When Civilisational Clashes Meet Power Shifts: Rethinking Global Disorder

Baohui ZHANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Samuel Huntington’s famous prediction in 1993 of “clashes of civilisations”, amid that decade’s rosy expectations of “liberal peace”, sparked wide criticism for its rebutting of the then-conventional wisdom of globalisation, global governance, and democratic peace that defined the so-called “liberal” international politics of the 1990s. However, events in recent decades have corroborated his stark prediction. In particular, conflicts between the West and non-Western rising powers have become a salient feature of international politics—an outcome shaped not only by differences in civilisational identity but also by power shifts that trigger civilisational clashes. In their quest to acquire influence better befitting their expanding material capabilities, rising powers seek to reorder the international system by shaping its rules and institutions according to their civilisational values and norms. This aspiration has generated conflict between non-Western rising powers and the West over ideational incompatibilities, global governance, and the reconfiguration of regional orders. The consequences of such civilisational conflict have led to escalating fragmentation, disorder, and instability in world politics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352–373
Number of pages22
JournalChinese Journal of International Politics
Issue number4
Early online date15 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Institute of International Relations, Tsinghua University. All rights reserved.


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