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FEATURE Who Is Samuel P. Huntington? Patriotic reading for Anglo Protestants who live in fear of the Reconquista DAVID MONTEJANO Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity By Samuel P. Huntington Simon & Schuster 428 pages, $27 Fl or the past year or so, in the wake of September 11 and Gulf War II, we have heard much about “intelligence failure.” We have witnessed an embarrassed Bush administration attempt to explain, in the absence of any “weapons of mass destruction;’ the rationale for the current Iraqi war and occupa tion. The temptation to place responsibility solely on George W. Bush is great. But this would grossly simplify the intelligence problems that have become apparent since September 11. The thinking of the “intelligence community”and perhaps its composition as wellhas to be examined and questioned. A chilling reminder of the depth of the problem of “intelligence failure” appeared in March of this year in an article published in Foreign Policy, arguably one of the most prominent policy journals in the country. In “The Hispanic Challenge,” the author, Harvard professor Samuel P. Huntington, warns of the cultural and political threat posed by non-assimilating Mexican immigrants. If such immigration remains unchecked, “the cultural division between Hispanics and Anglos will replace the racial division between blacks and whites as the most serious cleavage in American society?’ The United States will become a bifurcated nation with two languages and two cultures. Salvation lies, according to Huntington, in a patriotic recommitment to “Anglo Protestantism,” the cultural core of the country. The articlean advance chapter from a forthcoming bookset off a firestorm of criticism. Foreign Policy editors noted that the media and reader response was unprecedented in its 34-year history. Most responses were from academics and policy analysts, Anglo and Hispanic alike, and most were extremely critical. “Shoddy research;’ “offensive and false;’ “nativism,” “unnecessarily alarmist,” “bizarre,” “unabashed racism,” “xenophobic” were common descriptions offered in the critiques. The controversy quickly spilled beyond the pages of Foreign Policy. Mexican intellectual Enrique Krauze described Huntington’s method as a “crude civilizational approach?’ Carlos Fuentes called Huntington “profoundly racist and also profoundly ignorant” and accused him of adopting the favored fascist tactic of creating a generalized fear of “the other?’ Henry Cisneros noted that Professor Huntington was “hand-wringing over the tainting of Anglo-Protestant bloodlines.” Andres Oppenheimer of Miami called Huntington’s work “pseudo-academic xenophobic rubbish” and called for national protests against Harvard University and publisher Simon & Schuster. Even those sympathetic to Huntington’s anxiety about Mexican immigration stood their distance. Alan Wolfe said that at times Huntington’s writing bordered on hysteria, and that he appeared to be endorsing white nativism. The editors of the British magazine The Economist questioned Huntington’s notion of Anglo Protestant culture, noting that it had been “a long time since the Mayflower?’ And Patrick Buchanan gently chided the professor for joining the antiimmigrant resistance at such a “late hour;’ but welcomed him, anyway, to the Alamo. ho is Huntington? A Harvard professor and chair of its Academy of International and Area Studies, founder of Foreign Policy, past president of the American Political Science Association, and most importantly, former coordinator of security planning for the National Security Council in the late 1970s. In short, he is not just some loopy professor. He is a policy analyst with direct ties to the political, military, and academic networks concerned with foreign policy and now with “homeland security?’ His conjectures, however bizarre and unfounded, unfortunately carry some weight. Much of his reputation comes from his best-selling book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order tington noted that with the collapse of the Soviet Union, culture now counted more than ideology, and that as societies with cultural affinities cooperated with each other, a civilization-based world order was emerging. In this post-Cold War environment, local politics was the politics of ethnicity, global politics the politics of civilizations. Of special concern were the efforts of “Islamic and Confucian states” to develop \(\(weapons of mass destruction:’ With Gulf War I as his backdrop, Huntington forecast a “clash of civilizations” between 12 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 8/13/04