Tuesday, February 28, 2006

On Fukuyama

So I must have underestimated the attention that Francis Fukuyama's article has recieved in the past week - the scope is impressive. As I reprinted it here, I first became aware of it through the New York Times. Then I had my professor of my Neo-Cons class send it out; recieved it from a friend via email in the London paper, The Guardian; and then speaking with again with a friend today about how it came up in a student discussion about politics just a few short hours ago...

I have been meaning to write on this for some time now... I only just learned about Fukuyama and started reading his works in my Neo-Con course, focusing mostly on his 'End of History' thesis. In researching Paul Wolfowitz I also found out that Fukuyama was an apprentice of some sorts of his and worked under him on two different projects.

Overall my impression was that he had taken his culural ideas from Strauss and Straussian theorists, specifically in regards to moral relativism. Although a self-described neo-conservative, who most-often was consumed with foreign policy, my interpretation was that he was looking at the international system and looking at how it affected/determined society and culture, something most people only look at on a state-by-state level.

This article surprised me in two ways - first that he is repudiating neo-conservativism and second because his chief critique is over Iraq. As a new student to both international relations and specifically neo-conservativism, I was initially struck by the power of ideas and how theoretical and ideology-oriented the neo-conservative writers are. From Fukuyama I got the same sense.

What is shocking for me is that he is attacking neo-conservatives not only for their failures in policy in Iraq but also the principles that led to this situation in the first place. In his repudiation of neo-conservativism, he is attacking neo-conservatives at their very core.

I can't lie and say that I am not deeply encouraged by Fukuyama's both personal and public departure from the neo-conservative movement, and I think they have lost one of their strongest and well-respected players.

As he wrote in his article (that is part of a book due out this month), "Neoconservatism, as both a political symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something I can no longer support."

For the full text of the article, 'After Neoconservativism,' see my blog.

-- Mara Lee