Almost 20 years after the end of the Cold War, we can look back and ask, did the promised new era dawn? Did we achieve the “New World Order” that George Bush I proclaimed? Was the victory of the West “the end of history,” as Francis Fukuyama famously argued?
In a word: no. Robert Kagan, a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, speaking at the Chautauqua Institute last month (website), argued that ideological disputes are still with us and that the serious rival ideology is not radical Islam. Instead, the great foreign policy challenges for the United States and its allies are posed by autocratic regimes, chiefly China and Russia. These regimes do not by any means by our version of recent history, nor do they agree that liberal democracy is the only acceptable or desirable form of government.
His speech, coming several weeks before the recent Soviet invasion of Georgia, sounds especially prescient. He develops these ideas in his new book: The Return of History and the End of Dreams.
Check out more great Chautauqua lectures at the Fora.tv website.