In the 1980s a process of complex and diverse economic transformations was initiated, which heralded the beginning of the post-industrial phase in capitalism, characterized by a restructuring of the production chains, increased importance of the financial sector, the information technology revolution, neoliberalism, globalization, etc.
This process was accompanied by the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, the gradual opening of the Chinese economy, the push towards neoliberalism by social democrats in Western Europe, and the subsequent weakened position of the trade unions, among other things.
The beginning of the post-modern world order was, according to some, the end of an era initiated in 1917, the year of the October Revolution in Russia. For over 70 years, Western governments and ruling classes had lived with a certain fear of communism and the potential for class revolution associated with it (Hobsbawm, 1991).
By others, such as Francis Fukuyama (2006), these transformations were interpreted as a definitive victory for free market capitalism and the universalization of Western civilization and values; an endpoint in the ideological evolution of humanity or, as he puts it, “the end of history.”
Despite the enthusiastic reception of Fukuyama’s prophecy by the media, a history reduced it to a mere ideological spasm almost immediately.
What happened was that capitalism entered a new phase, just like it had passed through the phases of mercantilism (16th to 18th century), the first (18th and 19th century) and second (1870-1970) industrial revolution; the latter also being referred to as the imperialism or globalization phase.
The transformations in capitalism coincided with the end of the Cold War, symbolized by the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. Although these events opened up opportunities for the depolarization of world politics and democratization, what happened was the exact opposite.
The US, without the counterbalance of the Soviet Union, confidently took on the role of the world’s police officer, attributing themselves the right to intervene in the internal affairs of any country that did not comply with the ‘will of the international community’, which became at that point almost synonymous with the interests of the US and its allies.
In this context, concepts and doctrines like the “axis of evil,” “just war”, “international authority,” “civilization mission,” “permanent exception” and “war without end” played a central role.