I read this article in Foreign Affairs, Volume 93, Number 3. Walter Mead argues that while history (as understood in the Hegelian sense) may have run its course in the west, it hasn’t died yet in the rest of the world. His conclusion sums it up really well:
The realities of personal and political life in post-historical societies are very different from those in such countries as China, Iran, and Russia, where the sun of history still shines. It is not just that those different societies bring different personalities and values to the fore; it is also that their institutions work differently and their publics are shaped by different ideas.
Societies filled with Nietzsche’s last men (and women) characteristically misunderstand and underestimate their supposedly primitive opponents in supposedly backward societies - a blind spot that could, at least temporarily, offset their countries’ other advantages.
The tide of history may be flowing inexorably in the direction of liberal capitalist democracy, and the sun of history may indeed be sinking behind the hills. But even as the shadows lengthen and the first of the stars appear, such figures as Putin still stride the world stage. They will not go gentle into that good night, and they will rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Admittedly it’s a bit much to rip off Dylan Thomas, but it’s still inspirational. Mead’s not the first to posit this idea of ‘history in the 21st Century,’ Alex Callinicos started writing about it only two years after Fukuyama. It’s a timely reminder that intent still plays a part in grand strategy, it’s not all about capabilities and relative strength.
Also, last night I finished reading the ‘Deadpool vs. S.H.I.E.L.D’ story arc with issue 23. The story flops around all over the place, but it’s so cathartic to see Deadpool finally exact bloody explosive vengeance on Agent Gorman. It hits a spot where the violence is justified precisely because it’s over-exaggerated, it wouldn’t have worked with a more serious story.
+ I really apprciated the subtle Watchmen reference at the very end.