In his book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order published in 1996, Prof. Samuel P Huntington proposed his clash of civilizations theory. First published in an article in Foreign Affairs in 1993, his controversial theory, as Jack F. Matlock (1999) put it, "evoked more discussion than that journal had stimulated for decades."
Huntington's theory "challenged us to consider the role that civilizations might play in international relations." (Russett, Oneal, & Cox, 2000)
Huntington believes that what the post Cold War world needs is a new paradigm, as the old alliance and ideological paradigm widely used in the Cold War period has expired on its usage.
Huntington stresses the increasing importance of "civilizations" in the post Cold War world against the backdrop of several important changes to the world. These changes, as identified and elaborated by Hunderson & Tucker (2001), are:
Huntington's argument is that "the interaction of these factors has resulted in the increased salience of civlization membership in global politics. " (Henderson & Tucker, 2001)
In his book, Huntington (1996) wrote that "In the post-Cold War world the most important distinctions among peoples are not ideological, political or economic. They are cultural." "Culture and cultural identities, which at the broadest level are civilizational identities, are shaping patterns of cohesion, disintegration, and conflict in the post-Cold War world" and as "civilizations are the broadest cultural entities; hence conflicts between groups from different civilizations become central to global politics."
Hence, "the key issues on the international agenda involve differences among civilizations", and "clashes of civilizations are the greatest threat to world peace." (Huntington, 1996)