Has the End of the Cold War Meant the End of History and the End of Political Ideas?

In 1989 the fall of the Berlin wall represented the thawing of relations between the two world super powers; USA and Russia, bringing with it a change to the international order and political environment for states across the globe. Fukuyama, writing in 1992, argues that the end of the Cold War not only brought with it great change but ended history and political ideas; an idea that has come under strong criticism. This paper will look at the argument he put forward in “The End of History and the Last Man” and demonstrate how his argument is flawed and prove that the end of the Cold War, as important as it was, is just another point in history that examples how the world and politics is constantly transitory; history has not ended and political ideas are just as alive now as they were pre-Cold War and even when they were written.

To understand Fukuyama’s argument further it is important to indentify the three main arguments of what drove the Cold War. Political ideologies, geopolitics and technology have all been seen as driving forces of the Cold War. It is important to understand these arguments as it demonstrates the importance of political ideas in the cold war, but also lays foundations for looking at Fukuyama’s argument as he appears to deal with all three aspects in his writings.

Briefly; Gaddis argues that the Cold War was driven by political ideologies between the Soviet and the USA based upon which side had the answer to what could be considered the ‘good life’. He argues that political ideologies were more important to the Cold War otherwise why would “the Kremlin leaders retain a system of collective agriculture that has shown itself not to work” (Gaddis, J.L. 1997, p.289-291).

Stimson’s argument is that technology was the main aspect of the war, based upon the Waltz’s realist approach to international relations; the country that had the most capacity would have the most power in the political system, and through this would ensure a greater...