Leon Lemmer: Samuel Huntington oor die botsing van beskawings

Deel op

In die Amerikaanse politieke liberatuur kom ‘n mens dikwels verwysings na Samuel P Huntington (1927-2008) teë. As politieke wetenskaplike het hy groot aansien geniet. Hy het ‘n rol in die administrasie van Jimmy Carter (president 1977-1981) gespeel, maar dit beteken glad nie dat hy hom met die Carter-bewind se buitelandse beleid teenoor Afrika en Carter se persoonlike vyandigheid jeens die blanke bewind in Suid-Afrika vereenselwig het nie. Huntington was hoogs skepties oor die spoed waarteen daar na die Tweede Wêreldoorlog onafhanklikheid aan kolonies toegestaan is. Hy het daarop gewys dat politieke stabiliteit en ekonomiese en sosiale voorspoed nie noodwendig op onafhanklikheid volg nie. Ook dat demokrasie in sulke lande dikwels inplof en sulke samelewings in geweld en chaos kan verval.

Volgens Huntington moet demokrasie en algemene stemreg liefs geleidelik ingevoer word. Dit is in ooreenstelling met die tradisionele oortuiging van baie blanke Suid-Afrikaners. Dit was ook die beleid van bv Ian Smith (eerste minister 1964-1979) in Rhodesië. ‘n Mens sou dink dat iemand soos FW de Klerk die sinvolheid van so ‘n benadering kon insien. Pleks daarvan het De Klerk verkondig dat hy alles meteens wou regtrek. Die gevolge van hierdie dwaasheid behoort deesdae vir enigeen duidelik te wees.

In die jare tagtig het Huntington as konsultant vir PW Botha (uitvoerende staatshoof 1978-1989) se Nasionale Party-regering opgetree. Huntington het begrip vir die apartheidsbeleid gehad. Volgens hom was apartheid nie só sleg, soos ANC-gesindes graag beweer, dat dit nodeloos was om dit aan te pas nie. Huntington was ten gunste van die hervorming van apartheid en het gewaarsku dat dit nie eensklaps afgeskaf moet word nie. Desnieteenstaande was dit presies wat De Klerk gedoen het. Huntington het ook aanbeveel dat die blanke bewind nie moet skroom om teen terroriste op te tree nie. Desnieteenstaande het De Klerk tydens die proses van magsoorgawe en in reaksie op eise van die ANC in groot mate die doeltreffende funksionering van die staat se veiligheidsmagte (weermag en polisie) aan bande gelê. Anders as in 2 Korintiërs 12:9 word krag in die politiek nie in swakheid volbring nie.

Huntington het bekend geword veral vanweë sy artikel, “The clash of civilizations?”, wat in 1993 in die tydskrif Foreign Affairs gepubliseer is. Die titel van die artikel is ontleen aan ‘n frase wat die kenner van Midde-Oosterse aangeleenthede, Bernard Lewis (hy was op 31 Mei ‘n eeu oud!), gebruik het (Huntington, 2013-boek hier onder, Kindle 247). Die artikel behels besinning oor hoe die wêreldorde na verwagting na afloop van die Koue Oorlog sal ontplooi. Die kernidee is dat ekonomiese sake en politieke verskille voortaan ‘n mindere rol in internasionale konflik sal speel; dat kultuur- en beskawingsverskille van deurslaggewende belang gaan wees. Die teks is gebaseer op bevindings waartoe ‘n span navorsers van die Harvard-universiteit gekom het.

Die vorige Suid-Afrikaanse politieke bedeling was in 1993 dalk nog nie sover heen dat nie gered kon word wat daar toe nog te redde was nie. Sedertdien het dit baie duidelik geword dat gewigtige sake soos taal (spesifiek Afrikaans), kultuur en beskawing glad nie ‘n hoë prioriteit by die De Klerk-regering en sy onderhandelingspan geniet het nie. “Language is, of course, central to culture” (1206). ‘n Inskiklike, naïewe gees het die onderhandelings oorheers: Ons is mos almal (basies eenderse) Suid-Afrikaners wat lekker gaan saamwerk met die oog op ‘n mooi toekoms. Hierdie gees sou na ydele verwagting in die nuwe Suid-Afrika vergestalt word en nie soseer die letter van die Grondwet nie. Die ANC was mos propvol goeie ouens wat met die blanke inwoners se toekoms vertrou kon word. Die kamerade was mos nie magshonger en op eiebelang en die belang van swartes ingestel nie. Die ANC-leierskorps was glo vryheidsvegters in die tradisie van die Boere toe hulle in hulle Vryheidsoorloë en Rebellie betrokke was. In die ANC-kraal is misdadigers mos so skaars soos hoendertande. Daar is veronderstel dat hierdie mense moreel ‘n onbesproke rekord het, die hoë grond beklee, ens. As dit maar so was, sou die ontgogeling nie so groot gewees het nie!

In sy 1993-artikel het Huntington die opkoms van Moslem-mag en die bedreiging wat dit vir die Weste inhou, korrek voorspel. “In the modern world, religion is a central, perhaps the central, force that motivates and mobilizes people” (1161). Hy het tereg ook voorsien dat die Oekraïne die gevaar loop om in twee te verdeel: ‘n Westersgeoriënteerde westelike helfte en ‘n Russiese oostelike helfte. In sy laaste boek, Who are we? (2004), het Huntington gewaarsku teen die gevolge van die instroming van wettige en onwettige Hispanistiese immigrante wat reeds die grootste minderheidsgroep in Amerika geword het en die gevaar inhou dat die land sowel kultureel as taalgewys in twee verdeel word. Reeds in 1993 het hy die gevare voorsien wat die instroming van immigrante in Wes-Europa inhou: “West European peoples and states now see a cultural threat from the South [and Middle East] replacing the ideological threat [communism] from the East” (1150). Sulke weloorwoë en skynbaar geldige menings het Huntington hoogs ongewild in linkse geledere gemaak. Let bv op die trant van die hoof-Wikipedia-inskrywing oor Huntington.

Oor die begrippe “kultuur” en “beskawing” is al baie gepubliseer. Raymond Williams skryf: “Culture is one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language” (Keywords: A vocabulary of culture and society, London: Fontana, 1976, p 76). Volgens Williams beskryf “civilization … an achieved state or condition of organized social life” (48). Volgens Johann Herder (1744-1803) verwys sowel kultuur as beskawing na “the historical self-development of humanity” (79). Oor kultuur word daar in die Engelse literatuur gewoonlik na die werk van Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) en TS Eliot (1888-1965) verwys. Dit is onprakties en eintlik onnodig om hier in besonderhede daaroor te skryf.

Vir die doeleindes van hierdie rubriek volstaan ek met die volgende definisies. “Culture … the way of life of a particular society or group of people, including patterns of thought, beliefs, behaviour, customs, traditions, rituals, dress, and language, as well as art, music, and literature” [laasgenoemde drie word dikwels “hoë kultuur” genoem] (Collins World Encyclopedia, 2003, p 247). “Civilization … highly developed human society with structured division of labour” (204). Dit gaan in hierdie rubriek om leefwyse, dus kultuur in die algemeen, wat in sy ontwikkelde vorme, oor tyd en plek heen, beskawing genoem word.

George Reisman systap die onderwerp van hierdie rubriek, die botsing van beskawings, deur Westerse (insluitende Europese) beskawing as die hoogste vorm van beskawing te beskou omdat dit kumulatief uit vorige beskawings ontwikkel het en in daardie sin nie-etnies is (Education and the racist road to barbarism, Laguna Hills: TJS Books, 2014, 13p; Amazon Kindle $3,41). Die Trinidadse skrywer, VS Naipaul, sluit hierby aan: “Western civilization is the ‘universal civilization’ that ‘fits all men'” (Huntington 374). Huntington spreek Naipaul direk teë: “For the relevant future, there will be no universal civilization” (517).

Maar die standpunt van Reisman en Naipaul maak dit des te meer dwaas as daar teen eurosentriese onderrig beswaar geopper word. ‘n Pleidooi vir die afrikanisering van die onderwys, of dat onderrig op minder ontwikkelde beskawings toegespits moet wees, kan impliseer dat “a culture limited to the level of making dugout canoes is to be presented as the equivalent of one capable of launching space ships” (Reisman, Kindle 201). “The intellectual substance of Western civilization is nothing other than the highest level of knowledge attained anywhere on earth, in virtually every aspect of every field, and if the purpose of education is to impart knowledge, then its purpose is to impart Western civilization” (218). Vir verdere inligting lees: “George Reisman: Tot lof van Westerse beskawing” (Praag 21.11.2015).

Seker die maklikste toegang tot Huntington se 1993-artikel en kommentaar daarop is The clash of civilizations? The debate, edited by James F Hoge (New York: Foreign Affairs Publishing, 2nd edition, 2010, 134p; Amazon Kindle $5,69) of The clash of civilizations? The debate: 20th anniversary edition, edited by Gideon Rose (New York: Foreign Affairs Publishing, 2013, 93p; Amazon Kindle $8,57). In albei publikasies word Huntington se teks volledig weergegee, gevolg deur die kommentaar van sewe outeurs. Daarna antwoord Huntington hulle onder die opskrif: “If not civilizations, what? Paradigms of the Post-Cold War World”. Al hierdie materiaal is gedurende 1993 in Foreign Affairs gepubliseer. In die 2010-boek volg hierna kommentaar deur drie ander outeurs wat na 1993 in Foreign Affairs gepubliseer is. In die 2013-boek is laasgenoemde drie kommentare weggelaat. In hulle plek is daar ‘n artikel deur Richard Betts oor “grand theories of the post-Cold War era” (77), gevolg deur huldeblyke vir Huntington deur Stephen Rose, Eliot Cohen, Henry Rosovsky en Zbigniew Brzezinski. (Die eerste uitgawe van bogenoemde 2010-boek het beslag gekry toe Huntington nog gelewe het.) My verwysings is na die Kindle-weergawe van die 2013-boek tensy anders vermeld.

Die kern van Huntington se beroemde 1993-artikel het hy soos volg verwoord: “The fundamental source of conflict in this [post-Cold War] new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics” (88). “The next world war, if there is one, will be a war between civilizations” (353). Hy wys op die ideologiese konflik tussen fascisme, kommunisme en liberale demokrasie wat ‘n oorheersende rol in die geskiedenis van die 20ste eeu gespeel het maar nou verby is. Ideologie was identiteitsbepalend (99) maar voortaan sal kultuur/beskawing na verwagting daardie rol vervul; nie net plaaslik nie, maar ook internasionaal. Die hoofverdelingslyn is tussen Westerse en nie-Westerse beskawings (104). Dit is ‘n geval van “the West versus the rest” (353). “Western civilization has two major variants, European and North American” (120).

Kultuur en beskawing word deur Huntington vertolk (min of meer) in ooreenstemming met wat hier bo geskryf is. “A civilization is … the highest cultural grouping of people and the broadest level of cultural identity people have short of that which distinguishes humans from other species. It is defined both by common objective elements, such as language, history, religion, customs, institutions, and by the subjective self-identification of people” (115). “Civilization identity will be increasingly important in the future, and the world will be shaped in large measure by the interactions among seven or eight major civilizations. These include Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American and possibly African civilization”(126). Daardie “possibly” kan daarop dui dat Afrika ‘n randverskynsel in lotsbepalende wêreld- en beskawingsaangeleenthede is.

Hierdie lys van agt beskawings is kwaai gekritiseer, onder meer omdat sommige van hulle eerder godsdienste as beskawings is. Maar dit dui ook op die mate van ineengestrengeldheid van religie en beskawing. “Differences among civilizations are not only real; they are basic. Civilizations are differentiated from each other by history, language, culture, tradition and, most important, religion” (132). “Even more than ethnicity, religion discriminates sharply and exclusively among people” (169). “As the ideological division of Europe has disappeared, the cultural division of Europe between Western Christianity, on the one hand, and Orthodox Christianity and Islam, on the other, has reemerged” (205). “The Velvet Curtain of culture has replaced the Iron Curtain of ideology” (220). Die pasgenoemde verskille (132) “are far more fundamental than differences among political ideologies” (137).

Die agtvoudige onderskeid van beskawings is noodwendig op drastiese veralgemening gebaseer maar is myns insiens sinvol en selfs briljant. Daar is sekerlik iets eiesoortigs aan bv Suid- en Sentraal-Amerikaanse beskawing as dit met Noord-Amerikaanse beskawing gekontrasteer word. Tereg is opgemerk: “Huntington goes where only the brave would venture” (620). Breë kwasstrepe kan uiteraard nie reg aan fyner besonderhede laat geskied nie. Richard Betts skryf: “Simple visions, however powerful, do not hold up as reliable predictors of particular developments. Visions are vital for clarifying thinking about the forces that drive international relations, the main directions to expect events to take, and one’s basic faith in matters of politics, but they cannot account for many specifics in the actual complexity of political life” (1411).

Huntington skryf: “The world is becoming a smaller place. The interactions between peoples of different civilizations are increasing; these inceasing interactions intensify civilization consciousness and awareness of differences between civilizations and commonalities within civilizations” (137). Dít kan as weerstand teen gelykmakende internasionalisering vertolk word. “Cultural characteristics and differences are less mutable en hence less easily compomised and resolved than political and economic ones. In the former Soviet Union, communists can become democrats, the rich can become poor and the poor rich, but Russians cannot become Estonians and Azeris cannot become Armenians” (164). Ek voeg by: Kultureel kan Afrikaners nie swart Afrikane word nie.

“Cultural commonalities increasingly overcome ideological differences” (180). Dink aan die groot mate waarin blankes in die ou Suid-Afrika teen die “swart gevaar” saamgestaan het. Hierdie swart gevaar het intussen die swart werklikheid geword. “As people define their identity in ethnic and religious terms, they are likely to see an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ relation existing between themselves and people of different ethnicity or religion” (195). Linkse idealiste, soos Max du Preez, poog egter om die onderskeid tussen “ons” en “hulle” af te breek.

“The clash of civilizations … occurs at two levels. At the microlevel, adjacent groups along the fault lines between civilizations struggle, often violently, over the control of territory and each other. At the macro-level, states from different civilizations compete for relative military and economic power, struggle over the control of international institutions and third parties, and competitively promote their particular political and religious values” (200). HDS Greenway se “‘kin-country’ syndrome is replacing political ideology and traditional balance of power considerations as the principal basis for cooperation and coalitions” (289). “A world of clashing civilizations, however, is inevitably a world of double standards: people apply one standard to their kin-countries and a different standard to others” (311).

Suid-Afrika met sy Westerse en nie-Westerse bevolkingsgroepe is ‘n sprekende voorbeeld van dubbele standaarde. Ter bevoordeling van swartes en ter benadeling van blankes word blankes in vele opsigte met ‘n ander maat as swartes gemeet.

Aan die einde van sy 1993-artikel som Huntington sy standpunt in die volgende drie paragrawe op.

“This article does not argue that civilization identities will replace all other identities, that nation states will disappear, that each civilization will become a single coherent political entity, that groups within a civilization will not conflict with and even fight each other. This paper does set forth the hypotheses that differences between civilizations are real and important; civilization-consciousness is increasing; conflict between civilizations will supplant ideological and other forms of conflict as the dominant global form of conflict; international relations, historically a game played out within Western civilization, will increasingly be de-Westernized and become a game in which non-Western civilizations are actors and not simply objects; successful political, security and economic international institutions are more likely to develop within civilizations than across civilizations; conflicts between groups in different civilizations will be more frequent, more sustained and more violent than conflicts between groups in the same civilization; violent conflicts between groups in different civilizations are the most likely and most dangerous source of escalation that could lead to global wars; the paramount axis of world politics will be the relations between ‘the West and the Rest’; the elites in some torn non-Western countries [Turkey, Mexico, Russia] will try to make their countries part of the West, but in most cases face major obstacles to accomplishing this; a central focus of conflict for the immediate future will be between the West and several Islamic-Confucian states” [several Middle Eastern states, China, North Korea] (491).

“In the short term it is clearly in the interest of the West to promote greater cooperation and unity within its own civilization, particularly between its European and North American components; to incorporate into the West societies in Eastern Europe and Latin America whose cultures are close to those of the West; to promote and maintain cooperative relations with Russia and Japan; to prevent escalation of local inter-civilization conflicts into major inter-civilization wars; to limit the expansion of the military strength of Confucian and Islamic states; to moderate the reduction of Western military capabilities and maintain military superiority in East and Southwest Asia; to exploit differences and conflicts among Confusian and Islamic states; to support in other civilizations groups sympathetic to Western values and interests; to strengthen international institutions that reflect and legitimate Western interests and values and to promote the involvement of non-Western states in those institutions” (502).

“In the longer term other measures would be called for. Western civilization is both Western and modern. Non-Western civilizations have attempted to become modern without becoming Western. To date only Japan has fully succeeded in this quest. Non-Western civilizations will continue to attempt to acquire the wealth, technology, skills, machines and weapons that are part of being modern. They will also attempt to reconcile this modernity with their traditional culture and values. Their economic and military strength relative to the West will increase. Hence the West will increasingly have to accommodate these non-Western modern civilizations whose power approaches that of the West but whose values and interests differ significantly from those of the West. This will require the West to maintain the economic and military power necessary to protect its interests in relation to these civilizations. It will also, however, require the West to develop a more profound understanding of the basic religious and philosophical assumptions underlying other civilizations and the ways in which people in those civilizations see their interests. It will require an effort to identify elements of commonality between Western and other civilizations. For the relevant future, there will be no universal civilization, but instead a world of different civilizations, each of which will have to learn to coexist with the others” (512).

In sy inleiding som Hoge die sewe 1993-kommentare op Huntington se artikel soos volg in vyf stellings op: “Conflicts are most likely to break out between nations and groups within a civilization; the enduring nature of citizenship is national; civilizations are absorptive sponges rather than clashing billiard balls; fears of fundamentalist movements are exaggerated and the tenacity of modernity and secularism within civilizations are underestimated; and contrary to realist predictions, most states are not perpetually at war with each other” (2010, Kindle 42). Die kommentare is nie in dieselfde gesaghebbende liga as Huntington se wetenskaplike artikel nie en berus veral op aksentverskille en soms op wanvoorstellings. Ruimte ontbreek om in besonderhede daarop te reageer.

In sy repliek wyk Huntington geensins van sy standpunt af nie. Hy vra wat sy kritici in die plek van sy botsing van beskawings voorstel en vind geen antwoord daarop nie. Hy gee daarom eerder groter duidelikheid oor wat hy bedoel het. Hy het verplig gevoel om daarna ter verdere verduideliking ‘n hele boek oor hierdie onderwerp te publiseer: The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order (1996). Die 9/11-gebeure het veroorsaak dat daarna veel groter waarde aan Huntington se werk geheg is.

Sedert 1990/94 voel dit vir die Afrikaner asof iets diep binne-in hom van die rak geval het; asof sy diepste wese, sy siel, versteur is en hy in onvrede verkeer. In die ou Suid-Afrika het die klem op Europese beskawing geval. In die nuwe Suid-Afrika het verwysings na beskawing uit die openbare diskoers verdwyn. Ek pleit reeds lank dat Van Riebeeck-dag, 6 April, as Beskawingsdag heringestel moet word. Dit strek tot Huntington se eer dat kultuur en beskawing ‘n sentrale plek in sy denke ingeneem het, dat hy mense nie gelyk en eenders verklaar het nie, dat ‘n enkele wêreldkultuur en -taal nie sy ideaal was nie en dat identiteitsloosheid vir hom uit die bose was.

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