‘End of History and the Last Man’
.. by Mir Wazir Khan
Francis Fukuyama (1952….) is a Japanese-American thinker, political scientist and political economist with neoconservative views and with absolute belief in the Western way of life including his unflinching support for Democracy as the best form of government and Capitalism and free market economy as the panacea of for all of humanity’s ills and problems.
With the end of the World War II in 1945—in which the ex-USSR sacrificed the most in both men and material and liberated the entire Eastern European countries from Nazi Germany’s occupation and Red Army troops reached German capital Berlin—Cold war between the Communist and Capitalist blocks commenced for global supremacy and sphere of influence. The competition between the USA and ex-USSR remained balanced till 1980. From 1981 onwards, balance of power tilted in favor of the US-led Capitalist block. Late Ronald Reagan and late Margret Thatcher came to power in the US and UK respectively. Both were conservatives and staunch anti-USSR. They decided to give tough time to the ex-USSR in military and economic competition. Rich nations of the Western world and Japan were grouped in G-7 and NATO; while the allied countries of the ex-USSR were mostly poor countries in Eastern Europe and were a liability on ex-USSR. The deaths of three ex-Soviet leaders within a few years disturbed continuity of policy in the ex-USSR. The policies of Perestroika (restructuring) and Glasnost (openness) of the last Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union accelerated the decline of the USSR. In 1989, the ideologically and militarily important Berlin Wall fell and Communist East Germany merged with Capitalist West Germany. Some Eastern European countries allied with USSR in the Warsaw Pact withdrew their allegiance from USSR. The three Baltic States in the USSR declared independence. Finally the Russian Federation-the single largest constituent republic of the USSR– Ukraine and Belorussia signed a document in 1991 officially dissolving the USSR. Other constituent republics of the USSR in Caucasia and Central Asia also declared independence. Thus a global power with enormous military might and with a territory which then was 1/6 of the entire planet earth disintegrated.
The triumphalist euphoria and excitement of the politicians, statesmen, philosophers and thinkers of the Western world was unthinkable. They thought that their Democracy and Capitalism has finally vanquished the USSR and Communism and that from now onwards there will be peace, progress and prosperity for all under the Sun. There will be no more military conflicts in the world because West’s pre-eminence has been established. Democracy, Capitalism and an entire Western way of life will be adopted by whole of humanity on the face of planet earth with unquestioning fidelity.
Francis Fukuyama’s magnum opus ‘The End of History and the Last Man’ (1992) was considered as the most gorgeous declaration and celebration of the victory of the West over the East. In his book Fukuyama maintains that Democracy, Capitalism and free-market economy and the Western way of life and its victory over Communism has heralded the climax and culmination of humanity’s historical economic, political and sociocultural development. Fukuyama firmly believed that under the Western democratic-capitalistic system humanity’s maximum achievable progress has reached its zenith and that no further socioeconomic, political and sociocultural and civilizational progress under any new evolving system is possible. According to Fukuyama since no further progress is possible; therefore he declared the era as end of history and those who saw the climax of this golden age—the entire humanity as a whole in a singular- as The Last Man. According to Fukuyama, nothing can be added to history books from 1992 onwards and the world would remain static eternally and infinitely.
However, many ugly developments happened after the triumph of the West over the East. Some of them are the Rwandan genocide of 1994 in which millions died. The war in Yugoslavia in 1999, the perpetual unrest and conflicts in the Middle East, the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria reflects that the Western system has not been able to establish a peaceful and egalitarian and stable system in the world and that the conflicts and killings are going on as usual. The West failed to extinguish the flames of wars and conflicts in regions where they militarily intervened. Authoritarian systems are on the rise and the vast majority of the world has not yet embraced Western ‘way of life’. Poverty, mass migrations, global warming and climate change and chances of accidental nuclear war are still manifest dangers to planet earth and to humanity.
‘The End of History and The Last Man’ from a different ominous aspect and perspective:
With the start of Russian special military operation in Ukraine, Fukuyama’s The End of History and The Last Man thesis haunts humanity on a different note. There is a likelihood of a more apocalyptic dimension to this ‘ The End of History and the Last Man’ thesis to which statesmen, thinkers and established churches of different religions have not given any serious thought.
Russia is a colossal nuclear power with the largest number of nuclear arsenal and warheads at her disposal. Russia is engaged in an existential conflict in Ukraine. The entire West that is supporting Ukraine with money and armaments against Russia has become a party in the conflict. If the conflict prolongs and Russia’s security is threatened then the dangers of a nuclear conflict cannot be ruled out. The peril of an accidental nuclear confrontation is also a possibility due to miscalculations. After all, nations have not stockpiled expensive nuclear weapons just to showcase them for decorations. In the event of a nuclear war the entire planet earth, whole of humanity and thousands of years of civilizational progress will perish in hours. From an ominous aspect this will be ‘The End of History’ and we—whosoever survives as ‘The Last Man’— will be pushed into Nuclear Winter. Who knows what would be the shape and form of the new beginning for humanity after large scale nuclear holocaust! .. Mir Wazir Khan, Chitral 27 Mar 2022