Introduction to Issues in International Security
New Scholars Corner video: Identity Politics
Scholars Corner is an ongoing SPICE initiative to share FSI’s cutting-edge social science research with high school and college classrooms nationwide and international schools abroad.
This week we released “The Rise and Implications of Identity Politics,” the latest installment in our ongoing Scholars Corner series. Each Scholars Corner episode features a short video discussion with a scholar at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University sharing his or her latest research.
This Scholars Corner video features New York Times bestselling author Francis Fukuyama discussing the recent rise of identity politics, both in the United States and around the world. “In the 20th century we had a politics that was organized around an economic axis, primarily. You had a left that worried about inequality…and you had a right that was in favor of the greatest amount of freedom,” summarizes Fukuyama. “[N]ow we are seeing a shift in many countries away from this focus on economic issues to a polarization based on identity.”
According to Fukuyama, this shift in politics is reflected in such domestic social movements as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, as well as in international movements like the Catalan independence movement, white nationalism, and even the Islamic State.
The rise of identity politics may have troubling implications for modern democracies. “In the United States, for example, the Republican party increasingly has become a party of white people, and the Democratic party has become increasingly a party of minorities and women. In general, I think the problem for a democracy is that you’ve got these specific identities…[but] you need something more than that. You need an integrative sense of national identity [that’s] open to the existing diversity of the society that allows people to believe that they’re part of the same political community,” says Fukuyama.
“That, I think, is the challenge for modern democracy at the present moment.”
To hear more of Dr. Fukuyama’s analysis, view the video here: “The Rise and Implications of Identity Politics.” For other Scholars Corner episodes, visit our Scholars Corner webpage. Past videos have covered topics such as cybersecurity, immigration and integration, and climate change.
Francis Fukuyama is a Senior Fellow at FSI and the Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. This video is based on his recent book Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment, which was recognized as The Times (UK) Best Books of 2018, Politics, and Financial Times Best Books of 2018.
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The Rise and Implications of Identity Politics
Immigration and Integration: Current Research
George W. Bush shares presidential insights with Stanford students
Former President George W. Bush met with Stanford students for an hourlong conversation that touched on many of the defining moments and policies of his presidency.
In a relaxed and sometimes self-deprecating exchange on May 5, Bush talked about the limits of congressional power and his relationships and personal diplomacy with other world leaders. His tone was more serious when discussing what he described as universal desires for freedom, his military strategies following 9/11, and his commitment to addressing Africa’s HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, director of the university’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, moderated the session. Stanford President John Hennessy and Condoleezza Rice – Bush’s secretary of state and national security adviser who has returned to teaching political science and business at Stanford – joined the conversation.
"FSI has a terrific track record of convening leaders at Stanford, from the head of the International Monetary Fund to prime ministers and presidents,” Cuéllar said. “On this occasion, we wanted our students to have an opportunity for a candid conversation with one of the key policymakers of the early 21st century, and we think such experiences will further prepare them for leadership in a complex world."
About 30 students were invited to the session at Encina Hall, but they didn’t know they were meeting Bush until the 43rd president walked into the room.
“I suspect he misses this sort of engagement,” said Gregory Schweizer, a second-year law school student who was part of the discussion that also covered immigration reform, national education policies and the Edward Snowden affair.
“The media always portrays him as being disengaged from current affairs,” Schweizer said. “But I’m impressed with how interested and engaged he still is.”
Along with representatives from Stanford Law School, other students were invited from the Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies. Honors students from FSI’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law also joined the conversation.
Bush’s visit was arranged with the help of Brad Freeman, a former university trustee and Ronald Spogli, who is currently on Stanford's board of trustees. Freeman and Spogli are longtime friends of the former president and philanthropists who donated a naming gift to FSI in 2005. Bush appointed Spogli as ambassador to Italy in 2005 and as ambassador to San Marino a year later.
Stanford has a tradition of hosting current and former heads of state, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev – both of whom visited in 2010.