Predrag J. MARKOVIC
CIVILIZATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS -CHOICE OR FATE: RETHINKING HUNTINGTON
Huntington describes his theory as a map which may neglect details, but indicates major "highways" in the world after the cold war. However, his division of civilizations, essentially based on Toynbee's, is imprecise and inconsistent. For Huntington, civilizations are nothing but "ultimate human tribes", basically defined by religion and historically immutable. The Western civilization is, of course, superior to all the others. Contrary to optimists, he claims that modernization, urbanization, development of technology and media do not bring civilizations together, but offer them new means in their perennial conflict. He hacks up his thesis with the example of Islamic fundamentalism, a phenomenon reinforced by urbanization and technology. However, he neglects the heterogeneous character of the western civilization itself and the non-Western origin of some of its basic elements. Besides, as soon as his theory descends to the ground of existing peoples and historical reality, the impossibility to sort out every state into his closed civilizational circles becomes obvious. Scholars with an empirical knowledge of the Balkans, e.g. Cvijic, pointed out the complexity of all the Balkan peoples' cultures. As for the Serbs, at least in the modem history, religion cannot possibly be the sole criterion for the civilizational classification. Two fathers of the modern Serbian culture, Dositej Obradovic and Vuk Karadzic combined, each in his own way, Western and Eastern, as well as Orthodox, Catholic and Islamic elements. Serbian culture reached Europe before the Serbian State and kept its position even in the times of the sharpest state crises, as is the actual one. Its unique heterogeneous character and its combination of different traditions only enhanced its acceptability and attractivity. For Serbs and other members of the Orthodox Church, to adopt Huntington's theory would mean to accept a secondary position on the bloody boundary between Christianity and Islam. But such a "highway" would lead to a roadless region.