Samuel P. Huntington, an influential political scientist and longtime Harvard University professor, died at the age of 81 on Wednesday, according to an obituary on Harvardâ€™s Web site. Mr. Huntingtonâ€™s most famous thesis â€“ that world conflicts stem from the competing cultural identities of seven or eight â€œcivilizationsâ€ â€“ became a fundamental, if controversial, premise of post-Cold War foreign policy theory. His emphasis on ancient religious empires, as opposed to states or ethnicities, gained even more cache after the Sept. 11 attacks.
â€Western intervention in the affairs of other civilizations is probably the single most dangerous source of instability and potential global conflict in a multicivilizational world.â€
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