Belarus may become a big geopolitical issue in the next few years, Professor Francis Fukuyama told Belsat. The world-known political scientist who announced ‘the end of history’ 30 years ago has granted an interview to Alina Koushyk, a host of the Belsat TV news show World and Us (Prasviet).
What do you think about Belarus, a country gripped between East and West?
Well, I think it is going to become a big geopolitical issue in the next few years, because the possibility of a union between Belarus and Russia has been in the air and there is a lot of incentive on the Russian side to make that happen. So, I think it is a country that is very worth following for that reason.
Do you think it is possible to make post-Soviet countries democratic? Is going to democracy still the right direction?
I think that in a way, it is really the only choice that countries have if they want to be successful in the long run. I think that Ukraine is struggling in that direction. You know, the major issue for many countries in the post-Soviet space is really the issue of corruption. The only way that you could fully deal with that is to have a much more open political system in which you have media that can expose corruption, in which you have some kind of accountability for officials. Ukraine is not there yet, but it at least has a chance of getting there. I think these closed political systems like Belarus and Russia are a way behind in that struggle.
Is it possible to do it without without firing a single shot?
I think it is always possible, As countries have better educated populations, open up the possibilities of doing things non-violently, it becomes real.
Thirty years ago you announced the end of history. What can you now say about the modern world?What can we do to prevent the global conflict?
The end of history was really an idea taken out of Marxism, because the Marxists said the end of history would be Communism. And what I said was that it did not look like we would get there, that we would stop at the stage before that which was what the Marxists called ‘bourgeous democracy’. I still think that is really the furthest development point any kind of of modern political system and society. But clearly, we are in a different period now: there is a lot of threats to democracy globally; you have Russia and China that pushing back against it. And you also have the rise of populism within established democracies like the United States and Britain. And so, I think we are in a very tense period where the fate of democracy is really up to voters, and leaders in many parts of the world.
What should we do to avoid this conflict?
I think people need to pay attention and participate politically. Obviously, if you live in an authorian country, it is pretty hard to do that, but there are still ways of mobilizing and pushing back against this kind of authoritarian government.
Do you think this fear is one of the most important emotions in the political world?
It is a combination of things. Fear is an important emotion; anger is another one that I think motivates people to, for example, vote for populist leaders, because they feel resentful of the way they have been treated. So, unfortunately, politics is always more based on emotions than on reason.