International Politics

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 285–300 | Cite as

Selling Democratic Teleology: The Case of the Chinese Fortune-Tellers

  • William H Thornton


Under the spell of “globalization,” American foreign policy is increasingly defined by an ideology very close to Fukuyama's liberal-capitalist “end of history.” This 1990s teleology emerged as the foreign policy equivalent of the Cold War's domino theory. Its market-driven vision of the “world as us” is the legitimating force behind “constructive engagement” with China. The same regime that gave us Tiananmen and the Falun Gong crackdown is wishfully perceived as embracing the US in fair trade and “strategic partnership” — two sides of the same teological coin. Paradoxically, China's material gains of the last decade are producing a neo-conservative “undertow effect” in the form of a well funded CCP and PLA. Teleological confidence — by delinking trade and human rights — works against the democracy US policy-makers herald.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • William H Thornton
    • 1
  1. 1.National Cheng Kung UniversityTainanTaiwan

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