Essay On 'S War On Terrorism
This level is revealed if a deconstruction of Obama’s rhetoric is undertaken.Baker-Beall argues that ‘actorness’ is not reducible solely to ‘objective material elements’; instead, it consists of the values and meanings that are discursively constructed to produce a binary ‘self’/‘other’ identity. As Campbell argues, foreign policy can never be detached from such a binary construction, in which the self and other reflect mutually exclusive identities. The second level of the ‘war on terror’ discourse is composed in such a way.These ‘affiliates’ include associated organisations, such as the ‘Islamic State’ (or ISIS). In 2014, Obama and his team began securitizing ISIS as a major terrorist threat within the ‘war’ discourse. ISIS are ‘al Qaeda affiliates’, and are constructed as the primary enemy; Obama consistently speaks of the war’s ‘core objective’ as being to ‘destroy ISIL’ (ISIS), as they are the ‘greatest threat’. Furthermore, ‘affiliates’ are also the individual terrorists these organisations generate; Obama discusses them as ‘radicalised – they are real and definable people, not an emotional state. The enemy, therefore, is no longer terror, but al Qaeda and its affiliates, specifically ISIS and individual terrorists.
This allows Obama to give the impression of a pragmatic post-Bush conflict, thereby allowing the war more legitimacy at a time when Bush’s war is considered irresponsible and boundless. The second level, however, consists of the and identities given to these material actors.In Obama’s binary identity, the actors no longer reflect material people or states, but are instead defined by the opposing values they represent – the ‘war on terror’ becomes a war between the ideology of terrorism and the values of Western liberalism.Firstly, the ‘self’ is constructed as representative of those values in Western liberal thought that are associated with modern civilisation: for instance, freedom, equality, democracy, and human progress.According to Buzan and Waever’s securitization theory, for states to legitimise and hence realise military action and war, its political elites must discursively construct a particular problem as a security threat, thereby justifying the state to go beyond normal political practice to eliminate such threat. It is a discourse constructed after the 9/11 attacks by Bush and his political aides; it constructed terrorism as an ‘existential threat’ to America and Americans, thereby legitimising military action.Furthermore, this essay takes a constructivist approach by suggesting that language and social reality are interdependent and inseparable; it is language, meanings and identities that shape and constrain social reality.The discourse therefore necessitates that America and its allies fight an ideological and a physical war.In terms of ideological warfare, it is clear that the US is not winning, as their attempt to fight Jihadism with Western values proves incompetent.Obama’s rhetoric is not static nor uniform, but this essay will focus on its dominant and recurrent themes.Defining the actors First, it is necessary to determine who the discourse constructs as actors in the ‘war’, as only then can one measure who is winning.Therefore, the ‘war on terror’ is defined as a discourse that not only discusses but also legitimises and shapes US counterterrorism strategy.It is primarily a US-propagated discourse; as Baker-Beall suggests, counterterrorism strategies elsewhere are framed in different discursive structures, for instance the ‘fight against terrorism’ in Europe.