Francis Fukuyama and panelists debate alternatives to democracy

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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. [APPLAUSE] 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. [APPLAUSE] 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. [APPLAUSE] 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. [APPLAUSE] 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. [APPLAUSE] 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. [APPLAUSE] 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: [INAUDIBLE]. 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. [LAUGHTER] 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. [APPLAUSE]

64 comments

  1. Francis Fukuyama discusses a very fundamental question about human institutions. Read his book before you comment! He is a scientist in the sense that he investigates the nature of things with a critical mind. You can't make social science a hard science, but Frank went the furthest in his arguments and in his scholarly effort to detail those arguments, he almost made political science a hard science of physics. This description of the man is no exaggeration; his arguments are deep. His thinking should be much appreciated.

    It is a very good thing that You Tube is a medium to propagate information much needed for our democratic society, but it is also unfortunate that I have to encounter idiotic comments from simple minded folks. Let us have a real discussion!

  2. Democracy is not panacea for every solution, it's just a concept that can be adapted as long the benefited to people.

  3. Blindly believing in democracy is the current problem. 

    One of the China's tasks is to solve the problem of hunger. 
    Do you believe using democracy can solve this problem?
    Look at India. 

  4. After a wopping 16 minutes and 38 sec introduction Mr Fukuyama will start to speak. Yes, 16:38. Good luck and have fun!

  5. No learning from it…..I found him to be confused and working on his ideas without research.
    he brushed Indian democracy as corrupt and…., on the contrary its a triumph of Democracy, as Democracy was understood to be a tool for Homogeneous people one language, one Culture and One Religion and one so on…. and India it is Opposite of it, and still a Democracy. yes we have flaws but we handle them well. and the same European champions of Liberalism and democracy find hard to  do example banning of Head covering like the Turban, scarf and so on

  6. I was going to leave a comment about the lecture until I read the comments and saw no one mentioned Ellen De Generous was hosting.

  7. Democracy is a great success in USA. In 2016 Presidential election, we will most likely see a contest between two exceptional politicians – Hillary ("We came we saw he died ha ha ha ha") vs Trump ("I am going to build a great wall") . All Americans should be so proud of their exceptional political system… Way to go !

    Going to hit the 19 trillion mark soon….

  8. The policy of the United States is that no incorruptible person will be allowed to lead a Muslim country. Say what you will against fundamentalists: our main objection to them is that they are hard to manipulate.

  9. What an illiterate! He misuses the expression 'begs the question' 24.34. It doesn't mean "raises the question" it means to assume one's conclusion in the guise of arguing for it..'

  10. liberal democracy and economy free market bring us a phenomenon "a few family earns much money and use the money "to buy due process of democracy" such as eletroral democracy system and due process of law making in legislative office. in my opinion this liberal democracy implementation toward to "oligarch making concensus with "elite" who runs in office". what is a solution of all "toward" which trying to democracy it self, govern of the people, by the people and for the people. middle class desire and need as a rights and state responsibility which i concern that for example, "all democracy nation such as US and Indonesia are diseapering of middle class". this is the impact of the strong market economy, "money earns democracy". iam looking foward having an answer.

  11. Personally I think that we are seeing the end of liberal democracies in the world. Global corporations are taking power. We are seeing the US actually support autocratic governments as long as those governments support US policies, and in the US the government is becoming more controlling because of (perceived or real) threats, both externally or internally: DEA, Homeland Security, the war of terror, the war on drugs. The US is failing to provide the security that people want. Rome eventually failed, and I think we will see in time what is effectively an emperor in the US, who becomes emperor to protect the people.

  12. Mearsheimer says that the US is addicted to war. I think he's right but it's not BECAUSE it's a liberal democracy as he seems to be implying (he later says that most of his liberal friends have never met a war they didn't like. He must be friends with a lot NEO or classical liberals such as William Krystol). But of course many more liberal democracies are not addicted to war than are. I think the better point would have been to ask why is the US, which is a liberal democracy, addicted to war and most liberal democracies are not?

    Mearsheimer's criticism of Fukuyama's The End of History thesis I think is correct. What he is saying is that Fukuyama does not, now or did not when he wrote the book in 1989, understand liberalism, which to M is predicated on the limits of reason and the fact that human beings are always going to disagree about first principles. I think to Fukuyama's credit, since writing The End of History, he has sought to append that thesis — as well as to improve his reputation as a political scientist — with his two following works, The Origins of Political Order and Political Order and Political Decay, which I think are right on. Fukuyama has clearly moved away from the neo liberalism of the likes of W Krystol toward social liberalism.

  13. Chiang Kai-shek regime in China was democratic? No. Was it comunist? No. Was it corrupt? Yes. Under his regime was China a growing economy? No. Was China people living well then? No. Was Chiang Kai-shek regime in friendly terms with the US? Yes. Was the regime change in China a good thing? It looks like Yes to me…

  14. @17:52, Fukuyama said, " Year 2014 has not been a great year, in world politic, you have Russia and China, two authoritarian countries on the move, with ambition and claims." Fukuyama needs to have a more balance view of world affairs. In 2014 the year Fukuyama gave his presentation at Cornell, USA was still waging wars in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and supporting the Syrian rebels who were waging a proxy war on behalf of the USA. Apparently in Fukuyama's perspective, US ambition and claims are non-existence or benevolent. Fukuyama has been very successful crafting the art of concealing his bias agenda.

  15. Fukuyama knows nothing about Brazil. Brasil a democracy? What kind of democracy? One in which poor and uneducated people sells their votes for a price, a very low price and allows corrupt people stay in power being substituted after some time by other corrupt people. Two or more parties does not make up a democracy; they are the members of a permanent dictatorship that are interested in mantaining the people in a backward status.

  16. Fukuyama should come now to Brazil to see by himself how the brazilian congress is trying to legislate to stop investigations that may put a lot of representatives in prison. That is not the way for democracy to act but in the real world that is what happens.

  17. A pure democracy is undoubtedly the best system ever created, due to his ability to regulate itself. But, I agree that China's transition would be better into a few decades.

  18. In reference to the 2nd questioner about islam, she claimed that ISIS does not represent true islam. Who is she to say that ISIS does not?

  19. A Republic which contains all 3 of the Good forms of Government (Monarchy, Aristocracy, Democracy) which Today is 3 Branches of Government Presidency, Legislature, Judicial.

  20. Clearly, Fukuyama's theory still stands tall. I agree with him that the China-model comes closest as a rival. Nevertheless, we shouldn't forget that China is still a developing nation with a newly-formed middle class. In the end, it is hard to see how, when educational and living standards rise, these people can continue to be shut out from government and political freedom. In other words, authoritarianism might be, or probably is, a better model for countries that have not yet reached full development, but only under those conditions. Another great point by Fukuyama with which I agree is that the possibly biggest global issue is not the transition from autocracy or authoritarianism to democracy, but from feeble, what he calls "(neo)patrimonial states" to democracies.

    Also, concerning the quite agitated remark from the Muslim woman in the public, I have no clue as to what kind of countries she has in mind that are doing well under Islamic regimes. Fukuyama, in his response to her, mentions Indonesia and Turkey as supposedly "more enlightened" or prospering states following an Islamic model. Yet it is precisely in these countries that the Islamic element is hurting democratic, liberal culture, the growing power of Erdogan and his imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of people and limiting of press freedom as well as the deposing of the immensely successful Indonesian Christian governor of Jogyakarta "Ahok" (that's his name) are cases in point. In sum, I think Fukuyama is right to say that not a single country on earth that follows the Islamic model (whether full theocracy like Iran or a kind of sharia-infused and Islam-dominated society) is a very attractive place to live in, unless of course you have been raised or converted under the spell of Islam to begin with.

  21. Me thinks Prof. Fukuyama doesn't truly understand Chinese history or its peoples. He is too well indoctrinated with the Western Liberal Democracy "narrative".

  22. How about Plato's philosopher kings or an intellectual government that can be a great alternative to democracy.

  23. 55:44 "The alternative to democracy is an authoritarian regime" Actually, colocracy is a representative non-authoritarian system of appointment, free from party politics, patronage, clientelism, pork barrelling and all the other dirty laundry that electoral democracy carries with it and it guarantees a legislature that mirrors the constituency.

  24. This is a profound discussion on alternatives to democracy ,thank you for the organizers Cornell University people.

  25. This comment section is overflowing with emotionally driven pseudo intellectuals. how many do you think graduated from Harvard like Fukuyama?

  26. There is nothing wrong with democracy what needs to be done is strict acountability and laws that restrict the ability of leaders who manipulate the system for greed and unlawful exercise of power

  27. More and more China's unique model will achieve further success above all others, based on Prof. Fukuyama's theory.
    Prof. Mearsheimer then describes aggressor America's trapped liberal democracy under unconstrained capitalism will
    limber along, or decline.

  28. Alternatives to democracy… We have been there shit like this triggers me hard. Oppinions form one sided econonerds, which is a pseudoscience anyhow.
    Fukuyama is pretty much the worst neoliberal on the planet. You dont get that productivity does not solve soft philosophical issues.
    Just saying we are producing more shit than ever does not mean the world is a better place. Capitalism is completly agnostic to anything else than capital…

    Feudalism 2.0 is where this is going. And thinking there is an end of history is the most ignorant economic bullshit ever not understanding infinite games. I suggest the audiobook "qualityland". Meanwhile lets sing:"Money Money über alles, über alles in der Welt".

  29. "The fact is that sometimes people do like authoritarian states." Yes, especially when they will be imprisoned, tortured, and potentially executed if they don't "like" them. Mearsheimer, what a guy.

  30. Political systems do not remain static and remain the same 60 hence or longer. Systems will change according to the needs of the population. China and India with huge populations have great problems moving their people in the direction they want. Even if the change is people directed, it is very difficult for more than 1 billion people to move by themselves in the direction they want. How is that possible. 1 billion people will have a few million ideas and also a few thousand leaders who want to lead.

  31. The idea put forward around the one hour mark that liberal democracies are naturally warlike, cases in point being the US and Great Britain, is so wrongheaded and intellectually lazy it makes my head hurt. How about looking at the military industrial complex of the US as a potential driver of war? How about the world economy's addiction to petroleum as an energy source? What about the special relationship between the US and GB formed during WWII?

    Look at the widespread demonstrations against and condemnation of the Iraq war around the world at the time of its outbreak: what kind of society allows for such outspoken criticism if not a liberal democracy?

  32. Even the whole world is democracy there'll be still wars. Even the whole world is authoritarian there'll be still war. Because we have seen wars amongst the democracy and also between the authoritarian, rights?

  33. The worldly intelligence is in definition. It's not what the rights are, it is who's rights. To understand go to the preacher of god.

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