International terrorism and the international community that counters it

In this part of the chapter, I focus on the relations of power that configure the global sphere and that allowed the discursive crystallisation of “international terrorism” and the “international community”. As the following chapters show, since the late 1990s to early 2000s, the Council has (re)produced a particular hegemonic meaning for “international terrorism”: roughly, a kind of political violence carried out by non-state actors and understood through its relation to Islam. Within the Council, the whole international community participated in the crystallisation of the discourse on the violence with these characteristics. From the perspective of the creation of identity, this implied that the (constructed) Self of the international community perceived this kind of violence as a thr eat to its characteristics.

The three reasons configurating the international sphere

Figure 1.4 The three reasons configurating the international sphere.

The international community bases its construction on what John Hobson called “Chronofetichism” and “Tempocentrism” (Hobson 2002), meaning that the international community constructs its order as spontaneous, immutable, and ahistorical. Neglecting transformative change, these dynamics hide its genealogical processes of formation. At the same time, this obscures the relations of power and of social exclusion that have shaped and legitimised this order, and that are continually reshaping the present - and, in this specific case, the global dispositif. To safeguard the contingent hegemonic order, along with the relations of power and discourses safeguarding it, the violence that challenges the fundamental principles of the international needs to be delegitimised and depoliticised. Drawing from the work of Francisco J. Penas (Penas Esteban 1999), I focus on three relations of power that shape the international sphere in general and, in this specific case, the Council’s fight against international terrorism. Illustrated in Figure 1.4, these are the raison of state, the raison of the system, and the raison of civilisation. I argue that these relations intersect and form what I named the nomos. I use the concept of the nomos as an analytic tool to identify the intersection of the relations of power that shape the Council's dispositif. It is only by analysing these features together that the need to delegitimise and depoliticise “International, Islamic, non-state terrorism” can be understood (see Figure 1.5). As a concept,

The co-constitution of international terrorism and the international community

Figure 1.5 The co-constitution of international terrorism and the international community.

the nomos brings together the main levels on which the global struggle for power and legitimisation takes place,2 unpacked throughout the rest of the chapter.

The state raison

Considered to begin in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia, the formation of sovereignty is a long genealogical process and cannot be discussed here extensively (Thorup 2010; Bartelson 1996). In this book, I focus on the relation between the construction of “international terrorism” and the consolidation of the reason of state - i.e., the "theory of the interests of the state” (Meinke 1983, 20; Penas Esteban 1999, 84-117). The construction of “international terrorism” had a central role in the consolidation of the reason of state - i.e., the “theory of the interests of the state” (Meinke 1983; Penas Esteban 1999, 84-117). The reason of state, or, the safeguarding of the reason of state, is the idea that justifies the state’s actions even when these are considered transgressive of moral principles. This justification is usually formulated under the imperative of necessity or in the name of the supreme safeguarding of the state and its characteristics (Penas Esteban 1999, 84).

Here, the fight against "international terrorism” served to construct and consolidate the state position both at a domestic and an international level. The state has been constructed - and thus legitimated - as the entity in charge of countering terrorism through discursive moves that allowed it to reinforce and safeguard its sovereignty. Through the struggle against “international terrorism", the state has managed to maintain and reinforce its sovereign power, its monopoly of force, and its legitimacy. This process took place through the delegitimisation and ille- galisation of other actors’ violence. When analysed in relation to the reason of state, we can see how the construction of the discourse and the formation of the dispositif of “international terrorism” has evolved around the political struggle on the legitimacy of the use of force (Thorup 2010). As the following chapter illustrates, “terrorism” gradually lost its meaning of political strategy and was differentiated from state violence. There are two pivotal processes in the understanding of the state which influenced the evolution of the category and separated it from the state.

The first is the conception of the state as sovereign and as the only domestic and international entity with the legitimate right to the monopoly of force. Max Weber defined the state as “that human community, which within a certain area or territory [Gebietes] [...] (successfully) lays claim to a monopoly of legitimate physical violence” (Weber 1919). Along these lines, the constitution of the state as the only institution with the right to the legitimate use of force created the idea of the state “as neutral conflict manager or arbiter of social conflict within society” (Stohl 2006, 4). This process constructed state violence as the one and only that is legal - with the exceptions to this rule regulated mostly by international law and international humanitarian law. This process rendered all the other kinds of violence as illegal - above all. the violence that is usually directed against the state - e.g., terrorism.

Once established as the basic political unit in the structuring of the social- international sphere, the nation-state erected itself in the international system as the only authority in charge of “policing the frontier between the legitimate (normal surveillance and war) and the illegitimate (violence)” (Thonip 2010). That is to say, the state conferred itself with the monopoly of force, self- legitimised its use of force, and terrorism was rendered as a kind of violence which is always perpetrated by non-state actors and thus always illegitimate. Historically, as the modern state emerged, “the blood [...] has dried in the codes of law” (Foucault 1975). And, as Thorup argued, the distinction is not anymore violence/nonviolence, but state/non-state, underlining how the state has successfully naturalised its own violence (Thorup 2010). Moreover, the state is the institution in charge of the population, a task on which is based the legitimacy of its monopoly of force. Terrorism is, generally speaking, a violence that targets the individuals that should be protected by the state with the aim of achieving a political goal. It, therefore, challenges the legitimacy of the state and the same construction of the sovereign as provider of security (Townshend 2011, 8-11).

The genealogical conformation of sovereignty paved the way for the consolidation of the second, more recent element. This is related to the consolidation of the international system in state unities throughout the XX century. Processes like the First World War and Second World War shaped the international system into sovereign nation-states. The decolonisation process taking place mainly during the decades of the Cold War saw the establishment of negative sovereignty, the juridical independence assigned to the various states by the same international community based on the principle of non-interference in domestic affairs (R. H. Jackson 1990). Therefore, sovereignty was understood as an “intrinsic” quality of states not related to their internal functioning and their domestic organisation (R. H. Jackson 1990).

However, since the 1990s, sovereignty started to be understood in a positive way and the state was assigned the performance of domestic responsibilities towards its population - e.g., its protection, and its welfare (R. H. Jackson 1990). In addition to this, the state was given international responsibilities. In this context, the state was gradually detached from “terrorism”, and the formation of its identity and its legitimacy was based on it being a “good sovereign”. The state was not only the institution with the legitimate right to force, but it was also that this force had to be always legitimate. In general terms, these historical processes resulted in the assignation of different labels to unlawful uses of violence in international relations based on the actor behind it. For example, the cases of huge levels of unlawful state violence against (a part of) the population, usually, receive the names of genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Contrastingly, illegal non-state actors’ violence was mostly globally constructed in a different way and labelled, for instance, terrorism.

Moreover, the terrorist is also the figure that helps reinforce the legal order. The terrorist exists outside the law. In other words, terrorist violence is always marginal and irregular because it is the violence that is constructed outside the law, hors la loi in Schmitt’s words (Schmitt 2004). Because of the binary way in which language works, this process constructs state violence as legitimate - reinforcing thus the status of the state. As states created law, it is the states that also create the terrorist, “in and through the establishment, consolidation and defense of its monopoly on both violence and its description” (Thorup 2010,42). It should be mentioned that, in relation to the most recent processes of globalisation and transnational flows, it has been argued that the sovereign state lived a moment of crisis. Here, as de Benoist argued, the state has managed to reformulate its role also in relation to the fight against this violence, because "Terrorism provides the state, which previously appeared increasingly impotent in the face of global influences and challenges linked to globalisation, with a new legitimacy and a new role” (de Benoist 2013, 86).

Furthermore, it is not only that the terrorist should be understood in relation to the state, but also that the state should be understood in relation to the terrorist. This institution came into being and is continuously shaped by its answer to terrorism. As Thorup argued, “the modem states developed its internal apparatus of surveillance and violence in no small measure due to the 'terrorist' challenges coming from terrorists, anarchists, colonials, red and black violence, labor disputes, etc” (Thorup 2010, 42). In other words, the articulation of the terrorist on the “outside” allows for the constant policing by the state, an element that brings the author to assert, paraphrasing Tilly, that “states fight challengers and challengers (inadvertently help) make states” (Thorup 2010,42). Therefore, overall, the discourse focused on acts of violence which presented two features: they contained some kind of political claim and they were perpetrated by non-state actors, especially against the state. As a consequence, terrorist violence - a violence that the discourse has constructed as illegitimate and immoral - was almost totally delinked from states as institutions. That said, to understand the logics that guided the construction as an “international phenomenon”, the reason of the system should be discussed.

The system raison

The raison of state cannot take place in a system that does not present a high degree of homogeneity (see, among others, Penas Esteban 1999,85). In this sense, the reason of the system is not only the sum of its parts but rather the order that composes the international and that structures interactions among its parts, reifying the state as the sovereign entity (Penas Esteban 1997, 85). Within the "international states system” (Wight 1977), states are equal sovereigns placed in an anarchical structure, meaning that there is no central govermnent (Penas Esteban 1997, 111). The system needs to be formed by sovereign nation-states who only recognise other sovereigns as legitimate (violent) actors, in a process that is thus co-constitutive of the system itself. In Schmittian terms, it may be argued that other states may be friends or enemies, but they are never foes because the Others’ legitimacy implies the legitimacy of the Self.

The system serves and is structured around different goals, as identified by Hedley Bull (Bull 1977). The first goal is the “preservation of the system and the society of states itself’, which, as Bull explains, means that "The society of states has sought to ensure that it will remain the prevailing form of universal political organisation, in fact and in right” (Bull 1977, 16). The second goal is “maintaining the independence or external sovereignty of individuals states”, while the third is the “goal of peace”, understood here not as the establishment of universal and permanent peace, but as the condition which will regulate the interactions of the members of the international community (Bull 1977, 17). Considered all together, it can be seen how the reason of the system serves and protects the reason of the state, fixing the sovereigns as the basic units at its centre and regulating their interactions through, for example, international law.

Nevertheless, the construction of the system as a site where all its members are equal, independent, and with shared values is more fictional than real (Penas Esteban 1997, 114). It is not only that hegemonies are present among members; as a reflection of power, the system itself is highly unequal, unjust, and unfair to the point that Wallerstein defined sovereignty the “ideology of the system” (Wallerstein 1990) because states are neither equal nor free. Therefore, the creation of an ideological landscape which would maintain the international order and “peace” (Penas Esteban 1997, 111) is not enough to construct the reason of the system. Here, the construction of a common identity and the transformation of the system into a community or society played a fundamental role in keeping the reason of the system together.

Whereas during the Cold War, the order was given by the bipolar division, the end of the Cold War supposed a moment of transition and reconfiguration of the system. What allowed the maintenance of the reason of the system was the emergence of a new enemy, a new unit which could represent the Other in the international sphere (O'Hagan 1995; 2000). Borrowing the concepts from Robert Walker, it can be argued that the international was thus divided into an inside/ outside (Walker 1993). A discourse emerged that placed “international terrorism” on the outside, a move that allowed the constitution of the inside in the form of an “international imagined community” (Anderson 1983) or “international society of states” (Bull 1977, 13). Both categories - terrorism and the community - are fictional and exist only insofar as they are put in a binary relation, a process that renders them internally homogeneous and differentiates one from another.

As Bull argued, states manage to form a society when they are able to recognise certain common interests and values (Bull 1977, 13). Yet when the focus is shifted to the sphere of the international, states that composed the international system did not present this homogeneity. It is here that the discourse on "international terrorism” should be understood in relation to the reason of the system. The common values of this “international community” were constructed through the binaiy discursive processes mentioned above. “International terrorism” was depicted as barbaric, evil, and inhuman. As a consequence, following Winkler’s description of terrorism as a negative ideograph mentioned above, the “international community” was portrayed as civilised, good, and human.

One can start to discern how the common interest was placed in the common activity of the fight against terrorism. It is not only that the Self of the “international community” was constructed by differentiating it from the “international terrorism” Other, but the common counter-terrorism fight allowed the constitution of a unified “international community”, a community kept together by the fight against the same enemy. Within this process, the United Nations played a fundamental role, as the organisation managed to become the symbol of the “international society” based on common values, interests, and problems. Moreover, the UN provided an international agenda of issues whose review and resolution was a collective duty (Penas Esteban 1997). In this international scenario, the Security Council, because of the power it was imbued with, became the “focus for global consensus-building and legitimation” (Buzan 1991, 438). Therefore, “international terrorism” was not only fought by states to safeguard the construction of the reason of state or fought by the system as the mere sum of the interests of the states composing it, but also terrorism was constructed as a unique, “international” phenomenon so that it could represent a useful constitutive “outside” to give a shape to the “international community”. In order to understand the focus on the last characteristic presented by the discourse - the one that linked Islam and “international terrorism”, the reason of civilisation is discussed below.

The civilisation raison

The civilisation raison, the related “standard of civilisation(s)” and the inscription of the Other(s) in the outside is a logic that has a long genealogy and that has been extensively debated in International Relations (see, among others, Salter 2002; Vv. Aa. 2014). This raison has characterised the encounter of the Christian, European, then Western world and the rest of the planet throughout modernity. Driving the mission civilisatrice, the reason of civilisation identified as a central goal of the Western expansion the creation of humanity and civilisation in “barbaric” non- European, then non-Western and uncivilised societies (Ruiz-Gimenez Arrieta 2005, 41). The binary language of the “civilised/uncivilised” justified and morally legitimised Western violent actions throughout history (Penas Esteban 1999), these being either the conversion or the annihilation of the barbarians and the savages.

The reason of civilisation drove, justified, and legitimised the European expansion throughout history and reached its historical climax in the XIX century (Ruiz-Gimenez Arrieta 2005, 41). Here, the “international society of European states [...] added, in its expansion process, non-European and then non-Western members and was thus considered in more general terms as the society of ‘civilised’ states” (Penas Esteban 1999, 86). At its core, the “standard of civilisation” legally codified the relations to be maintained with the “uncivilised” territories and cultures. As Ruiz-Gimenez argued, the standard of civilisation “served to strengthen the hierarchical nature of the (international) society”, opposing the civilised societies with the savages and the barbarians, whose sovereignty was not recognised (Ruiz-Gimenez Arrieta 2005, 51). These represented the Other(s) of the international society and their conquest, conversion, or annihilation was considered legitimate (and even desired).

In the long process of globalisation of the international society, the genealogical “civilisational transformation” of the world started taking place. Gradually, the European, then Western society became the “international society”, as other nations and actors joined it. Previous “Other(s)” started inhabiting the inside, adopting - but also shaping - the existing structures. Being a central characteristic of the inside, sovereignty was also spread through colonisation. The sovereign state was globally consolidated as the model of political organisation in the XX century with the two World Wars and decolonisation (Ruiz-Gimenez Arrieta 2005, 36). The latter led to the extension of sovereignty to the whole world - officially recognised with the General Assembly’s Resolution 1514 (1960) granting independence and the right to exercise sovereignty to colonial countries and peoples.3 These processes further shaped the inside as an "international community” inhabited, in this case, by similar sovereign units who were, gradually, joining the “club of states”. Nevertheless, progressively, the standard of civilisation emerged again in two different ways. In the inside, its emergence was linked to the shift in the understanding of sovereignty from negative to positive. The possibility of performing sovereignty in different degrees led to the categorisation of some states as "failed states” or “quasi states” and reinforced the internal hierarchical organisation of the international society (R. H. Jackson 1990).

More relevant to my analysis is the way this logic currently divides the inside from the outside. Similar to how the “standard of ‘civilisation’ helped to define the international identity and the external borders of the dominant international society in the XIX and XX centuries” (Penas Esteban 1999, 109), in the same way the global dispositif of international terrorism divides these two spheres and maintains a specific structure of the global in a dominant position. As Foucault has argued, an island of civilisation could not exist without a barbarian existing outside of it (Foucault 1975, 194; see also, Salter 2002, 12) - an image that becomes even more productive when the Other resists or fights against the established order as in the case of international terrorism. In other words, the current “international ‘civilised’ community of sovereign states” encompasses all the states that participate in the enterprise of the fight against international terrorism, not in a material but in a discursive way - i.e., virtually, all the states of the international system (Herschinger 2013).

The global fight against international terrorism is shaped by the reason of civilisation and the need to maintain the hierarchical position of the inside. Paraphrasing Buzan and Lawson (Buzan and Lawson 2015, 241), it can be argued that the standard of civilisation, in this context, equates sovereign violence with civilisation and legitimacy and, contrastingly, non-sovereign violence with “barbarism” and illegitimacy. Similarly to how the “law of the Christian nations” and the jus publicum europeanum became the “law of the civilised nations” (Gong 1984, 240), international law, international humanitarian law, and the same principle of sovereign monopoly of force divides “civilised violence” and its legitimate perpetrators from “uncivilised” violent actors. Here, the standard of civilisation draws the dividing inside/outside line of the sovereign international community and its moral, “global frontierland” (Thorup 2010, 205). And, the dispositif of international terrorism performs and reproduces this division.

Therefore, central to the system, sovereignty is the core characteristic for the inside/outside division. Historically, the European, then Western society understood its supposed superiority through a civilisational idea, which was then codified by a judicial superiority. Similarly, nowadays, the international community still justifies its supposed superiority basing it on the modern model of organisation of the international (Penas Esteban 1999, 127). As mentioned above, the genealogical globalisation of the international society led to the configuration of the international system in a nation-states order, or, in other words, the univer- salisation of the, first European, then Western, now universal, sovereign model (Penas Esteban 1999, 58). And, sovereignty, the reason of the state and of the system, all of them at the base of modern constitution of the international, have been described as (Christian) European/Western concepts universalised (Penas Esteban 1997).

While the mutual constitution of actors inside the community and the ones joining it cannot be denied (Dunne and Reus-Smit 2017), the process of modernisation that has transformed the international system can also be understood as a “Westernisation of the world” which has reached the status of de jure (Penas Esteban 1997). Far from wanting to silence the resistances and negotiations taking place through the colonial encounter, focusing on the somewhat Western-centric character of the globalisation of the international society allows to deconstruct the crystallisation of the global dispositif of “international terrorism” on a kind of violence that is labelled as “Islamic”. Although the long genealogical process of Othering of Islam in international relations is also a key element here, it is the transformation of the world in the 1990s that lays the conditions of possibility for the emergence and institutionalisation of the dispositif at an international level - i.e., its acceptance, performance, and (re)production by the whole international community.

The end of the Cold War and the beginning of the New World Order wrought important changes in the understanding of sovereignty, but also the proclamation of the victory of liberalism and market capitalism - depicted as the end of history (Salter 2002, 128). Far to imply that all its members shared these values in the same way, the Western language of democratisation, human rights, and (neo)lib- eralism impregnated the international community’s social imaginary (Salter 2002, 129). The end of the ideological, bipolar confrontation changed the UN’s focus from interstate conflicts to intrastate, domestic dynamics and its interpretation of threats to international peace and security and breaches of international peace. No longer interstate conflicts because of the obligation to maintain peaceful relations among states of the international community, threats to international peace and security were now considered those acts of violence affecting the population - i.e., challenging the state’s role in protecting its own population. This implied a strong shift on positive sovereignty which led to a strong resurgence of an international standard of civilisation (Salter 2002, 129).

This allowed the global dispositif s crystallisation on violent groups such as Al-Qaida, and, in a more recent phase, ISIL. These groups contravene the key norms of the system and the legitimacy of the hegemonic character of sovereignty, as analysed so far. Moreover, articulated around an “Islamic core”, their project of establishing a global Caliphate, the language of the ummah, and the transnationality and universality of this political model represent a direct challenge to the sovereign-state-system. As O’Hagan argued, “their concept of political community unsettles conventional conceptions of the sovereign state” to the point that they “do not simply contest, but directly challenge the political, normative, and institutional structures of the contemporary international society” (O’Hagan 2017, 201). This depends mainly on the different understanding of the political sphere these two models formulate. In Luca Mavelli’s words, “in the historical and political formation of Western/European modernity, Islam is perceived as a threat as it evokes the (problematic) image of an all-encompassing system of belief that conflates religion (private) and politics (public)” (Mavelli 2012, 161).

This conflation is problematic because the standard of civilisation genealogically linked modernity also to a process of sovereign secularisation (Penas Esteban and Martini 2019). Describing how the question of religion has been an essential part of the genealogical emergence of a state-centric understanding of security, Mavelli argues that, nowadays, secularisation is interpreted as a provider of security in international relations (Mavelli 2012). While it may be argued that secularisation shapes hegemonies in the inside of the international community too, this analysis studies how secularisation has influenced the (re)emergence of a standard of civilisation between the inside and the outside, shaping the crystallisation of the dispositif on “international, Islamic terrorism” in the last decades. The groups described as such are centred on an “Islamic ideological nucleus” and, as a consequence, express their grievances in a language that, "under Western eyes” (Mohanty 1984), is rather religious than political. It is certainly true, as Mamdani argued, that the political violence that “does not fit the (Westernised) stoiy of progress (and universality)” or even challenges it, as in this case, tends to be described through theological, civilisational, and moral narratives (Mamdani 2005, 4). However, the focus on secularisation allows us to take the analysis further. All the same, there is a more profound reason for the “international - Westernised, then globalised - community” to describe the conflict with “Islamic terrorism” in theological and civilisational terms.

Western secularisation is an “operational fiction” (Penas Esteban and Martini 2019). This does not only point to the fact that religious elements are still permeating the “Western” world (Penas Esteban and Martini 2019), it also wants to highlight that the modern (European/Western and then universalised) political concepts shaping the international sphere and regaining so much strength with the New World Order are, in fact, theological, secularised categories (Schmitt 2009). In other words, it is not only that, within the “international community”, the pub- lic/religious-private distinction is not implemented. Genealogically, this division has its origins in a tradition that is first Stoic, then Christian, and afterwards Enlightened and that has led to a certain understanding of these concepts which is still linkable to this European, then Western-centric origins (Penas Esteban 2003, 35). Political concepts such as democratic peace, the universality of the political principles and structures, the construction of a homogeneous universe - not pluriverse (Schmitt 2009; 2007), and the universality of sovereignty find their roots in a European, Christian tradition, which were then encompassed by the Enlightenment (Penas Esteban 2003, 35). The international (Western) political categories are thus (Christian) religious concepts secularised (Mavelli 2012) and globalised (Penas Esteban and Martini 2019).

It is through this theological perspective that the civilisational division between the inside and outside can be further problematised and repoliticised. In fact, Islamic political concepts are also theological. The dispositif separates the inside inhabited by the Western-shaped “global international community” and the outside “international Islamic terrorism”. Or, in more general terms, it separates and performs two different understandings of the organisation of the social and of the international sphere, while maintaining, articulating, and reproducing the hegemony of one side through the standard of civilisation demarcation. Here, the terrorist foe’s contestation of this status quo leads to the international community’s need for the annihilation of an existential threat, a fight that is shaped by the same reason of civilisation and depicted as a moral enterprise. The fight against terrorism is thus based on the language of morality and the demonisation and depoliticisation of the Other. This language depoliticises this violence and neglects its political claims while justifying and legitimising the superiority of a political model. This is the political model of the sovereign nation-states system, influenced by the colonial encounter and yet maintaining its genealogical origins in the European, Western expansion, and the standard of civilisation.

In other words, a “normative horizon” has been constructed - based on the language of liberalism, the philosophy behind this international configuration - which has delegitimised other models of societal organisation (Penas Esteban 2003). This process has been carried out in the name of the elimination of conflicts, democratic peace and human rights, shaped and influenced by the New World Order’s (neo-liberal) spirit (see, among others, Penas Esteban 2003; Thorup 2010). This universalisation has been fuelled by the supposed superiority of the Western model, which, in turn, is based on the supposed secularisation of its political concepts (Penas Esteban and Martini 2019). It is through this theological perspective that the clash between these positions can be understood. In effect, the clash takes place between the Western-led "international community” and "international Islamic terrorism” or, in more general terms, between two different understandings of the organisation of the social and of the international. This clash has been based - from a theoretical level - on what Mavelli has defined as claims of faith, dogmatic, absolute, and unnegotiable points of views which, when they clash, generate violence (Mavelli 2012, 181). And yet because the world is a pluriverse, these should have been based on what the author has called claims of knowledge, claims which are open to confrontation and negotiations (Mavelli 2012,181) - claims that belong to the sphere of the political and agonistic politics.

As Todorov argued, a civilisational conflict could be solved with either a conversion or a conquest (Todorov 1989). “Islamic terrorism” represents a foe for the international community and, therefore, the struggle against it is played out in theological and moral terms. In this respect, the fight against “international terrorism” may be interpreted as a further step in the “standard of civilisation” hierarchy on which the international (European/Western-centric) community is based. The displacement of conflict to the binary categories of the struggle between Good versus Evil and Civilisation versus Barbarism can be interpreted as the (supposed) secularised version of the logics that have guided the conquest of other parts of the world, the subsequent redistribution of power within the international system, and the resulting hierarchies that structure the global sphere. Together with the other two raisons mentioned above, the raison of civilisation structures and reproduces the hegemony of the inside in a formation of power that I have named nomos.

The nomos and the global dispositif of international terrorism

The three reasons have become the hegemonic principles of the structuring of the international sphere, giving rise to a Foucauldian “constellation of power”. This is a structure in which global power relations are actualised, performed, and reproduced, understanding power as the multiplicity of relations of force intrinsic both in a specific domain and in other social relations (Ditrych 2013, 224; From Michel Foucault 1981). Here, the global dispositif of international terrorism is analysed in relation to these reasons and the unequal distribution of power in the international system, specifically, between the inside and the outside. To better capture this constellation of power inhabiting the inside and its mutual constitutive relation with the outside, I use Schmitt’s category of the nomos of the earth, in an appropriation and adaptation of what the author conceptualised as a territorial category.

Schmitt understood the nomos as the act of appropriation of land which created both a spatial (Ortung) and legal order (Ordnung) (Schmitt 2003, 63-79). The historical process of colonisation of the “New World”, he argued, resulted in a spatial, “nomic” order based on a “global linear thinking” (Schmitt 2003, 63-79), i.e., the division of the world into two spheres. On the one side, sustained by the civilisational logics mentioned, the European struggle for power and land appropriation led to wars of annihilation and extermination in the “New World” (Odysseos 2007, 125). According to Schmitt, the conquest and colonisation of this part of the world gave further impetus to the consolidation of the European Westphalian system and the jus publicum europeanum. In fact, argued Schmitt, the use of ruthless violence beyond the “line of civilisation” created the possibility for the “bracketing of war” in Europe - i.e., here, conflict would take place but according to specific rules regulating sovereigns’ use of force as specified by the jus publicum europeanum (Schmitt 2003; Odysseos 2007). Regulated by the jus publicum europeanum, sovereigns would confront but not annihilate each other and wars would take the shape of a duel between equals (Schmitt 2003; Odysseos

2007). Sharing the same legitimising principles, sovereigns would perceive themselves as real enemies - and not foes.

The German author argued that the nomos was eroded by World War 1 and World War 2 and the following processes of the New World Order’s homogenisation of the world (Odysseos 2007, 131-132). The globalisation of the international community dissolved the territorial order of the nomos into a "general universality”, erasing the dividing line (Schmitt 2003). Historically, international organisations such as the League of Nations and, then, the United Nations established as main goals the elimination - not regulation - of wars. Subsequently, the New World Order changed the understanding of war from a legitimate political tool to an illegal and immoralised activity. At the same time, it pushed the international community of states to adopt the language of universalism and of a shared humanity. For Schmitt this was highly problematic because the erasure of the line also eliminated the possibility of "bracketing” war and conflict - elements that he considered intrinsic to the political. For him, the erasure of the line and the impossibility to limit violence would “lead to even more horrendous ‘otherings’ and exclusions” (Odysseos 2007, 129). These would be aggravated by the appropriation of the categories of morality and humanity from one side of the world, as it would lead to fighting inhuman and evil Others in an absolute way.

In a loose appropriation of Schmitt’s theorisation of the nomos of the earth, I argue that the dispositif of international terrorism is somewhat reproducing a - non-territorial - global linear thinking and a division of an (abstract) inside and outside. Paraphrasing authors such as Odysseos, who focuses on how the dispositif "created unity in the Western world” (Odysseos 2007,129), I claim that the global fight against international terrorism has recreated a “spatial spaceless nomos”, (re)- producing and performing the global division between the “international community” and “international terrorism”. Sustained and shaped by the three raisons, the dispositif of international terrorism restored a non-territorial “global linear thinking” by re-establishing a conceptual line between the inside and the outside. In other words, “conceivably, just as non-European space (and practices within this space) ‘functioned as the environment’ that guaranteed the overall unity and identity of the internally differentiated ‘system’ that was Europe” (Rasch 2003, 121), the contemporary dispositif of international terrorism functions ideologically to maintain the fictionality of the “international community” and to project violence towards the outside.

Therefore, while wars of annihilation can take place against and in an abstract outside, the inside can maintain the fictionality of “peace”. In fact, both terrorist violence and countering terrorism take place in this outside and are thus “a war of peacetime” (de Benoist 2013, 79). Consequently, even though the lines drawn by the “spaceless universalism” are more conceptual than real - as they may lack a territorial dimension (Odysseos 2007, 129), the dispositif of international terrorism is reproducing a “spaceless spatial” nomic division of the international. Therefore, the nomos represents the (abstract) ensemble of the power relations and hierarchies that structure the international sphere - i.e.. the three raisons - and that allow the international community to inhabit an abstract inside while projecting violence outside. In other words, the formation of the dispositif allowed the recreation of what Schmitt named “global linear thinking”, i.e., the restoration of the line of distinction between the inside and the outside. Placing in the abstract sphere of the “outside” “international terrorism” functions ideologically to maintain the fictionality of the “international community”. Consequently, these categories are to be understood as mutually constitutive.

Stretching Schmitt’s thinking, the three raisons may be considered the new form of nomos because they provide both a spatial and a legal order. By way of Andres Behnke (2004, 311) and John Gray’s (2003) argument that “international terrorism” is a product of modernity, it can be argued that the construction of “international terrorism” is the product of “the relationship between globalization, modernity, sovereignty” (Behnke 2004, 311) - where modernity is understood as the (fictional) sovereign, secular order of the international system. Rephrasing Rasch (2003), despite the differentiated nature of the actors that compose the “international community”, the safeguarding of the hegemonic structuring of the international in the three reasons is carried out through the construction of a (terrorist) foe placed in the fictional outside. This provides a foe against which the “inside” will be projecting its violence and constructing its Self. It is through the common activity of countering international terrorism that the international community’s (fictional) homogeneity is constructed (Rasch 2003). In this sense, as both categories are discursive constructs, they are co-constitutive of each other (see Figure 1.5).

Drawing from Odysseos’s claim about the US-led War on Terror, I argue that the Council's fight can also be interpreted as the “quintessential liberal cosmopolitan war” (Odysseos 2007,136). This kind of warfare has a “punitive character of social pest control” (Ditrych 2014, 14), it aims at the complete annihilation of those who oppose the Self- the foes, and it spreads modem liberal subjectivities through biopolitical and necropolitical practices, although in different ways. The international community is based on the principles of biopolitics, a way of governing and disciplining, whose last aim is to make individuals live (Foucault 2000). The relations between the inside/outside are guided by the necessity to annihilate the “terrorist foe” and are thus based on what the postcolonial author, Achille Mbembe, named necropolitics (Mbembe 2003), the opposite side of biopolitics, the politics that (can) kill.

Moreover, through its evolution into practices of prevention of radicalisation into (violent) extremism, the dispositif has not only regulated the relationship between the inside and the outside, but it has eventually allowed a strong gov- ernmentality of the inside, “a technique of sovereign power that produces certain sorts of subjects and involves oppression, regulation, violence, control, policing and surveillance of life itself’ (Stern and Ojendal 2010, 16). Rather than on the outburst of terrorist violence, with these categories, the international concern was shifted to the extremist ideas and ideologies that may radicalise individuals into violence and on preventing individuals from adopting them. Here, the focus became the extremist (Islamic) Other, rendered into a foe by the evil, immoral, and illegitimate nature of its ideas and thoughts, who challenges the narrative of universality of the nomos - and thus, the legitimacy of its hegemony.

These new understandings have led to the dispositif s reproduction of the binary category of extremist/moderate. Analysed in Chapter 5, this binary does not describe only ideas and ideologies but also subjects and subjectivities. It is maintained by what I named the dispositif of international extremism, this being the last phase of the Council’s dispositif s evolution. The application of the nomic theoretical lens allows me to highlight how this process reflects the reification of the international community’s liberal nature and its hegemony while dismissing and securitising (illiberal, Islamic) challenges to the nomos. In terms of the nomic division of the world, the governmentality of the extremist/moderate binary led to the strengthening of the “spaceless spatial” thinking. Inserted within a global nomic hegemonic interpretation of subjectivity, “extremist subjects” became undesirable because of the threatening nature of their ideas. Driven by the reason of civilisation, the enforcement of a modern interpretation of Islam compatible with the liberal, Western nomic structure of the international order became the core element used to govern potential political (Islamic) dissent (Kundnani and Hayes 2018). The dispositif was thus legitimising and enforcing a liberal homologation of thoughts and reifying subjectivities based on the liberal. Western understanding of the modern (privately Muslim) subject (Cuadro 2020).

The incorporation of these new categories transformed the global fight against international terrorism from a (mostly) military enterprise into a disciplining process which controls the conduct of the population - but also states’ behaviours - through risk management techniques, biopolitical practices, and extensive practices of surveillance - resembling, to some extent, Foucault’s conceptualisation of the panopticon. Eventually, all these practices have been put together in a historical and contingent interrelationship which controls and disciplines both the inside and the outside, the public and the private, co-constituting and reinforcing each other. The global dispositif of international terrorism thus has become an all-encompassing dispositif of international extremism. Rendering the personal political, the dispositif on extremism implemented a kind of governmentality that entered all spheres of the society. Merging international and domestic dynamics, the dispositif had thus encompassed all spheres of the political realm. Depicted as spaces of contagion or of detection of radicalisation, these realms were securitised and rendered spaces of surveillance and of control of (illiberal) dissent. Linked to international dynamics, all these spheres became the locus for the (re)formation of individuals into the global, liberal, desirable political subject for the nomos.

Rephrasing Odysseos and as a last reflection, it can thus be argued that not only the global fight against international terrorism but also the new practices of the prevention of radicalisation and extremism can be interpreted as "the latest (violent) form of a longer project intent on subjectivizing peoples, who have only partially been subjectivized through colonialism, through the expansion of global capitalism, through the international biopolitical operations of the UN system” (Odysseos 2007, 138). The dispositif is, therefore, not only central in maintaining and performing the inside/outside division but also in the disciplining of subjects and subjectivities.

Nowadays, this is not anymore only a militaiy enterprise taking place in non-West- em territories but, rather, a more abstract govemmentality of ideas and identities.

 
Source
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >