CIFE Executive Training Prodigees

Geopolitics: The End of History Postponed? Interpreting Geopolitical Challenges After the Peak of Globalisation

The collapse of the Soviet Union three decades ago ushered in a brief period of excitement about liberal democracy and multilateralism becoming the defining features of the future international system. The American political scientist Francis Fukuyama framed this excitement conceptually in his 1989 article on the “End of History” (1). His former teacher, Samuel Huntington, responded with more sombre predictions about a future world of resurgent nationalisms, “The Clash of Civilisations” (2).
Contemporary history has delivered arguments for – or against – both theories, while new concepts have appeared, inter alia focusing on inequalities, technological progress, or climate change as the primary factors shaping the geopolitics of the future. This debate has dramatically gained new relevance by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, which is not only threatening Europe’s security architecture but also basic multilateral principles – national sovereignty and territorial integrity – that have kept the world relatively safe since the end of the Second World War. The proposed lecture aims to outline the key concepts shaping the debate about geopolitics after the Cold War and to discuss Europe’s role in a more polarised, confrontational world.
(1) “The End of History?” was first published in summer 1989, tellingly with a question mark, in the Washington journal The National Interest. It was later expanded and published as a book.
(2) “The Clash of Civilisations?” was also initially published as an article in Foreign Affairs in 1993 and later transformed into a book with an amended title.

Christian Manahl is an international civil servant with 30 years of experience in Africa, mostly dealing with political and security issues. He was the Political Director of MONUSCO, at the time the largest peacekeeping mission (2007-2010) and Deputy SRSG for Somalia (2011-12) and the EU Ambassador to Eritrea (2014-17) and Lesotho (2017-21). He is currently a Senior Policy Advisor in the Policy Planning and Strategic Foresight Division of the EEAS (European External Action Service). He holds a PhD in Communications, Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Vienna, a Diplôme d’études approfondies in History of Philosopy from the University of Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne and a Diploma from the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna.


Wednesday 15 June 2022
4.30 to 6.30 pm (CEST)


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