Francis Fukuyama built his reputation as a pundit on a single notion: with the collapse of communism, history was ‘at an end’. Henceforth, everything would be one long worldwide acquiescence to American values and American priorities. This ‘philosophy’ gained Fukuyama entry into the exclusive cabal of right-wing theorists who set the agenda for the Bush Presidency.
Unfortunately, history has wilfully disobeyed Fukuyama: 9/11, the bloody shambles of the Iraq invasion, the rise of radical Islam and the resurgence of Latin American independence have trashed his arrogant assertion of US ‘benevolent hegemony’.
Nothing daunted, though, Fukuyama has counter-attacked, turning on his erstwhile Administration allies. Neocon policy has, he argues, been disastrously misapplied by the likes of Rumsfeld, Cheney and Wolfowitz. However, world opinion can be won over by the application of his new theory, modestly dubbed ‘Realistic Wilsonianism’. In essence, this amounts to the US launching fewer pre-emptive wars and displaying less contempt for those hitherto despised international institutions. Are we meant to be grateful?
After The Neocons is a desperate defence, in bad faith, of an untenable position. Even Fukuyama’s windy undergraduate prose cannot inflate this threadbare farrago to book length. ‘I was right’ repeated ad nauseam is neither enlightening nor engaging.
Much as I enjoy the spectacle of a far-right catfight, I despair that such simple-minded, insular nostrums can masquerade as a contribution to political discourse. Devoid of insight or empathy, Fukuyama totally fails to acknowledge, let alone analyze, the paranoia, fear and blind rage that is at the heart of US foreign policy. For all our sakes, we must hope for better responses to our present dire predicament than this self-serving drivel.Peter Whittaker