Fukuyama, Huntingdon, Friedman We Are Only A Reaction Paper

Length: 5 pages Subject: Drama - World Type: Reaction Paper Paper: #37069244 Related Topics: Gorbachev, Egyptian Revolution, Civilization, World Civilization
Excerpt from Reaction Paper :

Fukuyama, Huntingdon, Friedman

We are only a decade in to the twenty-first century, and anyone who hopes to analyze long-term geopolitical trends for America and its place in the world must begin by conceding that change is happening fast. Large scale ideological shifts that began taking place at the end of the twentieth century -- most particularly the end of the Cold War, that tense and heavily-armed standoff between rival ideologies which concluded not with a bang but a whimper as Gorbachev's Soviet Union devolved into Yeltsin's and then Putin's Russia -- have been occurring for long enough now that Francis Fukuyama's prematurely triumphalist announcement of "the end of history" seems closer to the end of twentieth century history, the end of an era. But the dawn of a new era is tempting for prognosticators, and I would like to address the varying overviews that three of the most influential commentators -- Fukuyama, Samuel Huntingdon, and Tom Friedman -- have offered by way of predictions for the twenty-first century. I focus on these three as authors of influential grand narratives that have been offered, and offer both summary and critique of each of them in turn. But to conclude I will apply the theories of each to the most recent sort of history -- the events of the past two months, still in progress as of this writing -- in order to assess their success thus far in predictive skill.

Fukuyama was the first scholar to leap into the business of prognostication on behalf of American imperium, unless we count astrologer Joan Quigley's sub-rosa employment with the Reagan administration. To be honest, Quigley's services might have been just as reliable as Fukuyama's in this regard, for contemporary analysts will forever regard Fukuyama as a once-influential thinker who declared an "end to history" shortly before 9/11. But it is worth resurrecting Fukuyama's thesis to see what his ground base for analysis had been, and if there is anything worth salvaging once the cringeworthy title of his most famous work has been disregarded. Fukuyama was basically trying to determine what the large scale ideological shift within the West would portend after the fall of the Soviet Union -- his announcement of "the end of history" was really a strong statement in support of the proposition that liberal capitalist democracies carry within them a transformative power such that all Western governments, or possibly all governments in Fukuyama's opinion, aspire to their condition. The collapse of the Soviet Union was a validation of those ideological tenets which were held across a varying spectrum of states, including a number which fell to the left of the U.S.A. And represented a more socialistic form of liberal democracy. Fukuyama concludes that 1989 represented a victory for the basic principle of capitalism, but that inherent in this capitalist principle is the notion of universal human rights. This seems muddle-headed given that the origin of the western notion of individual rights is to be found precisely two centuries before the transformative events Fukuyama is addressing, the very transformative event of the French Revolution. Does Fukuyama somehow see a necessary linkage between the ideology of human rights as put forward by France's revolutionary government and the onward march of freedom that would then be propounded by Napoleon's territorial ambitions for all of Europe under French imperial rule? In point of fact, Fukuyama's own ideas...

...

The events of the past decade in the Middle East -- in which the vast influx of capital has created a situation not like that of East Germans struggling to shake off ideological control in the late 1980s, as Fukuyama might have predicted, but has rather created a nervous oligarchy not unlike France's ancien regime -- show the particular limtiations of Fukuyama's approach. If the Middle East was indeed the cradle of civilization, it is no surprise that it keeps giving birth to surprises which make any announcement of the end of history premature. So why does Fukuyama retain credibility? The answer to that is simple: his predictive force was sufficient to enable analysts to apply the obvious lessons from the fall of the Berlin wall to an analysis of the ostensibly Communist regime in China. And Fukuyama's analysis has largely held true for the gradual introduction of market reforms into the Chinese system -- although it is worth noting that, contrary to his predictions, the Chinese government is still engaged in distinctly authoritarian behavior, and has shown no signs of abandoning centralized control of its economy. Fukuyama may have been right about the general trend, but in China it seems to be taking slightly longer than he anticipated. But his analysis seems helpless in the face of analyzing change in the Middle East.

But statesmen of a rightward bent were quick to embrace Samuel Huntingdon's "clash of civilizations" thesis to remove the Middle East itself from any large scale analysis. Rather Huntingdon proposes the Middle East as the very model for large scale analysis, one that explains away the thing that so fascinates Fukuyama, namely the complete collapse of an organized Marxist-Leninist ideology which dominated a huge portion of the world's population for a huge portion of the twentieth century. Ideologies, in Huntingdon's view, are not so sturdy a thing as "civilizations," with which he invokes a host of additional issues -- most specifically religion -- which do not fit into Fukuyama's specifically economic and neoliberal trumpeting. But Huntingdon's willingness to entertain the notion that we will undergo a replay of the medieval Crusades is undercut by a certain falseness about his premises. In order to promote a specific misreading of the situation in the Middle East, Huntingdon's idea of "civilization" is willing to quietly define the West as "Judeo-Christian," which rather silently elides one of the most important facts to consider in analyzing the Middle East. If one asked a Jew at the time of the Russian pogroms (roughly a century ago) or the imposition of the Nuremberg Laws under Hitler for an opinion of "Judeo-Christian civilization," one would have met with dumbfounded surprise: Jewish history in the twentieth century witnesses both the assimilation of western Jews into the cultural mainstream to create "Judeo-Christian civilization," but only after both the Shoah and the creation of the state of Israel. Huntingdon's willingness to entertain the notion of Israel as a western outpost in the Middle East ignores the fact that amity between Jews and gentiles even within the west itself is hardly a guarantee.

It is somewhat refreshing to turn then to Tom Friedman -- as an American of Jewish descent, and moreover as an actual journalist (rather than a lofty Harvard theorist and Kissinger-cum-Kennan manque like the dread Professor Huntingdon) he is well-placed to actually interview people on the ground in all sorts of places (like the Middle East) where the opinions may diverge wildly not only from each other, but from those assessments of them conducted at a distance. Friedman certainly follows from Fukuyama's starting principles in assuming the transformative powers of Western capitalism -- he notes that Joseph Schumpeter's notion of "creative destruction," which is itself merely capitalism's own rebranding effort for the phenomena more accurately described by Marx. What Marx identified as the capitalist's willingness to sell even the rope whereby he will be hanged -- and the sense that, under the perfectly free market, "everything that is solid melts into air, everything that is holy is profaned" -- is troped by Schumpeter as a kind of necessary mulching process. The same thing that makes capitalism transformative also sparks popular resistance to…

Cite this Document:

"Fukuyama Huntingdon Friedman We Are Only A" (2011, March 04) Retrieved June 12, 2021, from
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/fukuyama-huntingdon-friedman-we-are-only-121034

"Fukuyama Huntingdon Friedman We Are Only A" 04 March 2011. Web.12 June. 2021. <
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/fukuyama-huntingdon-friedman-we-are-only-121034>

"Fukuyama Huntingdon Friedman We Are Only A", 04 March 2011, Accessed.12 June. 2021,
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/fukuyama-huntingdon-friedman-we-are-only-121034

Related Documents
What It Is to Be Human in Human Dignity
Words: 1005 Length: 3 Pages Topic: Animals Paper #: 47786739

Fukuyama identifies many different qualities as being necessary to "Factor X." Why, then, does he call them collectively "Factor X"? How do you account for the seemingly infinite number of divergent views on what it is to be human? Use your own definition of "Factor X." Using this, write a paper on what it is to be human. "The demand for recognition is the dominant passion of modernity" (Fukuyama 148). Different

Global Democracy in "In Praise
Words: 352 Length: 1 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 37250486

" Both Whitman and Rothkopf, like Fukuyama, refer to potential of globalization to build bridges between previously isolated worlds, and to harmonize what were once disparate cultures. Huntington is joined by countless others in a chorus of pessimism about the future of the world. McRibben warns about the ill effects of population growth on both human societies and the environment. Huntington, McRibben, and analysts like them make valid points about the

Klare Thirty Years War Michael
Words: 2300 Length: 8 Pages Topic: Government Paper #: 33770050

On the contrary, a realist would look at global terrorism as an international disaster that affects everyone irrespective of cultural background, gender, race or even religion. Journal #6, Question 6 Fukuyama contends in "The West Has Won" that radical Islam does not constitute a serious alternative to Western liberal democracy. Do you agree or disagree? Fukuyama shows his contentment with the approach that that depicts the West to have won and that

Liberal Democracy Who Are/Were Its Competitors This
Words: 1166 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Government Paper #: 45152137

liberal democracy? Who are/Were its competitors? This article by Francis Fukuyama was written 15 years ago, in 1989, so when reviewing his points, it is important to keep in mind that the views he makes are dated. Though his views are taken 15 years ago, that should not make them obsolete, it is just important to keep the perspective of when he offered this paper. Liberal democracy is, from reading Fukuyama's

Spirituality and Counseling
Words: 927 Length: 3 Pages Topic: Mythology - Religion Paper #: 26493751

Spirituality, Counseling, And Psychology It is difficult to marry two very different systems and try to use one to explain the other. Since religion, which some would say is synonymous with spirituality, is more a set of beliefs and faith-based practices and psychology, the study of the mind and mental processes, tries to be as scientific and reasonable as possible, it seems that one could not be effectively used to study

Technology and Social Responsibility
Words: 1414 Length: 5 Pages Topic: Genetics Paper #: 5011037

Technology and Social Responsibility The objective of this study is to answer the following three questions: (1) What are three major factors fueling international technological growth? Explain the ways in which those factors impede or support corporate social responsibility. (2) What major corporate social responsibility issues arise out of the use of technology and scientific research? And (3) Compare and contrast organizational self-regulation vs. governmental regulation on issues such as eugenics,