In the 2016 CBC Massey Lectures, former Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General and international relations specialist Jennifer Welsh delivers a timely, intelligent, and fascinating analysis of twenty-first-century geopolitics.
In 1989, as the Berlin Wall crumbled and the Cold War dissipated, the American political commentator Francis Fukuyama wrote a famous essay, entitled “The End of History,” which argued that the demise of confrontation between Communism and capitalism, and the expansion of Western liberal democracy, signalled the endpoint of humanity’s sociocultural and political evolution, and the path toward a more peaceful world. But a quarter of a century after Fukuyama’s bold prediction, history has returned: arbitrary executions, attempts to annihilate ethnic and religious minorities, the starvation of besieged populations, invasion and annexation of territory, and the mass movement of refugees and displaced persons. It has also witnessed cracks and cleavages within Western liberal democracies as a result of deepening economic inequality.
The Return of History argues that our own liberal democratic society was not inevitable, but that we must all, as individual citizens, take a more active role in its preservation and growth.