By Mohammad Ghaderi

Fukuyama's warning on future of democracy to escape accountability

November 11, 2018 - 9:27

TEHRAN - Francis Fukuyama, is the American political scientist, political economist, and author. Fukuyama is known for his book The End of History and the Last Man (1992), which argued that the worldwide spread of liberal democracies and free market capitalism of the West and its lifestyle may signal the end point of humanity's sociocultural evolution and become the final form of human government.

During George W. Bush's presidency, Samuel Huntington's and Francis Fukuyama's views on the "crash of civilizations" and the end of history became the intellectual and theoretical basis for US foreign policy. These theories turned into an intellectual basis to justify American intervention in the international system. The neo-conservative council also strongly welcomed theories of Fukuyama and Huntington. However, after a while, Fukuyama spelled out his previous prediction of the future of the world and the end of history. 

 In an article by Ishan Tharoor published in the Washington Post we read: "Francis Fukuyama, an acclaimed American political philosopher, entered the global imagination at the end of the Cold War when he prophesied the "end of history" — a belief that, after the fall of communism, free-market liberal democracy had won out and would become the world's "final form of human government." Now, at a moment when liberal democracy seems to be in crisis across the West, Fukuyama, too, wonders about its future.

"Twenty five years ago, I didn't have a sense or a theory about how democracies can go backward," said Fukuyama in a phone interview. "And I think they clearly can."

 But if the havoc of the Great Recession and the growing clout of authoritarian states like China and Russia hadn't already upset the story, Brexit and the election of President Trump last year certainly did.

Now the backlash of right-wing nationalism on both sides of the Atlantic is in full swing. This week, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen announced her candidacy for president with a scathing attack on the liberal status quo. "Our leaders chose globalization, which they wanted to be a happy thing. It turned out to be a horrible thing," Le Pen thundered.

Fukuyama recognizes the crisis. "Globalization really does seem to produce these internal tensions within democracies that these institutions have some trouble reconciling," he said. Combined with grievances over immigration and multiculturalism, it created room for the "demagogic populism" that catapulted Trump into the White House. That has Fukuyama deeply concerned.

"I have honestly never encountered anyone in political life who I thought had a less suitable personality to be president," Fukuyama said of the new president. "Trump is so thin-skinned and insecure that he takes any kind of criticism or attack personally and then hits back."

Fukuyama, like many other observers, worries about "a slow erosion of institutions" and a weakening of democratic norms under a president who seems willing to question the legitimacy of anything that may stand in his way — whether it's the judiciary, his political opponents or the mainstream media.

But the problem isn't just Trump and the polarization he stokes, argues Fukuyama. What the scholar finds "most troubling" on the American political scene is the extent to which the Republican Party has gerrymandered districts and established what amounts to de facto one-party rule in parts of the country."

According to the Washington Post, there are some points to explain Fukuyama's views. For a better understanding of Fukuyama's recent speeches, we need to review his remarks in 2014. The famous American theorist raises self-criticisms about his famous theory of "the end of history". Fukuyama addresses his audience is his remarks and says;

"In my opinion, people are mistaken in interpreting the word" history ". By "the end of history", I meant the end of history's movement towards a specific direction, not the end of a series of events. The question now is whether history is still moving toward liberal democracy, or is there a replacement system that can improve the situation and that people are willing to move towards? I think the answer to this question is still unclear. "

In criticizing Fukuyama's view, he had better criticized himself for not explaining the concept of history (as the most fundamental variable of his theory). Fukuyama said that people misunderstood the concept of "history", but the fact is that he could easily speak his true meaning of this word and thus avoid misunderstanding.

 However, Fukuyama did not do this. He did not speak at all during the presidency of President George W. Bush, especially at the beginning of the invasion to Iraq and Afghanistan, and in this way he confirmed Bush's actions with his silence. Hence, Fukuyama's critical views towards his addressees for misunderstanding his theory isn't acceptable!

However, Fukuyama's interpretation on his theory should be taken into consideration:
2014 certainly wasn't a good year for democracy, as China and Russia, as two influential superpowers in Eurasia, are stabilizing their position, and there is a lot of chaos in the Middle East. I do not think that for history is still going towards liberal democracy. Democracy is very fragile, and over the past 25 years, I understood that it's very difficult to create democratic institutions, especially democratic governments that can provide people with facilities without financial corruption. Such systems are rare in the world. "

But the climax of Fukuyama's words is where he argues that democracy would be fragile and destructive when it's raised by military force. In this regard, he refers to the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq. According to Fukuyama, the United States is still dependent on its militia, and this is one of the reasons behind the democracy's defeat. Americans thought they could change the world with military strength.

Fukuyama has repeatedly spoken of the fragility of democracy, and that the theory of "the end of history" is practically no longer justified:
We have to take a lesson from Afghanistan and Iraq; that the United States doesn't have the power, capabilities, and thought necessary to establish democracy in the Middle East. It can't even solve the crisis in Syria. "

Fukuyama's repeated retreats from the theory of "the end of history", and his significant warning about the growth of nationalism, is synonymous to the destruction of one of the most fundamental theories in U.S. foreign policy views. In such a situation, the U.S. military intervention in the international system and Washington's support for terrorist groups (such as ISIL and al-Nusra), are basically condemned. Obviously, the result of this interventionism is nothing but failure, and the increase of Washington's costs, costs that increase exponentially every day.

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