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Francis Fukuyama: ISIS Will Not Establish Viable State

In a recent interview with RFERL, TAI Chairman Francis Fukuyama explained that neither Russia nor ISIS have established forms of social organization that can compete with liberal democracy in the long run. Putin’s regime, he said, has been sustained by a commodity boom that is on the wane, and ISIS is unlikely to be able to extend its appeal beyond a narrow swath of intensely alienated people. Watch his comments on ISIS in the clip below (and go to the original interview to see his comments on Putinism):

As we’ve written before, “the ideology that undergirds ISIS isn’t just bad in the sense of evil. It is bad in the sense that it does not provide a framework that can organize the life and work of a community on a productive and enduring basis.” We can’t sit idly by while ISIS slaughters people by the thousands—indeed, we should be more aggressive about confronting and defeating it—but we should also not fall into the trap of believing that it represents a credible civilizational alternative to the Western way of life.

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  • Nathaniel Greene

    Francis Fukuyama hasn’t been right about anything yet. There’s a first time for everything, but not yet.

  • Andrew Allison

    Liberal democracy isn’t doing too well either these days.

  • Pete

    “ISIS Will Not Establish Viable State”

    No kidding.

  • GS

    Ah, the end of history Fukuyama – surely the very last person on the planet to ask about such matters. He really needs to read – and, which is harder, to understand – Samuel Huntington. Isis is the islam of those who take their islam sufficiently seriously. And therefore, in whatever form [and the forms change] it would take, it is as viable as islam. The same with russia – it likewise exists in its eigenstate, which for it is “patrimonial”, as Max Weber and Richard Pipes described it. If there is a shock to the system, it dissipates the energy of that shock and reverts to its ground state.

  • Matt B

    Perhaps ISIS’s ideology will prevent it from establishing a viable state. Perhaps ISIS is not, strictly speaking, an existential threat to the US. In the nuclear age neither of those assertions really matters.

    Francis Fukayama is making an academic argument that has very little to do with strategy or foreign policy.

  • Fat_Man

    The same could have been said of the Bolsheviks in 1917. But it took 73 years and 100 million deaths before the prophecy came true.

  • qet

    I suppose it comes down to what you mean by “compete with.” Frankly (pun intended), I’m not sure I know. I’m also not sure how significant an abstract socio-economic superiority is since life is actually lived by all of us in the here and now. So-called liberal democracy, in actual state-incarnated forms, proved superior both to fascist states and communist states, but not before some 100 million lives were lost and hundreds of millions of others made wretched during the competition.

    Also, given the spiritual requirements for maintaining the socio-economic superiority of “the Western way of life,” it is not inappropriate to wonder whether its victory in this competition has been a Pyrrhic one.

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