Barbarians and Civilization in International Relations by Mark B. Salter

By Mark B. Salter

The terrorist assaults in long island and Washington have ended in renowned conceptions of Muslims as terrorists. a few commentators have harked again to the 'Clash of Civilizations' argument defined via Samuel Huntington which has develop into a touchstone in postcolonial reports. Huntington argued that, after the cave in of the chilly battle, tradition could develop into the most axis of clash for civilizational alliances. Mark Salter takes factor with Huntington's thought and explains how the phrases of his argument are a part of an imperialist discourse that casts different civilizations as primarily barbarian.Although many commentators have engaged with Huntington's claims, few have pursued the political implications of his argument. Barbarians and Civilisation bargains a decisive exploration of the colonial rhetoric inherent in present political discourse. Charting the usefulness of options of tradition and identification for knowing global politics, Salter brilliantly illustrates the advantages and the restrictions of the civilized/barbarian dichotomy in diplomacy.

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The acquisition of ‘new’ territory was seen as an entirely European game, regulated by European rules and played out in non-Western space. Gong argues: the practice of bothering at all to create international legal agreements with ‘uncivilized’ countries was justified as necessary to maintain law and order in the ‘civilized’ international society . . 56 The Berlin Conference of 1884–85 is emblematic of this structure, though the Brussels Conference of 1889–90 and the League of Nations Mandate system continued it.

It is only to argue that International Relations neglects to portray imperialism as a violent process or colonial governance as institutionalized violence. It also largely ignores the ‘anarchical’ condition of European rule in the colonies. While violence in the colonies was not incessant, there was certainly the continual threat of violence. Colonial rule was never absolute; imperial security was always uncertain. Imperial governments were always preparing for war against their native subjects, in addition to preparing for war against other European states.

At times, the ‘Other’ was portrayed as exotic, alluring, superior to the West or even internal to the West. However, the category ‘barbaric’ has almost always been portrayed in negative ways and always defined in relation to, and as the absence of, ‘civilization’. Even when represented positively, the figure of the barbarian implies disorder, threat, danger and the radical overthrowing of the social order. The threat of the barbarian justified European deviations from their own standard of ‘civilization’.

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