Anne-Marie Slaughter on a Clash of Civilizations
Anne-Marie Slaughter, is the Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. She is presently on leave, serving as Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State. She was Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University from 2002-2009.
Slaughter came to the Wilson School from Harvard Law School where she was the J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law and Director of the International Legal Studies Program. She is also the former President of the American Society of International Law, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has served on the board of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Drawing from this rich interdisciplinary expertise, Slaughter has written and taught broadly on global governance, international criminal law, and American foreign policy. Her most recent book is The Idea that Is America: Keeping Faith with Our Values in a Dangerous World, published in 2007 by Basic Books. She is also the author of A New World Order, in which she identified transnational networks of government officials as an increasingly important component of global governance. Slaughter has been a frequent commentator on foreign affairs in newspapers, radio, and television. She was also the convener and academic co-chair of the Princeton Project on National Security, a multi-year research project aimed at developing a new, bipartisan national security strategy for the United States, and was a member of the National War Powers Commission.
Slaughter: There is no clash of civilizations. That is an idea, as far as I’m concerned, that can recede into the 20th century history, and the United States is the best proof. Any of our cities, any of our classrooms as I look out at Princeton, or if I go to the opening exercises and I hear in the Princeton Chapel, I hear a reading from the Koran, I hear a reading from the Bible but I hear a reading from Buddhist scriptures, from Baha’i scriptures, from every great civilization and every religious tradition on earth. And we coexist, not always perfectly harmoniously… Of course, there are clashes of civilizations all the time, but there is no great clash of historical civilizations. And the idea that the Muslim world is once again clashing with the Christian world flies in the face of countless societies that are either predominantly Muslim but are tolerant, or a predominantly Christian but Muslims are growing communities in all of them. So, it is a pernicious idea. It’s an idea that risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, but it’s an idea that we can easily put to rest by looking at the reality of the world we live in.
Anne-Marie Slaughter says it doesn’t exist.
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