GRETCHEN RITTER: I'm Gretchen Ritter, the Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. It is a great pleasure to be here with you this evening to explore the question of liberal democracy's future with our esteemed alum, Francis Fukuyama. As part of the College of Arts and Sciences' sesquicentennial celebrations in partnership with the Einaudi Center.
As a student of history and democracy myself, I am eager to hear what Professor Fukuyama has to share with us today, along with the responses of Professors Katzenstein and Mearsheimer. The questions Professor Fukuyama raised in his landmark essay, "The End of History" are as real today as they were when he first asked them in 1989. Recent events, from the reemergence of ethnic nationalism in Russia to the recent actions of the brutal, ideologically driven Islamic State in Iraq, must temper anyone inclined to the liberal idealism expressed in Professor Fukuyama's early work.
But whether this suggests we ought to return to a realist vision of history and give up hope in a more progressive future is a question we would all do well to consider. In reflecting on these questions, I cannot help but note that in Cornell's 150th anniversary year, that this was an institution founded in the spirit of the end of history. Under the motto, "any person, any study," Ezra Cornell and A. D. White created an institution committed to the ideals of academic freedom and social inclusiveness.
Looking back on this heritage 60 years ago, Professor Robert Cushman wrote in 1952 that Cornell was founded as a university devoted to the ideal of a completely free intellectual life. The old restraints, taboos, prejudices, dogmas, and superstition which had warped and suffocated American higher education were to find no place on the Cornell campus. I would contend that that progressive vision, albeit one that has been only slowly and imperfectly realized here, has contributed a great deal to the achievements of this university, its faculty, and alumni over the years.
So as we reflect on the role that a tempered idealism or principled pragmatism can have in the world, it is worth recalling not only the moments of hope and idealism that came at the end of World War II or the end of the Cold War, but the role that aspirational ideals have played in the history of great educational institutions like Cornell as well. As we reflect with pride on our own institutional history, we are pleased to welcome one of our most distinguished alums, Francis Fukuyama, back to campus.
FREDRIK LOGEVALL: Thank you, Dean Ritter. My name is Fred Logevall. And I'm here, really, in my capacity as Director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. I'm also a member of the History faculty, and I serve as Vice Provost for International Affairs.
But the Einaudi Center has been part of the planning for this event. And it has been, I must say, an absolute privilege to work with Dean Ritter and with the College of Arts and Sciences, and to be able to put on what I think is going to be an absolutely terrific panel discussion this evening. And I'm grateful, and I want to just acknowledge here, the superb efforts of Heike Michelsen who has done so much to bring this together. She works with me in the Einaudi Center, and has done a great deal, as I say.
Just a word or two about the Einaudi Center-- we are, as many of you know, a hub for international studies and engagement here at Cornell. We have been in existence now for more than 50 years. We, among other things, house Cornell's world-renowned Area Studies Programs and also the Judith Reppy Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, the Comparative Muslim Societies Program. So we are, in that sense, a kind of umbrella organization, and are pushing ahead in various ways to strengthen the already strong tradition of international studies at Cornell.
In addition, we have our own programming. And we do a lot, I think, to try to promote expertise and knowledge of foreign policy, foreign affairs, to bring together both people on campus who have an interest and a knowledge in the area of International Affairs and bring to campus experts from the outside. And I think this evening's event is an example of that.
And it's in that capacity it's such an honor for me to be standing before you, and have a chance to say just a few words. And we are privileged, ladies and gentlemen, to have with us this evening three of the world's most renowned experts on international affairs. And I don't use that phrase lightly. And I think to get an opportunity here in a few minutes to listen to them, starting with Francis Fukuyama, is going to be tremendous.
We also are privileged to have with us a moderator in Professor Isabel Hull, who is a leading scholar-- one of the world's leading scholars-- of modern German history, and modern European politics, and also of the international laws of war. It's an honor for me to be in the same department as Itsie. She and I are both members of the History Department. And to be able to work alongside Itsie in Cornell's History Department is tremendous for me. And in my 10 years here at Cornell, I have learned a great deal from working alongside her.
She is the author of numerous books and articles. I want to just mention two of them before I give the podium to Professor Hull. Most recently, she is the author of A Scrap of Paper, Breaking and Making International Law in the First World War. This was published by Cornell University Press this year. It's hot off the press.
And I note that Hugh Strachan, a great historian, says of this book "It is not only a timely book, it's an overdue one. And its impact on the study of war will be important and game changing." That's Hugh Strachan. Before that, Professor Hull was the author of Absolute Destruction, the Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany, a path-breaking work also published by Cornell press. Ladies and gentlemen, Professor Hull.
ISABEL HULL: Thanks very much, Fred, for that very kind and indeed, excessive introduction. We are really blessed to have three such luminaries here tonight who are truly leading thinkers in the field of international relations and who, moreover, approach that field from very different directions I'm going into that trip introduce them to you. And I'm going to hold it short, because you don't want to hear me. You want to hear them.
And I'm going to introduce them in the opposite order from which they will be speaking, beginning with our second commentator, who will be our own Peter Katzenstein, who is the Walter S Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies here at Cornell. Many of you in the audience are doubtless Professor Katzenstein's students. If you're not, you should remedy that deficit immediately. He's one of our most awarded and decorated teachers here at Cornell and in the Arts College.
Professor Katzenstein joined Cornell in 1973. His career took off like a rocket ship immediately, beginning with the awarding from the American Political Science Association to his dissertation for the Best Dissertation in International Relations. His work combines international relations, comparative politics, Germany, Japan, the United States, and most recently China, with political economy and indeed, with also cultural analysis.
He is the author or editor of too many books to mention. It is said there are 40 or more. One of the recent ones on anti-Americanisms is over on the table there, if you're interested afterward in coming over and snapping that up.
He is one of the most versatile theoreticians of political science and one of the most innovative. For me, he is most remarkable for his inclusion of culture and cultural analysis into international relations at a time when his field tends to move much more to modeling and to quantitative methods. Past President of the American Political Science Association, member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, winner of numerous book awards, and fellowships to all the major research places in the United States and in Europe-- Peter Katzenstein is truly a Renaissance man of political science.
Our first commentator will be John Mearsheimer, who is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at Chicago University. Professor Mearsheimer did not receive his BA at Cornell. He received, instead, a Bachelor of Science degree at West Point, and then went on to serve for five years as an officer in the United States Air Force before returning, then, to academic life, at which point, he came to Cornell and received his PhD in political science here in 1980.
Many of you will know Professor Mearsheimer's works through his books, most recently The Tragedy of Great Power Politics-- and I noticed that also is available over on the desk afterwards-- and research and an earlier book On Conventional Deterrence and most recently on the subject of perennial interest and ubiquity, Why Leaders Lie-- a very interesting analysis of that topic. Professor Mearsheimer is of course, a very famous realist in political science. And more specifically, he is a proponent of what has become known as "offensive realism," which holds that conflict arises as especially great powers seek to achieve not merely security but definitive security, which then tends to make them expand, at least in their region, if not elsewhere. He's currently working on the intersections of nationalism and liberalism and their impact on world politics. Professor Mearsheimer is a frequent commentator in The New York Times, The National Interest, and elsewhere on pressing problems of foreign affairs.
Our main speaker tonight, of course, is Francis Fukuyama, the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford. Professor Fukuyama's PhD, like Professor Katzenstein's, is from Harvard. But he received his BA here at Cornell in Classics.
Most of you will know Professor Fukuyama from his many publications and appearances as a public intellectual, and above all, of course, for his bestseller as an essay 1989 and as a book from 1992, The End of History and The Last Man. In The End of History, Professor Fukuyama argued that the fall of the Soviet Union was not merely a turning point in history, but that it might have been, "the end of history as such-- that is, the endpoint of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalisation of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government." This meant, as he revised his thinking a few years later, that "liberal democracy and free markets constituted the best of the available alternative ways of organizing human societies."
At Cornell, Professor Fukuyama was in the last class that Allan Bloom taught at this university before leaving for Toronto. And Professor Fukuyama is recognized or reckoned as one of the founders of neo-conservatism in the United States, a position that is visible in his sharp criticism of deconstruction and post-modern theory as inadequate foundations for a vibrant democracy, and as a quondam champion of an interventionist foreign policy on behalf of the expansion of democratic government and the capitalist economy. And for example, he favored, in 2003, the war against Iraq, a position which, however-- and this is, I think, one of Professor Fukuyama's most remarkable characteristics-- he then rethought and, in fact, rejected. And he has become a critic of militarist expansionary foreign policy, shall we say, and also of inequality in economics.
In two recent books, he has explored some of the deepest problems of international relations and development, in The Origins of Political Order in 2011 and in its bookend, Political Order and Political Decay from the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy, which just came out, and which also is, I note, available over on the table. But despite his rethinking of original positions, he has, I think, not lost his faith in democratic government or in the market economy as the most enduring forms of worldwide political and economic organization. And these will be the subjects of his lecture this afternoon entitled, "Will Democracy Have Competitors in the 21st Century?" Please join me in welcoming back to Cornell Professor Francis Fukuyama.
FRANCIS FUKUYAMA: Well, thank you very much for those very kind introductions. It's really great to be back at Cornell. I left in December 1973. I've been back for several lectures since then, but it's always a great pleasure. And I really appreciate Peter Katzenstein and John Mearsheimer serving as the commentators today.
When Cornell first approached me to celebrate the sesquicentennial by talking about the 25th anniversary of The End of History, I was a little uncertain as to how to respond. Because for the last 25 years, I've been trying to get beyond that essay and move on to another topic, since everybody, anytime anything happens in the world, says, well, what about The End Of History? But it's actually important, I think, to review that argument on the 25th anniversary, because frankly, the year 2014 has not been a great year in world politics.
You have Russia and China, two authoritarian powers, that are on the move and with ambitions and claims. You have ISIS and this continuing remarkable level of instability in the Arab world, and then continuing conflicts in Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, and so forth. And so I think it is worth reviewing where we are.
In a certain sense, the two-volume book that I've just written, The Origins of Political Order and Political Order and Political Decay-- if you really want to get the full version, you should read all 1,000 pages there, because that's really my more considered effort to write the end of history-- but I can give you a short version of it in the lecture tonight. So what I'm going to do is talk about four topics. I'm going to go over the argument of The End of History and what I think is still valid from that.
I'm going to talk, then, secondly, about what alternative models are out there. Third, I'm going to talk about the question of what's wrong with democracy in the world in general, and what are the big challenges it faces. And then I'm going to finish up with a discussion about political decay-- that is to say, will countries that are now consolidated democracies always remain that way? And the third and fourth of those topics are really ones that I'm introducing from especially the most recent of the books that I've published. So let's begin.
What was The End of History or that basic argument about? I wrote, actually, the original essay in the winter of 1988, 1989, well before the fall of the Berlin Wall. And the argument, I think, was a fairly simple one.
For the previous 150 years, most progressive intellectuals believed that there is this thing called history-- that is to say, a progressive evolution of human societies. And the Marxist ones believed that there was an end of history, which would be some form of a communist utopia. And my simple observation back in the winter of '88/'89 was, it didn't look like we were going to get there.
And in fact, given the trends going on in the Soviet Union and China and other places, it looked like history would terminate or evolve not into communism, but the penultimate stage, which would be some version of liberal democracy and a market economy. And I continue to believe that that argument is fundamentally right. I actually believe that there is such a thing as history in this Marxist Hegelian sense.
We don't use that word anymore. We use terms like "modernization" or "development," as in the US Agency for International Development. But it basically means the same thing-- it means that human societies have gone through a coherent process of transition from one type of political and social and economic organization to another.
And the question is, where is that process headed? And I think despite the instability of this particular year, it's a good idea to step back, and think about how the world has changed. Actually, a convenient starting point is the year 1970.
So I showed up at Cornell in the fall of 1970 right after the Cornell Crisis, as a freshman. In that year, there were approximately 35 electoral democracies in the world out of, at that point, probably 120, 130 countries in the world. So democracies were no more than about a quarter of all the countries in the world.
In the year 2014, depending on how you would categorize certain countries like, let's say, Turkey, there are about 115 to 120 electoral democracies. My colleague at Stanford, Larry Diamond, runs a much more precise tab, based on Freedom House scores and other metrics, of who counts as a democracy. But basically, we've gone from a world in which a quarter of the countries had elections and some kinds of democratic procedures, to a point in which about two-thirds of the world operates under that kind of a system.
Now, we've had, as Diamond points out, a democratic recession for the last eight years. So for the last eight years in a row, aggregate Freedom House scores around the world have been dropping. And there's obviously very troubling things like Russia's behavior vis-a-vis Ukraine, and the fact that China seems to be on a roll, doing very well as an authoritarian power.
And I guess one of the questions for the future is, should we regard this as a kind of correction, like a stock market correction, where the overall pattern will be a continuing of what Samuel Huntington labeled the Third Wave of democratization, in which the general pattern will be towards more democracies around the world? Or is something more fundamental happening, where we're going to see a really big reversal of that Third Wave, and a regression to some other form of government? Now, the one social phenomenon that I would point out that underlies this political transformation, I think, is a very important one. Since 1970, global economic output has roughly quadrupled.
It has quadrupled because we have created a globalized world, a reasonably open capitalist economic order that has been hugely productive. And we've seen massive, massive declines in global in poverty in places like India and China. And we've seen the rise of middle classes in many parts of the world.
Now, there is a long standing tradition that goes back to people like Sam Huntington and Barrington Moore that argues that there is a close connection between the rise of middle classes and democracy. It's not inevitable. There are many middle classes that turn against democracy. But by and large, once you reach a certain level of education, own assets that the government can take away from you, there tends to be a greater inclination to want to participate to some degree in political rule, which is the starting point. It's not the completion, but it is the starting point for democracy.
And part of the reason that I think this Third Wave of democratizations has occurred in places like Brazil or Turkey or Indonesia is because of that underlying wave of prosperity and the kinds of social changes that it has brought in its wake. And there is no guarantee that kind of economic growth will continue. We could go back into a protectionist phase, as we did in the 1930s, and a lot of those gains could be lost.
But I do think that there is a certain social and economic mechanism out there that is pointing us in this direction. But I'm not going to make any predictions about this. I'm not going to stand up here and say, in 20 years, the world economy will have doubled again, and you'll have more middle classes and more democracy. I think we're just going to have to wait and see.
Let's move on to the second topic, which is the question of alternative models. Because the argument in The End of History was really that for a society that aspired to be modern, there was really only one, broadly speaking, form of political and economic organization-- some form of liberal democracy and some form of market economy. And clearly, if you look around the world today, not everybody does that. And there are alternative models.
And the question, I think, that that begs is, if you accept this kind of Marxist framework, where you do have a progressive evolution across different societies towards different forms of social organization, is that direction pointing towards an alternative model that would, in some sense, be higher, more just, more sustainable, more productive along a lot of different dimensions than what we have now in the developed democratic world? And I think we can go over several of them. I actually think that there is only one that has a remote chance of being considered a serious alternative, and that's the China model.
But let's run through a couple of the ones that are out there right now. Start with Islam. We have Islamic republics in Iran and Saudi Arabia, in other Islamic monarchies. We have Islamic government in a number of places. Is this the future of mankind?
I sort of doubt it, because it seems to me that anyone that is not already culturally Muslim has very little interest in moving in that direction. But I think the Arab Spring actually points to an interesting phenomenon, which is that prior to that uprising, it was very common to say that there was either a Muslim or an Arab exception to the Third Wave, that there was something about the cultural background of those societies that would not allow democracy to emerge-- that they were too passive. They were accepting of authority, and so forth.
And I think if there's one thing that the Arab Spring proved, that that's not correct. In fact, I think you can see a lot of the same mechanisms operating in places like Tunisia and Egypt that operated in Ukraine, or in Turkey, or in Brazil, or other places where you have a rising middle class. Those revolutions were driven by exactly that same class of relatively young, relatively educated, urbanized middle-class people as similar revolutions have been driven in other parts of the world.
The failure of the Arab Spring, I think, was not a failure in that inchoate desire not to live under a tyrannical government. The failure was one of institutionalization. It was a failure in the ability of people that wanted a democratic society to understand how to institutionalize democracy in a way that would be sustainable.
I think this is a problem that you know more Western-oriented, liberal groups in Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East-- all of them have had that. They don't know how to organize. To this day, I am absolutely not convinced that the more liberal forces in Egypt, for example, were less numerous than the people that supported the Muslim Brotherhood.
What the Muslim Brotherhood had was organization. They knew how to get out the vote. They could go into every rural precinct and get their followers out to the polls, and that's why they won the early elections after the military government stepped aside.
And I don't think the story about the democracy in that part of the world is written yet. If you had asked in Europe in the Fall of 1851, what are the prospects for democracy in Europe, I don't think you would have gotten a very positive answer three years after the Springtime of Peoples-- the uprisings that occurred in virtually every single continental European country in 1848, because that process of institutionalization is long. And it is hard. And it takes a very long period of time.
And so I don't think the final story has been written. I do not think that, as an alternative, something like the Islamic Republic is terribly viable. If you look at Iran right now, half the population doesn't like the regime. They would like a different kind of regime. And it's precisely that better educated, more modern, more urbanized half that would support a very different kind of politics.
And so I don't think this is a particularly good alternative. Russia, I think, we can dispense with very quickly. Because the economic model is not a-- who's bought, apart from let's say an AK-47, who's ever bought a manufactured product made in Russia? It's heavily oil-dependent economy.
And I also think that the course that President Putin has set this year after the annexation of Crimea makes it a very difficult model to sustain. Because I think it's going to be inevitably based on external expansion-- the reunification of Russians outside of Russia. And we've had experience with that kind of regime before in the 20th century-- that you do it to gain domestic support, but internationally, it gets you embroiled with all of your neighbors. And for that reason, I think it's not a terribly sustainable model.
The most serious alternative is really China. China is heir to a very longstanding civilization. I argued in the first volume in The Origins of Political Order that China not only developed a state early on, it developed a modern state-- modern in Max Weber's sense of bureaucratic, rational, impersonal. And they did this, really, in the third century BC.
And in fact, the present Chinese government is an heir to that extremely long Confucian tradition. And part of the reason that they've been able to modernize as rapidly as they have after 1978 is that they can call on that wellspring of a very, very deep tradition of a bureaucratic state. And they do it better than any other society in the world.
If you look at what makes for a high-quality Chinese authoritarianism, I think I would point to several things. So for example, they are rule bound to an increasing extent. One of the big weaknesses of authoritarian regimes in other parts of the world, like the Middle East or in Africa, is that authoritarian rulers don't know when to step down. If Qaddafi or Mubarak had left power after 10 years, I think they would actually be probably pretty positively remembered by their peoples. But instead, they stayed, in one case over 40 years, in another case for about 35-- way past the point where they were actually contributing to the health of their societies.
In China, one of the interesting things about governance there is since 1978, you've had this steady spread of rules, not the rule of law. The rule of law is really a firm, constitutional limitation in the power of the most powerful in the society. But there is a spread of laws, rules, including rules for leadership turnover. And so we've now had three of these 10-year cycles of term limits. And you have mandatory retirements and things of that sort.
Another thing they do well is actually state autonomy. There is actually an advantage to being an authoritarian government when you're trying to do important kinds of reforms. If you think about the reforms that Deng Xiaoping accomplished after 1978 in decollectivizing agriculture, creating a market economy, shifting that entire society into a very different form of economic production, you couldn't possibly have done this in a democracy-- not with all of the interest groups, and legal restrictions, and constraints on power that exist in a modern liberal democracy.
But you can do it in a dictatorship, because the state is not constrained by either a firm rule of law or by normal democratic politics. And it means that if you wanted to undertake positive reforms, you can do it much faster and more effectively. So they put up a high-speed rail system costing something like $400 billion, and they do it in five years.
And I live in California, and we're still putzing around trying to put up a high-speed rail system between Los Angeles and San Francisco. And I'm not counting on it to emerge any time in my lifetime. I guarantee you.
And so finally, I would say the other thing about the Chinese system that is really important to understand is a moral characteristic. I think one of the deepest legacies of Confucianism is a belief on the part of ruling elites that they have an obligation to something that is higher than just themselves and their families-- enriching themselves and their families. If you look around the world at where developmental states have all been located, the vast majority of them are in East Asia, in parts of the world that are under this broad Chinese Confucian cultural domain.
Because in Confucianism, you have a long tradition of training princes to rule justly in the interests of the broader community. And that's why in East Asia, it's been possible-- and Peter, among others, has written about this. This is one of the reasons that they can do things like run an industrial policy, which in Latin America or in Africa or in South Asia gets incredibly corrupted, but in East Asia, has actually been turned towards high-speed development.
And I think that the Communist Party is very corrupt in many, many ways. But there has still been a developmental focus that they have managed to maintain that is extremely difficult for other authoritarian countries to achieve. So that's the good part.
What's the bad part? And I think, in fact, the bad parts of the Chinese system are all the counterparts of the things that I just mentioned as being advantages, beginning with the moral one, which is that although they are the heirs of this Confucian tradition, they're really confused about this. Because the other half of it is Marxist-Leninist.
And they can't either genuinely revive that indigenous Chinese tradition or make a break from Marxism-Leninism. And what fills the gap morally for many Chinese is just plain, naked self-interest. And it's, I think, hard to run a country for a long period on that basis.
The economic model-- I mean, this is a more technical issue-- but I think has got some real problems. The most unsolvable political problem they've got is what in traditional Chinese historiography is called "the problem of the bad emperor." So if you have a good emperor like Deng Xiaoping, because you don't have constraints-- you don't have formal checks and balances in the system-- you can do a lot of good very, very rapidly.
But the same absence of checks and balances means that if you get a bad emperor, you're in big trouble. And most Chinese, I think, would say that they had a pretty bad emperor recently in the form of Mao Zedong, who could undertake policies leading to the deaths of tens of millions of people because there were no checks on his power in the system. And right now, what you're seeing unfold in China is, perhaps, another version of that.
So Xi Jinping, the new Chinese leader, has been accumulating power on an unprecedented scale, in a way that is bursting apart the kind of understanding of collective leadership that emerged since 1978. He bids fair to be the most powerful Chinese ruler since Deng, and possibly even since Mao. And this is where I think you have the real vulnerability of that system.
We do not know at this point whether he is a good or a bad emperor. We just don't know. You can construct a positive scenario, where he's going to liberalize the economy, he's going to break the power of the state-owned enterprises, he's eventually going to open up the Chinese system, or he could just be one of the worst dictators in recent Chinese memory, and undo a lot of the rule-bound decision-making that has set China apart as an authoritarian country. We don't know. And if it's the wrong form of emperor, the Chinese are in big trouble, as well as probably a lot of its neighbors.
And so I think for all of these reasons, this is not a system that is exportable. And I don't think that it is a model, unless you are Korea, or Japan, or some other country within that cultural sphere. I think it's very hard to replicate that model.
And therefore, I don't think it's going to persist as a real alternative. In other words, in 50 years, I could imagine China adopting more rule of law and opening up their political system, making it more liberal and more democratic. I find it very hard to believe that you'll have anything like the Chinese system being replicated in other parts of the world. So that's the alternative.
The third topic is-- there's a fourth, besides Islam, Russia, China-- there's a fourth alternative out there, which is basically none of the above. That is to say, the problem in the world is not that there's a superior model of an alternative form of political and economic organization that's waiting to be taken up. The problem is that countries that want to be democratic, that want to create a democratic system, will just never get there.
And that, I think, is a much more pressing issue. And that's really the core of my most recent book. So the basic structure of my argument is as follows-- in my view, there are three pillars on which a modern liberal democracy rests. And you really have to have all three pillars in a certain kind of balance to have an effective political system.
So the first pillar is the state. It's the legitimate monopoly of force over territory. A state is all about power. It's about generating and being able to use power to enforce laws, protect the community, keep the peace, build infrastructure, deliver services, so on, and so forth.
The second institution is the rule of law-- not rule by law, which the Chinese do, but rule of law-- in which the most powerful actors in the society are constrained by mutually agreed upon rules. If the president, or prime minister, or king can make up the rules as they go along, that's not the rule of law. The rule of law is fundamentally a constraint.
And then finally, the third pillar is democratic accountability, which we in the West understand to be a series of procedures-- free and fair multi-party elections-- that are designed to produce substantive accountability, meaning the government has to respond to the wishes of the whole community and not just to the narrow interests of whoever happens to be running the government. And in that structure, there's an inherent tension, because the state builds up power and uses power, whereas the rule of law and democracy constrain power. And if you are too far at either end of that spectrum, you don't have a happy political order.
So obviously, if you've got all constraint but no state, then you've got Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya-- one of these stateless societies in which anyone with an AK-47 can put together a militia and take whatever property they want. That's not a good situation. On the other hand, if you've only got the state without those instruments of constraint, basically you have China. So you have the possibility for good, but you also have the possibility of a really great dictatorship in which rulers use discretion to essentially do whatever they want.
And so I think a proper political system really has to have a balance of all three of those institutions. But there's a much more important distinction that I think we political scientists and we policymakers have tended to pay much less attention to than the democratic pillar. And that is the transition from what you'd call a patrimonial or neo-patrimonial state to a modern state.
A modern state is an impersonal state. In a modern state, your relationship to the government does not depend on whether you're a friend or a relative of the ruler. It depends on simply your status as a citizen. And there is a clear distinction between public and private. The state is supposed to serve public interest, and not the narrow private interest of the people that run the state-- the elites running the state.
A patrimonial government, by contrast, is one in which the state is regarded as the patrimony of the rulers. So in the days when you had kings and queens, you could literally give away a province to a daughter as a wedding present and all the people that lived on it, because essentially, the king owned it. So today, we don't have anybody that gets up and says, I own this country in the way that people used to. They have the pretense of having modern states with bureaucracies, and prime ministers, and legislatures, and so forth.
But the reality in very many political orders, including many democracies, is what political scientists call neo-patrimonialism, meaning that the underlying reality of the state is actually essentially kleptocratic, rent-seeking cabal of insiders that want to use their access to political power to enrich themselves personally, which generates bad government, corruption, inequality, and a lot of ills in very predictable ways. And I would argue that the single biggest problem-- and so I guess in reflecting over the 25 years since The End of History, this is the aspect of political development I didn't take nearly seriously enough.
It is much easier to move from an autocracy to a democracy than it is to move from a patrimonial or a neo-patrimonial state to a modern state. And if you don't believe it, just look at Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq and Afghanistan after the American invasions, we staged elections. In Afghanistan, maybe they're better referred to as election-like events. But they were still procedures that produced some degree of democratic legitimacy.
What we completely failed to do in both of those cases was to create a modern state-- a state that was not corrupt, that could defend its own territory, that had sufficient legitimacy as a modern, impersonal state to win the loyalty of the citizens. And we did not understand how to bring this about. And that, I would say, is the Achilles heel of many contemporary democracies.
I don't want to spend a lot of time giving you examples, but corruption, and lack of state capacity, and the failure to deliver basic public services-- that's the reason that the Orange Revolution in Ukraine initially failed. It's why people are extremely unhappy in Brazil, where you've got a government that is mired in corruption, that does not deliver basic things like education and bus service. In India, you've got a very patronage-based political system, high levels of corruption.
One of the reasons I think the Indians voted for Mr. Modi earlier this year was they were hoping for a strong leader. They want somebody that's going to be able to modernize the Indian state, and realize, actually, the promise of democracy. And that is a much tougher problem, where the route to modernization is less clear.
The final issue-- I'm running out of time, so let me just conclude very briefly-- the final issue is political decay. So if you're interested in this topic, the question is, once you become a consolidated modern industrialized democracy, is it ever possible to fall back? My conclusion from having written these two volumes is, any regime could fall backwards and can decay.
And the decay takes one of two forms. It either has to do with intellectual rigidity, where you create institutions for one set of conditions, the conditions change, and you're not willing to adapt. And the other one has to do with insider capture, in which the elites use their position as elites to gain political power to reinforce their positions.
And I think for a whole variety of reasons that part of my last book was excerpted in Foreign Affairs a couple of issues ago. So if you want to read that, you can. But I think that we're already seeing a lot of signs of that in the United States, where you have a kind of repatrimonialization of the American government through the rise of extremely well-funded and well-organized interest groups, a tremendous amount of institutional inertia that makes it extremely difficult to reform the system, and this collision of polarization with a check-and-balance constitutional system that makes it almost impossible for the American government to make basic decisions.
So those, I think, are the challenges. And as you can tell, a lot of these ideas were not present in my original take on all this stuff. There's a lot of questions we could cover-- many unresolved questions like the question of inequality, middle-class stagnation, the impact of globalization on technology, on our social structure-- which I think is probably one of the biggest challenges facing not just American democracy, but democracy across the board-- global public goods.
There's a lot of issues internationally that cannot be met on a national level. And we don't have the governance institutions to really provide them. But I'm afraid that's going to have to be the subject of a further lecture. So thank you very much for your attention.
JOHN MEARSHEIMER: I'd like to start by thanking Professor Hull for her kind introduction, and thank the organizers of this event for inviting me to be here. It's a great pleasure and an honor to be back here at Cornell. I was a graduate student here from 1975 to 1980.
I learned an enormous amount. And much of my success in life is due to the education that I received here. And for that, I am forever grateful.
It's also an honor to be here to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Frank's famous piece, The End of History. I was actually at the University of Chicago in the winter of 1989 when Frank first gave the talk that became this article in the national interest. And I went to the talk in Social Science 122. And then Allan Bloom invited me to the dinner at the Quadrangle Club afterwards. And I remember it very well.
I thought at the time, and I thought even more so with the passage of time, that it was a truly important article, hugely influential. And I think it was one of the two most important articles that were written at the end of the Cold War, the other being Charles Krauthammer's famous piece talking about The Unipolar Moment. But I think Frank's piece was much more important, and I teach it now, and I will continue to teach it in the future because I think it's so important.
Nevertheless, I think it's fundamentally flawed. I know Frank is shocked to hear this. And I'm going to mainly focus on my disagreements with the piece.
And what I'm going to try to do is not criticize it from a realist perspective, but offer a number of other criticisms that lie outside the realist bailiwick. And the way I'd like to proceed is, I'd like to talk about what I think was said in the article in 1989, and then talk about what we're talking about 25 years later in 2014. And then I'd like to make six points-- three about the first strand in the argument, and three more about the second strand in the argument.
In 1989, when the piece came out, we focused on two different aspects of the piece. The first was the argument that liberal democracy would spread across the globe, and we would eventually reach the point where the globe was populated by nothing but liberal democracies. Liberal democracy was more or less an ineluctable force.
And the second strand of the argument was that this would lead to the end of history. In effect, what Frank was saying was that we would have a very peaceful world. He said at the very end of the piece that one of the big problems down the road would be boredom, because it would be such a peaceful world.
The theory was actually based on two of the classic liberal theories of international politics, one being democratic peace theory-- which I think is the core of the piece-- and the other being economic interdependence theory. The one liberal theory that is not in there is neo-institutionalism or liberal institutionalism. But the other two are there. And again, democratic peace theory is the heart and soul of it.
In the year 2014, we're really just talking about the first strand. And the reason is, it's not clear that liberal democracy is on the march. I actually think Frank may ultimately be proved right. I'm not sure, but I think he might be.
But at this point in time, it really is an open question. And I think if you listen to his remarks tonight, and what he's been writing over the past few years, that's clearly reflected. As a result of that, we don't talk about the second strand anymore, because if you're not sure that you're going to get a planet that's populated with liberal democracies, then the end of history argument is really not relevant. But I want to talk about that second strand as well as the first strand tonight. And I want to make three points about each.
With regard to the first strand, Frank has made a good number of arguments tonight and in his recent writings about the problems that surround democracies, and why we don't seem to be, in the year 2014, where he thought we would be in 1989. Many other people thought the same thing, of course. But he lays out many of the problems or the difficulties associated with the march of democracy.
But I'd like to add three more that I don't think he's talked about. First of all, you've talked about the spread of democracy, but it's not just democracy you have to spread. It's also liberalism that you have to spread. Because the argument, if you look carefully at the original piece, is all about the spread of liberal democracy. And there are whole sections where he talks exclusively about liberalism, quite appropriately.
But spreading democracy and spreading liberalism are not the same thing. And when you were talking about spreading democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, you said the problem is that we also haven't built up enough state capacity so that these states are highly efficient. Of course that's true. But it's very important to understand that we did not create liberal democracies in Afghanistan and in Iraq. So we're talking here to make his argument work about spreading liberal democracy. And I would argue-- and I can't get into it here-- that spreading liberalism is a really difficult task, more difficult than spreading democracy.
Second criticism I would offer has to do with how you talk about attractive alternative models. In the piece-- the original piece-- he very neatly posits liberalism versus communism and fascism. And that was a very important trichotomy at the time. Certainly if you go back into the 1930s, it was very important.
And liberalism up against those two ideologies did look like it was going to dominate over time. But now we don't talk so much about that trichotomy. And when you listen to Frank talk, he talks about alternative models. He talks about the Chinese model, the Islamic model, and the Russian model. And he says none of these are attractive.
I think that's true. But I would approach it in a very different way. I would talk about the generic concept of authoritarian regimes.
I mean, the alternative to democracy is an authoritarian regime. When you talk about democracy, you talk about democracies as a generic concept, you don't talk about the American model or the British model. And the fact is, if you look at the literature on authoritarian regimes, what you see is that they come in many flavors. And some of them are actually reasonably attractive.
Authoritarianism is not such a bad thing to good numbers of countries on the planet. And Frank in his written work, and even up here, has contrasted China and India. And if you look at which is functioning more efficiently, and take into account that India is a democracy and China is an autocracy, that autocracy sure looks a lot better than that democracy.
Now I want to be clear here. I'm very happy I live in a liberal democracy. I do not want to live in an authoritarian state.
One of the reasons I don't like fighting wars all over the planet and creating a national security state is because I think it threatens liberalism at home. I want to be very clear on that. So I'm not making the case that I like authoritarian states. But the fact is, sometimes people do like authoritarian states. And if you look at the China/India case, you can see why.
This gets to my third point, and that is that Frank emphasizes that authoritarian states have certain advantages, and then he talks about the disadvantages. But when you talk about those advantages, I think it's also important to emphasize that democracies have sometimes significant disadvantages. You hinted that, but I would develop that point more.
When it comes to dealing with severe crises, democracies are not very good I was thinking about Carl Schmitt's concept of a state of emergency. There's no question that when countries get into trouble, especially democracies-- civil liberties, checks and balances-- those sorts of things go out the window. Now you may think I'm bringing up Carl Schmitt and this applies to authoritarian states, but that would be a mistake.
All you have to do is look at what Abraham Lincoln did during the American Civil War. It was a state of emergency. He was willing to suspend habeas corpus, and do all sorts of other things.
And for people who have any doubts about that, let me direct you to a book that was written by a very famous professor here at Cornell University in the Government Department long ago, named Clinton Rossiter. He wrote a book in 1948 called Constitutional Dictatorship. And what he talked about was the fact that democracies-- and he was talking about the United States-- he also talked about Britain, Weimar Germany, and France-- sometimes have to suspend civil liberties because the crisis is so severe that those normal democratic institutions can't do the job. I think one could make an argument that as the world gets messier and messier, democracies are going to be more and more pressed to deal with a lot of these problems. And what you're likely to see is more cases of states of emergency in democracies in the future.
But the point I'm making here is that democracies are not always that attractive for dealing with crises. And the previous point that I made to you is, you don't want to understand how attractive authoritarian states sometimes are. And given those two factors, it's not surprising that over the past 25 years we have not seen this ineluctable drive towards democratization.
Let me switch gears now and make three quick points about the second strand of Frank's argument in The End of History. And this is the international relations strand that said that once democratization took place, we would end up in a world that was very peaceful. First of all, for that to work, you need almost every state in the system to be democratic.
Because if you have a handful of democratic versus non-democratic dyads, as we say in international relations speak, then you're going to have trouble. Because the basic logic of the argument doesn't apply when you have democracies versus non-democracies. The argument works when it's democracies or liberal democracies versus liberal democracies. I think if you look at what's happened over the past 25 years, it's a tall order to expect that this planet is going to be almost exclusively dominated by liberal democracies, or even largely dominated by liberal democracies.
Now, one might counter that this is not a big problem. Because even when you have dyads that involve democracies versus non-democracies, you won't have a whole heck of a lot of war, because democracies are actually quite peace-like. This gets to my second point. Liberal democracies are very often warlike.
Just look at the United States of America, the paradigmatic liberal democracy. We have been at war for two out of every three years since the Cold War ended. We have just now started our seventh war.
I think it's fair to say that the United States is addicted to war. We love war. And we are a liberal democracy.
And by the way, do you know what country has gone off on every one of these escapades with us? Great Britain-- that other great liberal democracy. So if you're in a world where you have non-democracies, and a reasonable number of them, and the United States and Britain and other liberal democracies are roaming around the Earth, I think you're going to get quite a few wars.
And I'm actually, as a realist, in the very unusual position that I find myself opposed to almost every one of these wars we fight. And it's all my liberal friends-- and this does not include Frank, who by the way, Frank was opposed to the Iraq War. I just want to set the record straight on that. He opposed the Iraq war, much to his credit.
But most of my liberal friends have never seen a war they didn't like. It's the realists who oppose all these wars. So anyway, the point I'm making is, if you don't get a planet filled with liberal democracies, you're going to have a lot of trouble.
My final point is that I think Frank's core argument is in essence at odds with my understanding of liberalism. It's not ultimately a liberal argument in a critically important way. And you're probably saying to yourself, what exactly is he talking about?
Liberalism, in the beginning, was built on the belief that individuals could not agree about first principles. They could not agree about the good life. And it was really a limits of reason argument.
Liberalism is based on the assumption that human beings using their critical faculties cannot agree on first principles. And if you think about it, it really got going when Catholics and Protestants were killing each other in large numbers in England. How do you use your critical faculties to determine whether Catholicism is the correct religion, or Protestantism is the correct religion, or being an atheist is the correct way to go?
How do you use your critical faculties to determine whether abortion is right or wrong? I know remarkably smart people on both sides of that debate. And liberalism was predicated on the assumption that people can't agree about these really important issues, and therefore, what you need is a powerful state to serve as a night watchman and an arbiter to keep these people from killing each other, but also to create the civil society in which they had the space to practice their own beliefs. So if I'm a Catholic and I want to go to Catholic Church, and he is a Protestant and he wants to go to a Protestant Church, he can do it. We could all lead our own life as we see fit.
Now, if you look at Frank's argument in The End of History, there are no disagreements of any consequence. It's a remarkably harmonious world. That's why boredom is going to be the biggest problem.
According to liberalism as I understand it, Frank, you need a world state to serve as a nightwatchman or an ultimate arbiter, because people cannot use their critical faculties to reach agreement on lots of big issues that they care about. But in your story, by definition, they have to be able to reach agreement because they're liberal democracies. The bottom line is that this perspective is inconsistent with liberalism as I understand it. And more generally, it's inconsistent with human nature, because it assumes that we can use our critical faculties, our reasoning capabilities, to reach general agreement on first principles.
I think that has never been the case in the past. It's not going to be the case in the future. And therefore, we're never going to reach the end of history. Thank you.
PETER KATZENHEIM: I would like to thank the organizers for including me in this very interesting panel. But most of all, I would like to thank the audience for suffering through this at the end of a long day. And still not being done, so I will try to be brief.
It is both a great honor and a challenge to comment on Frank's lecture. America gives us many pundits who are really only the second hands of history, always telling the wrong time as they shout their messages in various echo chambers. Not so Frank, who is an admirable public intellectual thinking big thoughts, reading widely, and writing important books and consequential articles-- and as we just witnessed here, all in a very accessible language addressed to a general audience.
I'm taking the liberty of responding to Frank's lecture through the prism of some of his writings since the early 1990s, specifically his argument about liberal democracy as the culmination of the end of history. His last two major books, which inform the lecture we just heard, are looking into the past to understand the conditions that make possible this ultimate triumph, as well as delay its ultimate arrival. The lecture offers a qualified, but in the end, ringing endorsement of the correctness of his basic message from the quarter of a century ago.
History is on the side of liberal democracy. It's qualified, because the historical studies of political development in decay show clearly that we cannot predict whether everyone will get on the up escalator of political development. And the US today illustrates something we observe frequently in history-- societies stepping on the down escalator of political decay.
But the endorsement of the basic message is ringing. Last year in a Wall Street Journal article which Heike has circulated to us, Frank writes, "Even if we raise questions about how soon everyone will get there, we should have no doubt as to what kind of society lies at the end of history." I sense some tension between what is qualified and what is ringing in this analysis. And to bring out that tension, I will make three points.
First, the primacy of politics is assured by the existence of multiple traditions within liberal democracy. Liberal politics is always contestable and always contested. The end of history will never bring an end to liberal politics.
New questions and new answers will always be with us, both big and small. And they will continue to appear and disappear. We are not heading towards a state of political entropy.
My second argument-- the monumental event of the 20th century was not the end of the Cold War, but decolonization which has produced a world of multiple modernities that subsumes liberal democracy in an evolving array of various forms of democracies and other political forms of organization. And my third argument-- market liberalism is, for Frank, a disappointing and anemic end point of history, a blending of stultifying technocracy with a consumerism devoid of all spirituality. In the form of financial globalization and its attendant crises, it looks-- at least to me-- rather like an innovative wrecking operation bent on fundamentally remaking the world under the leadership of American liberal democracy.
So my first argument-- Frank's lecture focuses on institutions understood as stable, valued, recurrent patterns of behavior. Liberal democracy is a specific array of institutions. But institutions are always imperfect instruments of a power that seeks to control.
That power has a twin which circulates around and undermines the control of institutions, and thus creates innovations, new questions, and new answers in politics. China, in my reading, is a system of directed improvisation. Politics is about the interaction between control and circulation.
To focus only on the institutional side of politics risks missing an essential ingredient of politics. Each institutional configuration such as a liberal democracy contains multiple traditions. Liberal democracy is not unitary, defined by an essential core of dogma and practice.
Liberalism is an important addition of US democracy, but is not the only one. Also worth mentioning-- and here I follow Roger Smith-- are two others among a potentially longer list-- republicanism-- in the Roman, not in the elephantine sense-- and racism. Liberalism, republicanism, and racism are intertwined.
And democratic politics is about restaging the fight between them while remaining attentive to the addition of new strains such as deep environmentalism, or the reconfiguration of old ones such as a nativist xenophobia. The political tensions and contradictions between different traditions is the defining criterion of a liberal political community. For it is disagreements, not agreements, that define and constitute political communities.
What is true of domestic politics is true also of international politics. Varieties of democracies, both liberal and illiberal, will not live in perpetual peace. With some luck, only a subset of liberal democracy may live in peace. Furthermore, the relationship between liberal democracy and peace is complicated, since one of the most liberal of all democracies-- the United States-- during the last half century has become militarized and war-prone, as it seeks to control parts of an unruly world it finds distasteful.
My second argument about multiple modernities-- the end of the Cold War and the fight between East and West was very important. But in a broader perspective, it was not the pivotal event in the 20th century. That, in my opinion, was decolonisation and the victory of the South over the North.
It vastly broadened the range of human experience with which politics can experiment as we confront the future. At its origin in the 18th century, Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution was a European and Western thunderclap. But now, the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution are no longer Western. They're global.
They have created a global civilization of modernity through the categories of thought and practice they have spawned. By hindsight, the potentially deadly conflict between East and West was about different forms of political economic organization. But it was rooted in a fundamental agreement on the modern project-- to mold citizens and various institutions such as schools, factories, and prisons that help define modernity.
This global civilization of modernity is nested in, and interacts with, other civilizations-- American, European, Sinic, Indian, Japanese, Islamic, among others, and a variety of political and national, ethnic, and religious forms of politics, including states, of course, but also empires, embryonic polities like the EU, and stateless polities such as the Islamic Ummah. Different religious and secular traditions in each of these civilizations lead to different reform programs to cope with the challenges posed by the civilization of modernity. The result is a world of multiple modernities.
Indirectly, through the process of historical evolution and directly, through the influence of the United States and Europe, varieties of democracy-- and I mean here the plural, not liberal democracy in the singular-- give ample room to what is new and unpredictable. Liberal democracy will prosper, together with other varieties of democracies. But in its singular form, it will not define a world of pluralism and plurality. Instead, liberal democracy will be encompassed by the multiple modernities that shape our global world.
My last argument-- since the 1980s, finance, as the center of capitalist market economies, has flourished in the era of deregulation. We have come to understand that finance is treating systemic crises that are not due to exogenous shocks to which liberal market economists must adjust. Instead, these crises are endogenous to the logic of the liberal market system itself.
These crises appear to have become more intense over time, starting in the early 1980s, and ending so far with the crisis of 2008, as they have moved from the periphery to the center of the global system. The reform efforts since 2008 have done little to break the destabilizing tendencies of financial globalization. Innovations in finance, we can now see for the first time, will quite possibly blow the dollar and the global economy right out of the water, giving the term "the end of history" a somewhat different meaning than Frank's famous essay.
It is no longer so far-fetched to think of a world left without the dollar as the central currency through which we define economic value. Market liberalism is not only the boring end-state of a world in which liberal democracy has won. It has also set off depth charges that go off every decade or so, and that liberal democracy appears to be unable or unwilling to diffuse.
Let me conclude. The multiple traditions of liberal democracy, the multiple modernities in world politics, and the destructive potential of financial globalization all cut against the view that we know the kind of liberal democratic society and politics that will emerge at the end of history. My bottom line, then, is this-- the owl of Minerva always flies in the twilight. Whether it is dawn or dusk depends on our vantage point and philosophy of history.
Looking at the last two centuries, the celebratory assessment of Hegel's version of the end of history-- and here I speak as an ex-German-- turned out to be rather different, and very much worse than he would have expected. The same, I suspect, will also be true of the United States as we're turning the corner and start our voyage into the uncharted territory of a new millennium. For me, this is not an altogether pessimistic conclusion.
The US imperial state will surely remain a very major actor in world politics. And America's dynamic society will continue to engage the world in many creative ways long after the mirage of the singular superiority of the US model and its superpower status will have dimmed or possibly disappeared altogether. Democracy-- liberal and otherwise-- does provide us with a measure of freedom, and thus will not rob us of the capacity to reimagine what it means to be free, and if we so choose, to act on that imagination. Here, then, is my modest prediction for the future of liberal and all other forms of democracy-- they will not end up imprisoned in the iron cage of infinite boredom. Thank you.
ISABEL HULL: I think it's only fair to offer Professor Fukuyama five minutes to reply if he'd like.
FRANK FUKUYAMA: I would open it up, actually.
ISABEL HULL: That's fine.
FRANK FUKUYAMA: And then I'll just respond to everybody at the end, maybe.
ISABEL HULL: OK, very good. Let's open it up. And if you will say who you are, and say to whom you are directing your questions, that would be wonderful. Yes, right in front. You need a microphone.
AUDIENCE: I'm Joey. I'm an Economics PhD, and this question is to Frank. So there are democracies that work well, for example, the United States. And there are democracies that doesn't work well, for example, India. Do we have a cookbook for perfect democracy? And can democracy implement it, or do we need a dictator to implement this cookbook, if it does exist?
FRANK FUKUYAMA: Well, no, I don't think that there's a cookbook. I mean, I teach a basic Comparative Politics course in my university. And I think one of the lessons of that is that the actual institutions have to suit the underlying society.
And so for example, something like federalism may not be necessary in a relatively small country like Israel or the Netherlands. But in a really large, diverse one like Brazil, or India, or the United States, it's almost a necessity. And so I do think that in a way, this kind of gets at especially Peter's point about multiple modernities.
I guess the question is, functionally, at what point do these different modernities really become true alternative ways of organizing a society? And at what point are they simply variants on the same basic theme? And so I've always thought that you can have a parliamentary or presidential form of government.
As I've gotten older, I actually think parliamentary systems tend to work better than our presidential one but that's not a fundamental difference. Because both of these are based on the same common set of principles of liberty and equality. And they're just different implementations of the same principle.
And I guess the question then is, there is no question there's multiple ways of organizing, in effect, state, law, and democracy. But at what point do they become so different that you'd actually say that they're qualitatively a different kind of regime as opposed to simply a slightly different way of organizing and trying to deal with the same functional underlying problem? And I guess where how I would respond to Peter is, I think a lot of those differences either over time are going to disappear because some of them are not going to be viable, or they will not emerge into true alternatives, but simply a kind of variant on a theme.
ISABEL HULL: Peter, do you want to say anything? Yes. You want to--
AUDIENCE: Mike check. Yes, so my professor Katzenstein, you taught me Gov 1817. When I was eight years old, I was sitting in my home in Calcutta. On the TV, there's this building on fire.
I'm sitting with my dad and mom. I'm eight. I don't know shit about the world. The other-- but in a minute, a plane crashes into the other building.
And it's 9/11. It's September 11. In India, we don't say 9/11. We say 11/9/2001.
10 years later, I was in your class. I was sitting there. It was the single most important lesson I have learned in my life so far. I'm getting emotional. I'm sorry.
It is you took out $1. You handed it to the crowd. And you told the student to tear it.
Then you took out $5. You hand it to my friend, [? Schweta ?], who's from India. $5 in India is 650 rupees. And she refused to tear it, because she said, that money can feed a family. But you told her to tear it, and she tore it.
You handed me a green piece of paper. It was a teabag. And I tore it. Nobody in the class winced, because it was just a piece of green paper.
And then you started to talk about constructivism. You started to talk about identity, the third charters of international relations. I was completely-- that question on 9/11 was answered by that act of just tearing $1 or $5, or $10, or $50, $100.
I believe, and I know, that history is not shown by economy. History isn't bounced off by economy. Nobody cares at the end of the day about economy.
It's about identity. Identity is the single most important reason why I am Hindu, and why I'm concerned about the future of India as a Hindu. And as a student, I'm very lucky that I live in the United States. My family can sponsor me in the United States.
My question to you-- are you concerned about India? Because I'm very concerned about Narendra Modi. If you cut out the dollar, the rupee, from Narendra Modi's promises of economic development, I go to Gujarat. Yes, Gujarat is very developed. West Bengal isn't. I'm from Calcutta. I'm concerned about Narendra Modi because of his radicalism.
ISABEL HULL: Is there a question there?
AUDIENCE: The question is, are you concerned about Narendra Modi? Because in 2002, he was responsible for the death of 2000 Muslims. And I ask this as a Hindu-- are you concerned about that? And this is a question on constructivism and identity, not economy.
PETER KATZENSTEIN: So let me take the liberty of formulating it slightly to address also France. France thinks about history as a glacier which is being eroded by water running down. These differences will go away over time.
Identities get reconstituted and reimagined. I doubt that they will go away. I don't think-- you know, when I was in high school, I got up every Wednesday morning at 6 o'clock to learn Esperanto.
That was my generation's dream of a united Europe. It didn't work out that way. The modern language regime in Europe is India's. It's 3 plus minus 1 language.
If you're lucky in southern England, you only learn English. You can do fine. In the Basque country, you need three languages. So India is the model for the modern European language regime, and Esperanto is no use.
So I don't think I was arguing that the past-- that these civilizational entities draw on their past to cope with a common challenge. And one very important part of this past is a redefinition and re-imagination of their identities. And I think that's a difference with Frank, who thinks about modernization and the growth of the middle class as a long-term, secular process which will wash out differences.
So for him, the civilization of modernity is a middle-class society, and increasing numbers of democracies. And for me, that's one part, but it interacts with the other part, which reconstitutes differences all the time. That's a big difference between the two of us.
ISABEL HULL: Other questions? Yes, sorry, [INAUDIBLE].
AUDIENCE: I can speak loudly, and you could hear me.
ISABEL HULL: No, wait a minute. It's better with the mike.
NIMAT BARAZANGI: Thank you. My name is Nimat Barazangi. I'm researcher in Islamic Studies, mainly, and basically also in the Middle East. I would really like to ask Professor Fukuyama to rethink his model in analyzing the possible alternative.
Because first, you were not fair in presenting the different models equally well. Second, you had different standards in analyzing these models. And let me give you an example. One is you immediately brushed the Islamic model by using the worst two examples-- Saudi Arabia and Iran.
They do not represent the Islamic model, nor do the recent what's called or called itself Islamic State. Because neither of them properly understand, not only apply, understand Islam. And I would like you to go back and really read about the basic principles of Islamic civilizations. I'm not being apologetic. I'm trying to make this correction about how to understand history. Thank you.
FRANK FUKUYAMA: Well, look, I'm not sure that you're disagreeing with me. Because I've argued in various places that I don't see any fundamental contradiction between Islam, properly understood, and democracy. And you've got Islamic states like Indonesia and Turkey, Senegal, that have actually done pretty well.
So I don't think I'm judging. I'm just saying, is that kind of radical theocracy that fundamentally rejects liberalism, essentially-- it fundamentally rejects tolerance of alternative religions-- is that an attractive, sustainable, higher form of political organization that will be a challenge in the long run? I just don't think that.
But is Turkey going to remain a democracy in which religion is extremely important? Yes, I think it will. But it still remains fundamentally, in my view, a democracy.
JOHN MEARSHEIMER: If I could just make a quick point to ask Frank and Peter if I'm thinking about this correctly, and it bears on some of the questions. Seems to me that Frank's argument is that you can have multiple identities. You can have multiple cultures, religions in the world.
He's talking about the political system that is intact in those different countries. In other words, you can have a Turkey, a Germany, a Japan, and an America that have very different cultural traits. But in his story, what you're getting in the end is a political system-- liberal democracy-- that everybody is heading towards.
So I didn't see him being that different than you, or that inconsistent with the argument that you were laying out. I saw Frank as being consistent with your point. Am I right on that?
PETER KATZENSTEIN: Well, it reduces the concept of liberalism to proceduralism. And I think liberalism is about a whole lot more. So the claim that the US is a liberal democracy is not about the proceduralism of its political institutions.
It's about the content of the ideas motivating the American republic. And the content of those ideas is deeply contested. And it's very different from Indonesia, Senegal, Germany, or anywhere else. So a thin understanding of liberalism is about political organization. But that is not what liberal democracy is about, in my understanding of Frank's work.
FRANK FUKUYAMA: Well, that's right. I think the place where the rubber hits the road is in the following situation that comes up in Europe quite frequently these days. So you have a Muslim family in Amsterdam, or in Brixton, or someplace, where the family wants the daughter to have an arranged marriage, and the daughter doesn't want it.
And then the question is, how does the state respond to this kind of situation? And I actually think that if you understand liberalism properly, as I do, I don't think there's any question that the state needs to intervene on the side of the daughter. Because her rights trump the communal rights of a particular religious minority.
But there's a lot of people in Europe that don't believe that. They really don't. They fundamentally don't believe that.
And I think that's going to be a very neuralgic issue that liberal theory just really-- it has a hard time defining its own limits. And the extent to which it pushes out of this narrow, as you call it, procedural box into kind of dictating in social life how individualistic we are, basically. So in that sense-- so I guess I think--
PETER KATZENSTEIN: That's a good formulation.
ISABEL HULL: John, did you have a response?
JOHN MEARSHEIMER: Just to clarify this just a bit-- when I criticized Frank up there, I made the point if you go back to the beginning with regard to liberalism, people could not agree on first principles or what comprised the good life. And what liberalism was all about was rights.
It's not just procedure. It's all about rights. And it's giving people the right to live the good life as they see fit.
So I see you as boxing off rights and democracy, and leaving lots of room for people in civil society to act the way they see fit. But what you're saying here, just on the rights front, is that there's no simple set of rights. That's what's going on here.
You're in the rights box. And the problem is that there's not universal agreement on what the rights are, and then how you play off right a versus right b. And the Supreme Court, of course, gets into the business of adjudicating on this issue all the time.
FRANK FUKUYAMA: Well, OK, so this is a good example of how I think that you can still have a kind of universalism of institutions, and this glacier will start to melt. So right now, you've got this civil war going on in the Middle East between Sunnis and Shiites. It's unusual, because this is not a war that's been going on for hundreds and hundreds of years. This is something new.
And they're killing each other. And it replicates in many respects the Protestant/Catholic fight in the 30 Years' War, and in Europe in the 16th, 17th centuries. And one very interesting question down the road is, will they arrive at the same conclusion, and arrive at liberalism-- not because it's in their cultural tradition, but just it's a pragmatic way of not killing one another.
And I guess I would argue that that's how-- you're right. I agree with you completely. That's how liberalism arose in the first place. It wasn't deeply embedded in Christian European civilization.
But it was a necessity that these societies were driven to as a result of their historical experience. And I could see that happening in another generation in the Middle East, once they get sick of sectarian violence. But it still doesn't answer a lot of these very complex social questions about exactly how you define the rights-- the family versus the individual, and all of these sorts of things.
And there, I actually think that the United States is a real outlier. I mean, we are so much more individualistic socially than any other civilization in the world. And therefore, I think the way we defend our individualism is just not going to be accepted by a lot of other societies, because most of them are just-- they take communalism in various forms much more seriously than we do.
ISABEL HULL: Other questions? Yes.
AUDIENCE: Hello, my name's Kayla. This question is for Dr. Fukuyama. The third section of your talk was called, "What's wrong with democracy?" And I feel that you went on to underline what you thought makes up a democracy, and how the transition from different forms of ideologies in government become a democracy. But I would love for you to clarify what's wrong with democracy.
FRANK FUKUYAMA: Well, so I guess the simplest way of putting it is that democracy is an institution about the constraint of power. But good government and what people want from government is not just to constrain power. It's also that power should actually do things.
So an example you could give, in India, in certain of the northern states and poor states in northern India, 50% of school teachers don't show up for work despite the fact they're being paid. And therefore, nobody gets an education. Although they're democratic, there's a free press, there's opposition parties, there's lots of political contestation.
But they cannot deliver this basic service. And I think that's been the Achilles heel of very many democracies, including, in some respects, the United States-- that people want the government to actually do things for them-- provide public goods, services, infrastructure, so on, and so forth. And they're incapable of doing it.
They're too corrupt. They don't have the capacity. And they don't implement things well.
So that's the simple argument-- that government is not just about constraining power. It is also about the legitimate exercise of power. And that's the part that's been the weakness.
ISABEL HULL: I think we're going to leave it there. I want to thank Professor Fukuyama, Professor Katzenstein and Professor Mearsheimer very much.
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Francis Fukuyama '74 joined panelists John Mearsheimer, Peter Katzenstein and Isabel Hull Nov. 18, 2014 in a Foreign Policy forum marking the 25th anniversary of his landmark essay, "The End of History."
The sesquicentennial event was co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.