By Nadim Koteich
25 February 2018
Francis Fukuyama’s lecture at the recent World Government Summit held in Dubai covered three major perspectives.
The American political scientist of Japanese descent and director of the Centre on Democracy Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University noted that Tunisia alone can be considered a positive outcome of what is known as the Arab Spring.
Major revolutions which have spawned in the wake of Arab Spring have resulted in civil wars and bloodshed particularly in Syria, Yemen, and Libya.
To Fukuyama, the Tunisian model provides a golden opportunity to rise above the tumults of Arab Spring, with a real positive achievement that subscribes to minimum preconditions for the creation of a sound state and a healthy democratic political evolution.
Yet, he also expressed his deep concern over the apparent incapability of the post-revolutionary system to make economic achievements.
Will China Replace US As Global Superpower?
His second observation was that China will eventually succeed in replacing the US as the new world leader. It is quite odd that this view comes from the same man who once wrote the essay ‘The End of History and the Last Man’.
He further notes that this shift is taking place in multiple areas, particularly after the collapse of the financial markets and the stain that has so deeply affected the reputation and status of Western liberal economic model. Fukuyama even prognosticates that the world will soon be following decrees and laws written in Beijing, rather than in London or Washington!
The third of Fukuyama’s perspectives, which I believe is the most pertinent and relevant of the three is tightly linked to the different issues and crises raging across the Middle East.
The US lecturer expects Iran to explode from within due to several factors of which the most significant are the presence a young civil educated category of people which include women and which no longer desire to conform to the ruling Iranian authority that is highly conservative in its values that are rural in their general structure.
Iran Is the Next Domino To Fall
What was unusual and remarkable about Fukuyama’s remarks was his reading of the Iranian situation and recent events in the country, which began in late 2017 and continued till the early weeks of 2018.
According to him, depletion of water resources in parts of Iranian countryside — that have been drought-stricken for 14 consecutive years (thanks to global warming) — has triggered waves of migration from the countryside to neighbouring Iranian cities.
The growing number of the unemployed coupled with the deterioration of the infrastructure and the spread of diseases resulted in a growing wedge between the poor and the ruling authority which has been incapable of offering practical solutions, especially amid the peak of empty ideological mobilization of the society due to Iran’s wars in the region as well as its expansionist policies.
Moreover, Iran’s possible explosion from within will most probably be the result of two variables affecting the situation together. This first one is related to variables in rural development, due to climate change, and their economic and social consequences as well as the growing poverty belt that has developed in the Iranian countryside. The second one is a civil variable which is due to the new generations which have begun to voice its objections since 2009, i.e. before the Arab Spring.
Given these variables, Iran’s state institutions, or rather the Khomeini revolution’s institutions, seem incapable of coming up with practical solutions to comprehend them and prevent them from acting together to affect the situation and deal a fatal blow to the regime. What’s interesting is that diverse Iranian parties have hinted at the existential threats facing the regime.
It was all in context when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned regime leaders of confronting the same fate as the Shah if “they do not hear the voice of the people.” Rouhani made these statements at a ceremony marking the 39th anniversary of the victory of the revolution in Iran and the fall of the Shah on February 11, 1979.
Some may view Rouhani’s warnings as representative of the leftist parties within the regime. Meanwhile, more radical warnings were voiced by the right-wing party of the Khomeini regime, particularly by former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is the most prominent representative of this right-wing.
In a letter to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Ahmadinejad urged holding “free” presidential and parliamentary elections in which the supreme guide does not interfere via the Guardian Council, or the security or the military apparatuses which enable Khamenei to engineer the political process and control its results within specific limits.
Ahmadinejad’s emphasis of the urgent need for “people” to have the right to freely choose their representatives is tantamount to vehemently condemning the nature of the Iranian regime and Tehran's pro forma democracy. It also entails a call to redefine the supreme guide’s post within the regime and to limit his jurisdictions which have been criticized by protestors in 2009 and in 2017.
Ahmadinejad’s and Rouhani’s remarks regarding the threats posed from not listing to “the Iranian people” reflect the size of the gap between the regime and the people. It’s due to this gap that Fukuyama expected that the Khomeini regime will collapse from within!
Just few days ago, an Iranian commercial plane crashed because Iran has been incapable of developing and improving its fleet due to international sanctions. The incident is but a small reminder of the consequences of rupture in relations between the world and Iran.
Meanwhile, a lecture held at the World Summit of Governments in Dubai discussed the growth of the aviation industry and the possibility of the creation of an aircraft that will be faster than light itself! Hence, it is not a plane that has fallen but Iran itself or rather the regime’s idea about itself that did.
Nadim Koteich is a leading Arab satirist. His show DNA airs Monday to Friday on Future and Al Hadath channels. He is a columnist with Asharq Alawsat.