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    Echoes of Schmitt among the Ideologists of the New American Empire

    Kearns, Gerard (2011) Echoes of Schmitt among the Ideologists of the New American Empire. In: Saptiality, Sovereignty and Carl Schmitt: Geogrpahies of the Nomos. Routledge, London, pp. 74-90. ISBN 9780415600675

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    Mark Twain wrote that ‘History never repeats itself, but the kaleidoscopic combinations of the pictured present often seem to be constructed out of the broken fragments of antique legends’ (Twain and Warner, 1873 [1874], 76). More pithily, he is widely quoted as having said some variant of the following: ‘History never repeats itself, but it sometimes rhymes’. I hear Schmitt rhymed when Robert Kaplan (2002, 4) writes of danger in the twenty-first century as likely to come from ‘populist movements, taking advantage of democratization,’ and as requiring the establishment of order abroad, through self interested leadership on the part of the United States. This ‘pagan’ self-interested leadership must be prepared to set aside morality in the service of effectiveness, and thus, while ‘[t]he [US-] Mexican War [1846-8] was probably unjust–motivated as it was by sheer territorial aggression,’ yet, ‘it was a war worth fighting: the United States acquired Texas and the entire Southwest, including California’ (Kaplan, 2002, 130). George W. Bush rhymed Schmitt when, in defending Donald Rumsfeld in April 2006, he described his own style of government: ‘I hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation. But I’m the decider, and I decide what is best’ (Henry and Starr, 2006). The reading list for the Bush administration that took office in January 2001 included Terry Eastland’s (1992) Energy in the Executive: The Case for a Strong Presidency and in Eastland’s advocacy, and in Bush’s practice, of a President with almost unlimited powers, a unitary executive, I hear more Schmitt rhymes (Dean, 2007 [2008], 100). I heard them too, when, in April 2004, George W. Bush set aside UN resolutions and, while advocating the creation of a Palestinian state, yet reassured Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, that, ‘[i]n light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949’ (Anon., 2004). I heard Bernard Lewis (1990) rhyme Schmitt when he spoke of a ‘civilizational jealousy’ that meant the world of Islam hated the West for surpassing the Arab world in technology, wealth, and power and described a ‘clash of civilizations’ between two global blocs defined essentially by religion, with Islam as the auld enemy of Christendom. And, having borrowed Lewis’s incendiary phrase for his own study of international relations as The Clash of Civilizations (Huntington, 1997), Samuel Huntington turned to the internal divisions within the United States and I heard rhymes of Schmitt in his bemoaning the dilution of WASP dominance through the immigration of Mexican Catholics (Huntington, 2004).

    Item Type: Book Section
    Keywords: Echoes of Schmitt; Ideologists; New American Empire; Saptiality; Sovereignty; Carl Schmitt; Geogrpahies of the Nomos;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Item ID: 7658
    Depositing User: Gerry Kearns
    Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2016 11:30
    Journal or Publication Title: Saptiality, Sovereignty and Carl Schmitt: Geogrpahies of the Nomos
    Publisher: Routledge
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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