Sponsored by: Stanford University Libraries, Hoover Institution,
Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law
Even before the 2016 election campaign, political polarization and filter bubbles in social media and revelations of foreign meddling, Francis Fukuyama raised his concerns about the decline and decay of democracy in the U.S. and elsewhere. Today we live in a new environment where Americans and others get up to two-thirds of their news — real and otherwise — on Facebook, where Twitter bots magnify propaganda, and where foreigners posing as Americans even organize demonstrations and counter-demonstrations on social media. Yet even without these technological developments, from Eastern Europe to the U.S., we observe the re-emergence of demons we thought we left behind after World War II: the rise of blood and soil nationalism, the decline in rule of law and the institutions that uphold democratic governance: parliaments, courts, a free and unfettered press. We believed that through NATO, the WTO, and the EU democracy and peace would be firmly grounded. What happens when these international organizations begin to unravel? Where are we headed? What have we learned so we can avoid the disasters of the 1930s? What are the fundamental institutional reforms we need to make? How do we accommodate the new superpower China, with its alternative model of governance, not only domestically, but increasingly in the international sphere? These questions will be discussed in a conversation by Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Francis Fukuyama.
Toomas Hendrik Ilves is the former President of Estonia (2006–2016). He has previously also served as Estonian foreign minister, member of European Parliament, and the ambassador of Estonia in Washington. In 2017 Ilves joined Stanford University as a Bernard and Susan Liautaud Visiting Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford’s hub for researchers tackling some of the world’s most pressing security and international cooperation problems. He is currently Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Hoover Institution.
Francis Fukuyama is the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and the Mosbacher Director of FSI's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL). He is also a professor by courtesy in the Department of Political Science. Dr. Fukuyama has written widely on issues relating to questions concerning democratization and international political economy. His book, The End of History and the Last Man, was published by Free Press in 1992 and has appeared in over twenty foreign editions. His most recent book is Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy.