Turn- You have it backwards- the War on Terror is the product of liberalism
Prozorov in 6 /Professor of International Relations at Petrozavodsk State University, Russia/
[Sergei, “Liberal Enmity: The Figure of the Foe in the Political Ontology of Liberalism”, Millennium - Journal of International Studies]
For a thinker still stuck with an asinine label ‘the crown jurist of the Third Reich’, Carl Schmitt certainly receives a lot of attention in the contemporary discussion. In recent years, the neoconservative policy course of the Bush presidency has been frequently read in terms of the resurgence of the ‘Schmittian’ orientation in foreign policy that allegedly consists in the valorisation of the friend–enemy distinction and the open manifestation of conflict as an indicator of ‘authentic politics’ or ‘authentic life’ more generally.1 The association of the present American administration with the philosopher who, despite abundant evidence to the contrary,2 remains linked with Nazism in much of the liberal discourse, apparently lends credence to the intense, if superficial, criticism of the Bush administration as effecting a disastrous rupture in domestic and international politics, which can only be mended through a return to liberal cosmopolitan policy orientations that dispense with the concept of enmity in the project of ‘world unity’. In this manner, the binary opposition between realism and idealism or ‘liberal internationalism’3 is reproduced and fortified by subsuming contemporary American exceptionalism under the heading of ‘realism’. This, in turn, is delegitimised through its originary association with Schmitt’s political thought. Although this article engages with very specific aspects of Schmitt’s thought, it may be read as an attempt to problematise the operation of this opposition by demonstrating both the dependence of the liberal idealist position on the very ‘Schmittianism’ against which it defines itself and the continued urgency of Schmitt’s own criticism of the tendencies that are erroneously attributed to him. The facile and historically inaccurate character of the identification of Schmitt with contemporary neoconservatism has been addressed by contemporary critical approaches, which point to a fundamental heterogeneity between the two theoretico-political projects.4 Yet, rather than rehearse this critique here, it is important to note that even the critical discourse, which fortunately avoids the liberal pathos of compulsory denunciation of Schmitt, remains tied to some of the constitutive presuppositions of the liberal (mis)reading of Schmitt that relate specifically to the theme highlighted in the present discussion of Schmitt’s thought, i.e. the problematic of enmity. In this article we shall both rely on critical-theoretical readings of Schmitt and attempt to go beyond them in deconstructing the politics of enmity with which Schmitt’s thought is erroneously associated. Against the argument that Schmitt’s critique of liberalism logically leads him to the valorisation of authoritarian and violent politics, founded on the friend–enemy distinction, we shall assert that the contemporary politics of enmity is decidedly un-Schmittian but rather inherent in the rationality of liberal rule that has been the object of Schmitt’s criticism. Thus, our argument does not simply dismiss the straw figure of a ‘Schmittian’ politics of enmity as having little to do with Schmitt, but rather returns this message to the sender in a demonstration of the uncanny proximity of this straw figure to the liberal mode of the friend–enemy distinction.
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