end of history?

(drawing by Nicola Jennings)

On February 10, 2004, the columnist Charles Krauthammer gave the annual Irving Kristol address at the American Enterprise Institute, in Washington. The lecture was called “Democratic Realism: An American Foreign Policy for a Unipolar World.” It defended the Bush Administration’s policies of unilateralism and preëmption, and proposed that their application be defined by means of a doctrine: “We will support democracy everywhere, but we will commit blood and treasure only in places where there is a strategic necessity—meaning, places central to the larger war against the existential enemy, the enemy that poses a global mortal threat to freedom.” The new “existential enemy,” Krauthammer said, is “Arab-Islamic totalitarianism,” and he compared the war that the United States should fight against this entity to the war against Fascist Germany and Japan—a war committed to the eradication of a deadly and evil culture.

Francis Fukuyama was in the audience, and he could not believe the approval with which Krauthammer’s speech was greeted. It seemed to Fukuyama that by the winter of 2004 the policies of unilateralism and preëmption might have been ripe for some reconsideration—they clearly had not performed well in Iraq—but, all around him, people were applauding enthusiastically.

more from Louis Menand at The New Yorker here.