OSLO KONSERTHUS (Nettavisen): Political scientist, philosopher and liberal Francis Fukuyama (70) is one of the most famous living thinkers.
Fukuyama’s world famous article «
Netavisen meets Fukuyama at the Freedom Forum in Oslo this week. The political scientist willingly offers his well-established thoughts on Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, the war in Ukraine, artificial intelligence, social media, youth depression, and
What is your deepest fear for the future?
– Given the events of the past six months, my immediate and deepest concern is whether or not this Ukrainian offensive will succeed. The things I worry about, such as the future of democracy in the region, depend on Russia’s success or failure. This is an ongoing thing, Fukuyama tells Nettavisen, and I don’t know what the outcome will be.
This car is covered with women’s hair: – The mullah shudders
– If you intend to speculate, what do you think the outcome will be?
Ukraine has a reasonable chance. The success would be the liberation of the two southern provinces occupied by Russia, and the cutting of the land bridge between Russia and Crimea. If that happens, I think we could see the basis for a more permanent truce that could bring an end to the war, he says.
– If they don’t, and we get a stalemate going on, I think it will be bad for Ukraine. After that, Russia managed to seize a significant share of their country, and did not solve the basic security problems, says Fukuyama.
Threats from Trump and DeSantis
In just over a year, Americans will once again go to the polls to elect a president. Right now, the election is likely to be between an aging Joe Biden and a slightly younger Donald Trump.
But Florida’s junior governor Ron DeSantis may also emerge as a true Republican challenger, thus unseating Trump.
With the arrival of the Tea Party movement at the turn of the 2000s, Trump and now gradually DeSantis, the GOP has transformed almost beyond recognition.
– What kind of threat does the new version of the Republican Party pose to the United States and American institutions?
Trump and DeSantis pose different kinds of threats, says Fukuyama.
– DeSantis is very interesting because the old Reagan Republican party was actually classically liberal in the sense that they wanted a small country and low taxes and they didn’t want government meddling in people’s lives, he says.
Fukuyama says the Republican Party has undergone a complete transformation as conservative politicians like DeSantis use the state to enforce conservative cultural values.
They want to dictate what teachers and professors can say to their students. They want to chase after Disney for being so upfront and that sort of thing. This would have disgusted someone like Ronald Reagan, who believed that business should make its own decisions without the state telling them what to do, says the political scientist.
—but this new breed of Republican is taking the opposite view. They want to use state power to get their way.
Stoltenberg does not want to talk about this Trump question
– Absolutely absurd
Fukuyama says there is an ongoing debate about who is more dangerous to Trump and DeSantis.
DeSantis is more disciplined and understands how the state works, and he can actually get things done. He points out that Trump didn’t even understand how his government worked, and therefore wasn’t able to accomplish things like build the border wall or repeal Obamacare.
He describes Trump as a selfish person obsessed with his reputation and performance.
– You can see that in the way he handled the indictment that came a few days ago. He says this is the worst abuse of power in American history. It’s so absurd. From his point of view, it is worse because it targets himself, but in reality only the United States follows the rule of law and holds the perpetrator accountable, Fukuyama asserts.
Fukuyama is referring to the indictment that was filed against the former president in Miami earlier this week. Trump has been charged with nearly 30 counts related to storing several thousand classified documents at his Florida property.
The charges related to, among other things, violations of the US Espionage Act. According to the indictment, the former president endangered the national security of the United States.
Trump on the indictment: – I am an innocent man
Trump is the only thing that can save Putin
Fukuyama says Trump is ready to say anything to protect himself and his interests – regardless of the consequences for the country.
– And he has already succeeded in convincing a third of American voters that electoral institutions are deeply corrupt and manipulated. All of this is absolutely untrue, but he says it and his followers believe it.
– Do you think that the new version of the Republican Party poses a threat to NATO?
– Trump is a great threat to NATO, notes Fukuyama.
– John Bolton, his former national security adviser, said that Trump told him that if he wins a second term as president, he will withdraw the United States from NATO.
– It is clear that Trump loves Putin. He does not like Zelensky. If he is re-elected, I think it will be very bad for Ukraine. I actually think Putin supports Donald Trump for this reason. It’s really the only thing that will eventually be able to save him, says Fukuyama.
The United States is undoubtedly the largest contributor of economic and military support to Ukraine. Certain voices on the American right eventually called for a drastic cut in that support.
– What kind of threats does Putin face from his inner circle or other actors in Russia, and do you think he can be overthrown?
– I think no one knows what is going on inside the Kremlin now. Anyone can be overthrown, but what is the probability of that, is just speculation that no one is in a position to do now. But he says it is clear that mistakes will not strengthen his position in the long term.
The government turns around after the Netavizin announcement
– The attack of the right is bigger and more dangerous
Fukuyama was previously classified as a conservative, but considers himself a classic liberal. Not the European liberal version that is often placed right of center on the political scale, nor the American version that is placed left of center.
Fukuyama argues that classical liberalism is about universal human rights, human dignity, economic and political freedom, equality, freedom of speech, and freedom of property—and that these rights must be protected by the rule of law and a strong executive.
– How does classical liberalism fit into the Awakening Movement underway in the United States and Europe, Fukuyama?
Liberalism is currently under attack from the right and the left, he says.
– The attack from the right is bigger and more dangerous because you have a lot of people on the right saying that liberal societies are too tolerant, that they’re not good at dealing with growth and crime and so on. Fukuyama says it has its roots in the displacement of the working class in many countries as a result of globalization.
—but it is also based on a cultural grievance in which the people who created the globalized world are distrusted as elites who don’t really connect with the daily lives of ordinary workers, he says.
The political scientist says the progressive left is putting limits on freedom of expression.
– I think the left is also a threat to liberalism, because many on the progressive left have embraced a new form of identity politics with issues related to race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, he says.
When it comes to these questions, they (the progressive left) don’t really tolerate deviations from what they think is right.
Ron DeSantis is stepping up the cultural fight against Disneyworld
Are we getting smarter or dumber?
The internet, smartphones, and artificial intelligence have simplified the lives of the vast majority of people, but new technologies also have some obvious downsides. Fukuyama is particularly interested in how social media affects vulnerable youth.
– When it comes to the rise of AI, Chat GPT, storytelling on social media like TikTok and Instagram – are all these new technologies making people smarter or dumber?
– both of them. People forget that the internet is very useful in the sense that it gives you access to information. No one needs to go to the grocery store to buy a map to know where they are because they have these smartphones.
Politically, people use social media to mobilize against authoritarian regimes. This is a very good organizational tool.
– but it has its main drawbacks. What’s becoming more apparent is teen depression and even suicide, because there’s been a sudden and significant increase — especially among girls — that began in 2013 when Facebook started to take off, he says.
– I think you can see what the problem is, because adolescence is characterized by intense competition and self-awareness of what your friends think of you. Social media amplifies any social anxieties children of that age may feel. Fukuyama says: I think this is a big problem for them.
Fukuyama says social media has contributed politically to polarization.
– Especially in the United States where sheer lies are common because they are the People will click on. They don’t want to click on a boring article that is well verified and true. He says they’d rather click on a fake sensational issue.
An ominous message about artificial intelligence: – We have two years to go
A threat to humanity?
In the past year, there has been record development in artificial intelligence (AI). Precisely for this reason, many academics, researchers, developers, entrepreneurs, and industry professionals in the AI environment have called for slowing down the development of AI. Some of them also promote doomsday prophecies.
– Does the rapid development of artificial intelligence pose a real threat to humanity, will artificial intelligence become smarter than us, will we be overtaken by future robots, Fukuyama?
– I think the idea that one should have an AI that is capable of having artificial general intelligence (intelligence similar to humans), and that it will act autonomously and knowingly and intentionally to be harmful to humans, is far fetched. I don’t think it’s a serious threat, Fukuyama reassures.
– but the most immediate threats are things like
– Any teenager will be able to produce photos and videos of things that weren’t there before. And you’d never know it wasn’t there because the technology is so good. This will contribute to a general deterioration in confidence. Target marketing will also be intensified. All of this will make a powerful impact, he says.
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