Before I post today’s Class Notes I thought I should give some quick credentials as to why I am teaching a Middle East class. For my Ph.D. program I needed to choose an outside field to study. I am an American Historian but I started my program in 2002, right after 9/11. I realized that the Middle East would become an important and vital part of America’s future and so I decided to focus on that area of the World. So American History is my major field and Middle East is my outside field of study. I do not consider myself an expert in the Middle East like I do with American History, but I do have a good deal of knowledge and have read and studied the region a quite a bit. I studied under excellent professors, who I still have contact with today and who are always prepared to answer my questions when I am stumped. American History is my love, but I do greatly enjoy studying the Middle East and have come to appreciate the region.
Having said all that, one way to look at future conflicts with the Middle East and other regions is as a Clash of Cultures. Professor Samuel Huntington made the argument that future conflicts will not be between nations or ideologies, like communism and capitalism, but between cultures that are so different they are bound to clash. He saw eight major civilizations, Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American, and African.