Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The End of Francis Fukuyama?

Not likely to happen, of course, as the wingnuts don't have very many "philosophers". They need Fukuyama and his simplistic and sweeping statements. Remember how in the early 1990s he predicted the end of history? The idea was that:

"What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."

But Fukuyama didn't see this as a happy, skippy kind of thing. Instead, he decided that liberal democracies are the only stable way of taking care of the slave and master relationship between human beings.

To achieve this anticipated end of all history, Fukuyama became a neo-conservative prophet, strongly backing the Iraq war and the whole idea of forcing democracy down people's throats with bayonets.

Hubris, thy name is Fukuyama. Now Francis has decided that it was all a big mistake:

NEOCONSERVATISM has failed the United States and needs to be replaced by a more realistic foreign policy agenda, according to one of its prime architects.

Francis Fukuyama, who wrote the best-selling book The End of History and was a member of the neoconservative project, now says that, both as a political symbol and a body of thought, it has "evolved into something I can no longer support". He says it should be discarded on to history's pile of discredited ideologies.

In an extract from his forthcoming book, America at the Crossroads, Mr Fukuyama declares that the doctrine "is now in shambles" and that its failure has demonstrated "the danger of good intentions carried to extremes".

In its narrowest form, neoconservatism advocates the use of military force, unilaterally if necessary, to replace autocratic regimes with democratic ones.

Mr Fukuyama once supported regime change in Iraq and was a signatory to a 1998 letter sent by the Project for a New American Century to the then president, Bill Clinton, urging the US to step up its efforts to remove Saddam Hussein from power. It was also signed by neoconservative intellectuals, such as Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, and political figures Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and the current defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

However, Mr Fukuyama now thinks the war in Iraq is the wrong sort of war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

"The most basic misjudgment was an overestimation of the threat facing the United States from radical Islamism," he argues.

"Although the new and ominous possibility of undeterrable terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction did indeed present itself, advocates of the war wrongly conflated this with the threat presented by Iraq and with the rogue state/proliferation problem more generally."

Now the neo-cons have lost one of their most eloquent spokesmen.

But we still have Fukuyama, of course. He is just repositioning himself to take advantage of the horrible mess he partly helped to create.