The Return of History
Robert Kagan has an interesting post called "History's Back" on the Weekly Standard Review website.
Shortly after the Berlin wall came down, we witnessed in quick succession the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the consequent and end of a large number of communist dictatorships while at the same time a number of authoritarian dictatorships and racist oligarchies were also goving way to emerging democracies.
Francis Fukuyama famously suggested that democracy had won and the kind of history which tells of revolutions and wars was coming to and end: as he put it, "At the end of history, there are no serious ideological competitors left to liberal democracy."
For a brief period there appeared to be good grounds for this optimistic view: sadly it is clear that democracy is a long way from being sufficiently established in countries like Russia to make it reasonable to hope that wars and great power conflict are a think of the past - and that's even without the potential problems caused by religious conflict.
Kagan asks whether the Russian invasion of Georgia - and although the Georgians are not by any means perfect that is clearly what happened - will "finally end the dreamy complacency that took hold of the world's democracies after the close of the Cold War."
It's an interesting article which you can read at
I don't share all Kagan's neocon views, but there is little reasonable doubt that he is right in at least two of the things he says, e.g.
1) history is back, and
2) "The future is not determined. It is up for grabs." ...
"Of course there is strength in the liberal democratic idea and in the free market. But progress toward these ideals has never been inevitable. It is contingent on events and the actions of nations and peoples: battles won or lost, social movements successful or crushed, economic practices implemented or discarded."