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Chapter 1 applies Mbembe’s concept of necropolitics to define necropolitical law as the norms, practices, and relations of enmity that justify and legitimize discounting life through killing, as well as through the diminishing of socially and politically empowered life. Mapping the co-constitutions of racialized discounted lives within the domestic terrain of the United States, as well as in global sites of the long War on Terror, the chapter’s provocation is that law – notions of authority, legitimacy, and community – is at work in effecting the nationally and globally discounted lives of the long War on Terror. Chapter 1 also supplies the contours for the book’s methodology and epistemology: law as culture; an interpretive sociolegal reading for law attentive to law’s archive and law’s violence; a normative commitment to rule of law’s scrutiny and restraint of power; and a suspicion of the roles of spectacle, affect, and publicity in displacing rule-of-law’s commitments to power’s accountability and to law as public thing.
Taboos have long been considered key examples of norms in global politics, with important strategic effects. Auchter focuses on how obscenity functions as a regulatory norm by focusing on dead body images. Obscenity matters precisely because it is applied inconsistently across multiple cases. Examining empirical cases including ISIS beheadings, the death of Muammar Qaddafi, Syrian torture victims, and the fake death images of Osama bin Laden, this book offers a rich theoretical explanation of the process by which the taboo surrounding dead body images is transgressed and upheld, through mechanisms including trigger warnings and media framings. This corpse politics sheds light on political communities and the structures in place that preserve them, including the taboos that regulate purported obscene images. Auchter questions the notion that the key debate at play in visual politics related to the dead body image is whether to display or not to display, and instead narrates various degrees of visibility, invisibility, and hyper-visibility.
Hamilton Carroll considers shifting trends across nearly two decades of post-9/11 novels from early works grappling with the unrepresentability of terror to recent narratives by Susan Choi, Mohsin Hamid, Joseph O’Neill, and Jess Walter that depict the everyday experiences of racialized precarity in a period of perpetual warfare, nuclear proliferation, migration catastrophes, and neo-ethnonationalisms. Political turmoil and violence by state and non-state entities remain central to twenty-first century life, even as the events of September 11, 2001, have shifted from recent trauma to historical retrospection.
Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s memoir, Guantánamo Diary, demonstrates the potential of testimonial memoir as a global genre to introduce new voices and geopolitical contexts into world literature. It is exemplary for showing how older traditions of testimony are being refashioned in an era of human rights, global English and memoir, to create new variations adapted to the contemporary world. At the same time, recognizing the material, linguistic and rhetorical conditions that have facilitated the publication and reception of Guantánamo Diary, and that have catapulted it to the New York Times bestseller list, should prompt questions about the limits that shape the form and reception of testimonial memoir today. In this chapter, I place Guantánamo Diary in a tradition of literary testimony including Holocaust testimony and Latin American testimonio, identifying resonances with these precursors. Through a close reading, I argue that Slahi’s distinctive style is characterized by opposing tendencies. On the one hand, his narrative is transnationally haunted by a global canon circulating through it, with sounds of Kakfa, Primo Levi, slave narrative and Mauritanian folktales. On the other hand, his English is miniaturized and Americanized. These tensions shadow a tension in the field of world literature. While some critics insist on studying literature in its original language, the linguistic, rhetorical and material conditions that propel a text such as Guantánamo Diary to the bestseller list suggest the ways in which ‘global English’ is naturalised as the language of world literature and of global testimony.
When the Bush administration launched the War on Terror after the attacks of 9/11, Gothic responded through complex critiques of the discourses and the violence this entailed, but also by unapologetically energising the endeavour to maintain US global hegemony. Noting a number of geopolitical, economical and cultural similarities between late nineteenth-century Britain and the US at the turn of the millennium, this chapter observes that a dominant strand of American Gothic in the early twenty-first century is in fact effectively imperial. The chapter then discusses the interplay between what can thus be termed an ‘American Imperial Gothic’ and the post-9/11 period, paying particular attention to the ideological and affective work that Gothic performs. Located at the intersection between postcolonial and decolonial studies, and international relations and security studies, the chapter furthermore explores how a union of various entertainment corporations and government institutions is involved in the production and dissemination of often deeply reactionary Gothic texts. These rehearse racists and sexist tropes central to the neocolonial project, but also reveal how the anxieties always tied to vast imperial and capitalist projects rise to the surface during moments of sudden upheaval and transformation.
This chapter explores the political, social, and economic conditions that have shaped the turn to history since the 1990s. Those conditions include the break-up of the Soviet Union and the ‘end of history’ narrative that accompanied a decade of ambitious liberal expansionism, the crisis of liberal internationalism triggered by the war on terror and the financial, energy, food, asylum, and climate crises of the early twenty-first century, and the shift in geopolitics caused by the rise of the BRICS and particularly of China as an economic power. International lawyers in practice and the academy have drawn on past events, practices, records, and cases as argumentative resources in adjudicatory settings and in broader debates over how to understand, justify, or resist the transformation of international law. The turn to history eventually began to be understood as a project that should be distanced from the argumentative practice of international law and measured against the empiricist protocols of academic historians. This chapter returns it to the context of international legal argumentation from which it arose, in order to gain a better understanding of the turn to history as an intervention in present struggles over the meaning of international law.
This chapter will situate Roth’s work within the post-9/11 climate defined by a shift in national attitudes as a result of an increased fear of terrorism, and among other literary figures struggling to represent American and, in some cases, the subject of terror, in their fiction.
African states have been and are subject to external interference. During the Cold War, the USA and the Soviet Union competed for influence, as did China and France. After the Cold War ended, a decade commenced in which there was fewer external influence but the promotion of a liberal-cosmopolitan order. The rise of China in Africa (and beyond), beginning roughly in 2000 as well as the 9/11 and other terrorist attacks ended that decade of relative calm. A phase of heightened interest in Africa began, particularly in the areas of security, migration, and economic policy, often labelled the “New Scramble for Africa” that continues to the present day.
The Conclusion draws out the analytical and policy implications of the book, concentrating on the ways that collective punishment by states allows jihadists to expand their ranks. The Conclusion also argues that the War on Terror needs to be fundamentally rethought, and that dialogue with jihadists might be viable.
This chapter documents the relevance of the ‘standard of civilisation’ for contemporary international law, despite the marked decline of explicit invocations of the concept. It does so by documenting the continuing existence and purchase of arguments that oscillate between the ‘logic of improvement’ and the ‘logic of biology’. By focusing on two distinct legal fields that have been highly relevant to the war on terror, the laws of occupation and jus ad bellum, this chapter documents the importance of conforming with the imperatives of the neoliberal state in order to be recognised as a subject of international law. In the first part, the chapter offers a detailed examination of the neoliberal reforms imposed in occupied Iraq by the Coalition Provisional Authority. It details both the promises anchored to the adoption of neoliberal capitalism and the constant negation of such promises based on Orientalist stereotypes based on Iraqis’ purported incapacity to government themselves. In the second part, this chapter focuses on the controversial ‘unwilling or unable’ doctrine situating it within the political economy of the ‘war on terror’ and the demand that post-colonial states subscribe to its imperatives.
Most Central and South American civil wars drew to a close by the late 1980s and early 1990s, overlapping with the more abrupt end of the Cold War in 1989–1991. That is not to say that armed conflict in Latin American countries completely ceased or that new, more equitable societies replaced militarized and highly stratified ones. The end of the civil wars dramatically reduced the pervasiveness of the bloodshed but did little to narrow the enormous income and opportunity gaps between the small number of wealthy, powerful elites and the majority of poor, in both rural and urban areas. As a result, ethical tensions remained, including over the limitations of peace agreements and conflicting goals of truth and reconciliation commissions instituted in the aftermath of conflicts.
How does the prospect of endless war against a terrifying abstraction mobilize and perpetuate support for its cause? While the war on terror clearly trades in notions of fear, outrage, and horror it also mobilizes a whole set of feelings less obviously associated with terror – the condescending, intimate colonial desires associated with “soft” power and humanitarian tactics. Considering romance as a lens through which to understand popular narratives about the war on terror, this essay explores intimacy and desire – as well as their intersections with discourses of happiness and honor – as forms of affective capture that serve to perpetuate the war on terror. Though the war on terror is most often associated with a mood of fear, popular stories framed through liberal individualism suggest that it also cultivates an attachment to the affective assemblage of security-happiness-compassion, echoed in the tactics of humanitarian or “soft” power.
Examines September 11 attacks and the Cold War–style response of George W. Bush. Assesses competing interpretations of 9/11. Outlines Bush Doctrine and argues for its continuity with Cold War strategies. Considers case for and performance in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Details first phase of the War on Terror and the traditional alliances that it relied on.
This book offers a bold re-interpretation of the prevailing narrative that US foreign policy after the Cold War was a failure. In chapters that retell and re-argue the key episodes of the post-Cold War years, Lynch argues that the Cold War cast a shadow on the presidents that came after it and that success came more from adapting to that shadow than in attempts to escape it. When strategic lessons of the Cold War were applied, presidents fared better; when they were forgotten, they fared worse. This book tells the story not of a revolution in American foreign policy but of its essentially continuous character from one era to the next. While there were many setbacks between the fall of Soviet communism and the opening years of the Trump administration, from Rwanda to 9/11 and Iraq to Syria, Lynch demonstrates that the US remained the world's dominant power.
Michel Paradis traces growth of illiberalism to Guantánamo, the “battle lab” of the war on terrorism. He documents the rejection of international law apart from the prerogatives of political sovereignty, the designation of a rights-less class of persons for whom all humanitarian protections are discretionary acts of noblesse oblige, and the broader conception of history as entering a “new” phase in which past norms, institutions, and models are “quaint.” Comparing the evolution of the island prison from Presidents George W. Bush to Barack Obama to Donald Trump, Paradis argues that ironically the demise of Guantánamo will in fact coincide with the final demise of liberalism.
Mary Ellen O'Connell explores how America’s identify has been linked to its respect for the rule of law and how that relationship has been challenged, particulary since the end of the Cold War. She argues that law is considered sovereign in the United States. The American identity is based on a view of America where DNA is law–national and international. Accordingly, the definition of American security rests upon securing the rule of law. This fundamental principle has been challenged at various points in US history but perhaps never as much as in recent times, beginning with the end of the Cold War. Without an opponent embracing authoritarian rule to reflect against, the post–Cold War confidence in military power overwhelmed the commitment to law. Weakened for a decade, the high commitment to law essentially collapsed on 9/11. It has yet to be regained. With the presidency of Donald Trump, the rise of China, the existential threat of climate change, and other factors, now is the moment to reestablish the place of law as the purpose of US national security.
The epilogue serves to summarise the findings of this book and utilise them to shed light on contemporary human rights issues in Australia. The idea of a “human rights cascade” is critically employed to make sense of the early 1990s, when there seemed a real possibility of positive engagement with human rights and international law to develop a new compact between Indigenous and settler Australians and remedy discriminations against LGBTIQ people. It is argued that this cascade in fact proved a trickle, as the openness of the Keating era gave way to the insularity of the Howard government. Particular attention is paid to ongoing policies of indefinite detention of asylum seekers – begun under Keating but expanded by Howard – and the many furtive attempts to find justice for Indigenous Australians, particularly around the Bringing Them Home report. In both of these cases, concerns around the rights of children have been weaponised by governments to weaken broader human rights protections, in such instances as the 2007 Northern Territory Intervention. Australia's continued failure to institutionalise a Bill of Rights is also viewed in light of the War on Terror's deep legislative impact.
This article focuses on the underlying sensorial entanglements that linger in spaces and moments of encounter between state violence and its targets. It argues that in Guantánamo Bay, these entanglements become routed through the bodies of the camp’s detainees, and they rely upon a particular reading of religion as being borne by bodies in such ways as to necessitate the use of specific techniques of detention and incapacitation. This discussion is framed using the notion of “apprehension,” in its affective and material forms, wherein perception, dread, and physical encounters in the camp unfold within a framing of Muslims as ontologically and materially distinct, and as being embodied in particular ways. In these processes of apprehension, the techniques and logics of violence deployed in the war on terror become further legitimated, and work reflexively to shape the ways in which the Muslim is known, encountered, and met with violence.