Samuel P. Huntington, Eaton Professor of the Science of Government and Director of the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University, says that "... world politics are entering a new phase ... (in which) the great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural ... The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics ..." 
What's more, this clash will dominate global politics not just as a struggle between civilizations, but as a struggle within civilizations - that is, as a struggle to "purify" or "cleanse" each respective civilization of "foreign elements." And it is this precise struggle that minorities, liberals, gay rights activists, etc. are now beginning to encounter in the United States as whites (specifically and most especially, white, middle-class Christians) increasingly bestir themselves "to take the country back." Taken to its extreme, this kind of "purification" or "civilization cleansing" can lead to what has happened in Yugoslavia.
Huntington defines eight major civilizations: (1) Western - which includes Western Europe and North America; (2) Slavic-Orthodox; (3) Islamic - which includes three subdivisions: Arab, Turkic and Malay; (4) Latin American; (5) Hindu; (6) Confucian; (7) Japanese; and (8) African.
Huntington says that "The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future." He continues, "Over the centuries ... differences among civilizations have generated the most prolonged and the most violent conflict"  - more so even than ideological conflict. The reason? - because differences between civilizations "... are far more fundamental than differences among political ideologies and political regimes ..." And the evidence for Huntington's assertion is easily discernible in what's going on in the former Yugoslavia. Indeed, it's only in "civilization" (or religious) terms that any sense can be made of the alliance structures that have grown up as a result of the conflict: Germany, France and Austria (and, as a result, the E.C.) favor Slovenia and Croatia (which are Catholic and Western Christian); Russia and the "Eastern Slavs" favor Serbia (which is - like the rest of the Slavic states - Orthodox); and Turkey and Iran favor the Muslims of Bosnia (which are Islamic). Indeed, the Balkans have been a tinderbox of conflict for hundreds of years precisely because they lie at the convergence of three major civilizations (or religions) and the cultures which these religions undergird: Western Christianity (Slovenia, Croatia, etc.); Orthodox Christianity (Serbia, Bulgaria, Russia, etc.); and Islam (Turkey, Albania, etc.).
Robert D. Kaplan, author of the Arabists: The Romance of an American Elite and Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History, and a contributing editor to the Atlantic Monthly, believes that America's present cultural elite is having a very difficult time coming to any meaningful understanding of what's happening in the Balkans today, gripped as it still is by the illusions of multi-culturalism (as are the European elites - though certainly to a lesser extent than their American counterparts). Kaplan believes this is especially evident in America's narrowly directed policies favoring the so-called multi-ethnic state of Bosnia (which today, as a result of more than three years of ethnic strife, is no longer a multi-ethnic state, but an overwhelmingly Muslim one).
Kaplan is sensing the same thing Huntington has already discovered: the earth is no longer being driven so much by ideology as it is by religion and culture - by "civilization identity." Kaplan continues, "While this might shock (the State Department's multi-cultural) policy wonks, it won't surprise historians ... The murder of 12 Bosnians and Croats, all of them Christians, by Muslim militants in Algeria last December (1993) went virtually unnoticed in America, but it was a wakeup call to Europeans about the link between religious wars in the Balkans and those in the Middle East." Kaplan goes on to say that all this may be leading to a three-way "civilization war" centered - at least to begin with - on the Balkans, one which involves the Western World, the Orthodox World and the Islamic World, and one with the potential of spreading to the Caucasus region, Central Asia and eventually into the Middle East itself. As it spreads, it will draw in Europe, and through Europe, America; the Turks and eventually the other Muslim nations of the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia; and finally the Orthodox World and Russia. And as it expands, it will intensify as the hostility of the one plays off on the fury of the others - barbarity begetting barbarity as each civilization's radical "champions" feed off the frenzy of the others - ratcheting each ever upward in a spiraling, widening circle of violence leading to further radicalization of each respective civilization - and finally to catastrophe. This is the nightmare that Kaplan, Huntington and the others fear.
Written By S. R. Shearer