Thirty years ago, political scientist Francis Fukuyama argued that end of the Cold War, fall of the Berlin Wall, and disintegration of the Soviet Union signaled the victory of Western liberal democracy. The world was witnessing a conceptional »End of History«.
Thirty years on, amidst Russia’s war on Ukraine, many question whether the global norms and democratic principles signaled by Fukuyama will be upheld in the emerging multipolar global system. What victory of Western Democracy? Are democratic values not being challenged both from within democracies and from outside? At the same time, the political and military responses to the Russian aggression against Ukraine have given ample rise to speculation whether we are witnessing a potent »Return of the West« as a united geopolitical actor.
The essays in this collection explore questions of quality from different perspectives. The objective is not answers, but rather questions: What kind of »West« has returned? Is »the West« a geographic concept, a historical, or an economic one? Does it comprise all advanced economies? Or is it first and foremost a normative – or even civilizational – concept? And most importantly: What are the repercussions of these conceptional delineations?