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Europe, the Middle East, and the Global War on Terror

Critical Reflections

Edited By Ondrej Beranek

After 9/11, the (Global) War on Terror started as a military campaign waged against al-Qaeda and other organizations. This campaign was led by the United States though included NATO and a wide assortment of other actors. Originally, it was supposed to last «until every terrorist group of global reach had been found, stopped, and defeated». However, the campaign has been criticized on various grounds by security experts, politicians, scholars, and others. Eventually, Barack Obama and the new US administration declared the War on Terror over. This book deals with various Western perspectives on the campaign and its impacts on the larger Middle East. It includes chapters written by experts on international relations and the Middle East from various institutions (SOAS, University of London; Metropolitan University Prague; Charles University in Prague; and the Institute of International Relations in Prague), all of which gravitate around delving into the complexities of understanding the Global War on Terror and its conclusion.

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Arshin Adib-Moghaddam: Discourse and Violence: The Friend-Enemy Conjunction in Contemporary Iranian-American Relations

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43 Discourse and Violence: The Friend-Enemy Conjunction in Contemporary Iranian- American Relations Arshin Adib-Moghaddam “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” (Sun Tzu) “The one mind may err with regard to the same thing, especially if this mind does not reflect frequently on the opinion to which it ad- heres and does not consider it with an examining and critical eye.” (Abu Nasr Farabi) Iranian-American relations have been beset by mistrust and occasional outbreaks of vitriol and violence for the past three decades now. In this nar- rative I attempt to map, theoretically and empirically, the “discursive field” in which relations between Iran and the United States reveal themselves. I am interested in representations of Iran and the United States, and how the fundamental friend-enemy distinction setting the two countries politically apart has come about. I take as a starting point, with critical theorists of international relations,1 that discourse has a real and present impact on pol- icy and that a lot that is happening in world politics can be adequately con- textualised with an appreciation of the linkages between “utterance” and “action”. What do I mean by the term “discursive field”? I have explained in de- tail elsewhere how politico-cultural inventions affect and condition the way we perceive our surrounding social worlds.2 Perceptions in world poli- tics are particularly compromised and manipulated because the ontological fabric of the international system is professionally constructed. Discourse, and at a more basic level language, is central...

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