Centuries of superiority and global influence appeared to reach a new summit with the collapse of the Soviet Union, as the countries, values and civilization of the West appeared to have won the dark, difficult battle with Communism.
That victory seemed especially sweet after the turn of China toward capitalism, which many thought presaged a slow evolution to middle-class demands for individual rights and transparent justice — toward a form of democracy. But is the embrace of Western values inevitable? Are Western values, essentially Judeo-Christian ones, truly universal?
The history of the last decade is a bracing antidote to such easy thinking. The rise of authoritarian capitalism has been a blow to assumptions, made popular by Francis Fukuyama, that liberal democracy has proved to be the most reliable and lasting political system.
With the collapse of Communism, “what we may be witnessing,” Mr. Fukuyama wrote hopefully in 1989, “is the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” (Read more from “Are Western Values Losing Their Sway?” HERE)