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Fukuyama presents a false defense

By       Message Constance Lavender       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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In a recent article, perhaps referring to my last article [History's against whom? Fukuyama on Chavez, or why should we trust a man who's so "smart," yet so wrong (because he has], Francis Fukuyama, in the Project-Syndicate website (nice name) commentary offers this false defense:

"Moreover, the desire to live in a modern liberal democracy does not translate necessarily into an ability to actually do so. The Bush administration seems to have assumed in its approach to post-Saddam Iraq that both democracy and a market economy were default conditions to which societies would revert once oppressive tyranny was removed, rather than a series of complex, interdependent institutions that had to be painstakingly built over time.

Long before you have a liberal democracy, you have to have a functioning state (something that never disappeared in Germany or Japan after they were defeated in World War II). This is something that cannot be taken for granted in countries like Iraq.

The End of History was never linked to a specifically American model of social or political organization. Following Alexandre Kojève, the Russian-French philosopher who inspired my original argument, I believe that the European Union more accurately reflects what the world will look like at the end of history than the contemporary United States. The EU’s attempt to transcend sovereignty and traditional power politics by establishing a transnational rule of law is much more in line with a “post-historical” world than the Americans’ continuing belief in God, national sovereignty, and their military.

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Finally, I never linked the global emergence of democracy to American agency, and particularly not to the exercise of American military power. Democratic transitions need to be driven by societies that want democracy, and since the latter requires institutions, it is usually a fairly long and drawn out process.

Outside powers like the US can often help in this process by the example they set as politically and economically successful societies. They can also provide funding, advice, technical assistance, and yes, occasionally military force to help the process along. But coercive regime change was never the key to democratic transition. "

Well, judge for yourself:

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January 26, 1998



The Honorable William J. Clinton
President of the United States
Washington, DC


Dear Mr. President:

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We are writing you because we are convinced that current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding, and that we may soon face a threat in the Middle East more serious than any we have known since the end of the Cold War.  In your upcoming State of the Union Address, you have an opportunity to chart a clear and determined course for meeting this threat.  We urge you to seize that opportunity, and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the U.S. and our friends and allies around the world.  That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power.  We stand ready to offer our full support in this difficult but necessary endeavor.

The policy of “containment” of Saddam Hussein has been steadily eroding over the past several months.  As recent events have demonstrated, we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades UN inspections.  Our ability to ensure that Saddam Hussein is not producing weapons of mass destruction, therefore, has substantially diminished.  Even if full inspections were eventually to resume, which now seems highly unlikely, experience has shown that it is difficult if not impossible to monitor Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons production.  The lengthy period during which the inspectors will have been unable to enter many Iraqi facilities has made it even less likely that they will be able to uncover all of Saddam’s secrets.  As a result, in the not-too-distant future we will be unable to determine with any reasonable level of confidence whether Iraq does or does not possess such weapons.


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Constance Lavender is an HIV-Positive pseudonymous freelance e-journalist from a little isle off the coast of Jersey; New Jersey, that is...

In the Best spirit of Silence Dogood and Benj. Franklin, Ms. Lavender believes that a free (more...)

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