The Goal of Perpetual PeaceIn this short essay, Robert Kagan traces the post-Cold War era through to present and gives his prognosis for "Perpetual Peace" as outlined by 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant.In the first part of "The Return of History", Kagan disputes the Hegelian theory of Francis Fukiyama that history ended with the fall of communism. What emerged instead was a return to the Westphalian realist model of international relations that led to WWI, the rise of nationalism and ultimately the rise of autocracies, the strongest being Russia and China.In the second part, Kagan describes the battle between the democracies and the autocracies. He also extends the "Clash of Civilizations" argument penned by Samuel Huntington and Bernard Lewis of modern Judeo-Christianity versus backwards Islam.Finally, Kagan ends the book with his prescription of soft-power and an alliance of democracies to defeat the autocracies and establish a true Wilsonian liberal internationalism leading to Kant's "Perpetual Peace".In analysis, Kagan's vision is part Wilsonian and part neorealist. He rejects the idea of positivism, that human progress is inevitable. He believes that traditional state-to-state power relations will continue in the forseeable future (neorealism). And finally Kagan believes that only through liberal democracy can a true international society emerge allowing global capitalism to flourish; where state interests and state-to-state disputes are negotiated peacefully (Kantian).It's hard to argue against the democratic peace theory as democracies have rarely gone to war with one another (Falklands, Spanish-American being exceptions). Kagan is quite right in his characterization and predictions of Russian aggression and potential conflicts involving China. His knowledge of European and American politics is especially strong.The only area where Kagan is perhaps weaker is in Asian politics. For example, he cites on more than one occasion that China and America are headed down the warpath over Taiwan. In fact, the trend towards reconciliation and reunification between China and Taiwan have never been stronger. Official American policy towards China on the Taiwan issue has been moving closer to reunification and not Taiwanese independence ever since the famous Shanghai Communique.Overall, Kagan has written a well-supported thesis on the return of great power politics and goal towards liberal internationalism. No prior knowledge in political science is required as Kagan's writing is colloquial and succinct.