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– Introduction –

W hy has history taken the course it has? Has it been an accident – down simply to fate, or time and chance, or the operation of some un- seen and unseeable hand? Or have there been great, inevitable, themes of human behaviour that have recurred to change the way societies have developed throughout the millennia in which history has been recorded? And do they continue to influence events now, and defy projections that a different, more permanent world order is being instituted?

If we look at why events have happened we soon realise that the same handful of reasons recur. In his 1989 article The End of History, written as the Soviet empire evaporated, Francis Fukuyama wrote: ‘What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the endpoint of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalisation of western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.’1 His thesis cannot yet be proved. He was conscious that the final, universal acceptance of democracy would come slowly. Much of the two decades since he outlined his thesis has set it back. Liberal democratic values


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