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Enmity is a fundamental condition that defines the political---the aff ignores that the goal of politics must be to limit, not eradicate war---the affirmative’s project of embracing vulnerability can only end in a violent war on difference


Prozorov 6 – Sergei Prozorov, collegium fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki, Professor of International Relations in the Department of International Relations, Faculty of Politics and Social Sciences, Petrozavodsk State University, Russia, 2006, “Liberal Enmity: The Figure of the Foe in the Political Ontology of Liberalism,” Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Vol. 35, No. 1, p. 75-99

The Savage and the Barbarian: Natural Liberty and Supplementary Violence



Schmitt’s prophecy about the infinite plasticity of the category of the foe as ‘proscribed by nature itself’ may be elaborated with reference to the naturalistic political ontology of liberal government, discussed in Foucault’s analytics of governmentality and multiple post-Foucauldian studies in this field. In this section we shall argue that it is precisely the combination of the universalist ethos, at work in the deployment of the category of humanity, with a naturalist political ontology that accounts for the emergence of friend–foe ultra-politics in contemporary Western liberal democracies. The radical innovation of liberal governmentality, which emerged as a critique of the theory of ‘police science’ and the practice of ‘police states’ of the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries, is the reinscription of the social order in terms of socio-economic processes, which, in the episteme of classical liberalism, are deemed to be natural, self-regulating, antecedent to authority and as having an intrinsic logic of their own that is not fully transparent to state knowledge: ‘Inscribed within the very logic of liberalism is a certain naturalism.’55 From this epistemic principle follows the central tenet of liberal government: the suspicion that ‘one always governs too much’.56 The liberal solution to this problem consists in adapting the techniques of government to the principles found in the naturalised reality of the social and making government itself accountable to these principles of the ‘system of natural liberty’.57¶ At the same time, liberal policies of laissez-faire are not a passive abandonment of an aboriginal reality to its own devices, but an elaborate activist and interventionist course that secures natural liberty by taking necessary measures to correct its perversions. This ‘corrective’ aspect points to what Mitchell Dean and Barry Hindess have respectively termed the ‘illiberality of liberalism’ and the ‘liberal government of unfreedom’.58 Within the ‘natural’ realm of the social, liberal government has historically identified manifold categories of the population, whose properties or acts were ‘contrary to nature’ and had to be rectified through governmental intervention, which historically has taken manifold forms, from the confinement of madmen to the correction of juvenile delinquents.59¶ It is in this possibility of governmental ‘re-naturalisation’, which we have elsewhere described in terms of the ‘pedagogical technology’ of liberalism60 that we may locate the condition of emergence of the figure of the foe as the ‘enemy of liberalism’The centrality of pedagogical interventions to liberal governmentality demonstrates that despite its avowed naturalism, liberalism remains conditioned by the constitutive, asymmetric and individualising ‘pastoral power’ that Foucault has famously identified as the condition of emergence of modern governmentality as such.61 What unites all the objects of liberal corrections, irrespectively of whether they are deemed to be evil, mentally disabled, morally deficient or simply ‘irrational’, is their functioning in the liberal discourse as beings, whose existence is deemed to be contrary to nature. On the one hand, these individuals and groups belong to the social realm, cast as ontologically and axiologically prior to government in the liberal episteme. On the other hand, however, their practices are not in accordance with the liberal vision of ‘natural liberty’ and thus require corrective interventions of liberal government, whose modus operandi is itself adapted to the natural processes of the social. ‘Natural liberty’ is therefore not an aboriginal property of the subject, but an effect of governmental intervention. The Other, who was so generously let into the global liberal ‘homeland’, is endowed with liberty only on condition of his or her subjection to the corrective interventions that eradicate his or her alterity.¶ This Foucauldian thesis parallels Schmitt’s critique of the ‘educational theory’ involved in the valorisation of liberal democracy: The people can be brought to recognise and express their own will correctly through the right education. This means nothing else than that the educator identifies his will at least provisionally with that of the people, not to mention that the content of education that the pupil will receive is also decided by the educator. The consequence of this educational theory is a dictatorship that suspends democracy in the name of a true democracy that is still to be created.62¶ Thus, liberal government finds its condition of (im)possibility in the generalised illiberality of pedagogical interventionism, which manifestly violates liberalism’s own naturalist presuppositions but is nonetheless essential to its existence, functioning in the manner of the Derridean supplement, ‘a strange difference which constitutes [liberalism] by breaching it’.63¶ In Dean’s argument, this paradox makes liberalism a potentially total’ modality of government, ‘because its program of self-limitation is linked to the facilitation and augmentation of the powers of civil society and its use of these powers, in conjunction with the sovereign, disciplinary and biopolitical powers of the state itself, to establish a comprehensive normalisation of social, economic and cultural existence’.64 The naturalisation of a certain artefactual conception of the social permits perpetual interventions in the name of its natural values, disavowing the constitutive and frequently violent character of governmental practices. At the heart of liberal government we may therefore observe the aporia whereby the naturalist ontology is always contaminated by the logic of supplementarity and every ‘natural liberty’ bears traces of governmental ‘corrective’ interventions.65¶ This relationship is at work not only in liberal domestic politics, but also, and with an even greater intensity, in the international domain, where liberal governmentality is deployed in such diverse contexts as military interventions ‘in the name of democracy’, neoliberal programmes of development assistance and economic restructuring, and even the global campaign for the promotion of ‘human rights’. As William Rasch argues in his reading of the discourse of human rights as a form of geopolitics, ‘the term “human” is not descriptive, but evaluative. To be truly human, one needs to be corrected.’66 It is this object of liberal corrective interventions, whether domestic or international, that epitomises the figure of the foe – a ‘not truly human’ being ‘proscribed by nature itself’. The ‘incomplete’ humanity of this creature renders it infinitely inferior to the ‘fully’ liberal rights-holders, which justifies the deployment of asymmetric subject–object relations in pedagogical practices of correction, while the ‘unnaturality’ of this creature provokes a degree of apprehension:¶ even if the foe is infinitely weaker than ‘us’, any engagement with him is dangerous, as one never knows what these ‘monsters’ are capable of. To recall our discussion in the previous section, the fear of the Other that animates Schmitt’s discourse on enmity does not disappear in the liberal political ontology of monistic naturalism. Instead, it is supplemented with a violent project of eradicating this dangerous alterity that liberalism has itself incorporated into its ‘universal homeland’ through manifold corrective, disciplinary and punitive practices, which have no rationality whatsoever in the Schmittian pluriverse of irreducible alterity. The foe is therefore, as it were, a double enemy: both a transcendental Other that is intrinsically dangerous in Schmitt’s sense of radical alterity and an empirical Other, whose dangerousness is established by his or her actual resistance to the efforts of liberal government to purge this alterity. We may specify the liberal construct of the foe with the help of Foucault’s idiosyncratic contrast between the savage and the barbarian.¶ The savage (usually presented as ‘noble’) is manifestly a natural being, albeit probably a prehistoric one, a being that exists before society and who is central in founding society in the mythology of the ‘social contract’ – a central presupposition of liberal political ontology. Moreover, for the liberal economic rationality the savage is an essential presupposition that provides a referent to the abstract figure of the ‘homo economicus’, ‘a man without past or a history, who is motivated only by self-interest and who exchanges his product for another product’.67 The savage is therefore both a precursor of civilisation and a condition of its possibility. Thus, when modern liberal subjects perceive the Other as a ‘savage’, they may be said to be encountering their own selves in pure essence; hence the interest in and even a mild fondness for the ‘exotic otherness’ of the savage throughout the history of liberalism, from the colonial period to the contemporary ‘multiculturalism’.¶ The barbarian, on the other hand, is ‘someone who can be understood, characterised, and defined only in relation to a civilisation, and by the fact that he exists outside it. There can be no barbarian unless an island of civilisation exists somewhere, unless he lives outside it, and unless he fights it.’68 Crucially, unlike the savage, who becomes a subject only insofar as he enters or founds a civilised social relationship, the barbarian is an active subject from the outset, yet solely a negative subject of refusal, resistance and destruction. ‘Unlike the savage, the barbarian does not emerge from some natural backdrop to which he belongs. He appears only when civilisation already exists, and only when he is in conflict with it. He does not make his entrance into history by founding a society, but by penetrating a civilisation, setting it ablaze and destroying it.’69¶ What is the criterion that distinguishes the barbarian as the foe to be battled and annihilated from the ‘noble savage’, whose authenticity we might revel in and whose safe eccentricities we might even valorise in the spirit of liberal ‘tolerance’? The savage is manifestly the object of the liberal pastoral, whose transformation into a liberal subject does not, in the aporetic ontology of liberalism, detract from his naturality, but rather completes it, transforming a ‘not truly human’ being into a full-fledged ‘free subject’. The pedagogical endowment of the savage with a ‘natural liberty’ transforms this Other, that from the perspective of the ‘most extreme possibility’ is always a ‘potential enemy’, into a liberal ‘friend’, thereby creating the conditions for the universalisation of the ‘liberal peace’.¶ In contrast, the barbarian is simply the savage who resists this civilising correction and thus forfeits his own nature, becoming a monstrous foe. The barbarian is thus anyone who does not feel at home in the universal liberal homeland and continues to assert his Otherness despite his inclusion in global civilisation. It is thus resistance and daringness to resist that turns the savage, a mute and passive Other, into the most extreme form of the enemy, the enemy of both nature and civilisation, insofar as in the liberal ontology the two function in a mutually supplementary manner. The enemy of liberalism is thus, by necessity, a foe, which entails that a Schmittian relation of ‘just enmity’ is entirely foreclosed in the liberal political ontology. While in the latter relation a minimal identity of all interacting subjects as sovereign states provided a common framework of legitimate equality between particularistic communities, liberalism is constituted by a strict dividing line between societies that are in accordance with ‘natural liberty’ and those that are not. The latter may either function in the modality of the savage, the passively acquiescent objects of pedagogical correctional practices, or, in the case of their resistance to such interventions, are automatically cast as inhuman and unnatural foes, with whom no relationship of legitimate equality may be conceivable. If the transformation of the savage into a liberal subject functions as a condition for ‘liberal peace’, the ultrapolitical engagement with the foe may well be viewed as the continuation of the liberal peace by other means.¶ Thus, the distinguishing feature of the liberal ‘politics of enmity’ is that its utopian desire to eliminate enmity as such from the human condition inevitably leads to the return of the foreclosed in the most obscene form – for liberalism, there indeed are no enemies, just friends and foes. President Bush’s infamous diatribe ‘you are either with us or against us’ should not be read as an extreme deviation from the liberal standard of tolerance, but rather as an expression, at an ‘inappropriate’ site of the transatlantic ‘community of friends’, of the binary liberal logic. When both nature and humanity are a priori on the side of liberalism, there is no need for a Schmittian reflection on how to manage co-existence with radical alterity for the purposes of limiting a permanently possible confrontation. One is either with ‘us’ or against ‘us’, and, in the latter case, one forfeits not merely a place within ‘our’ community of friends, but also one’s belonging to nature and humanity.¶ Conclusion: Beyond the Ultra-Political Terrain¶ The present hegemony of liberal ultra-politics is well illustrated by the contemporary phenomenon of the global ‘war on terror’. The ‘war on terror’ offers a fruitful site for inquiring into the politics of enmity for two reasons. First, the widely perceived undecidability of the category of ‘terrorism’ to the extent that it is frequently attributed to the very same states that have launched the ‘war on terror’ illuminates starkly the contingency of the friend–enemy distinction. This contingency, i.e. the absence of both essence and necessity to any particular empirical form of enmity, points to the permanent gap between the transcendental function of the friend–enemy distinction and its particular historical modality. The deployment of the ultra-political objectification of the enemy as a terrorist ‘rogue’ is a purely contingent option, made possible by a fundamental asymmetry that endows the subjects of the ‘war on terror’ with what Derrida terms the ‘reason of the strongest’, an epistemico-moral self-certitude that itself has something roguish about it:¶ [T]hose states that are able or are in a state to denounce or accuse some ‘rogue state’ of violating the law, of failing to live up to the law, of being guilty of some perversion or deviation, those states that claim to uphold international law and that take the initiative of war, of police or peacekeeping operations because they have the force to do so, are themselves, as sovereign, the first rogue states. This is true even before any evidence is gathered to make a case against them, however useful and enlightening such a case may be. There are always (no) more rogue states than one thinks.70¶ Secondly and consequently, the ‘war on terror’ is of particular interest, insofar as the perception of this fundamental inequality is arguably constitutive of the very subject-position of the ‘terrorist’ foe. Indeed, contemporary terrorist violence may be grasped as a retort of the foe, a paradoxical refusal of the subject-position, imposed on the enemy of liberalism, through its assumption in a hyperbolic and excessive manner, whereby the foe ‘acts out’, with a vengeance, an identity attributed to him or her. Let us suggest that the specificity of terrorist violence is not derivative of extra-political factors that may function as its background motives (poverty, economic inequality, underdevelopment, lack of education, etc.), but is rather a direct expression of a properly political grievance, a retort against the humiliation, incurred in not being recognised as a legitimate enemy. Our demonstration of the monistic nature of liberal pluralism and the artefactual character of liberal naturalism points to the fact that the subject-position of the foe is preconstituted in the political ontology of liberalism, insofar as the appropriation of the capacity to adjudicate what is human and what, within humanity, is natural makes exclusion and stigmatisation a permanently available option for dealing with expressions of dissent.¶ The image of the terrorist foe is thus both entirely contingent from the standpoint of a Schmittian transcendental function of enmity and always-already articulated within the ontological edifice of liberalism. While the motives for particular acts of terrorism might be distinct in each particular case, we may suggest that all these acts, first, take place in the preconstituted subject position of the ‘enemy of liberalism’ and, secondly, target precisely this subject position as a priori inferior. Terrorism is little more and nothing less than the resentful acceptance by the Other of the ultra-political terms of engagement, if only because there is no other way that the present global order can be legitimately opposed: the refusal to be liberalism’s ‘noble savage’ inevitably turns one into a barbarian. If our enemy can only be a monster, should we be surprised that the acts of our enemies are so monstrous? The uncanny effect of the liberal negation of pluralistic antagonism is that in the eyes of its adversaries liberalism may no longer be opposed other than by murderous and meaningless destruction. To the oft-cited empirical claims that contemporary terrorism has been produced as an effect of Cold War policies of Western powers, we must add a conceptual thesis: terrorism is the practical expression of that mode of enmity which the liberal West has constituted as the sole political possibility due to its appropriation of both nature and humanity. The ‘war on terror’ is not an accidental deviation from the maxims of Western liberalism but rather an exemplary model of the only kind of ‘war’ that the liberal foreclosure of political enmity permits, i.e. a war against an a priori ‘unjust enemy’. It should therefore not be surprising to see this model generalised beyond its original articulation, whereby it becomes a standard response to the worldwide expressions of anti-liberal dissent.¶ For this reason, one gains nothing by attempting to battle terrorism either on its constitutive ultra-political terms or, as much of critical thought suggests, on the extra-political fronts of development, poverty relief, civic education, democratisation, etc. Instead, any authentic confrontation with terrorism must logically pass through the stage of questioning what confrontation, struggle and antagonism actually mean today, who we fight, how we fight and, possibly, whether we still have any meaningful willingness to fight. During the 1970s, Foucault frequently lamented that the proverbial ‘class struggle’ tended to be theorised in critical thought in terms of ‘class’ rather than ‘struggle’, the latter term functioning as a mere metaphor.71 The same problem is still with us today – the proliferation of metaphors (‘culture wars’, ‘wars on drugs’, ‘fight against poverty’) is increasingly obscuring the reflection on the concrete meaning of antagonism in contemporary political life.¶ In the interbellum of the 1990s, one frequently encountered discussions of who the new enemy might be after the demise of the Soviet Union. As subsequent events have demonstrated, it is entirely redundant to attempt a theoretical deduction of the concrete enemy, which is after all always constituted in a political decision. However, while the ‘who’ question may be entrusted to history and politics, what requires reflection is a question of how enmity is to be managed. Should we maintain the present ultra-politics of the foe despite its evident boomerang effects on our societies, or should we attempt to return to the structure of ‘legitimate enmity’ of the Westphalian era, expanding it beyond the European system to the entire international society? Should we put our trust in and surrender our freedom to the governmental apparatuses of ‘homeland security’ or should we heed Schmitt’s warning that no security may ever be attained as long as our sense of the world is that in which there is ‘only a homeland’?¶ This article has demonstrated that it is impossible to evade these questions by the plethoric yet repetitive discourse on overcoming enmity in the chimerical project of ‘world unity’ and that answers to these questions require an interrogation of many ontological assumptions that frame the conduct of modern liberal politics. We have seen that the desire to dispense with enmity as such, arising out of liberal epistemicomoral certitude, has not brought about a ‘universal friendship’ but rather produced a limited but universalistic community, which permanently feels threatened due to its incomplete embrace of the globe and, for the same reason, threatens everyone outside itself. The escape from the murderous ultra-politics of the foe is impossible unless it passes through the stage of an ontological critique of liberalism, hence the present importance of Schmitt.
The framework of vulnerability presumes that our fear of danger is the cause of global war---by forgoing the reality of conflict, the affirmative’s strategy can only recreate a globalized war on violence

David Chandler 9, Professor of International Relations at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster, War Without End(s): Grounding the Discourse of `Global War', Security Dialogue 2009; 40; 243



Western governments appear to portray some of the distinctive characteristics that Schmitt attributed to ‘motorized partisans’, in that the shift from narrowly strategic concepts of security to more abstract concerns reflects the fact that Western states have tended to fight free-floating and non-strategic wars of aggression without real enemies at the same time as professing to have the highest values and the absolute enmity that accompanies these. The government policy documents and critical frameworks of ‘global war’ have been so accepted that it is assumed that it is the strategic interests of Western actors that lie behind the often irrational policy responses, with ‘global war’ thereby being understood as merely the extension of instrumental struggles for control. This perspective seems unable to contemplate the possibility that it is the lack of a strategic desire for control that drives and defines ‘global’ war today. Very few studies of the ‘war on terror’ start from a study of the Western actors themselves rather than from their declarations of intent with regard to the international sphere itself. This methodological framing inevitably makes assumptions about strategic interactions and grounded interests of domestic or international regulation and control, which are then revealed to explain the proliferation of enemies and the abstract and metaphysical discourse of the ‘war on terror’ (Chandler, 2009a). For its radical critics, the abstract, global discourse merely reveals the global intent of the hegemonizing designs of biopower or neoliberal empire, as critiques of liberal projections of power are ‘scaled up’ from the international to the global.¶ Radical critics working within a broadly Foucauldian problematic have no problem grounding global war in the needs of neoliberal or biopolitical governance or US hegemonic designs. These critics have produced numerous frameworks, which seek to assert that global war is somehow inevitable, based on their view of the needs of late capitalism, late modernity, neoliberalism or biopolitical frameworks of rule or domination. From the declarations of global war and practices of military intervention, rationality, instrumentality and strategic interests are read in a variety of ways (Chandler, 2007). Global war is taken very much on its own terms, with the declarations of Western governments explaining and giving power to radical abstract theories of the global power and regulatory might of the new global order of domination, hegemony or empire¶ The alternative reading of ‘global war’ rendered here seeks to clarify that the declarations of global war are a sign of the lack of political stakes and strategic structuring of the international sphere rather than frameworks for asserting global domination. We increasingly see Western diplomatic and military interventions presented as justified on the basis of value-based declarations, rather than in traditional terms of interest-based outcomes. This was as apparent in the wars of humanitarian intervention in Bosnia, Somalia and Kosovo – where there was no clarity of objectives and therefore little possibility of strategic planning in terms of the military intervention or the post-conflict political outcomes – as it is in the ‘war on terror’ campaigns, still ongoing, in Afghanistan and Iraq. There would appear to be a direct relationship between the lack of strategic clarity shaping and structuring interventions and the lack of political stakes involved in their outcome. In fact, the globalization of security discourses seems to reflect the lack of political stakes rather than the urgency of the security threat or of the intervention. Since the end of the Cold War, the central problematic could well be grasped as one of withdrawal and the emptying of contestation from the international sphere rather than as intervention and the contestation for control. The disengagement of the USA and Russia from sub-Saharan Africa and the Balkans forms the backdrop to the policy debates about sharing responsibility for stability and the management of failed or failing states (see, for example, Deng et al., 1996). It is the lack of political stakes in the international sphere that has meant that the latter has become more open to ad hoc and arbitrary interventions as states and international institutions use the lack of strategic imperatives to construct their own meaning through intervention. As Zaki Laïdi (1998: 95) explains:¶ war is not waged necessarily to achieve predefined objectives, and it is in waging war that the motivation needed to continue it is found. In these cases – of which there are very many – war is no longer a continuation of politics by other means, as in Clausewitz’s classic model – but sometimes the initial expression of forms of activity or organization in search of meaning. . . . War becomes not the ultimate means to achieve an objective, but the most ‘efficient’ way of finding one. ¶ The lack of political stakes in the international sphere would appear to be the precondition for the globalization of security discourses and the ad hoc and often arbitrary decisions to go to ‘war’. In this sense, global wars reflect the fact that the international sphere has been reduced to little more than a vanity mirror for globalized actors who are freed from strategic necessities and whose concerns are no longer structured in the form of political struggles against ‘real enemies’. The mainstream critical approaches to global wars, with their heavy reliance on recycling the work of Foucault, Schmitt and Agamben, appear to invert this reality, portraying the use of military firepower and the implosion of international law as a product of the high stakes involved in global struggle, rather than the lack of clear contestation involving the strategic accommodation of diverse powers and interests.



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