Francis Fukuyama

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Francis Fukuyama (1952–) is an author, government adviser, and academic in political and economic development, especially at the world level. He is the Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University (SAIS), and the director of SAIS' International Development Program. [1] He is editor of American Interest magazine, and an adjunct fellow of the Hudson Institute, and is on the boards of the RAND Corporation and the Pardee Rand Graduate School, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the Journal of Democracy, the Inter-American Dialogue, The New America Foundation, Evolutionary Psychology, and FINCA. As an NED board member, he is responsible for oversight of the Endowment’s Latin American programs.

From 1996-2000 he was Omer L. and Nancy Hirst Professor of Public Policy at the School of Public Policy at George Mason University.

Ideology

While he was a signatory of the letter from the Project for the New American Century endorsing regime change in Iraq,[2] Fukuyama is not a mirror of neoconservatism or of the George W. Bush Administration. In 2003, he wrote

The term “war on terrorism” is a misnomer, resulting in distorted ideas of the main threat facing Americans today. Terrorism is only a means to an end; in this respect, a “war on terror” makes no more sense than a war on submarines.[3]

Fukuyama criticized the concept for being too nebulous, for creating a climate of fear. He pointed out that a "war on terrorism" would imply the U.S. has a role in Chechnya, and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While Fukuyama agreed there is benefit to intelligence sharing with Israel, the actual Palestinian problem is principally Israel's local problem.

His 2006 book, America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy,[4] describes neoconservatism as being a legitimate American political philosophy, but misapplied by the George W. Bush Administration.

His view of development differed with that of his teacher, friend and colleague, the late Samuel Huntington, in The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Fukuyama believes " Nation-states and not civilizations remain the primary actors in world politics, and they are motivated by a host of interests and incentives that often override inherited cultural predispositions." Huntington saw a future of increasing cultural conflict. [5] Fukuyama still saw him as the greatest political scientist of his generation.

In 2008, he endorsed Barack Obama

"I’m voting for Barack Obama this November for a very simple reason. It is hard to imagine a more disastrous presidency than that of George W. Bush. It was bad enough that he launched an unnecessary war and undermined the standing of the United States throughout the world in his first term. But in the waning days of his administration, he is presiding over a collapse of the American financial system and broader economy that will have consequences for years to come. As a general rule, democracies don’t work well if voters do not hold political parties accountable for failure. While John McCain is trying desperately to pretend that he never had anything to do with the Republican Party, I think it would a travesty to reward the Republicans for failure on such a grand scale."[6]

Futures research

He wrote an article in 1989 introducing what he called the End of History model,
we may be witnessing..the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.[7]
Social capital is an important part of what he sees as a necessity for an evolved society. [8] Expanding this to book length, he published The End of History and the Last Man,[9] and continues to write and speak on the concept. It is antithetical to the The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order model of his mentor and friend, the late Samuel Huntington.

Fukuyama has sometimes been strongly identified with neoconservatism, which has this ideal of liberal democracy, although his position keeps evolving. His argument in his 2006 book[4] posits there was an overemphasis on regime change by the Iraq War, with an assumption that a democratic society would emerge with little effort. He speculates this was an incorrect extrapolation from the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of democratic government in Eastern Europe. Rather than regime change, he still emphasizes democracy promotion, but through means such as foreign aid, assistance with governmance and elections, etc.

Government and research

He was a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2001-2005. In 1981-82 and in 1989 he was a member of the Policy Planning Staff of the U.S. Department of State, the first time as a regular member specializing in Middle East affairs, and then as Deputy Director for European political-military affairs. In 1981-82 he was also a member of the US delegation to the Egyptian-Israeli talks on Palestinian autonomy.

He was a member of the Political Science Department of the RAND Corporation from 1979-1980, then again from 1983-89, and from 1995-96.

Education

He received his B.A. from Cornell University in classics, and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Political Science. He holds honorary doctorates from Connecticut College, Doane College, and Doshisha University (Japan).

References

  1. Biography: Francis Fukuyama, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
  2. Letter from the Project for a New American Century to President Bill Clinton. Dated January 26, 1998. Retrieved May 7, 2008.
  3. Phase III in the War on Terrorism? Challenges and opportunities, Brookings Institution, 2003-05-14. Retrieved on 2008-06-26.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Francis Fukuyama (2006), America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy, Yale University Press, ISBN 0300113994
  5. Francis Fukuyama (December 29, 2008), "Samuel Huntington, 1927-2008", American Interest
  6. Francis Fukuyama (3 November 2008), "Francis Fukuyama", The American Conservative. Retrieved on 2008-10-30
  7. Francis Fukuyama (Summer 1989), "The End of History", The National Interest 16 (4), p. 18
  8. Francis Fukuyama (April 2000), Social Capital and Civil Society, International Monetary Fund, IMF Working Paper WP/00/74
  9. Francis Fukuyama (1992), The End of History and the Last Man, The Free Press, Macmillan, ISBN 0029109752