Centre for International and Defence Policy

Centre for International and Defence Policy
Centre for International and Defence Policy

1989 and our Perilous Present

Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 12:00-1:00 pm
Robert Sutherland Hall, room 448 (light lunch available at 11:45)

(Chatham House Rule will apply to this discussion)

Leigh Sarty photo



Leigh Sarty  

Scholar in Residence
Global Affairs Canada  





As we mark the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, I revisit a much-maligned relic of that same year -- Francis Fukuyama’s “The End of History?” -- and suggest that a re-reading sheds helpful light on two contemporary perils: China and Russia.   Fukuyama’s take on the appeal and underpinnings of “liberal democracy” provides a hook for arguing that the very absence of those underpinnings in the two great power autocracies of our time constitutes a significant “Achilles heel”: media hype notwithstanding, Beijing and Moscow are much weaker than they appear, while the West -- despite an array of well-known challenges -- remains stronger than we may think.


Leigh Sarty is Scholar in Residence at Global Affairs Canada.  He joined the Canadian Foreign Service in 1993 and has served at the Canadian Embassies in Moscow (as Second Secretary, 1996-1999, and as Deputy Head of Mission, 2012-2016) and Beijing (Counsellor and Head of the Political Section, 2003-2007).  Assignments in Ottawa have included Director for Russia and East Europe (2007-2012), and Director General of the Bureau of European Affairs (2016-2018). He holds a B.A. from Trinity College in Toronto (International Relations, 1983), an M.A. from Carleton University (Soviet Studies, 1985), and a PhD from Columbia University in New York (Political Science, 1991).