Monday, August 25, 2008

Fukuyama: Authoritarianism is still against history

The latest on the world ideologies front --

In the light of Russia's Georgia adventures, there's been lots of talk whether this represents a new rise of authoritarian Russia, which is presumably another nail in the coffin for U.S.-led liberal democratic hegemony in the world. Our "end of history" friend Francis Fukuyama just wrote an op-ed arguing that Russia and China are still not big threats to liberal democracy. There are some good points: Russia is behaving as an aggressive imperial power, but does not embrace a grand, exportable ideology with universal appeal. Similarly with China. They both still feel the need to pay lip service to democratic rituals and norms. Even Nicholas Kristof's hilarious column chronicling his experience with China's dubious protest registration system concludes that even a pale mockery of democracy is progress.

I still like Azar Gat's article which I wrote about last year, that Russia and China represent authoritarian capitalism, which will be an effective alternative to liberal democracy. Sure, it's not a war of ideologies, he argues, but now it looks like big successful nations can economically succeed without being very democratic. Furthermore, this should encourage others to not bother with democracy.

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