Are Carl Schmitt’s ideas still applicable? (Part one)

Carl Schmitt’s ideas on war, and more importantly, the necessity of finding an enemy in order to preserve a national identity through the negation and combat against the opponents’ way of life, cannot be applicable to current geopolitical affairs: the enemy state will soon cease to exist after ISIS’ death, and we will only be left with insurgents.

ISIS was the most convenient enemy we’ve had since the Nazis: it is a state, an ideology, it is (ignorantly) associated with a specific race, we have the possibility of going on a witch-hunt against the enemy in our own countries since some people (admittedly very few people) “betray” us and join the caliphate… It’s almost perfect. But ISIS is on the verge of extinction, to the Western leaders’ political detriment.

Trump, by singling out Iran as the terrorist funding nation in his speech to the Arab Islamic American Summit, tried to find a concrete enemy state who could rile up Americans. If he was a respected president, or a respected human being, this would almost be a declaration of war. But when you have the temperament and impulsivity of a five-year-old, no one can possibly take you seriously. Thus, the possibility of having a concrete nation, army and people to fight against vanished.

Despite what the right-wing conservative media (or alternative media in some cases, such as InfoWars.com) claim, organized terrorism isn’t really a huge threat anymore and Islam never really was. It has been 16 years since 9/11, we have successfully dismantled Al Qaeda by killed its leader, ISIS is losing its territory and will soon be another terrorist organization whose impact will be practically insignificant, as the “War on Terror” revealed, Muslims (and this will be shocking) are just as bad as any other religious community.

We find ourselves in, as prophesized by Schmitt, a situation that all liberal democracies face when democracy finds no more countries to democratize: the absence of exterior war. Since the public doesn’t want to send its children to war and pay more taxes to increasingly fund the national army, war can’t take place, and since the political is dependent upon making the population feel like fighting and the possibility of death are options that must be taken seriously and that only the government can handle these issues with the help of its patriotic citizens, the political is existentially threatened. If the political and the ubiquity of the state disappear, what are we left with? Governmental and economic libertarianism or liberalism.

 

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