Grand Strategy Podcast: The Challenges of Nation-Building, with Francis Fukuyama


Our newest episode in the special series of podcasts from the Hoover Institution’s Working Group on Foreign Policy and Grand Strategy features Francis Fukuyama on the challenges of nation-building. What does history teach us about the viability of such projects? Where has the U.S. erred in its past efforts? And what alternatives should it explore in the future? We discuss these topics and more in the conversation below:

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  1. Israel P. Inactive
    Israel P.

    Isn’t this the guy who thought history had eneded twenty-plus years ago? Was anyone ever more wrong?

    Why is he an expert today?

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  2. user_30416 Member

    Kind of a bloodless fellow this guy. I take his points, but as he noted at the end, the president is trying to follow his preference of a policy of containment of ISIS, yet even he is having to engage militarily because of the very real political ramifications of mass killings and abductions into slavery and beheadings, etc. Can Fukuyama really envision a world in which barbarism writ large does not scare the bejeezus out of folks thousands of miles away from it (especially when accompanied by the constant threat of “ready or not, here we come”)? If these aren’t spillover effects that must be dealt with, I don’t what are. The only way an American administration can do what he’s suggesting (and I’m willing to consider that doing so might, in the long term, work out to the betterment of all involved) is to assert quite pointedly that we just can’t give a damn about cancerous barbarism because giving a damn inevitably means doing something stupid (as if doing virtually nothing never does). … Great podcasts, Troy!

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  3. Ricochet Contributor

    Leslie Watkins: Kind of a bloodless fellow this guy.

    Yeah, that’s his main attraction, actually. He’s not promising you that some future president or what have you is going to do much better than the past few have done. Whether it’s the fact that Americans change presidents & parties too frequently or that they elect people who know little or nothing about war & the tyrannies of this world, the result is that Commanders-in-chief are not up to the challenge.

    The alternative is to try to make do with the capabilities you do have. Mr. Obama could still take containment more seriously & help whatever side in the Muslim wars seems to him least reprehensible, without making that help decisive for the issue, & condition American neutrality on there being no terrifying slaughters.

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