'Ukrainians will win in the end': Francis Fukuyama shared his thoughts on what is happening in Ukraine
Francis Fukuyama, an American philosopher, political scientist, political economist and writer of Japanese origin, spoke about his attitude to the war in Ukraine, about how this war is changing Ukraine and the entire free world, and about what the world can do to guarantee the victory of Ukraine, reports Ukrainian Truth.
Francis Fukuyama is a senior fellow at the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford.
Prior to that, he was Professor and Director of the International Development Program at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Fukuyama says that Ukraine couldn't do much to prevent aggression because Putin was indeed ill-informed about Ukraine. Obviously, he believed that most Ukrainians wanted to be swallowed up by Russia, as the philosopher says.
Fukuyama believes that Putin believed this because he did not listen to real information from real Ukrainians. “He only listened to those who agreed with him. This is a common mistake of an authoritarian favorite,” he said.
“I believe that it is the fault of the rest of the world, the United States and other NATO countries, that have failed to respond to a whole series of aggressions committed by Russia. This applies not only to the occupation of Crimea and Donbas in 2014, but also to the occupation of part of Georgia, Russian intervention in Syria, Venezuela and many other places,” Fukuyama said. – The rest of the Western worlds were to blame for ignoring these early aggressions and not thinking that Russia was really serious when it came to Ukraine. That, I think, is the real fault.”
But Fukuyama is not convinced that Ukraine itself could do much to contain this attack.
A Ukrainian victory provides an excellent opportunity to reform Ukrainian institutions from the top down, according to Fukuyama. Sociologist Charles Till said that "war creates the state, and the state creates war," he added.
“Historically, it was military conflict that prompted the modernization of states. Therefore, if you have a very corrupt state, where officers steal from their people, materials are stretched out, then you will lose the next war. And that seems to be exactly what is happening on the Russian side: we get a message that Russian soldiers are not paid, they are not fed, because their officers steal,” he says. “But on the other hand, the war created huge incentives for national unity. I think it is very inspiring for the rest of the world to see how Ukrainians come together to defend their own sovereignty and their own freedom.”
Fukuyama noted that many Ukrainians have come to realize that if they steal from the state, they will not survive, and their families will not survive the war.
He hopes that this shared experience will strengthen Ukrainian national identity and change the nature of Ukrainian institutions after the end of the war.
“It is this awareness that contributes to the development of the nation - the understanding that there is national unity and a certain national goal to which everyone is striving. And I think that this can also be one of the consequences of the war,” he said.
The war that is now going on in Ukraine, in fact, concerns not only her, as the philosopher noted.
“Basically, we are talking about the entire democratic order built after 1989 or 1991, when the former Soviet Union collapsed. This led to a significant increase in the number of democracies. All states that were members of the Warsaw Pact were now free to determine their future and be independent,” Fukuyama said.
He is sure that this is what Putin really does not like, that it is not a military threat from an enlarged NATO, but that all these countries did not want to submit to Russia. They wanted to be independent, sovereign countries that could make decisions, as the philosopher said.
The only thing that Fukuyama doesn't believe in is what has become sort of a conventional wisdom in many circles in the West: that the war has sort of reached a stalemate, that neither side can gain any gains, and that it will be a long war. just as it happened in the Donbass after 2014.
He believes that this is a very dangerous point of view, because in this case it means that if people want peace, if they want to restore the economy of the region, then peace negotiations should take place based on the current disposition of forces. And Fukuyama thinks that would be extremely disastrous, as it means Russia retaining control over most of the Donbass and then most of southern Ukraine. Such a state of affairs would be for the Russians a reward for aggression, as the philosopher says.
“Besides, this will not solve the underlying causes of the war, because Russia will not be satisfied with keeping only this part of Ukraine – as soon as they rearm and feel stronger, they will resume the war. So at best it will be a temporary truce,” he says.
In fact, the most important goal, which, according to Fukuyama, is quite achievable, is, in fact, now to liberate the south of Ukraine. “Obviously, for economic reasons, much attention is paid to Kherson and the region bordering the Black Sea. It is very important to return these territories to Ukrainian control, because Ukrainians should be able to export,” he said.
He noted that, fortunately, thanks to an agreement concluded with the mediation of Turkey and the UN, now exports come from Odessa. But as Fukuyama says, all Black Sea ports are critical to Ukraine's economic future. Therefore, the liberation of the southern regions is now especially important, he believes.
“And I believe that this is something that can be achieved before the end of this year,” Fukuyama said.
Serious negotiations with Russia, Fukuyama believes, can be held only after the Russians have suffered a military defeat and feel that their positions are being destroyed. At this moment, according to the philosopher, Ukrainians may have serious negotiations about the future of relations between the two states - but not before when this happens.
He notes that the level of support that Ukraine receives today is truly impressive. The very fact that Germany is already providing support to Ukraine, albeit slowly and reluctantly, indicates a big change in their foreign policy, as Fukuyama noted.
He believes that assistance could be provided faster: the United States could deliver HIMARS systems faster and more. Ukraine also needs other weapons, and Fukuyama hopes that their deliveries will be accelerated.
“Much, in fact, depends on whether there will be a turning point in the war. After all, as I said, the most destructive belief is that Ukraine is in a long war. In the summer, The Economist came out with a cover about Ukraine and Russia called “How to Win the Long War,” he says. “If people believe that this will be a long war that will last for years, this is a bad situation, because this is what prompts all external forces to start putting pressure on Ukraine to make concessions.”
Therefore, Fukuyama really believes that the Ukrainians need a certain turning point. If Kherson could be liberated in the coming months, it would be a very powerful demonstration that Ukraine still has a lot of military capabilities, as he said.
He predicts that Ukraine's demands for recovery will be enormous. And all friends of Ukraine from outside will have to join this when the war is over. Fukuyama thinks the main responsibility will lie with the Europeans, who will do much to support the recovery.
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“Ukraine in any case needed to make the transition to a technology-based knowledge economy. Therefore, there is an economic opportunity to invest not in the restoration of the old heavy industry, but in the real modernization of the Ukrainian economy as a whole, using the rather significant mental potential of young Ukrainians,” he says.
It is important to change the nature of Ukrainian politics, according to the philosopher.
He believes that there is another very important thing - this is the reform of the media sector.
“After all, one of the big pre-war problems was that every major media channel was under the control of the oligarch and was used to protect his interests. I think that when we finish the war, this system will need to be changed.” - he said.
He noted that the sanctions will indeed be more effective than people imagine. First of all, in terms of technology, because many Russian industries, including the military, are actually dependent on Western technologies. “And you can already see the big problems that Russia is facing,” he said.
For political reasons, Fukuyama says, Europe will eventually give up Russian energy. But this is obviously a politically difficult task, and it will take time.
“There are many individual oligarchs who have not yet been sanctioned. And they get away with a lot. They or their families can enjoy life in the West. And they continue to support Putin,” he says. – Outside of Russia, there are pro-Russian oligarchs who can also fall under Western sanctions. Therefore, I believe that much needs to be done to prosecute these people and expand this list.”
“The Ukrainian economy during the war really suffered incredibly. And it will not cope without outside help in terms of forgiveness of debts, support of the balance of payments. I am sure that such support should continue,” he says. “If the Ukrainians are going to rebuild the economy, they will need a lot of outside help. Therefore, partners will put forward conditions, but it is the Ukrainians who must fundamentally determine what their priorities are.”
Fukuyama admitted that he is delighted with what Ukraine has achieved this year by stopping Russia and making such inspiring resistance. “I think your country is a source of inspiration for the entire free world,” he said.
“I would like us everywhere to have the same self-patriotism and devotion that you have shown in Ukraine. So sincere congratulations! Keep it up! I think that you will win in the end, and then we can talk about rebuilding the country in a better way,” Francis Fukuyama said.
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