History: the end of Fukuyama
by Gwydion M. Williams
If the enemy squeals, hit them again in exactly the same spot. That applies to boxing, and also to political debate. It applies for a contest that must be won without regard for being ‘sporting’; sport was more enjoyable when the game counted for more than winning, but that is a rule for games and some matters are deadly serious.
Given the number of avoidable deaths caused by the NeoCons since the fall of the Soviet Union, to be sporting when opposing them would be ludicrous. Hit the blighters wherever you can. Especially draw attention the bizarre sight of a bunch of Jews and other outsiders cozying up to the main strongholds of WASP bigotry. The Christian Right is absurd enough, Oliver Cromwell in bed with the Whore of Babylon, rival religious extremists teaming up because secular society is now too strong for them. But though most US Jews support the Democrats, most republican ideology comes from a small number of Jews who began as Trotskyists and are now NeoCons.
I’d got hold of Fukuyama’s After The Neocons, but found it a shallow ignorant work. He is interesting—and presumably accurate—about the details of NeoCon origins. Apart from that, the most significant point of interest is his endorsement of President Woodrow Wilson as the model peacemaker, contrasting to the mess in Iraq.
Woodrow Wilson bears more personal responsibility than any other man for the sorrows and deaths of the 1930s and 1940s. He’d been re-elected in 1916 on the understanding that he would stay out of the war in Europe. His willingness to join in as a foe of Germany prevented a sensible peace that might have happened in 1917, after the February Revolution overthrew the Tsar. The Bolshevik Revolution happened because the new middle-class Russian Republic insisted on carrying on with the war. Because Germany agreed an armistice on the basis of Wilson’s stated principles and was then treated as a criminal nation, the new Weimar Republic never had much strength. Wilson was also indirectly responsible for maybe 50 million deaths from the so-called Spanish Flu of 1918; it is generally reckoned to have begun with US recruits and to have incubated in the squalor of the trenches.
Why Fukuyama wants to praise this fool is never made clear. ‘Wilsonian’ sounds good, never mind that it was the least effective peacemaking in recorded history. His knowledge is haphazard – he believes the dubious notion that Germany wanted a preventative war against Russia before Russia got to strong (page 86). Did Germany arrange for Serbs to assassinate the Austrian Archduke in Sarajevo? Did Germans decide that Russia should threaten Austria-Hungary with war when Austria-Hungary wanted to punish Serbia. Had it been Germany’s wish that France and Russia should get into an odd alliance that had no logic except common hostility to Germany.
Germany had the ideal moment for an anti-Tsarist war in 1905-6, after Russia lost to Japan and faced revolution at home. At this time Britain was bitterly hostile to Russia and would certainly not have joined in against Germany, as happened in 1914. It’s a great pity they missed the moment, but Germany’s outlook does seem to have been genuinely defensive, Russia had done nothing against them and [they did not want war].
Fukuyama even manages to accuse Hitler of something he probably didn’t do—planning a war against Poland. The common view among historians is that he wanted Poland as an ally against the Soviet Union. He was willing to accept existing borders, wanting just an extra-territorial road to link East Prussia with the rest of Germany, and acceptance as German of the ‘Free City’ of Danzig—now Gdansk, but 90% ethnic-German at the time. Bizarrely, no one did anything about all of the acts Hitler should have been stopped from doing. They chose an issue where his position was quite reasonable, but the Poles refused to give up what they had won at Versailles.
Versailles also saw a flat refusal of a Japanese request for the official endorsement of racial equality. They wanted it agreed that the Yellow Race and White Race were in principle equals, and were of course refused, because a majority of Europeans and US citizens were dedicated believers in White Superiority.
Woodrow Wilson was worse than most. His family came from Virginia, his father had served as a chaplain in the Confederate Army. Woodrow Wilson remained his alignment, even though much of his career was made north of the Mason-Dixon Line. The silent-era film Birth Of A Nation drew heavily on his works, remarks like “The white men were roused by a mere instinct of self-preservation… until at last there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country.” (IMDb entry for the film.)
According to the Wikipedia, Wilson disliked the film itself, which is indeed a pack of lies on everything except the purely military details of the US Civil War. But he was “personal friend of Thomas Dixon, author of the novel The Clansman upon which the film is based.”
Professor Fukuyama should have learned the basics of history before declaring it ended. The USA could have established a few decades of hegemony after the Soviet collapse, but only if they had copied the system that worked well after 1945, state-led help and open-handed generosity to anyone willing to be on their side.
President Franklin Roosevelt was everything that Woodrow Wilson was not. The peace made in 1945 lasted right through to 1989. The Soviet collapse happened because Roosevelt ignored doctrinaire capitalism when it got in the way of national prosperity. The New Right unpicked enough of the Roosevelt system to produce a sharp economic downturn in 1987, but then switched back to classic spend-and-tax when market forces were pulling the economy towards another Great Depression.
First published in Labour & Trade Union Review, 2006.