Poland recognises Solidarity, paving The last Russian troops leave Afghanistanway for end of Communist rulePW Botha resigns in South Africa; George Bush (Senior) succeeds RonaldNelson Mandela released in 1990 Reagan as US President 1989: A Key Year
Sky Television launched in UK & Europe First GPS satellites launchedFirst full-‐length episode of the US Savings and Loan crisis: Charles KeaQngSimpsons eventually jailed. $200 billion bailout. 1989: A Key Year
The end of the Iron Curtain: the checkpoints between East and West Germany areopened, allowing Germans to travel freely between the two naQons for the ﬁrst Qmesince 1961. The Berlin Wall falls; Germany is rapidly reunited. 1989: A Key Year
“Velvet RevoluQon” in Prague as Communist Party gives up power and Vaclav Havel iselected President. 1989: A Key Year
Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu and his wife Elena overthrown and executed 1989: A Key Year
Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini hanged with his mistress, April 1945The most rapid change in Europe since the end of World War II
The triumph of the West, of the Western idea, is evident first of all in the total exhaustion of viable systematic alternatives to Western liberalism. In the past decade, there have been unmistakable changes in the intellectual climate of the worlds two largest communist countries, and the beginnings of significant reform movements in both. But this phenomenon extends beyond high politics and it can be seen also in the ineluctable spread of consumerist Western culture in such diverse contexts as the peasants markets and color television sets now omnipresent throughout ChinaAmerican poliQcal theorist Francis Fukuyama: “The End of History” The Naonal Interest, 1989 Francis Fukuyama
What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankinds ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government. The concept of history as a dialectical process with a beginning, a middle, and an end was borrowed by Marx from his great German predecessor, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel believed that history culminated in an absolute moment - a moment in which a final, rational form of society and state became victorious.American poliQcal theorist Francis Fukuyama: “The End of History” The Naonal Interest, 1989 The End of History?
Liberal democracy was imposed on Japan by a victorious United States. Western capitalism and poliQcal liberalism when transplanted to Japan were adapted and transformed by the Japanese in such a way as to be scarcely recognisable. [The governing "Liberal DemocraQc Party is far from "democraQc"] Nonetheless, the very fact that the essenQal elements of economic and poliQcal liberalism have been so successfully grahed onto uniquely Japanese tradiQons and insQtuQons guarantees their survival in the long run. More important is the contribuQon that Japan has made in turn to world history by following in the footsteps of the United States to create a truly universal consumer culture that has become both a symbol and an underpinning of the universal homogenous state.American poliQcal theorist Francis Fukuyama: “The End of History” The Naonal Interest, 1989 The End of History?
The Soviet Union could in no way be described as a liberal or democratic country now, nor do I think that it is terribly likely that perestroika will succeed such that the label will be thinkable any time in the near future. But at the end of history it is not necessary that all societies become successful liberal societies, merely that they end their ideological pretensions of representing different and higher forms of human society. And in this respect I believe that something very important has happened in the Soviet Union in the past few years: the criticisms of the Soviet system sanctioned by Gorbachev have been so thorough and devastating that there is very little chance of going back to either Stalinism or Brezhnevism in any simple way.American poliQcal theorist Francis Fukuyama: “The End of History” The Naonal Interest, 1989 The End of History?
Twenty years ago, on December 25, 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union,declaring the office extinct and dissolving the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), a massive communistempire that had existed since 1922.He introduced several reforms, including perestroika (economic restructuring) and glasnost (openness).Glasnost opened the floodgates of protest and many republics made moves toward independence, threateningthe continued existence of the USSR. In August of 1991, a group of Communist Party hardliners frustrated by theseparatist movement attempted to stage a coup. They quickly failed due to a massive show of civil resistance[…] By December of 1991, 16 Soviet republics had declared their independence, and Gorbachev handed overpower to Russian president Boris Yeltsin, ending the USSR. The End of the USSR
The Siege of Dubrovnik, Croatia (December 1991), a key moment in the war between Serbia and Croatia The End of Yugoslavia
The Open Society and Its Enemies, published in 1945Karl Popper and George Soros
"The End of History" was published in The National Interest, the neo-conservative journal founded by Irving Kristol to replace the liberal consensus inAmerican intellectual life with a conservative climate. It developed out of alecture that Fukuyama was asked to give at the University of Chicago, the homeof neoliberal economics, by (among others) Professor Allan Bloom, himself theauthor of a conservative bestseller, The Closing of the American Mind. [And astudent of Leo Strauss]The lecture was funded, indirectly, by the ideologically committed, conservativeJohn M Olin Foundation. Fukuyama wrote it while on leave from the RANDCorporation in Santa Monica, a research institution closely associated with theUS air force, where he had worked almost continuously since earning hisdoctorate in political science from Harvard. He had also been a member of theState Departments policy planning staff during the first Bush administration. Itwas therefore a product of the conservative establishment that had, by the1980s, succeeded in Kristols dream of displacing liberalism as the prevailingAmerican public philosophy.Fukuyama went on to expand his article into a book, The End of History and theLast Man, in which triumphalism for the American way was rather oddly linked toHegelian and Nietzschean ideas. It was a smash hit.Godfrey Hodgson - New Statesman - 22nd April 2002 Fukuyama’s posiJon -‐ neo-‐conservaJsm
The End of History was an almost comically overrated book. It was successfulbecause it spoke to a particular mood in the US, a mood not so much ofaggressive triumphalism as of relief. Not only was the cold war over, butAmericans could take legitimate pride in the growing acceptance of ideals theyliked to think were their own - though, in truth, democracy and capitalism arescarcely American inventions. One of the basic contradictions in neo-conservative doctrine was between chauvinism and pessimism. If everythingwas so right with US society, as the neo-conservatives insisted, why did theyconstantly predict the end of civilisation as we knew it?Godfrey Hodgson - New Statesman - 22nd April 2002 Fukuyama’s posiJon -‐ neo-‐conservaJsm
In his new book, America at the Crossroads, the always thoughtful FrancisFukuyama has been forced into some fundamental rethinking of his own role inhelping to make the case for the Bush Administrations policy in Iraq. Therethinking had to be fundamental because, as Fukuyama well understands, hissupport of the war was predicated on some very basic notions of his about thenature of democracy and of the neoconservative political tradition of which heviews himself as an inheritor. To put it plainly: something went very wrong inIraq, and in this book Fukuyama is struggling to figure out what it was, and torationalize these failures in a way that does not cause him to abandon any ofhis own basic ideological commitments.Larry De Witt - review of America at the Crossroads, 2006 Fukuyama turns his back on the neoconservaJves aMer 2004
Fukuyama is an author who sponsored a neo-Hegelian theory of the historicalprocess such that the transition from dictatorship to liberal capitalist democracyin Iraq (and everywhere else) is to be expected. Thus arises an almostirresistible policy temptation: the notion that since history itself is bringing aboutregime change in Iraq, it seems only logical that as a matter of public policydemocratic governments ought to lend a helping hand to this historical process.It can almost seem an obligation, an obligation to History itself. What greatertemptation could a statesman have than the grand idea that he or she isserving as partner to History?I suggest that a very familiar form of hubris was present among Bushadministration policymakers and their advisers in early 2003: the idea thatstatesman throughout history have had that History itself is on their side, andthat their success is therefore nearly inevitable. This has proven to be one ofthe most durable forms of historical folly of which human beings are capable.Fukuyamas theory of history was part of the intellectual foundation of the BushAdministrations hubris in just this way. It seems fair, then, to lay somesignificant portion of the blame for Americas Iraq policy at his doorstep.Larry De Witt - review of America at the Crossroads, 2006 Fukuyama turns his back on the neoconservaJves aMer 2004
“The way I feel right now is that it’s an open question which system is going to dobetter in the next while – a high quality authoritarian one or a deadlocked,paralysed, democratic one, with lots of checks and balances? Over the long run,it will be easier to sustain a system with checks and balances, precisely becausethe checks and balances permit adaptation. You can get rid of a bad leader.“And, then I think that the normative dimension comes into play because anauthoritarian state doesn’t recognise the dignity of its citizens. That makes medislike the system but, more importantly, it’s the weakness of the systembecause, at a certain point, the anger of people at being treated in this fashion willspill over.”Nevertheless, he goes on, “in many ways, Asian government, not just China, butSingapore and in an earlier day, Japan and South Korea, had governments thatlooked more like a corporate board of governance because there’s no downwardaccountability whatever. You don’t have to deal with constituents ... You run thewhole country like a corporation, and I think that’s one of their advantages at themoment.”Lunch with the FT: Francis Fukuyama - Martin Wolf - 27th May 2011 Fukuyama today
Turning to China, Fukuyama says: “One of the advantages of their form ofauthoritarianism is that they concluded after Mao that they would neveragain allow a single individual to exert that kind of domination over theirsystem, and that’s why they have term limits. That’s why all of the decisionshave to be taken collectively. But, in the end, that system is also going tohave its inefficiencies.”Yet it soon becomes clear that he does not think much of the US politicalsystem either. “Just look at the way that interest groups in the United Stateshave a veto on the simplest kinds of reforms,” he says. “We allow mortgageinterest deduction regardless of how expensive the house is. Why is thatthe case? Because we have a real estate industry that says, ‘Don’t eventhink about changing this.’ ”Lunch with the FT: Francis Fukuyama - Martin Wolf - 27th May 2011 Fukuyama today
Time Magazine Oct 21stFukuyama today 2011: “Top 10 Failed Predictions”
From Macaulay in the 19th century to Fukuyama in the late 20th, historians have often been lulled into thinking that things can only get better. Such belief in progress, argues leading political commentator Simon Heffer, may be typical of times of plenty, but it ignores a less palatable truth: that, since the beginnings of recorded history, the major events in international relations can be attributed to a single cause, the desire by rulers to assert or protect their power. Taking a panoramic view from the days of Thucydides up to the present, Heffer offers a fourfold analysis of the motive forces behind the pursuit of power: land, wealth, God and minds. If we understand these forces, he contends, we can more clearly understand why history is destined to repeat itself.A Short History of Power -‐ Simon Heﬀer