Why did Francis Fukuyama Shift His Point of View?

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Translated by: OX Translation Team – boylatin1L
Written by: Mr. 3rights (DC)

Before discussing Francis Yoshihiro Fukuyama, let’s talk about Samuel Huntington. Samuel Huntington (1923-2008) got his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Government, Harvard University, and later was tenured there.  In 1993, Huntington published his famous article titled “Clash of Civilizations” on Foreign Affairs.  The article was later expanded to book length and published in 1996 as The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order.  Huntington argued in this book that “the clash of civilizations will be the dominant model for future conflicts”.  From the perspective of safeguarding individual rights and restricting government power, “civilization” in Huntington’s book should really be “culture”.  Also, Huntington described the Chinese culture as a Confucian civilization, which was misleading and represented a severe misjudgment.

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In this world, a clash could occur between different cultures (i.e., the “clash of civilizations” in Huntington’s words), or more importantly between civilization and barbarism.  A clash of cultures can be resolved peacefully through accommodation, while a conflict between civilization and barbarism only leads to war, such as 9/11 and the unrestricted war against the United States by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  Huntington’s opinion confuses and camouflages the dichotomy between civilization and barbarism with a clash of cultures, and effectively serves as a cover for barbarism.

Therefore, his views are highly admired by the CCP and become very popular in academia in China. As an amateur political science enthusiast, I have read his books and was once influenced heavily by his opinion. Coincidentally, Samuel Huntington and Henry Kissinger were the same age, both went to Harvard classmates in the same year.  Harvard is such a sophisticated place, as its prominent historians of China, from John King Fairbank to Henry Kissinger, Samuel Huntington, and Ezra Vogel, all advocated that China was a Confucian civilization and ignored completely Shang Yang’s Five Ways of Manipulating the ordinary people.  By doing so, John King Fairbank misled the Truman administration into abandoning its support for Chiang Kai-shek after World War II, leaving mainland China to the Chinese Communist Party; and the latter three misled successive U.S. Governments after WWII into the policy of appeasement, causing the CCP, a tumor on human society, to keep growing and eventually spread to the world. I am not sure if all these historians were really confused or pretended to be so.

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Dr. Francis Fukuyama, a Japanese American, got his Ph.D. degree under the guidance of Samuel Huntington.  In his 1989 article titled “The End of History”, he expressed the theory that the progress of human history and the ideological struggle were coming to an end, and that liberal democracy and capitalism would prevail, the capitalist would win, and liberal democracy would become the only and the final form of government in all countries.

Such opinion earned him a reputation after a series of events occurred in communism, including the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Communist China and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Revolutions of 1989, and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.  In 1992, Fukuyama published his famous book titled TheEnd of History and the Last Man, which attracted much attention and debate for his theory of The End of History. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University.

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In the last decade, however, his views have undergone a major shift. In 2014, he published the book titled Political Order and Political Decay.  In this book, he revised his theory of The End of History by adding one pillar of the executive capability to exercise power in modern society.  The other two pillars included the rule of law and accountability mechanisms such as democracy and parliaments. He believed that the CCP Government had a strong governance capacity, which had led to the rapid development of the Chinese economy. The United States and the western countries were decaying gradually because their governments lack the ability to rule effectively.

China Misunderstood, a collection of 41 interviews with Western political figures and think tanks by the notorious CCP media Global Times was published in January 2015.  In this book, Fukuyama argues that the experience of Communist China’s rise in the last 20 years has corrected some of his perceptions as he hadn’t expected China’s economic growth “to have such a broad impact.”

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On Nov 4, 2015, he gave a lecture at Tsinghua University in China with the title “The Challenge of Political Reform in China and the United States”.  He said that historically China had been committed to cultivating better officials because of the influence of Confucian culture. However, the rule of law in the modern sense had been lacking in China.  He believed that implementing the rule of law was more fundamental than pursuing democracy in the current stage of China’s political reform.  On the contrary, in the United States, the law was too cumbersome and restrictive, resulting in ineffective governing, passive State response to conflicts, and the USA had become a breeding ground for interest groups, the American political system was in danger of collapsing. He changed his original view and gradually recognized the so-called rise of the socialist Chinese Communist Party and discredited capitalism in the United States. His view that “the rule of law in China is more fundamental than democracy” was a defense and advocate for the totalitarian dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party.

There might be a variety of reasons why he changed his theory, but one thing I noted was that in April of 2015, Fukuyama attended a symposium on reform advice organized by the CCP State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs in Beijing, and Fukuyama had extensive exchanges with Chinese scholars.  On April 23rd, Wang Qishan, the Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the second man of the CCP, talked with him for one and a half hours.  We could see from the publicized meeting minutes that it was Wang who lectured throughout the meeting.

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Wang talked about the history, culture, and religion as well as the governance ability of the CCP. In short, Wang Qishan emphasized that the judiciary must be under the leadership of the CCP. Wang also said that the CCP attached great importance to the ways of Confucius and Mencius and Lao Tzu’s philosophy, Tao Te Ching, and hoped that Fukuyama would call the whole world to study these philosophies together.

On the whole, Wang, who was then at his peak in the Chinese Communist Party, wanted to show the world through Fukuyama that he was a cultural CCP leader with an international perspective. In addition, he wanted to deceive the world into believing that the CCP followed Confucian and Taoist culture, possessed benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, fidelity etc., practiced middle course, and engaged the world with harmony, so he could continue to numb the world.

On November 3rd of the same year, the day before Fukuyama gave his speech at Tsinghua University, Xi Jinping, the leader of the CCP, talked with Fukuyama alone. The content of the meeting was not made public. One day before their meeting, Xi Jinping had just met with all members of the high-level Sino-US think tank dialogue, chaired by Henry Kissinger, and Fukuyama was one of them.  The next day only Fukuyama was sent to see Xi Jinping, and the etiquette he received had surpassed those provided to his senior Kissinger.  This was highly unusual.

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It reminds me of what Miles Guo had disclosed: in September 2017 through a Goldman Sachs arrangement, Wang Qishan secretly met with Steve Bannon, a populist advocate who had just left the White House. Again, the meeting lasted for an hour and a half, and again, Wang marketed himself as a cultural leader with an international perspective. According to Miles Guo’s disclosure, Wang advised Bannon to stop promoting populism, and told Bannon that the CCP would be more than happy to fund him with $1 billion or more if he wanted to do research.

From this incident, we can see that the CCP plans and aims to buy influential oversea scholars who had not been conducive to it. We don’t know whether Wang offered to buy Fukuyama during the meeting. However, Mr. Tatsuhito Tokuchi, who arranged and accompanied Fukuyama to the meeting, was the Chairman of China’s largest securities company CITIC Securities.  This provoked speculation.

After Trump won the election on November 11th, 2016, Fukuyama published in Financial Times an article titled “U.S. against the world? Trump’s America and the new global order”.  He clearly stated that the entire human world had entered “populist nationalism.”  On April 14th, 2017, Fukuyama publicly stated that “direct democracy, as one of the forms of government, is completely inoperable,” and concluded that (the CCP’s) representative politics was superior to direct democracy.  Therefore, the Sino-Russian model, especially the Chinese model, was more attractive.

In April 2020, he expressed his views on the CCP virus. He said that the success of the CCP’s strategy in responding to the epidemic resulted from the long history of the Confucian centralized totalitarianism, and that other countries could not replicate it. Countries with an intense populist atmosphere like the United States were worse at dealing with the epidemic.  Their presidents were generally arrogant and didn’t respect science. He asked people not to trust a president like Trump who was a narcissist and an ignorant clown.  If Trump got re-elected, that would cause bigger and deeper problems.

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Fukuyama’s meeting with Wang Qishan and Xi Jinping could have already generated an impact as their behavior is aligned.  Looking back, his theory of “The end of History” was just a coincidence of ignorance, as he is naive about the Chinese Communist Party. Fukuyama’s change of opinion stemmed from utilitarianism rather than from the normal cognition of a scholar.

By the way, Ivy League universities in big cities such as Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, and Yale have been infiltrated so heavily by the CCP that they have become the left-wing stronghold, where left-leaning ideas proliferate and leftists emerge one after another.  Those universities do not fit Chinese undergraduates well, as those young adults are getting their conceptions of the world.  Instead, conservative universities in small-town settings such as Dartmouth College and the University of Notre Dame are much better options.  Anyways, don’t take my thoughts as sour grapes.

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Reference: 
https://gnews.org/zh-hans/611327/

Edited and Proofread by: Chloe (DC)
Posted by: Peter Chen

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