East, especially Bin Laden, became upset with engagement of US in the Gulf war. Subsequent attacks attributed to his grievances led to the drastic 9/11 attack on the US soil by Bin Laden. In response, George Bush sent troops to Iraq, leading to the 2003 Iraq War. Since then, presence of any power vacuum propagates advancement of retaliatory attacks by insurgents against western societies. In addition, actions of terrorism and attack on civilians by use of explosives results from the difference in cosmopolitan views on human rights among the Islam and western worlds. Based on the empirical evidence, one can develop and insight regarding divergence in social, political and economic principles between the Islamic and western worlds.
Appropriate hypothesis statement states that the conflict between Islamic and western worlds results from the clash of civilization. History and other sources depict a profound difference in social, political, and cultural practices of these two parties. In the recent past, rampant condemnation of democracy and social liberalism by Muslim societies around the globe proves existence of an underlying reason (Huntington 62). Such instances show that Islamic world has a general hateful attitude towards the political, social, and economic systems of western nations. On the other hand, the recent extensive occupation of the west on Muslim nations across Middle East suggests a different cause. The US and its allies want to restructure Islamic governing systems in order to keep control of the world’s largest oil fields, which are paramount as economic pillars of the western nations (Huntington 62). Extrapolation of this hypothesis in an actual research will result in reliable findings that will explain the causes behind the growing conflict.
Barkin, Samuel. Realist Constructivism: Rethinking International Relations Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Print.
Huntington, Samuel. The Clash of Civilization and the Remaking of World Order. Pittsburgh: Simon and Schuster Publishers, 2009. Print.
Hafez, Kai. The Islamic World and the West: An Introduction to Political Cultures and International Relations. New York: BRILL, 2010. Print.
Yetiv, Steve. Explaining Foreign Policy: US Decision-Making in the Gulf Wars. New York: JHU Press, 2011. Print.