Perseus on Francis Fukuyama and whether Islamism will derail Indonesia's new democracy.
In a recent article, writing in reaction to Russia's recent "clobbering" of Georgia, the noted American political theorist Francis Fukuyama, best known for his work The End of History, tells us smh that
US dominance is slipping.
Russian and Chinese model of authoritarianism and modernisation offers a clear challenge to liberal democracy.
Even so Fukuyama assures us that liberal democracy will still prevail because "democracy and capitalism have no real competitors." Says Fukuyama:
"Democracy's only competitor in the realm of ideas is radical Islamism but the appeal of this kind of medieval Islamism is limited.
Despite recent authoritarian advances:
liberal democracy remains the strongest, most broadly appealing idea out there.
and even autocrats pay lip service to democratic rituals and grovel before capitalism.
Yet he concludes that autocratic regimes like Russia and China have nothing to offer beyond nationalism. They lack the brawn, cohesion and ideas required to dominate the global system and they don't dream of overthrowing the globalized economy.
It seems to me that Fukuyama is broadly correct. Liberal democracy for all its imperfections remains the most attractive show in town. But will Indonesia persist with its nascent democracy or will it take the path of sharia, dismantle Pancasila and embark on a more Islamist path? And what effect would this have on Indonesia's economic development and political stability?