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War as peace, peace as pacification by Mark Neocleous

In history, law, politics, society, war on July 30, 2013 at 17:31

From: War as peace, peace as pacification by Mark Neocleous, Radical Philosophy, http://www.radicalphilosophy.com

The consensus is wide. From a diverse range of recent publications, let me just cite Daniel Ross’s analysis of democratic violence in which he claims that in democracies ‘peacetime and wartime … are increasinglyconvergent’, Rey Chow’s suggestion that war is now the very definition of normality itself, Gopal Balakrishnan’s claim that the invasion and policing of ‘rogue states’ means that ‘a long-term epistemic shift seems to be occurring which is blurring older distinctions between war and peace’, and François Debrix’s argument that the reason the war machine permeates everyday culture is because the distinction between peace and war has broken down.3

I have no interest in challenging this account in itself; as will be seen, despite its apparent boldness it is infact a fairly uncontroversial position to hold. What I do want to challenge, as my starting point at least, is the major historical assumption being made within it. For these accounts rely on an assumption of a ‘classical’ age in which war and peace were indeed distinguishable; they assume that the destabilization is somehow new – hence the references to wars in ‘the past’, in the ‘old sense’ and in the ‘classical’ age. The nebulous nature of some of these phrases is remarkable, given the implied radicalism of the insight being expressed. Worse, in accepting the very claim made by the USA and its allies that everything has indeed changed from the time when the distinction between war and peace was categorical and straightforward, this account also reinforces the general fetish of ‘9/11’ as the political event of our time.

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Reposted with permission from: Radical Philosophy

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