“In watching the flow of events over the past decade or so, it is hard to avoid the feeling that something very fundamental has happened in world history.”
This sentiment, introducing the essay that made Francis Fukuyama a household name, commands renewed attention today, albeit from a different perspective.
Developments during the 1980s, above all the winding down of the Cold War, had convinced Fukuyama that the “end of history” was at hand.
“The triumph of the West, of the Western idea,” he wrote in 1989,
“is evident… in the total exhaustion of viable systematic alternatives to Western liberalism.”
Today the West no longer looks quite so triumphant.