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What does the future hold? Progress or anarchy?

Show #1006 ďProgress or Anarchy?Ē
Guests: Robert Kaplan and Francis Fukuyama.
PBS Feed January 31, 2002

Funding for this program is provided by:

At Pfizer weíre spending nearly five billion dollars looking for the cures of the future. We have twelve thousand scientists and health experts who firmly believe the only thing incurable is our passion. Pfizer. Life is our lifeís work.

Additional funding is provided by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, the Bernard and Irene Schwartz Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Donner Canadian Foundation, and the Dodge Jones Foundation.

Ben Wattenberg: Hello, Iím Ben Wattenberg. During much of the 20th Century and throughout the Cold War, ideology was a key factor driving international conflicts. Global stuggle involved fascists, communists and, of course, the liberal democracies of the West.

The Cold War is now over. What comes next? The inexorable march of liberal democracy? Violent anarchy? Or a clash of old civilizations armed with modern weapons?
Joining us are:

Francis Fukuyama, professor of international political economy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and author of The End of History and the Last Man.

And Robert Kaplan, senior correspondent with The Atlantic Monthly and author of Warrior Politics: Why Leaderships Demands a Pagan Ethos.

The topic before the House: Progress or Anarchy? This week on Think Tank.

In an earlier episode of Think Tank, political scientist Samuel P. Huntington explained his theory of the clash of civilizations in the post Cold War world:

Samuel Huntington: During the 20th century and the Cold War, ideology was a key factor in international relations. Ideology has faded from the scene, and people no longer identify with ideologies. They identify with their cultures, and the broadest cultural entities are civilizations. And the argument of the book is that the most dangerous conflicts in the future will be between states and groups from different civilizations.

Ben Wattenberg: Now Samuel Huntington isnít the only one with a theory of what comes next. Frank Fukuyama has one. Robert Kaplan has one. I have one. Perhaps you do too. Gentlemen, Robert Kaplan, FrankFukuyama, thank you for joining us. Letís cut to the chase. Are we moving forward or backward? You first, Bob Kaplan.

Robert Kaplan: Weíre moving in both directions at one span because development throughout history has always led to upheaval. The French Revolution, the Mexican revolutions, many others were preceded by decades of economic progress, population growth. So itís precisely because the last two decades have seen so much development in places like India, Indonesia, Brazil, elsewhere. Weíre going to see a lot of political upheaval that will be very disruptive, I think.

Ben Wattenberg: You wrote a book called The Coming Anarchy. You stand by that phrase?

Robert Kaplan: Itís a good headline. But basically what it describes is an increasingly bifurcated world between two parts of the world, one getting richer, one getting poorer and more tumultuous. But even within poor countries, say Ghana for instance, you have a part of the north thatís getting poorer and poorer, sliding into tribal violence, even as in the capital Accra, you have people hooking up to satellite television and things like that. So this bifurcation is within countries and continents, not this north, south division.

Ben Wattenberg: Frank Fukuyama, are we going forward or backward?

Francis Fukuyama: Well, it all depends on the time frame you select. But I think thereís a long-term tendency. Even in the Islamic world which in many ways has resisted modernization and democracy and has not developed as rapidly as, letís say, East Asia. I think even there you have the grounds for greater liberalization in, you know, coming years because they now have this big showdown between the fundamentalists and the people that want a more modern form of Islam. In a country like Iran, about seventy percent of the population under the age of thirty really wants to move forward, doesnít want to live in an Islamic theocracy. So even there, I think, in the long run, you do have the basis for this continuing process of joining the modern world.

Robert Kaplan: I would point out that just as the industrial revolution formed the backdrop of the crimes that Hitler and Stalin and Mao with railway grids, factory, tanks. The post-industrial revolution, the information age, was necessary for this kind of evil, too. If you look at the terrorists on September eleventh and you look at the suicide bombers in Israel, Ben, theyíre all from the middle class, or theyíre the sons of the new middle class. Theyíre the products of development. Itís precisely because the Muslim world has urbanized so rapidly in the past few decades and changed, thereís been so much social progress that, as uneven as it has been, that it has basically provided a kind of fertile petri dish for the emergence of terrorism.

Ben Wattenberg: But we had terror long before you had modernization. I mean, as I understand it, the word Ďassassiní is an Arabic word and it goes back more than a thousand years. There seems to me to be this great search for root causes and poverty in the Third World, but Iím not buying.

Francis Fukuyama: You know, I think itís not quite right to say that weíve always had terrorism, and so whatís new? Because I think there is a mixture of terror and religion and the use of new technologies that simply didnít exist a hundred years ago. I think what was quite different about September eleventh was you had, first of all, suicide terrorists that were much more nihilistic than terrorists traditionally are. Usually they make demands. They donít want to get themselves blown up, and they target very specifically some political elite where they want to exert a point of pressure.

Robert Kaplan: Like the IRA.

Francis Fukuyama: Like the IRA or the PLO.

Ben Wattenberg: But the Kamikaze pilots wereÖ

Francis Fukuyama: But they were part of military elite. I mean I think that was different, but just the willingness to blow up faceless civilians just for the sake of killing civilians, I think is something that weíve not really seen a lot of in world history. And I think, absent the religious component, itís really hard to see a lot of people having the motivation to do something like this. And when you combine that with airliners and, you know, hundred ten story skyscrapers it makes for a level of casualties and destruction that really is quite new in the world.

Robert Kaplan: The reasons this time are different. What happens is, you follow villagers as they migrate from the hill villages of Afghanistan, from the Delta villages of Egypt, and religion is traditional, age-old subunconscious affair. But when they get into these pseudo-western cities where plumbing doesnít work, thereís no water or electricity, itís very poor, theyíve re-invented their religion in starker ideological terms to cope with all of these pressures. And the result has been a success. Crime rates are so low in the great cities of the Middle East. This is something westerners often ignore. If we had that level of poverty and that poor street lighting, our crime rates would be soaring. But itís been the intensification of religiosity that has kept the family structures together.

Ben Wattenberg: This is in the Muslim world?

Robert Kaplan: Yes, places like Egypt andÖ

Ben Wattenberg: You write very vividly and colorfully of the anarchy in sub-Saharan, Africa, in Latin America, in parts of Asia. Maybe you could give us your rif on that because itís starkly different.

Robert Kaplan: The reason why youíve had a different result in sub-Saharan Africa, is you have not had this intensification of religiosity. Because Islam, as it kind of migrated across the Sahara Desert in medieval times, kind of withered and wasnít as strong as it was in North Africa. The same with Christianity, coming from the Atlantic Ocean and the sea so that the Christianity and Islam in sub-Saharan, Africa, is of a different, more diluted stripe than you find in the greater Middle East and elsewhere. And I think it will get worse in sub-Saharan Africa. I feel very strongly that the next decade there it will be even worse, because although the world population as you know is aging and itís even slowing up the growth rate in sub-Sahara in Africa.

Ben Wattenberg: Fertility rates are falling everywhere, sub-Saharan Africa is the last place, but even in the Muslim countries itís going way, way down, and Latin America itís going way, way down.

Robert Kaplan: But for the next ten years youíre going to continue to have rising youth bulges in places like Zimbabwe, Cote dílvoire, Nigeria, Zambia.

Ben Wattenberg: But that is sort of demographic determinism. Do you buy that?

Robert Kaplan : But look at the record, Ben. I mean, look at the record. The record shows that...

Ben Wattenberg: The record shows that you have violence, anarchy and crime regardless. I mean, it may be exacerbated by certain demographic situations, but what I think broke the back of the crime wave in America was not the aging of the baby boomers, but was a very tough law enforcement. We put two million people in prison and that had a lot more to do with it than the fact that people were getting older.

Robert Kaplan: You canít do that in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ben Wattenberg I understand that. Frank, where do you come out on this?

Francis Fukuyama: No. I mean that the demographic factors by themselves donítÖI mean China, you know, India have been going through similar evolutions with very different results. I think a lot of it just depends on, you know, things like government. You know, whether you have a government, the kinds of policies that it follows, I think that has a lot more to do with order or chaos than simple demographics.

Ben Wattenberg: What do you make of the unification, or the partial unification, of Europe? Is. that going to work? Is that, Ďgood for them, good for us.í?

Francis Fukuyama: I think that thereís a subtext going in Europe where thereís a kind of cultural drifting apart between the United States and Europe that I think is very dangerous. Itís not related to the creation of the European Union or Maastricht or anything else. I think itís more just a cultural shift that probably would have taken place in any event. But in some respects I think the formation of the European Union has resulted in the Europeans wanting an identity, a European identity and often, you know, they way have tended to explain it or define it is not being American.

Robert Kaplan: Unity by itself is not automatically good. And what could emerge is s kind banal, bureaucratic despotism in Brussels that will kind of energize the elites, but the rest of the people, all these unemployed, poor people in central Spain and elsewhere, in Italy, they become increasingly alienated and you may see the rise as a kind of nasty nationalist reaction

Ben Wattenberg: Some of it wasnít even voted in. It was just sort of, I mean it was voted in by popular referenda. It was just votedÖ

Francis Fukuyama: Well, it was voted down in Denmark initially and then they had another campaign and got barely fifty percent of Danes to vote for it. And there have been otherÖand in other countries, like Germany, they have not even dared to have a referendum because they were afraid of what theyíd find out.

Ben Wattenberg: Is there a possibility--and I guess the standard rubric has been the West versus the rest--thatís sort of one way of looking at it. But is there a possibility, as you both seem to be indicating, that the West itself will fracture between America and Western Europe?

Francis Fukuyama: You know, I donít really see that happening in classical, balance of power terms, where this actually leads to military competition and the kind of usual great power rivalry. I think that it will happen more an economic level and, you know, perhaps on a cultural level. The other kind of fracture is one that, you know, youíve talked about yourself. If you look at the demographic situation in Europe, the native-born population is in Germany, Spain, Italy, all those countries there is dropping like a rock. And I think the only way that they can maintain absolute economic, you know, GDP, not even to say growth, is to bring in culturally different immigrants. And I think that in a way thatís really going to define a lot of European politics in the next generation because, you know, youíre going to have this terrific problem of assimilating people in a multi-cultural society in countries where thatís not such an easy thing to do.

Ben Wattenberg: They donít want to do it, and Japan even more so. I mean they really donít want to do it. I have decided to rename Japan, Dwindle. I mean they have this ridiculously low fertility rate and they just categorically donít want any more. They donít want to bolster the population by immigration.

Robert Kaplan: I think the Indian subcontinent adds more people to its population in a week that Europe does in a year.

Ben Wattenberg: Europe is now losing population.

Robert Kaplan: So, whatever, when you look at these statistics, what I see is a future of mass immigration, to Europe. And that means the Europeans are going to have to redefine what nationhood is. What does it mean to be French? What does it mean to be German? And if they cannot redefine it in a more flexible, dare I say American, manner, I think thereís going to be a lot of turmoil.

Ben Wattenberg: A pluralist future.

Robert Kaplan: Yes, thatís what I mean.

Robert Kaplan: I think that one of the big dramas of the next forty or fifty years in North America is going to be the integration of Mexico into the United States, because Mexico is now, well itís starting its experiment with democracy, I would put it. And what this is going to lead to is not the end of the United States, but the kind of, what I call the Polynesian mestizoization of American society, because of the extremely high rateÖ

Ben Wattenberg: The sound you heard was Pat Buchanan fainting, but go ahead (laughter).

Robert Kaplan But I think itís a good result, because of the extremely high rates of intermarriage between Mexican-Americans and other parts of the population, and Asian immigrants as well, with even rising intermarriage rates among African-Americans. And so also, if you travel through the Midwest, as I have, you see Mexican Baptist Churches. In other words, this like an example of how Mexicans are being Americanized beyond our wildest dreams. And are increasinglyÖ they may not be normal immigrants because they share a contiguous border. They havenít crossed a sea. They can retain their language and culture to a degree that other immigrants werenít able to. But to say that they wonít assimilate at all and theyíre therefore a threat, I think has no basis.

Francis Fukuyama: You. know, I think in many ways the ability to assimilate people of a culturally different background will become one of the most important institutional abilities or skills that any developed nationís going to have since everybodyís going to be facing this problem in a greater or lesser degree. And I think, you know, one of the big advantages of most English-speaking countries have had traditionally is that ability to assimilate. Weíve had problems because our elites have, in a way, lost confidence in our own culture and you know, theÖ

Ben Wattenberg: Well, immigration is never easy, but we do do it, and so does Australia and Canada, much better than other countries in the world, I mean, as near as I can figure out ..soÖ

Francis Fukuyama: But there are problems. I mean, the French have a very assimilationist policy, you know. They have a republican ideal of citizenship thatís supposedly color-blind and yet theyíve got perhaps ten percent of their population coming from North Africa or other Muslim countries. And, you know, even into the second and third generations that assimilationist model has shown a lot of signs of fraying. There is this soccer game that took place the first week of October between the French and Algerian National Teams in which you got second, third generation North Africans that were actually cheering for the Algerian team, and it led to a riot. And so there are lot of uncomfortable signs of trouble.

Ben Wattenberg: Well, thatís interesting that you mention that, because I just read Pat Buchananís book and he keeps citing again and again, and not only in that book, there was I guess an Olympic soccer game in Los Angeles between Mexico and the United States and the, because soccer is more popular in Mexico, the people even though it was in Los Angeles, most of the crowd was of Mexican-American descent and was cheering the Mexican team and, in fact, so Buchanan reports, which I would take with about a ton of salt, but booed during the Star Spangled Banner.

Robert Kaplan: Because we have so much economical transformation, weíve got all these cultural tensions, too. And so this is part of the tensions. You know, this is like a snapshot of it. But if you look at the riots, the tensions in nineteenth century America when east Europeans immigrated at the turn of the century, you could find similar snapshots and examples, Iím sure.

Ben Wattenberg: Oh, you know, doubled and redoubled. I mean that was the rise of the Klan. And it did not have, and the antagonists with immigration was not principally racial. I mean, it was against blacks. It was against Asians,. It was against Jews from eastern European. And it was, I mean, I think Pat forgets it, it was against Catholics. It was maybe principally against Catholics. And thatís pretty well disappeared in the United States. In southern California, which is where everybody always points. I mean in addition to a large Mexican-American population, you have Iranians. You have Russian Jews. You have Koreans. You have Japanese. You have Chinese. You have Kmer. You can just go on and on. I mean there are like a hundred and fifty or two hundred different nationalities there and theyíre going to end up speaking English notwithstanding a large Mexican-American population

Ben Wattenberg: Frank, let me ask you this because it gets into the critique of your work. And it was articulated by Sam Huntington that you maintained that democratic governance and market capitalism are sort of on the march, weíre moving in that direction and they are, in effect, universal values, people sort of lust after more individual liberty.

Francis Fukuyama: Well, I think you just have to look empirically around the world and see whether thatís true. I mean in my view what really starts off this freight train of modernization is science and technology and thatís progress and the kind of economic world that that produces. Nobody would deny that there are important cultural differences. I think what happens in economically-developed countries is not that culture disappears, or weíre very different from Japan or western Europe, but it tends to get put in a box where itís a matter of private affiliation or preferences and not a matter of politics. And I think in a way thatís, right now, the big divide between a certain part of the Muslim world and, you know, and the rest, I would say, that has become fairly comfortable with secular government.

Ben Wattenberg: Are the anarchic countries resistant to capitalism and elections?

Robert Kaplan: No, theyíre not. Itís just that democracy tends to work best when itís instituted last. And once you already have government institutions that work, you already have some kind of a middle class that pays taxes. Once youíve got the big issues of the society, like which ethnic group, if any, controls what borders have all been answered. Then democracy unleashes progress. Let me take Pakistan, not only because itís in the news, but because itís not as poor or as anarchic as places in sub-Saharan Africa, and neither is it.extremely developed, like Mexico. Itís a real middle-of-the-road kind of situation. You have a lot of institutions there that work and keep the crime rates down. But none of them are modern, western style. Theyíre tribal, clan institutions. Itís the headman like the Raisanis in Baluchistan who will decide divorce cases, decide, you know, who gets welfare and this and that. But the minute you try to like break down the tribal chiefs, by say holding local elections, what you wind up doing is you destroy one elite without properly building another, so that the fast forward imposition of western-style democracy in say a tribal culture, like in Baluchistan on the Afghan border, initially leads to a worse situation rather than a better one.

Ben Wattenberg: What should America do? Should we sort of purvey our values around the world in a more assertive, more aggressive way? Iím not talking about imposing, you know, a hundred different little Americas. But weíve been a little lax on that and is that that we have to encourage this liberal, democratic ideal or do we basically do just whatís necessary to protect ourselves, and that includes a lot of internationalism as we just said. How do you all stand, Frank?

Francis Fukuyama: You know, I think itís unrealistic for any American President to think that he or she can make foreign policy without reference to those democratic ideals and without the promotion of democracy being a theme. I think whatís needed is prudence because I think democracy doesnít flourish everywhere. There are places where you can, you know, as Bob said do it prematurely and actually make things worse. And so I think you need to keep that as an objective. But I think in, you know, in a tactical sense you need to exercise a lot of judgment when it seems to be overweening, when itís not going to workÖ

Robert Kaplan: Democracy doesnít have to mean putting a gun to the head of a ruler and say, Ďhold an election in six months or weíll deny you aid.í

Ben Wattenberg: Weíve never done that.

Robert Kaplan: What we do is we promote openness and human rights, minority protection, civil society in whatever form it may take, you know, according to the individual circumstances of each country.

Ben Wattenberg: But the operative is promote, not impose.

Robert Kaplan: Right, yes.

Ben Wattenberg: Okay, letís turn the clock forward thirty years. Itís now twenty thirty-two: how stands the world?

Robert Kaplan: I think the world will be in a much moreÖthe world will be better then, than it is now. Because I think the next decade or so is going to be extremely tumultuous and violent, precisely because of all the development weíve seen in the last decade or so. But by the end of the first third of the twenty-first century I think youíre going to see a new realty take hold. When you will not have world government, I donít want that ever.

Ben Wattenberg: No, I donít either.

Robert Kaplan: But you will have a kind of governance, through more and more robust international institutions, through which the United States of America can project its power through.

Ben Wattenberg: Where will we be in twenty thirty-two?

Francis Fukuyama: I have no idea. My suspicion is that the world isnít going to look a whole lot different from the way it does now except that itíll be more of, you know, thereíll probably be more democracy and more development and in some areas more chaos. But I think a lot of it depends on developments in science and technology that I think are very difficult to predict. SoÖ

Ben Wattenberg: Thatís what youíre working on now, a book on the future of Ö

Francis Fukuyama: Biotechnology, right. And that could introduce a lot of, you know, new factors into the political equation that we havenít really thought through very well at this point.

Ben Wattenberg: We did a one-on-one program with Frank, and we called it the Fukuyama 101. So youíre preparing now Fukuyama 102, and I wish you God speed on that. Thank you, Frank. Thank you, Bob Kaplan. And thank you. For Think Tank, Iím Ben Wattenberg.

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Additional funding is provided by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, the Bernard and Irene Schwartz Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Donner Canadian Foundation, and the Dodge Jones Foundation.

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