Robert Kagan’s “End of Dreams, Return of History”2009In his seminal paper, End of Dreams, Return of History (2007), Robert Kagan, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund scathingly criticizes the all-confidant attitude of western democracies after end of the Soviet Union. Like what Francis Fukuyama said in his book, The End of History and the Last Man (“What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such… the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government. ", Fukuyama, first published, 1992), Kagan, in this article, brilliantly contended on how the world maliciously picked up its own ways.
The cold war could be over as he says in “End of Dreams, Return of History” But that does not mean, he assertively declares that to consider it as “the end of history” — needs serious reflections (E. Singer, 2007). “The world has become normal again, ” Kagan begins his article, a comprehensive essay, this way.
Later, he contends manifestly: “Autocracy is making a comeback… the two-centuries-old struggle between political liberalism and autocracy has reemerged as a third defining characteristic of the present era” (as cited in Kagan, 2007). The Cold War, Kagan finds, has made us forget that the more lasting ideological war “has not been between capitalism and communism since the Enlightenment” (cited from Kagan, 2008) but between laissez-faire and autocracy, an war separating the United States from Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a factor breaking Europe itself through the last two centuries.
That the end of communism would bring an end to all human disagreements appeared more likely in the last decade of 20th century. It , then appeared that both Russia and China were heading for political and economic changes, unifying all the world super powers for a new era in human progress—mislaid optimism, as both China and Russia, both propped up autocracy, Kagan regrettably concludes. “Growing national wealth and autocracy have proven compatible, after all”, Kagan notes, and says further, “Autocrats learn and adjust.
The autocracies of Russia and China have figured out how to permit open economic activity while suppressing political activity. They have seen that people making money will keep their noses out of politics, especially if they know their noses will be cut off” (cited from E. Singer, 2008). Kagan thinks that 20 years after the end of the Cold War, there is a new split on the world. Majority of the realist theories presume that other powers must certainly unite together poising against the superpower. Some hoped the in the post-Cold War period economic factors find more concerns than politics and thought about a multicultural world would reign with financial lords of Europe, India, Japan, and China in race with the United States.
Following the Iraq War and there has been a general belief that American world supremacy is on the wane. The effect of the rise of these two autocratic powers will increase autocracy in some parts of the world, not because Russia and China are stand for autocracy or want to start a worldwide autocratic revolution. It is not the Cold War Brought back.
Rather, it is more like the return of the nineteenth century, when the despotic rulers of Russia and Austria supported fellow autocracies — in France, for instance — and used force to suppress liberal movements in Germany, Italy, Poland, and Spain. China and Russia may not go to that extreme. But some countries, like Ukraine, has already been a arena between forces aided by the liberal West and that supported by Russia, autocracies obviously providing help to those who are snowed under by the United States and other liberal nations which by its own nature bolstering autocracy in the world as autocrats know they can again find friends and patrons, now (Kagan, 2007).