فوکویاما روز شنبه در آکسفورد سخنرانی داشت. در فستیوال ادبی آکسفورد. تلفن زدم جا رزرو کنم همه جاها گرفته شده بود. گفتند می توانم بروم همانجا و شاید جایی باشد که بگیرم. لندن بود می رفتم. آکسفورد کمی برای شنبه تنبلی دور بود! من هیچوقت به تز پایان تاریخ او علاقه ای نداشته ام. اما مواضع اخیر او برای من هم او را شخصیت جالبی کرده است. هفته پیش در آستانه انتشار کتاب تازه اش: «پس از نئوکان ها» هفته نامه ساندی تایمز – نسخه یکشنبه های تایمز- مصاحبه ای خواندنی با او منتشر کرد. نیمی از آن را اینجا می آوردم. ولی خواندن همه اش را توصیه می کنم: 

I was a neocon. I was wrong
Sarah Baxter meets Francis Fukuyama
The Sunday Times

“I’m an apostate,” Fukuyama tells me starkly.

Fukuyama has openly split with the neoconservatives because he thinks the war in Iraq is wrong in theory and practice and they don’t, despite all the reverses.

“Most of them are lying low because they realise what they advocated hasn’t worked out at all and they’re just hoping something will turn up,” he says.

In person Fukuyama is so soft-spoken that I sometimes have trouble hearing him, but in print his views are loud and clear. In his new book After the Neocons, published next week, he writes forcefully: “I have concluded that neoconservatism, both as a symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something I can no longer support.”

It was in Britain a couple of years ago that some of Fukuyama’s scepticism about the neocon project took shape.

“I remember being struck by the real unhappiness with the United States. One of the mistakes Americans have made is to misjudge that feeling. It’s easy to discount it as the usual anti-Americanism, but I was hearing it from people who were friends of America.”

I tell Fukuyama that The End of History probably had quite an influence on Tony Blair, who will have inhaled it with the zeitgeist even if he never actually read it.

There are few more shining believers than our prime minister in the universal application of liberal democracy, I suggest. And while the horrors of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s led many commentators to sneer, “What end of history?”, under Blair democracy ultimately reached Belgrade — courtesy of the American and British military.

That, however, was an unambiguously Good War. The Iraq war, in Fukuyama’s view, is a bad one, and he does not care for my suggestion that he may have had an indirect hand in Britain’s intervention.

Blair, he believes, has become an “honorary neoconservative” who has deluded himself into thinking that democracy can be imposed at the speed of one’s choosing at the point of a gun. That is not at all what he meant by the end of history, which took a more nuanced view of the many bumps on the road to man’s final destination.

“With Blair, I find it hard to tell what he really believes as opposed to what he has calculated is in his interest,” Fukuyama says. “He obviously wanted to preserve the special relationship with the United States and then talked himself into thinking the war was historically necessary.

“Something similar happened to Bush. When he stood for president, he talked about having a ‘humble’ foreign policy and attacked nation-building, and since then has talked himself into believing in it.”

Fukuyama feels personally let down by the turn of events. “I voted for Bush in 2000 precisely because I thought that if he got elected a lot of my friends would be running foreign policy and they would do a lot better than the Clintonites.

“That’s why this whole thing has been such a terrible disappointment. It has turned out exactly the opposite.”

Fukuyama is against the whole concept of a pre-emptive war — “As Bismarck said, it’s like ‘committing suicide for fear of death’” — but he has also been shaken by its execution. It is tough when you blame your own friends for the debacle.

“I’m not just shocked, I’m completely appalled by the sheer level of incompetence. If you are going to be a ‘benevolent hegemon’ (a reference to America’s status as the sole superpower), you had better be good at it.”

Fukuyama read classics at Cornell University, where he heard the legendary Allan Bloom, a disciple of the philosopher Leo Strauss, lecture on Plato’s Republic. Many of the neocons share the same Straussian intellectual roots, including Wolfowitz, who came to know Fukuyama at Cornell and gave him a job as his intern in the early years of the Reagan administration.

The two men haven’t spoken lately. “I suspect he may be somewhat annoyed,” Fukuyama says.

Fukuyama was also a postgraduate at Harvard, where he became friends with William Kristol — who went on to become the driving force behind the Project for the New American Century and is editor of the influential neoconservative magazine The Weekly Standard (owned by News Corporation, which also owns The Sunday Times). Fukuyama ended up inheriting Kristol’s flat at university. “Good apartments were hard to come by,” he says.

Fukuyama had other direct channels into the neocons. Another of his mentors was the cold warrior Albert Wohlstetter at the Rand Corporation, who counted Wolfowitz, the former Pentagon adviser Richard Perle, and Zalmay Khalilzad, the ambassador to Iraq, among his protégés.

Fukuyama takes a far less alarmist view of the power of jihadists and tends to regard the September 11 attacks as a particularly lucky strike. “It’s possible that terrorists may get a nuclear weapon,” he says doubtfully, “but that one scenario has driven a great deal of fear.” He would like to see more multi-multilateralism, as he calls it, to supplement the work of the United Nations in defusing international tension.

Somewhat surprisingly, he describes himself as a Marxist, “in the sense that I believe in a general process of economic and social modernisation”. You can only steer things and speed things up at the margins of society, he tells me.

For somebody with such a deterministic view of history, isn’t he writing off the chances of success in Iraq too soon? Especially since he still believes humans are made for liberal democracy.

“It’s way too premature to predict how it will play out,” he admits. “It’s not clear the final judgment will be negative. It is entirely possible that Iraq will become a democracy, but the causality will be extremely muddled.”

In other words, if things turn out well in Iraq, history may well record that it is despite — rather than because of — the best efforts of Bush and Blair. That seems harsh to me, but Fukuyama is implacable. Whether they win or lose history’s gamble, he believes the champions of the war should be blamed for starting it.

After the Neocons by Francis Fukuyama published by Profile. It was reviewed in Books by Simon Jenkins this week.

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