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Responding to Kissinger: The Risks of Remodeling Neoliberalism and Manipulating the Enlightenment values

Author: Mohammed Cherkaoui

Affiliation: George Mason University

Organization/Publisher: Aljazeera Centre for Studies

Date/Place:  April 26, 2020/Doha, Qatar

Type of Literature: Report

Number of pages: 20


Keywords: Neoliberalism, Enlightenment, Welfare state, world order.


In his attempt to defend the Neoliberal world order, Henry Kissinger remodels Neoliberalism and enlightenment values.  In reality, Neoliberalism doesn’t conform to enlightenment principles, which sees the state as an institution safeguarding values and serving the needs of society. The Neoliberal state has become a hub for financiers’ profits; the state becomes absolved from responsibility in this view. This is an attempt to swipe decades of Neoliberal advocacy under the rug, and to avoid public scrutiny of who is responsible for the failures in the Covid-19 crisis. As a result, Kissinger avoids mentioning the Trump administration’s blunders and the US’ non-cooperative and non-altruistic behaviors internationally. This trend manifests in the three imperatives proposed by Kissinger. First, he calls for shoring up global resistance yet he doesn’t mention the ailing health infrastructure, assuming that states should carry the responsibility more than the Federal Government. The second imperative calls for healing the economy and invokes the experience of the 2008 crisis, yet the current events are more complex and carry a health aspect that is seemingly ignored. The last one is to solidify the principles of the Liberal world order instead of assessing it, which is a defence of the system that led to the current state of affairs. Kissinger attempts to jump over the roots of the problem by morphing enlightenment principles, while the same principles call for the opposite of the Neoliberal order—that is a welfare state that takes responsibility for the wellbeing of its citizens.

By: Omar Fili, CIGA Research Intern



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