Citation
Affect and Identification in American Foreign Policy

Material Information

Title:
Affect and Identification in American Foreign Policy
Creator:
Solomon, Ty
Place of Publication:
[Gainesville, Fla.]
Publisher:
University of Florida
Publication Date:
Language:
english
Physical Description:
1 online resource (429 p.)

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Political Science
Committee Chair:
Arfi, Badredine
Committee Co-Chair:
Oren, Ido
Committee Members:
Thiele, Leslie P.
Hozic, Aida A.
Harpold, Terry A.
Graduation Date:
8/7/2010

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Discourse ( jstor )
Emotional expression ( jstor )
Fear ( jstor )
Lacanian other ( jstor )
Lacanian philosophy ( jstor )
Political power ( jstor )
Semiotic signs ( jstor )
Speeches ( jstor )
Terrorism ( jstor )
War ( jstor )
Political Science -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
affect, discourse, emotion, lacan, laclau
Genre:
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
Political Science thesis, Ph.D.

Notes

Abstract:
This dissertation explores and analyzes the interweaving roles of affect, language and identification in recent episodes of American foreign policy. Its central argument is that despite receiving little attention from International Relations (IR) scholars, affect and desire are central dimensions of social and political life. Affect and desire are crucal to understanding the central question posed in this study: why are some discourses more politically successful than others? Some discourses come to define widely-accepted common sense of American foreign policy because of how people affectively invest themselves in, and thus identify with, these discourses. I offer a theoretical framework, based upon insights from the theories of Jacques Lacan and Ernesto Laclau, through which to analyze the differential affective appeal of foreign policy discourses. This framework theorizes the relationship between affect and language, and how they combine to produce political identities and discursive power. In doing so, this framework captures the dimensions of desire and affect that other linguistic and social constructivist approaches in IR are unable to capture. I apply this framework to offer new understandings of several recent episodes of American foreign policy. First, I analyze the discourse of the war on terror in terms of its affective appeal after September 11, 2001, an aspect that surprisingly few IR scholars have explored. Next, I turn the framework to scrutinizing how Iraq was discursively incorporated into the war on terror, and explore and identify how dimensions of affect and desire underpinned and sustained the discursive contestations and competitions surrounding American foreign policy at the time. Subsequently, I deploy the framework to analyze discourses of neoconservatism. The influence of neoconservatism on debates over American foreign policy has ebbed and flowed over the last several decades. I argue that neoconservatism s rise and fall can largely be traced back to the desires it evokes and the affective and identity appeals it offers. The study concludes with a summary of these arguments, suggestions for future research into these questions, and a few implications for policy. ( en )
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description:
This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local:
Adviser: Arfi, Badredine.
Local:
Co-adviser: Oren, Ido.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Ty Solomon.

Record Information

Source Institution:
UFRGP
Rights Management:
Applicable rights reserved.
Embargo Date:
10/8/2010
Resource Identifier:
004979666 ( ALEPH )
769019256 ( OCLC )
Classification:
LD1780 2010 ( lcc )

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that define precisely what it means to be a member of a group. An individual's Symbolic

identification with characteristics of culture is a necessary element of nationalism, but this

overlooks how enjoyment is organized through the Symbolic networks of culture. Who "we" are

is indeed constituted through our language, religion, rituals, and so forth, yet there is always

\wllthilng else, beyond the cataloging of such characteristics, that really makes us identify with a

group.19 This un-representable Thing is enjoyment itself (Zi2ek 1993, 201):

All we can ultimately say about it is that the Thing is "itself," "the real Thing,"
"what it really is about," etc. If we are asked how we can recognize the presence of
this Thing, the only consistent answer is that the Thing is present in that elusive
entity called "our way of life." All we can do is enumerate disconnected fragments
of the way our community organizes its feasts, its rituals of mating, its initiation
ceremonies, in short, all the details by which is made visible the unique way a
community organizes its enjoyment.

Enjoyment, then, is the un-nameable "excess" that permeates the numerous rituals that

performatively re-produce the nation. That no national ritual alone satisfies or fulfills the desire

promised (in terms of achieving a "harmonious" society or national unity, etc.) ensures that

desire is displaced to other sources of identification. Enjoyment is Real in the Lacanian sense

that it always escapes our attempts to put it into words, yet it is the affective element that binds

people to their identifications beyond purely rhetorical effects. It is the Lacanian answer to Sara

Ahmed's (2004) question of why identities "stick".

This affective dimension, which is always shaped by and circuited through discourse, has

been largely overlooked in the discourse and identity literature in IR. For example, rather than

examining the mere social constructed-ness of the "war on terror" to explain its durability, we

should theorize about the aspects of this discourse that offer its audience points of identification



19 Related to this, desire driving nationalism can be viewed as passive narcissistic desire in the Real, "where a group
of people conceive of themselves as embodying something extra that makes them valued more highly by the Other
(Nature, God, Global Society) than other groups..." (Bracher 1993, 44-5).









Indeed, blockages or obstacles to the construction of the subject are always part of a

fantasy allowing the subject to deal with the contingency and ambiguity of its identifications.

Desire is always embedded within a particular fantasy structure that offers the subject a promise

of fully becoming itself. Thus, desire cannot be understood apart from fantasy, jouissance, and

object a. Nor can the effects of these factors be grasped without understanding their mutual

relations with regard to each other, as structured by a particular form of discourse (the Master's,

University, Hysteric's, or Analyst's). The following section explores the discursive structures

and fantasies underpinning the war on terror-Iraq discourse. Doing so allows a deeper

understanding of both the promise of subjectivity offered to audiences and its affective appeal,

thus providing a more comprehensive accounting of the possibility of Iraq's grafting into the war

on terror discourse.

Grafting Iraq and Terror: State of the Union, 2002

While there were many thousands of texts that helped to solidify the synthesis of Iraq and

the war on terror (such as speeches, daily press briefings, policy documents, news media

coverage, think-tank reports, the pronouncements of pundits, etc.), the February 2002 State of

the Union address in particular stands out as a key moment in this synthesis. Thomas Ricks

(2006, 38-9) points out the centrality of this speech (along with the president's speech at West

Point in June of 2002) in the administration's agenda. "Between the State of the Union address

and the West Point speech," Ricks writes, "Bush had shown the political route toward attacking

Iraq. The first speech had done the targeting that is, stated the goal. The West Point speech

provided the doctrinal, or intellectual, rationale for doing it" namely, the strategy of

preemption. According to Bob Woodward (2004, 925, 130-3), this State of the Union garnered

the most viewers of any since President Clinton's in 1998.









resists total incorporation into language and the Real as disruptions of Symbolic reality are not

mutually exclusive. Each notion of the Real attempts to understand the limits of social

construction, and what blocks the "full" construction of any "identity."

Although the Real is by definition extra-discursive, that which escapes social

construction, it holds a central place in a Lacanian theory of discourse. Unlike the conventional

constructivist or poststructuralist view that the entirety of human social reality is discursive, that

"there is nothing outside of discourse" (Campbell 1998b, 4), Lacan argues that crucial aspects of

subjectivity cannot be represented and articulated in discourse. In one sense, the Real is a kind

of unmediated affective experience that is diminished once the body is socialized into language.

This affect is lost once one speaks, since language itself is then introduced as the medium

through which one experiences social reality, rather than direct experience through the body. Put

a bit more dramatically, "the symbolic order kills the living being or organism in us, rewriting it

or overwriting it with signifiers, such that being dies... and only the signifier lives on" (Fink

1995, 101). Language introduces a fundamental lack of "real" being, a lost sense of

completeness, which is impossible to recover within the Symbolic, since it is the language of the

Symbolic itself that introduces the lack. The subject qua speaking subject is, therefore, caught in

a bind; it must assume a position within the Symbolic if it is to have its (biological) needs

fulfilled by others who are already positioned there, but to do so requires a loss that is

experienced as affect.

Lacan calls this form of affectjouissance, or as it is often translated, enjoyment. It is "a

pre-symbolic, real enjoyment which is always posited as something lost, as a lost fullness, the

part of ourselves that is sacrificed when we enter the symbolic system of language and social

relations" (Stavrakakis 1999, 42). Jouissance has been described as both "a kind of existential









As with all political texts, Podhoretz's discourse constructs a fantasy of national

wholeness that covers over the loss of "self' around which his text coheres. Podhoretz's text is

similar to Carter's in the sense that both center upon loss, or lack. Whereas Carter's discourse

offered notions that America had itself been responsible for its own loss of "confidence,"

"unity," "progress" and so on, Podhoretz's discourse also focuses on what "we" are missing, but

constructs this missing "object" in relation to an other. On the surface, Podhoretz seems to say

that, in apparent agreement with Carter, that the national problem can be traced to a question of

willpower. However, the fantasies each text deploys, and the consequent desires evoked, are

quite different. And, these differences are crucial for their differential affective appeal.

In terms of loss, Podhoretz's articulation of the nation's problem was indeed similar to

Carter's. Both saw themselves as questioning the prevailing order. Both saw themselves as

protesting what they viewed as dangerous rising tides that threatened to not only overwhelm the

nation's ability to effectively deal with its problems, but that would eventually swallow the

nation into an abyss of dreadful ramifications. Just as Carter warned that the continued pursuit

of narrow self-interest and materialistic consumption would lead the nation away from traditional

values of community and hard work, Podhoretz strongly warned that if the nation relinquished its

vigilance against Communism, it would be on the losing end of the titanic struggle against the

Soviet Union. Podhoretz saw himself in opposition to the U.S. foreign policy "establishment,"

and protested against policies he viewed as "appeasement."10 An "isolationist mood has taken



10 The charge of "appeasement" is one that Podhoretz has frequently lobbed against those who advocate or pursue
policies with which he disagrees. Another of his oft-mentioned articles was a 1977 piece in Harper's entitled "The
Culture of Appeasement," in which he not only continued to accuse Carter of this most unforgiveable of all foreign
policy sins, but traced the "weakening" of American culture against the Soviets to the growing tolerance of
homosexuality. Podhoretz, though, did not reserve these criticisms only for Carter. After some initial praise,
Podhoretz turned against Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, particularly after Reagan dropped his "Evil Empire" rhetoric
and began pursuing talks with Mikhail Gorbachev. For instance, the mere title of one article illustrates his despair -
"The Neo-Conservative Anguish over Reagan's Foreign Policy" (Podhoretz 1982). In another, Podhoretz compares
Reagan to Neville Chamberlain, and proclaims that "appeasement by any other name smells as rank, and the stench









asked America to 'come home again'," promised a turn "from an emphasis on foreign affairs to a

primary concern with domestic priorities" (33). Although there would still be foreign policies,

they would now be based not upon strident anti-Communism, but upon "cooperation rather than

power and conflict and competition" (33). For Podhoretz, this colossal change of liberal

attitudes was profoundly dangerous. "Whatever else may have been envisaged by the liberals for

the United States in this truly brave new world, it was certainly not the use of American power to

check the spread of Communism and 'to assure the survival and the success of liberty'" (34).

Liberals had made the more substantial political shift, but conservatives were no less

guilty of fostering a national mood of isolationism. As such, conservatives are also part of the

"internal" or domestic division of the collective subject. At the time, Podhoretz found that

conservatives often gave the impression of being more hawkish on Communism than liberals.

Richard Nixon "repeatedly spoke of the need to keep America strong in order to balance Soviet

power;" Gerald Ford negotiated, but ultimately failed, to keep South Vietnam from being taken

over by Communists, and Henry Kissinger supported several efforts of aiding anti-Communists

in places like Portugal and Angola (35). Nevertheless, Podhoretz finds that "conservatives in

office and in practice have been rather less bellicose than their standard rhetorical gestures would

lead one to suppose" (35). Podhoretz compares the bulk of Kissinger's foreign policies to those

of Neville Chamberlain (in neoconservatives' eyes, of course, the model of how not to be a

statesman), and accuses him of orchestrating a "phased America withdrawal from anti-

Communist interventionism" (35). He also accuses Kissinger held the view that the United

States is in political and economic decline at the same time the Soviets had entered an

expansionist phase (36). "The implication," Podhoretz (36) believes is attributable to Kissinger

and conservatives generally, "is that the best the United States can do is get out of the way as









United Nations is a guarantor of nothing. Except in a formal sense, it can hardly be said to exist"

(1990/91, 25).

In Krauthammer's view, the obviousness of the new unipolar structure of the

international system was made evident by the 1990-91 Gulf war. This also is presented as

solidifying the knowledge S2 deployed as beyond doubt or question. The "true geopolitical

structure of the post-Cold War world" was "brought sharply into focus by the gulf crisis: a single

pole of world power that consists of the United States at the apex of the industrial West"

(1990/91, 24). Not only did the United States' military capabilities illustrate unipolarity, but the

behavior of second-rank powers reinforced its obviousness. The "recent behavior of Japan and

Germany," for example illustrates this, since "they have generally hidden under the table since

the first shots rang out in Kuwait" (1990/91, 24). Europe as a regional power demonstrated the

same tendency. While "a unified Europe may sometime in the next century act as a single

power, its initial disarray and disjointed national responses to the crisis in the Persian Gulf again

illustrate that 'Europe' does not even qualify as a player on the world stage" (1990/91, 24). Not

only were other major states' responses disjointed or worse, but the Gulf crisis further

demonstrated that others do not, and cannot, act without America leading the way for them:

"where the United States does not tread, the alliance does not follow" (1990/91, 24).

Although Krauthammer contends that the "unipolar moment" is here to stay at least in the

short term, its long term endurance is by no means guaranteed. The risks of American

isolationism are the second element of the post-Cold War world. "For a small but growing

chorus of Americans this vision of a unipolar world led by a dynamic America is a nightmare.

Hence the second element of the post-Cold War reality: the revival of American isolationism"

(1990/91, 27). Isolationism is a theme of thinking about American foreign policy that goes back









why desire constantly shifts from one (provisional) object to another; once we reach something

we believe is "It," our desire for it fades, and moves on to the next avatar of the necessary Thing.

Other subjects also play a crucial role in the Lacanian notion of anxiety. Mitzen,

Huysmans, and Steele do not explicitly relate the experience of anxiety within the self to others.

Each seems to argue that anxiety is a mainly "internal" affect, that anxiety is experienced when

one is confronted with the bewildering array of daily threats that confront them, or when facing

the "dizzying" freedom that arises when routines break down. These forms of anxiety do

undoubtedly play a role in securing the subject. Lacan, however, adds a twist to the role Others

play in the experience. Anxiety also "arises when the subject is confronted by the desire of the

Other and does not know what object he is for that desire" (Evans 1996, 12; see also Harari

2001, 227). Anxiety, then, is not merely the experience that results when one is unable to

prioritize threats posed by dangerous Others, unable to deal with the "chaos" that "lurks" beneath

routines, or when one is confronted with the possibilities of agency. The question of "what we

are" to Others is anxiety-provoking because it expresses a lack of knowing what one is for the

Other. Bruce Fink explains:

Rather than anxiously waiting to find out what you are, you may well prefer to
jump to conclusions (precipitate answers) about what the Other wants of you, with
you, from you, and so on. The unknown nature of the Other's desire is unbearable
here: you prefer to assign it an attribute, any attribute rather than let it remain an
enigma. You prefer to tie it down, give it a name, and put an end to its angst-
inducing uncertainty. Once it is named, once you conclude that this is what the
Other wants of you to stay out of the way, for instance the angst abates, and you
can set about trying to make yourself scarce (1991, 61).

In this sense, Lacan concluded that anxiety was "the paradigmatic affect," and hence

played a much deeper role in structuring the subject than other affects (Stavrakakis 2007, 209).

This notion of anxiety, therefore, does not necessarily have threatening connotations that









close to the missing Thing. As shown in the analysis of Krauthammer's discourse on

unipolarity, the subject "America" was constructed as quite close to the object of fantasy a

unipolar world with "America" sitting on top. Thus, that fantasy worked to evoke relatively little

desire for subjectivity. To be a subject one must desire, and to desire one must feel to be lacking

a substantial part of oneself. The "America" of Krauthammer's discourse evoked little desire for

identification because in doing so, the subject's desire would evaporate due to its perceived

closeness to the fantasy object of a unipolar world. Something must be felt to be missing from

the fantasy for it to evoke desire. A fantasy discourse constructed where its subject is viewed as

nearly complete will likely resonate less than fantasies that offer a more lacking image of

subjectivity. Subjects are likely to be drawn to a fantasy which they feel more securely channels

their affective experiences toward a fantasy object. Subjects are perhaps less likely to be drawn

to fantasy discourses that do not seem to construct these dynamics.

Fantasies of the subject are always articulated through a particular (yet ultimately

unfixed) structure, the components of which are staged in particular relationships with each

other. In two of Lacan's discourse structures, master signifiers Si and knowledge S2 are at the

forefront. In the Master's discourse, master signifiers Si have the force of agency while

"objective" knowledge S2 occupies the receiver position. In the University discourse, knowledge

S2 itself has the force of agency. Master signifiers Si and knowledge S2 are often the most

forceful elements of a discourse. They often constitute the Symbolic anchors upon which

subjects' identifications are fastened. Thus a discourse that positions these elements as its most

overt elements may be expected to resonate more than discourses that position them differently,

as less overt and forceful. The other two discourse structures, the Hysteric and the Analyst, do

just this. In the discourses of the Hysteric and the Analyst, the most vulnerable aspects of


403









Constructing a discourse that offers audiences a secure position of subjectivity (as the

University discourse does) is only a first step. The fantasy of the national "self" sustaining the

discourse must also be appealing to audiences seeking to invest themselves in the secure image

of a collective subject. As we have seen, to evoke desires for identification, a fantasy must

maintain a kind of balance so as to not evoke too little desire. Construct an image of the subject

which is vague and ambiguous (as Carter did), and few desires for secure subjectivity will be

evoked. Construct an image of the subject that has nearly reached its fantasized jouissance (as

Krauthammer did), and this similarly will evoke anxiety rather than desire for identification. If

the Obama administration were to articulate a vision of the current US-Iran relationship in which

"we" were lacking something constructed as "essential" to ourselves, then this might produce the

kind of fantasy which woud evoke desires for identification on the part of audiences. For

example, a vision could be articulated in which the United States' current non-engagement with

Iran is a blockage to the American "self." Rather that a sign of strength, non-engagement (and

the consequent non-achievement of American foreign policy goals) could be articulated as

hindering the full potential of America's international role as a global leader. America could be

achieving much more than what it currently is if it only pursued direct engagement with Iran.

Such engagement could be a fantasy to be pursued, the endpoing of which is the fulfillment of

America's global potential. This vision of engagement with Iran could be constructed as taking

away from our master signifiers. Engagement could be a sign of "strength" rather than naive

appeasement. The lack of direct talks hinders our "freedom" to attain our foreign policy goals

around the world, rather than supposedly teaching Iranian leaders a lesson. "Democracy" in the

US could be directly linked in a variety of ways to the democracy movement in Iran. A

discourse that constructed a vision of the US-Iran relationship in terms of how the status quo is


407









deploy about America's current global hegemony arguably hails or addresses the place of loss in

their discourse, the place where the subject's ("America's") missing Thing should be, but is not,

which then produces and maintains the subject's division $ further unless the fantasy is pursued.

The policies proposed and the fantasy of the national "self' they implicitly promise and whose

ambiguity they simultaneously cover are aimed at recovering the missing objects) which will

make the national "self' what it strives to be. The split of the subject $, then, is both covered

over and produced by the discourse. In this reading, again, the dynamics of Kristol and Kagan's

text can be understood as a University discourse.

The point of this is to demonstrate that not only are these discourse forms (Master's,

Hysteric's, University, Analyst's) are seldom found in a pure form in political discourses, but

that they often closely share characteristics. In this case, the close relationship between the body

of knowledge S2 and the master signifiers Si that Kristol and Kagan deploy complicates

understanding its functioning as either a Master or a University discourse. Yet, as Alcom (2002,

85) argues, the "discourse of the master and the discourse of the university comprise the largest

visible component of social discourses." As such, it is perhaps unsurprising that these different

modes of discourse would frequently overlap. In this case, the position and relationship between

knowledge S2, master signifiers S1 and the role of the subject's split $ arguable constitute a

dynamic closer to that of the University rather than the Master, although the two can be closely

related.

If the subject's division and its relation to knowledge S2 and master signifiers S1

constitute the text as largely a University discourse, what is the split subject $ of Kristol and

Kagan's discourse? Understanding the split subject $ also paves the way to uncovering the

position of lack, the place of object a, in the discourse. On the surface, their text, again, bears









Podhoretz's narrative was as "sweeping" in breadth and diagnosis as it was apocalyptic in

tone and recommendation. He began by lamenting the "isolationist mood" that had taken over

the country since Vietnam. On the political left, this new mood constituted quite a shift in

perspective, given that most of the strongest responses to Soviet expansion had been enacted by

liberal Democrats like Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson. Interventionism as a foreign policy

against Communism had been at home on the left, but after Vietnam liberals' mood changed.

This was evident in liberal ideas that foreign affairs "would now be based on cooperation rather

than power and conflict and competition. Our new role would be determined by an

understanding, in another favorite liberal phrase of the day, of the growing 'interdependence' of

the world and the declining capacity of the great powers to impose their will on other countries"

(Podhoretz 1976, 33). This spreading attitude affected conservatives no less, in Podhoretz's

view. Republican foreign policies, such as detente with the Soviet Union, opening up relations

with China, combined with various arms control agreements, constituted a "policy of phased

withdrawal from anti-Communist interventionism" (Podhoretz 1976, 35).

The consequences of these developments, Podhoretz warned, were dire. At the same

time the U.S. was experiencing second thoughts about its world role, the Soviet Union was re-

energized. Regarding the U.S.'s new isolationist attitude, it was clear to Podhoretz "that the

major, in fact the only, beneficiary would be the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union is a great

superpower, and it has moreover entered into a period of active imperialist expansionism"

(Podhoretz 1976, 37). As the U.S. was slowly inching backwards, the Soviets were showing

"every sign of intending to move ahead" (Podhoretz 1976, 37). If the U.S. continued on this

path, if it retreated at every point of encounter with Soviet interests, eventually the U.S. would

surrender every bit of global ground until it was surrounded by a sea of hostile Communist









S2, subjectivity $, and lack a) are positioned relative to one another. In isolating the discourse's

constitutive elements, we will be able to better understanding the fantasy deployed but it.

Krauthammer begins his essay by protesting what he views as the erroneous conventional

wisdom that has been put forth by policymakers and the rest of the foreign policy community

(1990/91, 23). This kind of protesting and questioning of the dominant order is characteristic of

Hysteric's discourses, when the subject's division (dissatisfaction, uneasiness, etc.) drives the

articulation of the narrative.

However, the bulk of the essay is, instead, largely devoted to the laying out a description

of what the author sees as the new structure of the international system. That is, Krauthammer

paints a detailed picture of the global system as it currently exists. His argument uses assertions

that are offered as obvious as to be indisputable, and pronounces international conditions as so

evident that any clear-headed observer would agree. Of course, far from reflecting the new

nature of international order, Krauthammer's essay actively helped (along with many other

similar statements from the time, notably Francis Fukuyama's [1992] "end of history" thesis) to

construct these new understanding of American power in relation to the rest of the world. In this

manner, "The Unipolar Moment" fits well with the logic of the University discourse.

University Discourse: S a
S1 $

In contrast to the Hysteric's discourse, which is characterized by protesting and

questioning, the University discourse is characterized by indoctrinating and/or educating. Note

that the structures of the two discourses are mirror opposites. In the Hysteric's discourse the

split subject $ occupies the agent position (the most overt and manifest aspect of the discourse),

object a occupies the position of latent truth underpinning the split subject $, the master signifier

Si occupies the other position, while a system of knowledge S2 is produced. In the University









"confidence," Carter offers his own particular meanings of what this "universal" signifier means

for Americans. As Laclau (1996, 44) states, to "hegemonize something is exactly to carry out

this filling function."

"Confidence," however, is supported by a range of other secondary signifiers that

constitute the system S2 which it both ties together and which supports it as a system of meaning.

In Laclau's terminology, these constitute a logic of equivalences that structure identifications.

"Faith" and "unity," for example, are deployed several times to expand the chain of what the

country has lost, in addition to "confidence." The "crisis" is fed by "growing doubt about the

meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation," Carter contends.

Like "confidence," it is also something we must reclaim. "We can regain our unity;" we can

"rebuild the unity and confidence of America;" we "can rekindle our sense of unity, our

confidence in the future, and give our nation and all of us individually a new sense of purpose,"

Carter believed. In one sense they are indeed different signifiers, but the way they are deployed

by Carter they are used to express something similar, or equivalent, underlying each of them.

The range of other signifiers that Carter deploys in his attempts to symbolize what has

been lost and what we must get back "purpose," "confidence," "spirit," "unity," "faith," and

"progress" constitute not only a multitude of attempts to capture the missing object a without

however ever fully doing so. These words also compose a string of similarities, or set of

equivalences, along which the desire for object a is circuited. Desire for the subject's missing

piece, the part of itself that it needs in order to attain thejouissance staged in the fantasy of the

speech, flows along these signifiers. Again, they are different words which often have different

meanings, but in Carter's discourse they are used to express something similar underlying them

all ultimately, the missing object a which is itself nothing but the subject's lack. The subject's









subject questions it for the satisfaction and fullness it promises. The split subject $ interrogates

the master signifier Si as something that it is missing and that it desires. In protesting signifiers

such as "crisis," "problems," and the "fundamental threat to American democracy," the split

subject $ pursues the signifier it now desires to be its new master Si, "confidence." Its ambiguity

and its tying together of a knot of meanings solidifies its centrality to Carter's text, stitching

together its various portions in a way that is vital for its coherence.

What is the system of knowledge S2 that is produced as a result of these dynamics?

Recall that the system of knowledge S2 in Lacan's configuration of the four discourses is the

network of signifiers that supports the master S1. The master signifier S1 largely defines the

meaning of a discourse, and thus defines its "readability" (Lacan 2007, 189). Yet, the master S1

can only have meaning if it is, in turn, supported by a network of signifiers that gives it the

appearance of definite meaning. The network of signifiers S2 can be thought of as those

secondary signifiers that are tied together through their common reference to the master signifier

S1. Knowledge S2 in the Hysteric's discourse is in the position of product (see above). When the

split subject $ questions the master signifier S1 about its inability to adequately represent it, all

the master can do in return is to offer the split subject $ a battery of other signifiers in hopes of

satisfying it. The battery of secondary signifiers produced by the split subject's $ questioning is

the new system of signifiers S2 of the Hysteric's discourse.

As Carter protests those signifiers that he sees as dominant, such as "crisis," "threat,"

"consumption," and "indulgence," he attempts to re-orient his audience away from these words

and towards others, which constitute the new system of knowledge S2 he attempts to construct.

Words like "crisis," "threat," "consumption," and "indulgence" do not adequately represent

"America," Carter argues. Given the country's history, and given Americans' traditional









ambiguities and anxieties associated with the subject's division $. The fantasy offered to deal

with this incompleteness, however, is itself insecure. Fantasies typically offer a way for subjects

to deal with the ambiguities of their identifications, so as to avoid a direct confrontation with the

lack at the center of their "identities," so to speak. Fantasy offers the subject a promise that its

desire will eventually be satisfied and thejouissance it seeks will be attained; in other words, it

offers a kind of veil against ambiguity and incompleteness with a promise of wholeness.

The gaze offered by Carter's speech, in this sense, does not act like a veil against

contingency and ambiguity. Carter's emphasis on the nation's loss, what it is lacking, did not

offer the audience a way to deal with the ambiguities of identification and desire, but instead left

open this ambiguity. The missing object of fantasy is, in most political discourses, viewed as

something that is attainable if only the obstacles of the fantasy are dealt with. Yet, there are few

obstacles in Carter's fantasy. Carter does offer a list of ways to deal with the nation's energy

problems, but the nation's "true problems... are much deeper deeper than gasoline lines or

energy shortages, deeper even than inflation or recession." However, these offer little in the way

of balancing out the loss of the weighty signifiers Carter argues are at stake. The construction of

the "crisis of confidence," the loss of "purpose," "spirit," "unity," "faith," "progress" and so on,

does not offer a comforting gaze for the audience. While fantasies typically offer a screen

through which the subject's ambiguities are (temporarily) covered, Carter's discourse offers little

in the way of such a screen. Indeed, the audience here is, in a sense, put face-to-face with the

uncertainty and ambiguity that is the collective subject "America." The "America" that once

was has been lost, and it is unclear how to get it back. There is no obstacle to overcome beyond

which the proper "America" is waiting. Nor is there a barrier we can tumble with our might to

bring about thejouissance we are looking for. The gaze projected back at the audience, then,









Bush's speech after September 11, 2001 (re)constructs the nation as that entity which is

partially represented in signifiers deployed in the speech, yet is also "missing" something that is

central to its "self." This "missing" part of the American national subject is that which Bush

attempts to name throughout the speech. This element (partially represented in terms such as

"our way of life" and so on) is presented as a central aspect of the national subject, but is absent.

Yet, the national subject is also presented through a set of signifiers that are said to represent

what it currently is. While the subject is articulated as having "lost" something, other signifiers

throughout the speech are said to express the subject as it is now crucially,in the wake of a

trauma that has given form to its present search for meaning. For example, as discussed above,

the master signifiers in the speech function in this manner. "Enemies of freedom," "freedom and

fear," "justice and cruelty," for example, function not only to produce a set of binary opposition

against which American "identity" can be defined, but more importantly function as the

symbolic representatives of a national subject that are viewed as fully present, as fully and

accurately describing who "we" are, which cover over the lack of the national subject's full

"self"11 "Freedom," "justice," "progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom," "security,"

"values," "principles," and so on all function as privileged discursive points around which

American identification is anchored. They help to define who "we" are in contrast to "them" by

articulating boundaries around the collective "us" and excluding a variety of "others."

Yet, this is not all that America is after September 11, 2001. These well-worn signifiers

are deployed to express something fundamental about the national subject, but the "missing" part

of the nation is also just as central to its construction within the speech. The "Nation-Thing" is

11 I place the terms "identity" and "self' in quotations simply to remind the reader that, based on the theoretical
discussion in the previous chapter, there is no stable "identity" or fully present "self." "Identity" is an ultimately
impossible project that is continually pursued through identification processes. Similarly, the "self' is always a
divided self, split between its representation in a signifier and that which is missing from representation (embodied
in the term object a).









composing a specific 'way of life.' The Thing is not directly a collection of these features; there

is 'something more' in it, something that ispresent in these features, that appears through them"

(Zi2ek 1993, 201, emphasis in original). Just as Kerry offers a barrage of signifying "features"

that are said to represent the American "way of life," none of them adequately does so. They can

only circle around the national Thing that they all attempt to represent directly. Yet, this national

Thing is not something essential or fundamental, but is simply the lack of the fully expressible

national subject. The desire to cover the nation's lack, desire for a fully identifiable national

subject, courses and flows along the equivalential words that attempt to represent it. Each of

them attempts to penetrate "beneath" the words themselves to something more "essential," but

there is no such "beneath," no "essence" of the nation to be expressed.

Each of these constitutes an attempt to fill in the "universal" nodal points of American

political discourse with "particular" meanings. "Freedom" is stated to mean something different

from how the current administration understands it, or from how it is defined in the current

political order S2. "Values" are those meanings that we must recover from the current

administration's befouling of them. "United" and "faith" must be reclaimed from those who

would wield them as cynical political tools to support unjust wars. Kerry's own preferred

visions of what these terms mean do not, of course, correspond to what they "naturally" or

"objectively" mean. Rather, his speech is an attempt to fill in these widely-supported valued

terms in a way that constructs "common sense" about them that is favorable to his discourse. For

Laclau, this is precisely the function of hegemony the partial filling in of a society's universal

values with particular and contingent meanings. And, I would add, a particular and contingent

fantasy that channels the desires and affects sustaining them.









CHAPTER 3
THEORIZING DISCOURSE, AFFECT, AND IDENTIFICATION: LACAN WITH LACLAU

The purpose of this chapter is to develop a theoretical framework that can aid our

thinking about why and how discourses become politically successful, and why some discourses

gain more social traction than others. The framework will be applied to specific cases of recent

American foreign policy in subsequent chapters, demonstrating that those aspects of identity,

affect, and subjectivity that have thus far received little theoretical attention are, in fact,

necessary to investigate if we are to gain a deeper understanding of the politics of discourse,

affects, and identity. In developing this framework, I draw upon the theories of Ernesto Laclau

and Jacques Lacan, who, together, have not been the source of much published thought in IR

theory. I hope to demonstrate the extent to which discourse is structured by and infused with

affect, and in doing so hope to gain greater analytical purchase on identifications and discursive

power, thus offering a more comprehensive understanding of the social construction process.

The chapter proceeds as follows. First, I offer an overview of Laclau's approach to social

analysis, focusing on a number of his concepts that combine to give an account of how political

boundaries and identities are produced, maintained, and broken down. Laclau's framework has

been employed by a few scholars in IR, but not enough that might warrant a briefer overview. In

this sense, Laclau's framework has in some ways a closer proximity to what many International

Relations (IR) scholars are already familiar in terms of social construction, identities, and

discourse. Also, Laclau's work overlaps with, and some of his concepts are drawn from,

Lacanian theory. This observation paves the way for the second section, where I move from

Laclau's concepts of discourse, equivalence, difference, and discursive hegemony to an overview

of Lacanian theory. Lacan's theories of identification, discourse, and affect are complex, and

wherever one chooses to plunge in one gradually must bring in the entire range of concepts. I









was not the gaze of a fantasy object that is promised as attainable if some readily identifiable

obstacles are removed. Rather, it was the gaze of object a itself, the void which discourses of

national "identity" attempt to cover. The gaze was not one that helped to fuse together the

national subject in terms of the recognition if conferred. Rather, it re-emphasized and projected

back at the audience the dispersal and vagueness of the national subject.9 The illusory position

from which subjects could imagine themselves becoming one with the missing object (thereby

attainingjouissance) was itself vague, and without a well-defined fantasy staging the encounter.

Rather than satisfying and evoking desire for security and/or stability, Carter's fantasy reinforces

anxiety, ambiguity, and incompleteness. In this way, this discourse placed the contingency of

national identification at the forefront, contingency with which most subjects are unable to live

or deal with adequately.

Rather than constructing a fantasy that satisfied desires for a reinforcement of the self,

and a corresponding sense of security at a time when it was lacking, Carter offered no stable

alternative for dealing with the incompleteness of national identification. Andrew Bacevich

(2008, 32) writes that the speech was doomed to fail because to suggest that "the actions of

everyday Americans might pose a [considerable] threat amounted to rank heresy." Yet, more

fundamentally, having no readily identifiable blockage between our loss of being and our

imagined national enjoyment or wholeness, Carter's discourse lacked the kind of "grip" that

often comes with a stronger fantasy (Glynos 1999). As Glynos and Stavrakakis (2008, 262)

point out, "the credibility and salience of any object of identification relies on the ability of the

fantasmatic narrative to provide a convincing explanation for the lack of total enjoyment."

Generally, the greater lack that fantasies construct often evokes correspondingly stronger desires

9 One is reminded here of an aphorism from Nietzsche (1992, 279): "And when you look into an abyss, the abyss
also looks into you."









discourse, yet, such an "America" did not, in fact, exist before September 11, 2001 as, for

example, the contestations associated with Bush's problematic election to the Presidency in 2000

show.12 The un-wounded, unsullied, pure Nation without division is the fantasy "object" of

Bush's discourse. This projected ideal of the Nation is posited as having been lost at the moment

of trauma, yet, such an ideal had never been fully constructed before then. It must be assumed to

have existed, though, in order for the war on terror narrative to be coherent. Again, this fits well

with the logic of a fantasy object, or object a:

The paradox of desire is that it posits retroactively its own cause, i.e., the object a is
an object that can only be perceived by a gaze 'distorted' by desire, an object that
does not exist for an 'objective' gaze. In other words, the object a is always, by
definition, perceived in a distorted way, because outside this distortion, 'in itself,' it
does not exist, since it is nothing but the embodiment, the materialization of this
very distortion, of this surplus of confusion and perturbation introduced by desire
into so-called 'objective reality' (Zizek 1992, 12).

There is, of course, no "objective" definition of what the Nation "is." As social constructs,

states' meanings are subject to the contingent twists and turns of history. They are constructed in

different ways in different contexts. In one sense, they do not exist outside of the

linguistic/discursive performances and practices that constitute them, as many in IR have argued

(see Campbell, 1998). However, what is often left out of such accounts is precisely what is at

stake in this. The appearance of the Nation in Bush's speech is indeed one more performance (in

a long line of performances in countless contexts) that socially constructs "the Nation," but here

we see the impossibility offully constructing the Nation. Its construction is always "'distorted'

by desire" channeled through the various discourses in which it appears. The Nation as the


12 In this sense, I build upon the work of Campbell (1998b), who argues that "states are never finished as entities; the
tension between the demands of identity and the practices that constitute it can never be fully resolved, because the
performative nature of identities can never be revealed." I argue that desire, affect, and fantasy help to better
account for states as performative entities. Since states are "never finished as entities," something must explain the
push to keep pursuing a project that is ultimately impossible. The imaginary staging of, or promise of, an encounter
withjouissance within fantasy propels the desire to keep searching for it.









instance, money obviously functions as one manifestation of object a, as the thing that will fill

the lack in peoples' lives (Bracher 1993, 44). Zizek offers Coca-Cola as an example of a

particular consumer product that can temporarily fill this role. Coke is advertised as "the real

thing" that will bring satisfaction (or fill lack), the "unattainable X, the object-cause of desire"

(Zizek 1989, 96). Yet, once Coca-Cola is consumed, dissatisfaction and lack re-merge, fueling

desire for the next object.

In offering the subject a way to avoid the realization that that his/her identifications are

always acts of failure, fantasy offers rationalizations for why desire will always be frustrated.

Politically, fantasy "is a means for an ideology to take its own failure into account in advance"

(Zi2ek 1989, 126). This is accomplished through a number of functions (Zi2ek 1997, 3-40).

First, not only does the concept of fantasy offer an explanation for why desire will always be

frustrated, but it also explains this frustration to the subject by attributing it to an other. Second,

fantasy tells the subject what the fulfilled desire would have been had it not been frustrated by

this other. Finally, fantasy suggests to the subject a way to deal with this frustration typically

by removing the frustrating other. This can be incorporated, for example, as part of an

explanation of nationalism as not only a product of socially constructed differences, but one that

incorporates the inexpressible dimension ofjouissance as crucial to explaining processes of

"othering."

If identity itself is a slippery, ambiguous, and insecure experience, then the political
creation and maintenance of the ideological appearance of a true, natural identity
can only depend on the production of scapegoats ... Only thus I can be persuaded
that what is responsible for the impossibility of realizing my universalizedd)
identity, what is limiting my identity, is not the inherent ambiguity and contingency
of all identity, its reliance on processes of identification, its social and political
conditioning, but the existence or the activity of a localisable group: the Jews, the
immigrants, the neighboring nation, and so on. If my identifications prove
incapable of recapturing my lost/impossible enjoyment, the only way these can be









extends beyond them all. In a sense, this multiplicity of signifiers refers back to an "America"

that once was, but now is not. This failure to fully Symbolize the lost object is what sparks the

desire for its reclamation. Yet, precisely because it cannot be fully represented, the desire for it

is ongoing, sliding across and through the signifiers that attempt to represent it, but never

penetrating to the supposed "signified" that is presumed under them. Indeed, there is no lost

object under these signifiers, only a lack that the signifiers themselves attempt to cover. It is this

inexpressible Thing object a that evokes the subject's continuous processes of identification,

that is always just out of reach, and consequently keeps animating the desire for its recuperation.

This empty place the empty gaps between the attempts to pin down "our" lost object, the lost

part of our national "self' is the lack evoking the articulation of the discourse. This gap in the

discourse corresponds to the empty structural location of object a in the position of truth

supporting the split subject $ in the Hysteric's discourse.

What is Si in Carter's text, and what is its relationship to the split subject $ and the

system of knowledge S2 produced by the discourse? In the Hysteric's discourse, the split subject

$ interrogates and questions (-*) the reigning master signifiers Si with which it is frustrated. It is

dissatisfied by the representation offered by the master Si, and desires a new one that it believes

will not only better represent it, but will offer the promise of wholeness, jouissance, which the

subject posits to have lost. Recall that the master signifiers are those prominent words and

phrases that discursively anchor the message of a text (the aggregate of S2). Functioning in the

same way as nodal points in Laclau's framework, they are the "privileged discursive points that

partially fix meaning within signifying chains" that "create and sustain the identity of a certain

discourse by constructing a knot of definite meanings (Torfing 1999, 98). As Zi2ek (1989, 95,

emphasis in original) further explains, the master signifier/nodal point "does not imply that it is









country" is said to reside "in the hearts of Americans who are determined to give our values and

our truths back to our country" (Kerry 2004).

Each of these criticisms, and others in the speech, can be understood not only as partisan

political attacks, but more generally as a discourse whose subject $ is dissatisfied with the

prevailing Symbolic order. "We" can regain our "lost" integrity if we are "true to our ideals," as

Kerry asserts, and by rejecting the prevailing definition of how those ideals are defined by

current master signifiers Si. Only when we reject current definitions of "respect and leadership"

will we be able to reclaim their proper understandings. Only when we reject the Bush

administration's definitions will America once again become a "beacon" for others. Only when

we reject the Bush administration's approach to foreign relations and the projection of power

will we "be looked up to, not just feared." Only when we reject Republican definitions of values

will their genuine meanings shine through (Kerry 2004). Discursively, each of these

disapprovals is a rejection of the signifiers offered by the current System (Si), represented by the

Bush administration policies. The subject constructed within Kerry's discourse is driven by its

division $, its frustration with its interrogation of the master signifiers S1 currently dominant in

the Symbolic order, and the deployment of a body of knowledge S2 defined by the current master

(represented by the Bush administration) only further frustrates the protesting subject.

What is the "missing" object in Kerry's discourse, and how does its absence function in

the fantasy offered in the speech? In the Hysteric's discourse, object a is in the position of latent

truth supporting the divided subject $. The split subject $ is separated from its missing object

(under the bar). At several moments in the speech Kerry refers to certain qualities of "us" that

are currently lacking. We must, he proposes, be "true to our ideals," and we must take back the

"values" and "truths" that have been usurped by the current administration. We must "restore"

































To my family









field in which such a Thing might be signified. The subject imagines that something that is

"missing," something that must have sparked its desire, but the existence of this Thing is only

retroactively presupposed by the subject who is seeking an explanation of his/her desire. Thus,

not only does the subject imagine an object that will satisfy his/her desire, but the object itself is

imagined as gazing back at the subject. The object is felt as conferring recognition to the subject

not only in pursuit of it, but in the imagined scenario when the subject finally achieves

wholeness by joining with the object. "What determines me, at the most profound level...is the

gaze that is outside" (Lacan 1981, 106).24 The subject desires to occupy the place from which

the object gazes back at it, but this place is nothing other than the subject's fantasy of the field

that includes the subject and the object, a staging of their encounter between the subject and the

missing object. Fantasy allows the subject to represent that it can occupy this place, the place of

the object, but this is merely the subject's retroactive presupposition of the possibility of

realizing its desire and attainingjouissance. Truly reaching this position is impossible simply

because it is nothing other than the avoidance of a lack, the Real; there is nothing "at" the place

of the object.

The elusive and inexpressible object of fantasy, then, is not only an illusory object that is

presupposed by the subject as having caused his/her desire, but also has effects within the

Symbolic insofar as the subject also imagines the recognition conferred upon him/her through its

pursuit. "When the subject looks at an object, the object is always already gazing back at the

subject, but from a point at which the subject cannot see it" (Evans 1996, 72). The gaze of object

a imagined by the subject remains unseen because it is an aspect of the Real, outside of the



24 Zizek (2006, 17) puts it this way: "the subject's gaze is always-already inscribed into the perceived object itself, in
the guise of its 'blind spot,' that which is 'in the subject more than the object itself,' the point from which the object
itself returns the gaze."









signifiers, and others, function as the discursive anchors around which national "identity"

coheres because of the way they stitch together the various meanings in the text of who "we" and

"they" are. Often, such points tie together strings of signifiers that form chains of identification

and difference, or what Laclau calls equivalence and difference. "Freedom," "strong,"

"America," and the "American people" and others each form links in a circle of signifiers that

are largely equivalent to each other in terms of their meaning. In this case the construction of

the "Nation" stands in for the perceived Other that an audience imagines conferring recognition

on them by adopting such values as their own.

Yet, to dig more deeply into the speech's appeal (or lack thereof), we must look at the

fate of these signifiers in the discourse of the speech, since "what happens to our sense of being

or identity is determined to a large degree by what happens to those signifiers that represent us

(Bracher 1993, 25). To discern the collective subject that the speech constructs, we can map the

underlying fantasy that the discourse offers in relation to the elusive national "object" that is

posited as lost. Quite explicitly, Carter's discourse centers around the loss of what he terms

national confidence. By confidence, Carter refers to the "unity of purpose" that is perceived to

had fortified the nation in past times that has now been replaced by doubt and pessimism. In

addition to "confidence" as the signifier attached to this condition throughout the speech, Carter

also affixes other words to the national mood, a few examples of which are a lack of "faith,"

"progress," "spirit," "unity," and "purpose" which if restored will bring us "true freedom."

In one sense, Carter's words did reflect the country's mood at the time. Yet, Carter was

not only presenting or representing the "reality" of politics at the time, he also was actively

constructing a particular understanding of what the national mood was, and what solutions

existed. Yet this does not explain why this discourse was not as politically successful as









Neoconservatism and the End of the Cold War

The early impact of the neoconservatives on American foreign policy debates during the

Carter administration was quite asymmetrical to their level of influence toward the end of the

Cold War and its immediate aftermath. Their early heyday during the late 1970s and early 1980s

dissipated as the decade wore on. Long gone were the days, Ehrman (1994, 177) points out,

"when a Commentary article could lead to an ambassadorship, establish policy for an

administration, or become the focus of intellectuals' discussions across the country." By the late

1980s, once influential neoconservative forums like Commentary had lost much of their

influence (Ehrman 1995, 171-8), and by the end of the decade, neoconservatism had "lost its

compass" (Halper and Clarke 2004, 76).1

Like most other perspectives on global politics at the time, the end of the Cold War

played a big part in this, and it threw the neoconservatives somewhat into a state of confusion.

Podhoretz's writings on foreign policy are indicative of the extent to which neoconservatism

relied upon communism as its focal point, and thus provided a reference against which their

foreign policy ideas could be advocated. More broadly, a glance at some of the most prominent

neoconservative ideas about foreign policy (as found in the writings not only of Podhoretz, but

also other prominent neoconservatives like Jeane Kirkpatrick and Irving Kristol) demonstrates

this reliance. Halper and Clarke (2004, 100), for example, observe that "Kristol accepted that

much of neo-conservatism's ideological campaign against the USSR was essentially defensive,

inasmuch as it was responding to an existing threat and that is was required in the circumstances

created by the Cold War." Similarly, Heilbrunn (2008, 192-3) finds (with perhaps a touch of

schadenfreude) that the neoconservatives "had invested too much emotionally in the Soviet


1 By the mid-1990s, Podhoretz (1996) believed that neoconservatism no longer existed "as a unique school of
thought," and thus felt obliged to pen what he termed its "eulogy."









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426









has addressed issues of discourse and identity for some time now, and has recently begun to

investigate emotions and affects, little work has addressed how best to productively

conceptualize the linkages between them. In offering an approach that does so, I argue that these

factors must be explored if IR scholars wish to more fully understand the social construction

process. Laclau's concepts of nodal points, equivalence, difference, and hegemony offer a way

to think about the political implications of Lacan's arguments about the construction of

subjectivity, based upon his theories of master signifiers, desire, jouissance, fantasy, and object

a. Throughout this chapter, I offered brief illustrations of some of these ideas through reference

to contemporary discourses of American foreign policy. The affective appeal of the war on

terror, for instance, can be better understood through the constellation of desires and fantasies

that it simultaneously evoked and offered receiving audiences. Indeed, a more effective way to

think about the power of the war on terror, e.g. its role as a hegemonic discourse after September

11, 2001, is in terms of the affective appeal of the fantasy of identification it offered and the way

in which it channeled desire and loss. This is the subject of the next chapter.









tolerant, and even benevolent, attitude toward Communism," Podhoretz (39) argues, "is the slow

erosion of our own sense of political value in response to the Communist challenge an

accommodation in the sphere of ideas to match the accommodation we have been making in the

sphere of power." Furthermore, "our unwillingness or inability to condemn their crimes against

political liberty which they of course do not regard as crimes at all can fairly be described as

a synonym of the surrender of our political culture to theirs" (39). Thus, despite the fact that

Podhoretz also asserts that the issue of American incompleteness "boils down in the end ... to

the question of will" on the part of the United States (41), the presence of the Soviet Union, of

Communism, and the mistaken American reactions to it, plays at least as significant of a role in

the subject's current division.

This is a crucial feature of Podhoretz's discourse in terms of its appeal. The fantasy that

Podhoretz's discourse deploys to avoid the anxiety of America's national problems is blamed, or

projected, onto an other. To avoid the possibility that our national problems are entirely our own

fault, the fantasy offers a rationalization why America is not achieving the enjoyment that it

deserves. America should once again be "defending the free world," should be the "evangelist .

. of freedom and democracy," should once again be "leading a free-world alliance" (40). The

fantasy offers both imaginary fullness and possible disaster, as most political fantasies do

(Glynos and Stavrakakis 2008). If the subject pursues the fantasy, the free-world will continue,

liberty will come to those to whom it is currently denied, and the United States will again step

into its rightful role as the planet's crusader for democracy. If, however, this pursuit fails,

catastrophe looms. The "most determined and ferocious and barbarous enemies of liberty ever to

have appeared on the earth" will win without a fight and subdue all others (41). To avoid the

loss, and to truly become ourselves again, the United States should, in a sense, mirror the









desire for wholeness slides along the chain of equivalences of "purpose," "confidence," "spirit,"

"unity," "faith," and "progress," and it is desire itself that allows for their sticking together in the

first place. Desire shifts between and across signifiers that imply full representation of the

nation's "self," yet this desire is continually deferred to the other signifiers in the chain. In this

sense desire is "eternally extending toward desire for \inel1iiig else" (Lacan 2006, 431,

emphasis in original). None of the signifiers in the chain fulfill the desire for "full"

representation, so desire is guided to another, and then another, none of which live up to the

promise of thejouissance of a whole sense of self. Thus, at the level of signifiers strung together

in chains and sentences, desire is at play in Carter's speech.

Stavrakakis (1999, 62, 80-2) argues that the centrality of certain signifiers and phrases

that function as nodal points cannot be reduced only to their discursive position. Although these

nodal points often represent the final and ultimately tautological ground upon which audiences'

identifications hinge, they perform as discursive anchors precisely because of the implicit

fantasies and affects underpinning their centrality. They draw their appeal by promising or

embodying a sense of wholeness, jouissance, for people seeking to alleviate loss and anxiety

through identifying with political discourses. In many cases, nodal points are themselves partial

positive manifestations of the object a of the fantasy discourse in which they appear. Just as in

Carter's address certain key words function as the particular instantiations of "universal" social

values of "confidence," it is the affective dynamic of this partial "filling" that contributes to its

attempt at discursive hegemony. Every effort at hegemony, the construction of "common sense,"

is underpinned by affect. Even in Carter's discourse, which problematically offered a

fundamentally insecure fantasy of the split subject, one can see the dynamics of the hegemonic

struggle at work.









spiritual foundations on which their national well-being has been based." They criticize the

conservative common sense at the time for betraying their domestic policy principles in their

foreign policy. "For conservatives to preach the importance of upholding the core elements of

the Western tradition at home, but to profess indifference to the fate of American principles

abroad, is an inconsistency that cannot help but gnaw at the heart of conservatism" (1996, 31).

These attempts to pinpoint exactly what the subject "America" lacks not only makes

clearer the subject's division in the text, but points to the position of the object a. Their attempts

to name, to attach a signifier to, what exactly the subject is lacking points precisely to the idea

that the "missing object" does not exist in Kristol and Kagan's text, and exists outside the

Symbolic reality constructed by the text. That which the subject "America" lacks is not some

marginal quality that can be supplemented by a rebalancing of priorities. The loss is central to

"American" subjectivity and identification, and it is that which threatens to bring about global

disorder. That which is Symbolically missing from their text is nevertheless that which sparks its

very construction. That which is lacking in discursive reality evokes the desire for its recapture

and reenergizing. "America" exists not only a discursive subject in the Symbolic order, but is an

entity that slips in and out of the Real. The collective "we" of the text, coalescing around the

signifier "America," is constructed as present in terms of its positive and readily identifiable

qualities, but is also absent insofar as a crucial part of ourselves has been lost. "America" the

subject, in this sense, is both present and absent from Kristol and Kagan's text present and

absent in Symbolic reality, and present and absent in the Real.

They attempt to articulate this in many different ways. For example, the lionization of

Reagan illustrates several of these articulations. Reagan brought "greater moral clarity and

purpose in U.S. foreign policy. He championed American exceptionalism when it was deeply









lack of what the subject believes it needs to pursue the image of an American-dominated world,

itself an illusory object projected by the fantasy to contain thejouissance it desires. Both the

image of an American-dominated world and the "strength and will" that are posited as necessary

for its pursuit are the Symbolic manifestations of the subject's loss of "self," the incompleteness

and ambiguity of the "self."

However, the crucial point here is that the desires evoked by these dynamics of fantasy

are very much in tension with the overall tenor of Krauthammer's discourse. Again, as the

subject "America" constructed as the sole superpower, there is not much desire in

Krauthammer's text for another missing object that might alleviate the ambiguities of the subject.

As the unipolar power, the national subject is already "close" to the wholeness ofjouissance in

terms of a world shaped by American-imposed rules. However, once the subject approaches the

"object" it desires, desire itself starts to fade. If one were to find the Thing that would truly

make one whole, desire would die, and subjectivity would evaporate. The desires evoked by the

fantasy obstacles posed and the evaporation of desire the closer it approaches thejouissance it

seeks in the missing objects that promise it are in tension Krauthammer's discourse. Indeed, the

gaze constructed by the fantasy evokes little desire in an audience for a complete subject. The

imagined gaze of the object back at the subject, from outside the subject, is "close" to how the

discourse constructs the subject in the first place. There is not much "distance" between the

subject and the missing object that offers the subject a view from which s/he could appear

likeable to her/himself, and thus desire and strive for, that the subject does not already occupy.

The subject in Krauthammer's discourse, rather than evoking the desire for identification, in fact

helps to dissolve desire. In closing in on a truly American-centered world, the desire for

identification with the subject of this discourse ("America," the "United States") induces a kind









stating the case for the need to examine these dimensions of language. While his assessment of

the limits of constructivism is illuminating, and his proposition that "non-representational"

phenomena should be on the research agenda of IR emotions scholars is admirable, Ross does

not offer a theory of discourse, does not explain the relationship between discourse and

emotions, does not offer a theory of identity that explains how these elements combine to

produce political outcomes, or more importantly, does not say how researchers should integrate

"non-representable" phenomena into the theorizing process.

Indeed, Ross does not push far enough in elaborating the limits of constructivism and

poststructuralism. Constructivist and poststructuralist arguments that reality is entirely socially

and discursively constructed not only ignore the "mystical and ineffable" dimensions of identity,

but they ironically border on a new kind of essentialism. As Stavrakakis (1999, 65-6) argues,

when constructivists argue that there is nothing outside of social construction, "social

construction" itself ironically begins to border on becoming the "essence" of the social world.

This position not only borders on reifying social construction as such, but the very possibility of

new social constructions does not seem to fit within a constructivist framework. If social

construction envelops the entirety of human social reality, construction begins to look like a kind

of closed system in which the production of new constructions is limited to what already exists

(Stavrakakis 1999, 67). Instead, there must be something outside of social construction that

sparks or stimulates the production of new social constructions. Moreover, if this something was

indeed "outside" of social construction, it would necessarily be external to language, and thus

inexpressible. Although inexpressible, it would have discernable effects within socially

constructed reality.










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424









with the forms portrayed. Images of bodily integrity can satisfy certain kinds of desire, while

images of bodily destruction or mutilation can threaten one's own self-image of bodily integrity,

and can introduce unease (or lack) in identification.

Bush's speech offers several such instances of strong verbal imagery that largely threaten

a sense of bodily well-being, and in doing so plays upon Imaginary identification. In

constructing images of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Bush asserts that "The terrorists' directive

commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans, and to make no distinctions

between the military and civilians, including women and children." While repetition of "kill" in

the same sentence works to threaten listeners' bodily images, women and children is a common

linguistic trope that evokes imagery of innocents killed without reason. "Kill" is repeated again

in reference to terrorists' motives. Later, more graphic images are used in describing the

September 11, 2001 attacks themselves. "Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered a

great loss ... I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it" (Bush, Sep.

20, 2001). Harm, a wound inflicted; these passages evoke threats to self integrity, the "body" of

the nation. Such passages threaten an audience's passive narcissistic desire in the Imaginary

register the desire to have and retain bodily well-being. As Bracher (1993, 38) explains,

"anything that affirms and reinforces our body image thus provides a narcissistic gratification, a

sense of security and self-worth, which has its roots in a sense of bodily integrity and mastery.

And conversely, anything (whether an external force or an impulse from within) that might

damage the armor constituted by this body image represents a threat to our sense of self and is

thus met with opposition and aggressivity."

In addition to discerning these engagements in this speech of Imaginary threats to bodily

integrity, and copious offerings of master signifiers, the speech can be re-cast in terms of Lacan's









Symbolic, but it also determine the structure of the Symbolic. The gaze of object a, then, is a

central aspect of the affective attachment to the fantasy that promises the fulfillment of reaching

the missing Thing. Desire constitutes the subject insofar as it guides towards the affective

experience ofjouissance that pushes beyond the limits of Symbolic representation.

My use of the terms "subject" and "object" in discussing these relationships should not,

of course, lead to the conclusion that there is a strict ontological separation between subject and

object. As is evident, Lacanian theory collapses boundaries between "subject" and "object,"

between inside and outside, and the concepts of the gaze and object a subvert the notion that

language (or, the Symbolic order) is a mere mediator between the speaking subject and a reality

of objects "out there." The subject, moreover, overlaps with the Other (in its role as a

representative of the Symbolic order) in identifying with object a (Zi2ek 1994, 178). Zi2ek

illustrates this point through some useful geometric imagery:

Here again we are dealing with the topology of 'curved' space in which the inside
coincides with the outside: identification with the object is not external to the
Symbolic, it is an identification with the ex-timate kernel of the Symbolic itself,
with that which is in the symbolic more than symbolic, with the void at its very
heart (1994, 178).

Ex-timacy is Lacan's term for expressing this fluid movement and interchangability "between"

the "subject" and "object."25 The object, and the gaze imagined as if positioned from the vantage

of the other, are both interior and exterior to the subject. It is something that is believed to exist

in the Symbolic order, external to the subject. Yet the subject's desire for the object constitutes

the subject as such; without desire and its presupposed object there can be no subject as such.

So, the object is at the same time internal to the subject, standing in for the anticipated endpoint

of the fantasy that constitutes the subject's "want-to-be" (Lacan 2007, 151). The object is

25 Lacan often utilized surface topology (such as Moebius strips) and the topology of knots to visualize these
relationships. See Ragland (k2 '"4).









attempt to guide the reader on a (necessarily condensed) tour of Lacanian theory through a series

of steps. Finally, in the third section I combine insights from both Laclau and Lacan to offer a

framework that is able theorize both the political production and maintenance of identities and

the complex dynamics of affective attachments that underpin them.

Identity and Hegemony in Laclau

Argentinian-born political theorist Ernesto Laclau's approach shares many of the

assumptions about ontology and epistemology underlying much of the existing discourse

research in IR.1 He agrees that we do not have access to reality outside of discourse, which is

defined as a "differential ensemble of signifying sequences in which meaning is constantly

renegotiated" (Torfing 1999, 85). As Laclau, in his oft-cited collaboration with Chantal Mouffe

(1985, 108) clearly explains, "the fact that every object is constituted as an object of discourse

has nothing to do with whether there is a world external to thought, or with the realism/idealism

opposition .... What is denied is not that such objects exist externally to thought, but the rather

different assertion that they could constitute themselves as objects outside of any discursive

condition of emergence".2 In other words, such a theoretical approach does not deny the

existence of an "objective" reality a world that is actually "out there" but argues simply that

such a reality can only be made sensible to us through our descriptions of it; i.e. through

discourse. Through discursive practices, signifiers, meanings, and identities are brought together

to form particular constructions of the world. These practices do not merely reflect or describe

1 Laclau's work has been more influential in political theory than IR. His most well-known work is probably 1985's
Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (co-authored with Belgian political theorist Chantal Mouffe) and his solo work has
been the subject of sustained commentary, including a recent edited volume. See Critchely and Marchart (2i '14).
For his major solo works after Hegemony, see Laclau (1990; 1996; 2005). Laclau's work has also inspired the so-
called "Essex School" of discourse theory. See Howarth, Norval, and Stavrakakis (2000).
2 David Campbell (1998a, 254) notes, with some frustration, that he has included this quote three times in his work,
and that this repetition has been necessary due to continuing critiques based on misunderstandings of what this
theoretical claim entails. "I would be a rich person if I had had a contribution in any currency from respondents
each time they say something along the lines of 'yes, but what about the external reality/material conditions/ real
10lld1(









road that Carter saw the nation facing consisted in one path "that leads to more fragmentation

and self-interest... That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending

in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure" (emphases added).

Carter is, in a sense, protesting master signifiers that he sees as dominant in American

political culture. Americans' attachment to "fragmentation," "self-interest," "self-indulgence,"

"consumption," and the like are projected as the crux of the problem. These are not the values

that have made America the land of progress and optimism in the past; the nation's obedience to

them now is the source of the "crisis of spirit." The values to which the audience should adhere

are ones that Carter himself offers. A renewed devotion to "unity," "common purpose," and

"confidence" will, in his view, bring about a national re-orientation which will lead down the

path of "true freedom." These appeals fit well with the logic of the Hysteric's discourse:

Hysteric's Discourse: $- S-
a S2

Recall that this type of discourse is characterized by questioning and protesting (see

chapter three). Carter's discourse positions its master signifiers S1, knowledge S2, split subject $,

and loss a relative to each other in such a way as to construct a national subject whose insecurity

and instability are at the forefront, driving the articulation of the discourse. Mark Bracher (1993,

66) explains that the Hysteric's discourse is in effect whenever the subject is conflicted as a

failure in its efforts to "coincide with, or be satisfied with the jouissance underwritten by, the

master signifiers offered by society and embraced as the subject's ideals." Carter's discourse

constructs a subject $ that is indeed conflicted between the ideals that society offers and that

which it feels is missing from its being. The subject that is, as Carter would want to construct

it protests society's dominant signifiers such as "indulgence" and "consumption." The subject

is prompted by the desire to re-capture a fundamental part of itself that has been lost (partially









4 IDENTIFICATION, AFFECT, AND FANTASY IN THE WAR ON TERROR ...............148

Introduction ....................... ............. ................. ............... ....................... 148
Fantasy, Desire, and Identification in the W ar on Terror ....................................................155
M aster Signifiers ..................................... ........................... 157
Im aginary Threats ................. .... ........ ......... .. ................. ........... 160
D discourse Structure .............................................. .. .. ............. .......... 162
F fantasy and Identification ........................................... ....................................... 171
C on clu sion ...................... .. ............................................................................ 192

5 THE IRAQ FANTASY AND THE AFFECTIVE POLITICS OF HEGEMONY ...............195

Introdu action ..........................195...... .............................
Equivalence, M etonym y, D esire................................................... .............................. 200
Grafting Iraq and Terror: State of the Union, 2002........................................208
D discourse Structure ............................................ .. .. .... ....... ......... 209
Fantasy and Identification .................. .................................... .............. ............... 212
The Hegemonic Politics of the War on Terror Fantasy............... ......... ................218
C o n c lu sio n ................................................... ....................... ................ 2 3 8

6 THE AFFECTIVE POWER OF NEOCONSERVATISM: PART I..................................240

In tro d u ctio n ............ .................... .... ............. .................................................................. 2 4 0
Carter and the "Crisis of Confidence".............................................................................. 247
D discourse Structure ............................................ .. .. ........... ......... 254
F fantasy and Identification ..................................................................... ..................273
H eg em o n ic L o g ic .................................... .... .................. .................... ....................2 7 8
Norman Podhoretz and "Making The World Safe For Communism" ...............................282
D iscou rse S tru ctu re ............................................................................ ....................2 8 6
F fantasy and Identification ..................................................................... ..................299
H egem onic Logic .................................. .. .......... .. ............306
C onclu sion .............................................................................................. ...... 3 12

7 THE AFFECTIVE POWER OF NEOCONSERVATISM: PART II...............................315

In tro d u ctio n ............ ................. ......... ... .... ..................... .. 3 15
Neoconservatism and the End of the Cold War ............... ............... .............. 316
D discourse Structure .......................... ...................... ... ............. ........ 321
F fantasy and Identification ..................................................................... ..................333
H egem onic Logic ............... ............................................. ........ .............. 344
"Resurrection": Kristol and Kagan's "Neo-Reganite" Foreign Policy..............................350
D discourse Structure .......................... ...................... ... ............. ........ 354
F fantasy and Identification ..................................................................... ..................370
Hegem onic Logic .................................. ..... .. ...... .. ............373
C o n clu sio n ................... ...................3...................8.........0

8 CONCLUSION................ ..... ... .. ..... ..... ................ 386



7









"crisis of confidence," "consumption," "self-interest," and "indulgence" Carter offers these new

signifiers, a new body of knowledge S2, in return. The goal is to produce a new network of

signifiers S2 that will replace the current order. This new orientation, represented by "freedom,"

"purpose," "unity, and "faith" and so on is the system of knowledge S2 produced by this

Hysteric's discourse.

Thus, by elaborating the constitutive elements of Carter's speech (S1, S2, $, a) we are

better able to discern the workings of desire within his discourse. Re-reading Carter's speech

through the framework of the Hysteric's discourse shows that although Carter attempted to

placate and reassure his audience, the discourse he offered was one of insecurity. The subject's

split $, its anxieties and incompleteness, were front-and-center (in the agent position) in the

discourse, and thus offered the attendant insecurities and anxieties that correspond to the

subject's incompleteness $ as the most overt aspect. Understanding the speech as a Hysteric's

discourse helps us not only to uncover relations between elements such as master signifiers S1,

the knowledge S2 deployed in the speech, and the kind of subjectivity $ constructed, but it also

offers a way to understand the desires evoked and frustrated and/or satisfied within the speech.

However, there is another plausible reading of the speech through Lacan's four

discourses. While the Hysteric's discourse fits well with much of the speech, some aspects of it

could be understood through the Analyst's discourse. Recall that the Analyst's discourse is

characterized by analyzing, transforming, or revolutionizing (Bracher 1993, 53).

Analyst's Discourse: a -* $
S2 Si

Here, the missing object of fantasy, object a, occupies the agent position. The split subject

$ occupies the position of receiving other, while the master signifier S1 is produced by the

discourse. The body of knowledge is in the position of latent truth, underpinning the place of the









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418









To maintain this dominance, and to make it clear to an uninterested American citizenry

that they should desire world dominance (since they "fail to notice that they have never had it so

good"), Kristol and Kagan (1996, 21, 23) proposed three goals that together should form the new

centerpiece of American foreign policy. First, they declared that the $260 billion defense budget

was much too small. Instead of the additional $7 billion that was added the year before, the U.S.

should spend at least $60-$80 billion more each year. To clarify that this is not the radical

proposal that it appears, the authors argue that their proposal was much less than the 50 percent

of gross national product that the U.S. had spent at the height of the Cold War (Kristol and

Kagan 1996 25). Second, they advocate greater citizen involvement in military matters. Since

citizens were, by and large, unaware of the importance of American military efforts abroad,

Kristol and Kagan advocate more programs to involve citizens in military service and to find

other ways to "lower the barriers between civilian and military life" (Kristol and Kagan 1996,

27). Finally, foreign policy should "be informed with a clear moral purpose, based on the

understanding that its moral goals and its fundamental national interests are almost always in

harmony" (Kristol and Kagan 1996, 27). Just as Reagan had infused Americans with a sense of

purpose and exceptionalism, so a neo-Reaganite re-orientation must embrace these fundamentals.

Thus, many of the elements that characterize much of neoconservative thinking are forcefully

articulated by Kristol and Kagan.

Discourse Structure

From a discursive perspective, Kristol and Kagan's text is perhaps exemplary in its

constructions of hierarchies and self and other. Supporting these overt manifestations of self and

other, however, are implicit fantasies and subtle interplays of wholeness and lack, which spark

desires for subjectivity and identification. As with the above analyses of neoconservatives texts,

the first step in mapping these dynamics is to find out which of Lacan's four discourse structures









to its founding, yet given the world's new unipolar structure, this is simply no longer tenable.

The "more extreme isolationists define vital national interests to mean the physical security of

the United States, and the more elusive isolationists take care never to define them at all"

(1990/91, 28). Like the obviousness of unipolarity itself, the impracticability of isolationism was

revealed by the Gulf War. An aggressive state that invades an oil-producing neighbor who is

vital to American economic and national security interests "can hardly be a matter of

indifference to the United States," Krauthammer (1990/91, 28) argues. Indeed, if today's

isolationists find that "upon reflection...the Persian Gulf is not, after all, a vital American

interests, then it is hard to see what 'vital interest' can mean. If the Persian Gulf is not a vital

interest, then nothing is" (1990/91, 28).

Just as Iraq's actions in Kuwait demonstrate the naivety and danger of isolationism, so

does it epitomize the third part of the system of knowledge S2 deployed, the threats posed from

the rise of what Krauthammer calls the "Weapon State." This is in fact one of the more

seductive developments of the new unipolar international system. Although a unipolar system

might seem at first to be less prone to conflict than a bi- or multipolar one, this is not the case.

Here is "the third and most crucial element in the post-Cold War world: the emergence of a new

strategic environment marked by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction" (1990/91,

30). The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction adds to the rise of "relatively small,

peripheral and backward states [that] will be able to emerge rapidly as threats not only to

regional, but to world, security" (1990/91, 30). Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Argentina, Pakistan,

Iran, and South Africa are all mentioned as current and/or potential Weapons States that could

pose a threat in the near future (1990/91, 31).









American values. "Whether or not the United States continues to grant most-favored-nation

status to China is less important," for Kristol and Kagan (1996, 23), "than whether it has an

overall strategy for containing, influencing, and ultimately seeking to change the regime in

Beijing." America should develop a missile defense system capable of "shielding, say, Los

Angeles from nuclear intimidation by the Chinese during the next crisis in the Taiwan Straight"

(1996, 25). The greater defense capabilities the U.S. builds up the "less chance there is that

countries like China or Iran will entertain ambitions of upsetting the present world order;" a

world order, of course, defined by American principles (1996, 26). Spreading American

influence abroad "means not just supporting U.S. friends and gently pressuring other nations but

actively pursuing policies in Iran, Cuba, or China, for instance ultimately intended to bring

about a change of regime" (1996, 28). And, more broadly, Kristol and Kagan (1996, 24) fear

that given America's indifference towards foreign affairs, it "may no longer have the

wherewithal to defend against threats to America's vital interests in Europe, Asia, and the

Middle East, much less to extend America's current global preeminence well into the future."

Figures like China and Iran play a crucial role in Kristol and Kagan's text. On one level,

they are prominent "others" against which American "identity" is defined. We are benevolent,

while they are aggressive. We spread our universal values to the benefit of all, while they spread

fear and threaten peaceful nations. We construct world order, they wantonly upset it. Yet,

beyond the mere construction of "us" and "them," on a deeper level the fantasy and

incompleteness of the national "self' of Kristol and Kagan's discourse is projected onto the

figures of these states. Appealing fantasies require an other. As Stavrakakis (2007, 198) argues,

if "identity itself is a slippery, ambiguous and insecure experience, then the political creation and

maintenance of the ideological appearance of a true, natural identity can only depend on the










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417









Much more than a rhetorical "sleight of hand," however, the very meanings between

these signifiers were, to an extent, collapsed during late 2002 and early 2003. As discussed in

chapter three, Laclau argues that every "identity" needs a constitutive outside, a point of

opposition against which it can draw meaning. This construction of an outside cannot occur

through reference to "natural" differences located outside of discourse. It can only be

represented through chains of signifiers that suppress differences among "internal" elements of

an identity in relation "external" elements of an other. Laclau calls this process a logic of

equivalence; the meaning of the signifiers in each chain become "equivalent" to each other

insofar as their differences are subverted in their shared opposition to an outside group of

signifiers. What they have in common is not something positive, but is instead a shared

difference with their common outside. American security discourses during this time coalesced

around a series of signifiers whose ultimate groundlessness allowed them to be temporarily

fastened into chains in which they became meaningful within the war on terror. For example,

from the beginning of the war on terror, both the U.S. and the enemy were represented

discursively in chains of signifiers that drew their meaning from their differences with each

other. The enemy was frequently described in terms of "evil," "barbarian," "savage,"

"murderous," and others (Jackson 2005). Each of these meanings was deferred to other

signifiers in the chain, and differed from those chains that constituted U.S. identity. "Terrorists"

were "evil" "savages" and "barbarians" and so on -just as "we" were represented by signifiers

like "good," "civilized," "innocent," "values," and "justice." Who we were, what we meant in

relation to the other, was a circuit of meaning composed of a chain of signifiers articulated4




4 Laclau and Mouffe (1985, 105) define articulation as "any practice establishing a relation among elements such
that their identity is modified as a result of the articulatory practice."









CHAPTER 4
IDENTIFICATION, AFFECT, AND FANTASY IN THE WAR ON TERROR

The safe Sphere in which Americans live is experienced as under threat from the
Outside of terrorist attackers who are ruthlessly self-sacrificing and cowards,
cunningly intelligent and primitive barbarians. Whenever we encounter such a
purely evil Outside, we should gather the courage to endorse the Hegelian lesson:
in this pure Outside, we should recognize the distilled version of our own essence.

Slavoj Zizek (2001)

Introduction

In an essay that appeared in the New York Times Magazine in October 2004, journalist

Ron Suskind offered an account of the deep religious conviction that guided much of George W.

Bush's approach to political decision-making. Suskind's story offered some revealing anecdotal

evidence of the extent to which religious faith infused operations within the Bush executive

branch. Bush's personal transition from wild fraternity boy to born-again Christian was well-

known it was in fact a key appeal of the President to many of his most loyal supporters but

the essay emphasized how this religiosity influenced his conceptualization of the war on terror,

and his role in it as President and Commander in Chief. His faith was the foundation for the

remarkable confidence he had in his ability to make sweeping decisions. As Suskind (2004)

wrote, a "writ of infallibility a premise beneath the powerful Bushian certainty that has, in

many ways, moved mountains is not just for public consumption: it has guided the inner life of

the White House."

This, however, this was not the most talked-about anecdotal nugget in the essay. Indeed,

the journalistic morsel that received perhaps the most attention was something that caught

Suskind himself off guard. As he recalls what an unnamed "senior advisor" told him:

The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,'
which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious
study of discernable reality.' I nodded and murmured something about
enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the










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420









Just as desire holds together this chain of equivalences representing the nation, so does a

chain of equivalential signifiers attempt to express that which the national subject is believed to

be missing. Kerry offers a range of terms to express the sense of frustration with the current

political order S2. As discussed above, terms like "freedom," "ideals," "values," "pride," "trust,"

"credibility," and "democracy" are deployed to convey what exactly the nation is missing. Each

is something we must fully reclaim if "we" are to be ourselves again. Yet, just as no signifier

could accurately and fully represent the nation as it "is," no signifier can adequately or fully

represent what the nation is believed to be "missing." Indeed, the sheer multiplicity of attempts

to pin down and name the Thing that is lacking points precisely to its indefinability. What

exactly is missing is partially represented in the array of signifiers that Kerry presents to name

"it." Thus, these "universal" nodal points, "ideals," "values," and so on, are filled in by the

particular meanings Kerry inscribes upon them.

However, at the same time Kerry attempts to fill in a range of valued "American" nodal

points with his own preferred particular meanings, his text (2004) concedes much to the existing

security discourse:

We are a nation at war: a global war on terror against an enemy unlike we've ever
known before (Kerry 2004).

And then, with confidence and determination, we will be able to tell the terrorists:
You will lose, and we will win. The future doesn't belong to fear; it belongs to
freedom (Kerry 2004).

I am proud that after September 11th all our people rallied to President Bush's call
for unity to meet the danger (Kerry 2004).

He accepts that there is, and that there is a need for, a war on terror. The enemy is new,

unknown, and nebulous, closely reproducing existing portraits repeated since September 11,

2001 (see Jackson, 2005). While later in the speech Kerry (2004) argues for a different approach

to the conduct of the war (a "smarter, more effective war on terror"), he explicitly endorses









subjectivity are crucial in differentiating the varying appeal of discourses. Only by incorporating

these hitherto-neglected aspects of social construction can we more fully understand the affective

power that have produced the power of the discourses of the war on terror and the Iraq war

Many accounts now exist of the politics that cast Saddam Hussein and Iraq as part of the

war on terror (see, for example, Isikoff and Corn 2006; Packer 2005; Ricks 2006; Woodward

2004). The rhetorical fuzziness that Bush administration officials deployed in making

pronouncements about al-Qaeda and Iraq's involvement in international terrorism and widely

reproduced in the media has been debated and criticized by many. Some argue that the

administration intentionally selected intelligence data that bolstered the case for war while

ignoring the ambiguity that many in the intelligence community expressed regarding the

interpretation of the status of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Others point out that American

intelligence was simply incomplete or even wrong regarding Iraq's status as a threat, and that the

intelligence of American allies (most notably Great Britain) was also mistaken.

These particular debates aside, IR scholars who have examined the politics of the Iraq

War from critical and constructivist perspectives have made a number of observations and

arguments about the rhetorical politics surrounding it. Richard Jackson (2005, 103), for instance,

examines the rhetorical confluence of "super-terrorism, rogue states, and WMD." He points out

that administration officials drew upon existing discourses of "super-terrorism," such as the

possibility of terrorist attacks from the use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and

conflated them with states that may supply such weapons to non-state terrorists. The

administration made this link between terrorists and states appear to be natural and beyond

question. "The rhetorical strategy of making terrorists and 'rogue states' synonymous is an

ingenious discursive sleight of hand that provides the authorities with valuable resources,"









the "void" of September 11, 2001 is useful for more fully understanding the constructions and

responses to the crisis, yet they neglect to conceptualize how the "void" impacted affects in

relation to disrupted social meanings. In other words, they do not theorize the social effects of

the "void" as comprehensively as their analyses seem to suggest in their focus on social

meanings as such. However, some of their analyses do indirectly illustrate the kind of

progressive symbolization that took place after September 11, 2001 on which basis nebulous

affects were articulated into more defined emotions, and attached to master signifiers that

justified their meaning. In particular, Holland's (2009) analysis of individual interviews

conducted after September 11, 2001 captures one aspect on this process.

Holland draws upon individual interviews conducted in the days and weeks after

September 11, 2001. While many commentators and scholars have discussed how the shock of

that day shattered "commonsense" expectations about security and violence in the United States

(see Campbell, 2002; Edkins, 2002), Holland offers samples of how this shock was received by

many:

It was unspeakable (Hiller 2001, quoted in Holland 2009, 279).

[It] made it difficult to talk ... speaking clearly wasn't really happening at that
point, it was very difficult. (Bisson 2001, quoted in Holland 2009, 279).

[It was] so unbelievable that it didn't want to sink in (Day 2001, quoted in Holland
2009, 279).

At first I wasn't angry, because I couldn't believe it was happening (Dominguez
2001, quoted in Holland 2009, 279).

I felt nothing because I couldn't understand (Sato 2001, quoted in Holland 2009,
279).

The events were sufficiently shocking that the discursive resources available to most Americans

were initially useless in "making sense" of what had happened. As Holland (2009, 281) notes,

the "void that 9-11 created resulted from two primary factors: the shattering of the foundational









subjectivity. Therefore, discursive hegemony is not just a struggle over meaning. It is also a

struggle between fantasies that offer more or less appealing constructions of "self' for audiences.

Second, this study is a major contribution to the IR literature identity. Identity, of course,

has constituted a significant part of the IR research agenda since at least the late 1980s and early

1990s. Indeed, Felix Berenskoetter (2010, emphasis in original) finds that identity "has been

one, if not the, conceptual shooting star in International Relations (IR) scholarship since the

1990s, at least among scholars seeking an alternative to the realist-rationalist vocabulary." At a

general level, this study goes beyond conventional constructivist understandings of how self and

other are mutually constitutive thereby offering a much more comprehensive and substantial

view of what is involved in social construction processes. Constructivist arguments that

identities are mutually constituted through social interaction (rather than being primordially or

naturally given) is an important insight which however does not say much on the desires and

affects that are inevitably bound up in social construction processes in the first place.

What I have attempted to demonstrate is that identity is not merely the reflection of a

dynamic of a "self' against an "other," but rather involves an entire array of affects and desires

that play into how the "self' and "other" cohere. Indeed, I have argued that there is no originary

"self," strictly speaking. The "self' is a lack. It only comes to "be" by identifying with objects

that are "outside" of it. Others scholarly works in IR have argued that the identity is an always-

incomplete project due to the instability of language. Yet they have overlooked the affective

power bound up in this process. The "self s" incompleteness evokes a desire to become

complete. And to be able to function and to believe that it will be able to become "itself' once

again, the self constructs fantasies within which a crucial part of itself is presumed to have been

lost. The subject presupposes that the presumed missing piece of itself must have caused its









Union to conceive that it might disappear. It was their mental balustrade, something they could

lean on in their battles against effete liberals at home. Deprived of it, they lost their footing."

Several have argued that a large part of the reason why neoconservatism's influence

diminished at this time was because of their split response to the end of the Cold War. Since its

gradual birth in the 1960s and 70s, the movement had committed itself to the defeat of

communism, but when this happened they were faced with questions that had largely been

glossed over during those decades of relative unity. Upon what principles should the U.S. build

its post-Cold War foreign policy? And, in a world with one remaining superpower, how broadly

or narrowly should American national interest be defined? The movement's members split and

coalesced into two camps. Some argued that a narrower definition of the national interest best

suited the new times. Others saw an opportunity, with the Soviets gone, to spread American

influence across the globe in the form of crusades for democracy (Halper and Clarke 2004, 76).

Many of the older generation firmly embraced the idea that with the threat of communism

now vanquished, the U.S. should have a more constricted definition of the national interest.

Since the Soviets had been the reason for an expansive world-wide policy of containment, there

was no reason left to maintain such far-reaching interests. Jeane Kirkpatrick, who was one of

them, gained notoriety in 1979 with her influential essay "Dictatorships and Double-Standards,"

published in Commentary. This paved the way for her appointment by Reagan as ambassador to

the United Nations. Yet, with the end of the Cold War, she backed a more modest approach to

American foreign policy. She believed that the US could now be a "normal country in a normal

time," and that burdens assumed strictly for Cold War purposes could, and should, now be

abandoned (Kirkpatrick 1990). Irving Kristol largely agreed. He argued that the U.S. should no

longer be concerned about balance-of-power politics, and pretensions of being the world's









indefinable quality that makes "us" who "we" are (object a), are fought over by political forces

that seek to define the Symbolic anchors around which fantasies cohere. This kind of

competition was clearly evident in the politics surrounding the war on terror and the Iraq war. A

particularly illustrative example can be found in the dueling speeches by President Bush and

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry given at the Republican and Democratic

Presidential nomination conventions during the 2004 election campaign. Each speech was

constituted by numerous attempts to define the nodal points (or, master signifiers) of American

political discourse in particular ways. As Krebs and Lobasz (2007) argue, Democrats, Kerry

included, were ultimately hemmed-in by speaking from within the discursive confines of the war

on terror. More specifically, though, we see in them the attempt by different political forces to

fill in the ultimately empty content of American nodal points, constituting implicitly competing

attempts to channel the affective investments within the war on terror-Iraq fantasy.7

Both party convention speeches include much of the typical material one expects from

such performances, such as recounting the nominees' American roots, reiterating stances on

major domestic and foreign policy issues, and offering criticism and partisan "red meat" for the

party faithful. The Bush (2004) and Kerry (2004) speeches are also notable for the ways in

which nodal points/master signifiers appear in them. "Freedom," "values," and "terror" are

examples of the nodal points around which American political discourse was anchored at the

time, and played central roles in both Bush's and Kerry's discourse. These signifiers, and others,





7 By looking at these two texts from 2004, I obviously do not claim that they had an impact on the Iraq war debate
prior to the start of the war in March 2003. I analyze these texts simply as an illustrative example of discursive
competition to hegemonize the nodal points of American political debates at the time. Although there was always
resistance to the "war on terror and "Iraq" discourses, Krebs and Lobasz (2007, 451) argue that it was not until
2006 that criticisms of the "war on terror" itself began to creep into mainstream political debate. Croft (2006, 165-
213) documents how much of the resistance to the Iraq war took shape as a "no war for oil" discourse.









work on discourse and identity argues that it is the rhetorical influence of words themselves that

not only has the power to create political subjects and identities, but to foreclose the possibility

of other meaningful discourses or identities from becoming "common sense." Yet, scholars in

other disciplines have recognized the limits of such approaches. Humanities scholar Marshall

Alcorn (2002, 106-7) argues although current forms of discourse analysis have made strides in

our understanding of language, they have also "oversimplified our understanding of

signification." In examining racism, for instance, the strength of differences felt by some cannot

be accounted for on a merely linguistic level:

differences that matter in the recognition of the other reflect differences in
jouissance not differences in signification per se. The violent hatreds generated by
racism, for example are grounded, not in any logic of the signifier, per se, but in the
conflicts of disavowed forms ofjouissance that are in bodily experience not mental
representations (Alcorn 2002, 107).

Jouissance, as the following chapter explains, is the name Lacanan theory gives to an affective

experience that cannot be directly represented in discourse. Viewed as a form of generalized

affect, jouissance is in this regard Lacan's answer to the question of "what else" is operating

through signification in addition to semiotic and cognitive meaning. Affective investment and

dis-investment in certain discursive elements can help us better understand discursive power

beyond what current forms of discourse analysis offer. Alcorn (2002, 17) continues,

Because of a kind of adhesive attachment that subjects have to certain instances of
discourse, some discourse structures are characteristic of subjects and have
temporal stability. These modes of discourse serve as symptoms of subjectivity:
they work repetitively and defensively to represent identity.

Such a perspective raises three key questions that are relevant to this discussion. First,

what explains the "resonance" that discourses have with receiving audiences? That discourses

always build upon, and are grounded in the legitimacy of, broader historical discourses surely

provides part of an explanation. Ernesto Laclau's (1990) term "sedimentation" nicely captures









threat. As Lacan argues, discourse is constructed around "choice images which all have a

specific relation with the living existence of the human being, with quite a narrow sector of its

biological reality, with the image of the fellow being. This imaginary experience furnishes

ballast for every concrete language, and by the same token for every verbal exchange," and "is

what gives human language its weight, its resources, and its emotional vibration" (Lacan 1988,

306). Of course, these different types of desire are not mutually exclusive. Multiple desires can

be evoked simultaneously by the same discourse, and in practice, each of these desires may

shade into one another. Yet, acknowledging the multiplicity of desire along these dimensions

broadens the scope of our understanding the effects of discourse as it is currently understood in

IR. As Bracher (1993, 52) argues,

The value of this taxonomy of desire four basic modes in each of three registers -
lies not in its capacity to serve as a totalizing system for describing and
categorizing the various elements of discourse. Its value lies rather in its
demonstration of the multifariousness and complexity of desire and in its function
as a kind of checklist prompting us to search a given text or discourse for
interpellative forces that might not be immediately evident.

Understanding desire in this way helps us better account for the power of discourses and

identifications beyond their rhetorical construction. As the following chapters demonstrate, for

example, prominent texts constructing American foreign policy discourses strongly evoked many

of these kinds of desire, which helps us better understand their resonance.

Based on this typology, we may draw some initial expectations about what kinds of

discourses are more resonant than others. If people identify with certain master signifiers and

other discursive resources because they offer some level of security (security of the "self," we

might say), then those discourses that reinforce common identities would presumably "resonate"










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Laclau, Ernesto and Chantal Mouffe. 1985. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. London and New
York: Verso.

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Positivist Age." International Studies Quarterly 33 (3): 235-254.

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register, the desire for bodily well-being. These threats to the Imaginary body are part of a

constellation of desires presumably evoked by the speech. Active narcissistic desire in the

Imaginary, or the desire to "be like" the image of an admired other, is also brought to mind with

the positive imagery of brave Americans and military successes, as is Symbolic passive

narcissistic desire (the desire to be recognized or loved by the Other, often through the

embodiment of the values represented by master signifiers, such as "freedom," "justice,"

"America," and so on).

Identification with such images, however, only works in conjunction with identification

through and with the gaze. Indeed, Zizek (1989, 105-110) argues that identification with images

is always subordinate to identification with the gaze. Identification with images is appealing

because of the position from which subjects imagine themselves being seen as identifying with

the images. The fantasized position from which we see ourselves as likeable is what guides

which images we identify with in the first place. "What determines me, at the most profound

level...is the gaze that is outside," Lacan (1981, 106) argues. Put differently, it is the fantasized

gaze of the object at us that influences the way in which we identify with images. Premised

upon the assumptions of a peaceful world and a unified American subject (the "lost" objects of

the fantasy) the imagined gaze of these objects back at an audience creates a space in which the

desires of the audience are tied to the promise of their "recovery," or tied to the implication of an

encounter with them. A whole American subject and international peace are fantasmatic in the

sense that they are both present and absent in/from the discourse. They are presented to an

audience as recognizable and worthy of pursuit, as objects that are desirable which can be spoken

of (because, in fact, they can be spoken of). At the same time, they are absent from our current

politics, and it is their absence that drives the desire for subjectivity promised by their recovery.









Hegemonic Logic

Lacan's framework offers insights into the affective appeal of Krauthammer's

neoconservative text, which in turn helps us to understand its attempt at achieving discursive

hegemony. In other words, Lacan's insights help to explain the extra-discursive dynamics that

underpin the texts hegemonic logic. Mapping the constructions of equivalence and difference,

nodal points, and universals and particulars through the above understandings of fantasy and

desire can offer an understanding why this text was unable to achieve widespread resonance with

audiences.

Laclau's theories of the logics of equivalence and difference are useful in demonstrating

how political identifications and boundaries are drawn through the mutual construction of self

and other. For Laclau, all social identifications are constituted at the intersection of logics of

equivalence and difference, and these logics are at work in Krauthammer's discourse.

"American" identification in the essay is constructed through a series of prominent signifiers that

bind together what "America" means. For example, "unipolar" is obviously used throughout the

text to characterize the subject "America" as sitting "at the apex of the industrial West"

(1990/91, 24). Almost by default being the lone remaining "unchallenged superpower," the

United States is the unipolar power (1990/91, 23). Other signifiers contribute to building this

image. "American preeminence is based on the fact that it is the only country with the military,

diplomatic, political, and economic assets to be a decisive player in any conflict in whatever part

of the world it chooses to involve itself' (1990/91, 24). "A dominant great power essentially acts

alone," but "embarrassed at the idea," tries to project a facade of "pseudo-multilateralism" by

recruiting "a ship here, a brigade there, and blessings all around" from its lesser allies" (1990/91,

25). And, again, the world's "best hope for safety" is "in American strength and will" (1990/91,

33).









points, the incompleteness of any social meaning is what creates space for contestation. As

Laclau (2001, 10) argues, "this incompletion of the hegemonic game is what we call politics."

It is easy to see the overlap between Laclau's nodal points and Lacan's notion of master

signifiers. As central as they are in structuring the subject's processes of identification, the

master signifiers offered by the Symbolic order are incomplete. They can never fully suture the

lack around which our identifications cohere, which prompts subjects to construct fantasies in

order to have the stability needed to function as a subject. It is this limitation of the discursive

resources of the Symbolic that sparks continual processes of identification, rather than the

permanence of an "identity." It is also this incompleteness that allows for agency in explaining

social change, and even social creativity in identification (Ruti, 2008).

What the concepts of the nodal point and the master signifier ultimately try to account for

is the relative temporary stability on which basis subjects must procee as if that subjects must

have if they are to act as subjects. Although some constructivists and poststructuralists have

emphasized the fluidity of identity over its possible stability, they seem to have over-emphasized

this fluidity without devoting sufficient attention to how partial stability is achieved (see Goff

and Dunn 2004). For Laclau, partial meaning is achieved when a political project succeeds in

offering a dominant construction of a field of signifiers, or an ideology. Terms like "the people"

and "justice" become nodal points in particular ideologies when linked (through logics of

equivalences and differences) to a range of other secondary signifiers whose meaning is

ultimately deferred back to the anchors "fixing" the entire grouping. For Lacan, master signifiers

offer stability because of their role in structuring the subject's identity, and in their role of both

evoking and satisfying certain kinds of desires (Bracher 1993, 25).









for identification, whereas fantasies that do not construct a substantially lacking subject often

evoke weaker desires for identification. Therefore, such fantasies will often evoke less desire for

identification and subjectivity with the discourse in question. Thus, desire will be less oriented

towards the kind of identification andjouissance that the discourse offers.

Hegemonic Logic

Carter's "crisis of confidence" speech was of course intended to be a successful political

definition of the nation's problems and the best solution to solve it. We can safely assume that it

attempted to define the common sense of the time about what was wrong with the country and

what should be done about it. More technically, Carter's speech was an attempted "expansion of

a discourse...into a dominant horizon of social orientation and action" (Torfing 1999, 101). In

other words, it constituted an attempt at the construction of what Laclau calls discursive

hegemony. Employing the combined insights of both Lacan and Laclau, we can see how fantasy

discourses, with their powerfully appealing promise of reaching the missing and indefinable

quality that makes "us" who "we" are (object a), are partially "filled in" by political forces that

seek to define the discursive anchors around which fantasies cohere. In other words, Laclau's

approach to the construction of discursive hegemony allows us to trace the politics of

identification, fantasy, andjouissance that Lacan's framework uncovers.

The complex dynamic between the national subject's fullness and loss in Carter's

discourse also constitutes its hegemonic logic. Recall that for Laclau, common political

signifiers that are viewed as timeless and which are seen as having some readily grasped extra-

discursive referent are instead ambiguous sites of inscription upon which different forces attempt

to ascribe their own particular meaning. As seen above, this also largely constitutes the process

by which Carter attempt's to pin down the nation's missing object. As Laclau (2005, 116)

argues, "the logic of the objetpetit a and the hegemonic logic are not just similar: they are









understanding its success than the desires it evoked and the subtle but powerfully appealing

invitations to secure subjectivity that it offered. As I have argued, most successful discourses are

so for these reasons. As David Morrison (2003, 278) points out,

The crucial point is that it is not that the subject, who internalizes [the] discourse, is
necessarily intellectually convinced by it, but that this subject desires to believe
[the] discourse in order to achieve certainty (by suturing the social) and avoid the
anxiety of the gap between the symbolic and the real. The successful avoidance,
via fantasy, of anxiety resulting from the failure of the symbolic marks an eruption
of enjoyment within the subject. Thus fantasy is for the subject enjoyable.

Thus, perhaps the most crucial elements in understanding how discourses, like the war on terror-

Iraq discourse, attain the status of "common sense" is because of how they construct and sustain

fantasies that offer a way for people to avoid the anxiety and ultimate indeterminacy of their

identification practices.

Hegemony, then, must be understood to necessarily encompass the affective dimensions

of subjectivity. Viewed through Laclau's logic of hegemony and Lacan's logic of the object a,

the discursive attempt to articulate a "part" (that is, a particular definition) as embodying the

"whole" (the universal aspirations embodied in the term) illustrates the component of fantasy

underlying the power of nodal points in the first place, and thus their affective appeal. Nodal

points/master signifiers are sites of political contestation precisely because of their prominent

role in structuring subjects' identifications. As Stavrakakis (1999, 62) argues, "the signified

function of the nodal point is not solely reduced to its discursive position. It is supported by

a whole fantasy construction." The "gripping" power (to return to Glynos's [1999] phrasing) of

master signifiers/nodal points in people's identifications stems from the affective appeal these

signifiers have in terms of the promise of subjectivity that they offer. Like every other discourse,

nodal points/master signifiers played a powerful role in the politics of the war on terror and the

Iraq war. "Freedom," for example, may have been a contested signifier between Kerry and









Similarly, Jodi Dean (2005, 502) describes the gaze, "a way of looking at oneself from the

perspective of another, through the imagined gaze of another ... Both of these perspectives

function within the discursive dynamics of the speech. As discussed above, the discourse of the

speech is rich in images that evoke desires for bodily integrity and security. On the level of the

image, one would identify with the images of the "wound inflicted" upon the country, and the

threats that the terrorists wish to "kill" "soldiers and civilians, women and children." Indeed,

identification in terms of literal resemblance is often how we conventionally think of

"identifying with" someone or something.

The gaze, on the other hand, works when an audience identifies not with the literal

images conjured upon by Bush's words, but instead identify with the unspoken position from

which the national "wounds" are viewed. From this position, the "Nation" is seen as lacking that

which was lost on September 11, 2001, yet, this "missing Thing" itself did not exist until it was

posited as lost by the discursive attempts to fill the social void shaken open by the events of

September 11, 2001. Even when it makes its appearance within Bush's speeches, it can only be

obliquely referred to, circled around, since it cannot be made to exist in Symbolic reality, but is

instead part of the Real, which is extra-discursive. This just-out-of-reach quality is itself what

sustains desire for it, driving its pursuit. From an unspoken position ofpower, supported by an

assumption that it is wrong for America to lack what was taken away (beyond the loss of 3,000

lives), or indeed lack anything constructed as "good," the fantasy of a whole "America" is an

implicit invitation for the audience to accept. In this sense, the gaze subtly constructed by the

speech offers a way to fill out the fantasy structure of the speech (see Dean 2005, 502). Here, the

fantasy object of the "Nation" appears to confer recognition to the subject who pursues it and in

the imagined encounter when the subject finally joins with the object. "What determines me, at









of desire (towards an illusory jouissance) and its affective "grip" (Glynos 1999) Recall that for

Lacan, in pursuingjouissance (understood as a conjectural affective experience of the whole and

fully stable sense of self), the subject always encounters frustration and satisfaction satisfaction

in associating itself with those valued signifiers that confer a sense of being and security, and

frustration in never being able to fully overcome the sense of loss that drives the identification

process. Since most subjects are unable to deal with the contingency of their identifications and

the resultant deadlocks of desire (since a truly whole "self' is impossible), fantasy offers a way

for the subject to deal with these impossibilities. By constructing a narrative that explains why

one is never able to fully become oneself, the subject is able to believe that (illusory) wholeness

is nevertheless achieveable. The manner in which fantasy accomplishes this is that the

contingencies and ambiguities of identification are projected onto an other (Stavrakakis 2007,

198). The figure of the other is able to sew together the incompleteness of the subject's

existence by functioning as a kind of "scapegoat" upon which the subject's division can be

projected. Instead of accepting the incompleteness of all social identity, most subjects find it

more appealing to believe that wholeness or enjoyment is possible if not for the Other who

blocks or steals it from them (Zizek 1993, 203). If appears that others enjoy the kind fullness

that the subject seeks, then this further pushes the subject to attain that which it appears others

have attained. Lacan's formula for fantasy is $ 0 a, which we can read as "the barred subject in

relation to object a," with the lozenge 0 representing the different forms this relationship can take

(Fink 1995, 174).

Within Bush's speech after September 11, 2001, the ideal of a complete and unified

Nation free of threats, antagonisms, and division is an image which covers over the constitutive

divisions of such an entity. A unified, unthreatened "America" is posited as lost in Bush's









they "appealed to a wide segment of the American public after September 11," just as a black-

and-white vision of the world as one of good and evil "resonated with many Americans"

(Flibbert 2006, 336, 337). For Krebs and Lobasz (2007, 428), the Bush administration's rhetoric

became dominant partly because its "identification of the perpetrators of the September 11

attacks as evil... resonated with an American public increasingly drawn, if not always

consciously, into the orbit of evangelical discourse." The hegemony of the war on terror

narrative, and the inability of the Left to make oppositional headway, Krebs and Lobasz (2007,

433) argue, lay in the fact that it was the right "identity" story at the right time: "what was

needed was a rhetoric that would make sense of these shocking events, identify the perpetrators,

explain what they wanted, reaffirm the nation's ideals, and reassure the public that security

would be restored. The rhetoric of crisis is consequently a rhetoric of identity, providing the

occasion for re-narrations of national self-conceptions; it only secondarily seeks to articulate a

rational policy response."

Largely missing from this literature is a thorough understanding of the power of

influential political texts after September 11, 2001. What these studies have in common, despite

their sometimes opposing arguments in explaining the hegemonic efficiency of the war on terror,

are that each of them implies that the psychological, affective, and/or emotional state of the

American public after the September 11, 2001 attacks helped to facilitate the political success of

the war on terror discourse.4 Religious imagery "resonated" with people. The Bush Doctrine

"reflected" already-existing discourses within American society. Ideas about the role of military

force and American power "gained currency" and shaped perceptions and policy options. Ideas

4 Emma Hutchison and Roland Bleiker (2008) argue that emotions are a central component in understanding the
responses to terrorist attacks and in understanding the rebuilding of political community after such a trauma. While
insightful, they nevertheless do not pursue the complex questions addressed in this chapter and the next and the
relationships between discourse and emotions and affects, distinctions between affects and emotions, or how
emotions play in the constitution of subjectivity.









stability. However, although anxiety does play the role of a driving force in Lacanian theory, it

is not the same kind of force that Mitzen and Steele describe. For them, anxiety is tied to agents'

need to delimit the possibilities of agency and/or prioritize the world of possible threats that

confront them. For Lacan, in contrast, anxiety is inextricably tied to lack. The "originary lack"

(in Laclau's description) around which every subject is constituted sparks the desire to identify

with the social resources of the Symbolic order that offer some sense of direction and meaning

(again, signifiers, or "identities," like "father," "student," "Democrat," etc., and embedded within

fantasy discourses that offer a sense of affective security). Desire is what motivates the drive for

Symbolic recognition, to be someone or something according to one's place in the Symbolic

order; the subject always strives to continue desiring, to be a "desiring being" (Fink 1995, 61).

Anxiety arises when this constitutive lack is itself lacking, when this motivating absence cannot

be joined in a productive way to signifiers. Since subjects can only exist as subjects within

discourse, the loss or absence that sparks the desire to seek recognition in the Symbolic is

necessary. Without lack there is no desire, and without desire there is no subject, strictly

speaking. Strangely, then, anxiety is experienced expressly when the subject actually approaches

that object that it believes will "make it whole," but which it must not obtain if it is to continue to

desire. As the next chapter discusses, the desire for "wholeness" is constitutive of being a

subject within language, yet when "wholeness" is approached, desire begins to evaporate. In

terms of child development, for instance, Lacan argues that what "is most anxiety producing for

the child is when the relationship through which it comes to be on the basis of lack, which

makes it desire is most perturbed: when there is no possibility of lack, when its mother is

constantly on its back" (quoted in Fink 1995, 103). To maintain our desire as subjects, we must

keep, as it were, a healthy distance from the Thing that promises to satisfy our desire. This is









terrorist, and later Iraqi, other served to legitimate widespread support for American foreign

policy after September 11, 2001, but the scholarly literature's focus on these aspects alone ignore

the complex movements of affect and desire that constituted these self-other relations in the first

place. The power and resonance of the war on terror discourse, I argue, can be traced back to the

particular desires it evoked and the fantasies it offered audiences. Later, the discursive

incorporation of Iraq into the war on terror narrative was constituted by these same kinds of

affective movements. Through logics of equivalence and difference that were brought together

by the movements of desire for a full "self," the Iraq war came to appear as a natural progression

in the war on terror. A focus on the constructions of self and other alone cannot account for the

power of these particular discourses, since not every construction of self and other is political

successful. Even though some discourses are more successful than others, no discourse is

complete. Rather, any discourse is always in the process of articulation and re-articulation, and

is thus politically contestable, even if in certain contexts it might appear that a discourse is

stabilized or "natural" due to processes of sedimentation that always seek to erase the non-

foundational origin of the discourse. The politics of discursive struggle which constitute

hegemony were evident in the 2004 presidential campaign, where George W. Bush and John

Kerry offered competing fantasy discourses that functioned to channel the desires and affects of

audiences in particular directions.

Much research into the war on terror and the Iraq war has discussed the role of

neoconservatism in American foreign policy after September 11, 2001. Chapters Five and Six

offer analyses that explore the affective politics of the varying success and influence that

neoconservatism has had in debates in American foreign policy over the last several decades.

The politics of the Iraq war have sparked an increased interest by IR scholars in the topic, and









fantasies of subjectivity that it has offered has sometimes promised more appealing fantasies of

subjectivity and sometimes it has offered less appealing fantasies. In utilizing insights from

Lacan and Laclau to explore the affective-hegemonic appeal of these ebbs-and-flows of

neoconservative influence, this chapter contributes fills a considerable gap in the growing

literature on neoconservatism. Thus, my overall goal has been to both uncover subtle aspects of

the affective lure of neoconservative discourses and to demonstrate the analytical strength of my

theoretical framework that can fulfill that goal. In accounting for the desires and affects that are

inextricably tied to the construction of subjectivity, my framework offers powerful tools that can

move far beyond conventional social constructivist and discourse analysis as they are currently

practiced in IR.

It should be noted that the reasons behind the political success of neoconservatism have

not gone completely unnoticed. A few scholars have tried to explain the overall success that

neoconservatism has had over the past several decades. Political theorist Shadia Drury (1997), in

her examination of the links between Straussian theory and modern conservatism, argues that

there four major reasons for its success. First, she argues that neoconservatism has been

successful because of its ability to ally itself with multiple critics of modern liberalism, such as

feminists, libertarians, communitarians, and Republicans (Drury 1997, 170). Second,

neoconservatism thrives on the recent besiegement of American liberalism, as indicated by the

word "liberal" nearly becoming a political insult during the 1980s and 1990s (Drury 1997, 173).

Third, she argues that the "inevitable resurgence of a fierce gregariousness" has combined with

the "natural weaknesses" of liberalism that plays to the ethnic and cultural backgrounds of both

the proponents of neoconservatism and those in the majority who are likely its most eager

listeners (Drury 1997, 174-5). Finally, the populist and nationalistic themes often deployed by









Goldgeier (2008, 143) write, "the driving force for conservatives' thinking became their focus on

vulnerabilities and threats whether from missiles launched by rogue states, rising powers such

as China, or, they began to argue, the gathering storm on Iraq." Thus, while early in the decade

much of their concern focused on what the "lonely superpower" (Krauthammer 1991) should

now do to fill its time, their concerns shifted later to both explicit and potential threats. More

deeply, however, there was much more to neoconservative pronouncements than recognizing

threats that already existed "out there" in the world. Neoconservative constructions of collective

subjectivity offered stronger appeals for identification than earlier discourses emphasizing

unipolarity. The greater loss of subjectivity in later neoconservative discourses, particularly

Kristol and Kagan's, sparked greater desires for subjectivity. The fantasies deployed in

neoconservatism were more appealing because they offered more secure identifications for

people looking for ways to avoid the Real at the heart of their identification processes. In terms

of foreign policy discourses in the United States during the late 1990s, neoconservatism began to

achieve a stronger "grip" precisely through the stronger desires these discourses evoked, and

through the fantasies constructed to satisfy these desires by promising to reclaim a national and

global wholeness that was ultimately impossible.

Conclusion

While neoconservatism saw the height of its influence during the first administration of

George W. Bush, it has had substantial impact on American foreign policy debates over the last

several decades. However, this influence has been unsteady. Neoconservatism has been more

influential in public debates at some times and less so at other times. Although times and

contexts change, this chapter has argued that neoconservatism's ebbs and flows can be traced

back to the kinds of identifications it has offered its audiences. In competition with other

discourses, it has sometimes evoked more desires in audiences and sometimes less, and the









social relations that pre-exist their linking within discourse; rather, such relations do not exist for

speaking subjects outside of the discursive practices that constitute these relations. Since there is

no extra-discursive ground upon which meanings can be said to rest, meanings and identities are

always in flux, and more importantly, are never beyond political contestation. This non-

foundational view of the political takes center stage in Laclau's framework. Social and political

relations, "which are articulated as sets of discourses, are always political constructions

involving the construction of antagonisms and the exercise of power" (Howarth 2000, 104).

Politics is played out not between agents or actors that have fully-formed identities prior to

political struggle. Rather, politics is the very process through which identities are constructed,

deconstructed, and reconstructed, and through which discourses struggle against other discourses

to achieve dominance. The "war on terror" in the years immediately following September 11,

2001 could be viewed as a hegemonic discourse, more significant in this respect than any

"objective" foundation that is supposed to exist for it (see Croft 2006). It arguably defined the

dominant perspective on national security and world politics, while simultaneously excluding

other constructions of what the September 11 attacks would mean (a "criminal act," etc.).

Laclau both elaborates upon and moves beyond these ideas by developing a novel

theoretical apparatus to account for the construction of identities and political boundaries, in

addition to the achievement of discursive stability and the limits of discursive construction. For

instance, most post-positivist identity scholars in IR have recognized the fluidity of identity as

based upon the instability of language itself (see Goff and Dunn 2004). Laclau develops this

idea by theorizing instability not only as fluidity, but also in terms of the constitutive limits of

identity. "Every identity," he argues, "is dislocated insofar as it depends on an outside which

both denies that identity and provides its condition of possibility at the same time" (1990, 39).









of identity" (Laclau 1994, 2-3)12. Consequently, the construction of an (ultimately unstable)

identity is only possible through continual processes of identification with culturally available

social constructions, such as political ideologies, narratives, and values (Stavrakakis 1999, 36).

In other words, subjects must identify with societal discourses if they are to have a place in that

society. However, due to the instability and contestability of any discourse (such as conflict over

the "true" meaning of an ideology, belief system, or social role), a fixed and uncontestable

identity is impossible, since there is no extra-linguistic foundation upon which any "identity"

may be grounded.

The desire to assume a master signifier is only one aspect of identification, and is an

expression of one desire among several kinds. One of the most oft-repeated notions in Lacan's

(2006, 222) corpus is that the subject's "desire finds its meaning in the other's desire...because

[the subject's] first objective is to be recognized by the other." With this dictum, Lacan

emphasizes that desire is never truly individual, but is always channeled and given form by the

social. From this, a typology of desire in discourse can be developed along three dimensions.13

First, desire can take the form of a "desire to be" (narcissistic desire) or a "desire to have"

(anaclitic desire). Second, the Other can be either the subject or object of desire; in other words,

the subject can desire to be recognized by the Other, or can desire to possess the Other as a

means to wholeness. With both narcissistic and anaclitic desire, one can have both passive and

active forms, corresponding to the desire to be recognized and loved by the Other (passive



12 This simply means that there exist no natural or primordial identities. If there were, the issue would be one of
subjects "finding" or "recognizing" their identity, rather than constructing it (Laclau 1994, 2-3).

13 Since, to the best of my knowledge, Lacan's major work on desire and identification has not been translated into
English, I rely upon Mark Bracher's (1993, 19-52) discussion of this typology. Bracher (1993, 19-20) himself notes
that the "taxonomy of desire that I am presenting here [was] not developed systematically by Lacan in each of the
three registers," although each form of desire was discussed by Lacan "in various ways and various contexts" over
his multiple-decade career.









199). These circulations differ from purely subjective, or individualistic, "feelings" in that

affects "cut across individual subjects and forge collective associations from socially induced

habits and memories" (2006, 199). However, these quite intriguing suggestions propose more

questions than answers. For instance, when discussing Edkins's work on the "inarticulable"

aspects of trauma, he suggests that perhaps "trauma is a version an especially complex and

intense one of the affective experience that characterizes the everyday life of micropolitics"

(2006, 211). He does not elaborate, however, on how his Deleuzian perspective sheds light on

this, or even what this statement exactly means. It appears to mean that a trauma-like experience

is part of everyday social reality, but nevertheless remains under-theorized. A bit later, he makes

the compelling suggestion that the U.S. response to September 11, 2001 demonstrates that

"emotions are strictly neither individual nor collective," but are rather nonsubjectivee" (2006,

213). "An affect," he argues, "is not a property of an individual but a capacity of a body that

brings it into some specific social relation, such as a nation or political movement" (2006, 213).

"A collective identity," he continues, "is sustained by habits and memories shared by members

of a group ... a collective identity thus expresses not an aggregate of individuals but a block of

affect cutting across multiply attached and continually adapting agents" (2006, 214). This points

in an intriguing direction, but Ross leaves open the question of how this works, or how to

account for it in theoretical terms. How exactly does one connect affect "as a capacity of a

body" to symbolic or discursively constituted identity?

Similarly, in asking whether Americans actually felt vengeance or anger after September

11, 2001, he finds that "one way of responding to these questions is to view these affective

responses not as coherent 'feelings' .but as affective energies whose precise form is subject to

the vicissitudes of public discourse" (2006, 212). If we accept that affects are not "feelings"









subject is constructed as missing or having lost its "essence," the "fundamental" part of itself that

it needs to overcome the crisis and to once again become the full subject it believes it once was.

"The confidence we have always had as a people is not simply some romantic dream or a

proverb in a dusty book that we read just on the Fourth of July," Carter asserts. He maintains his

"belief in the decency and the strength and the wisdom of the American people." "Confidence in

the future has always supported everything else public institutions and private enterprise, our

own families, and the very Constitution of the United States." Carter affirms that there is a deep

core essence to American society which is reflected in the American system of government, and

if that essence can be re-discovered, re-ignited, and its energy re-captured, the country's

problems will begin to give way. After all, in his view, these are the very qualities that have

gotten the country through difficult times in the past. "We can regain our unity. We can regain

our confidence. We are the heirs of generations who survived threats much more powerful and

awesome than those that challenge us now."

What "America" is, in its construction as a collective subject in the text of the speech, is

divided between what "we" are in the present and those distinctly "American" qualities that are

currently missing. The nation lacks "confidence," and also lacks a range of different attributes

that are cobbled together under the signifier "confidence." Public opinion, economic production,

Americans' financial behavior, energy problems, pessimism about national institutions and

government are all delineated throughout the speech as different indicators of what is wrong with

the national subject, but for Carter all of these factors point to something coherent believed to be

underpinning all of them. Both the nation's current status and what the nation is missing are

necessary to understanding the subject of Carter's speech. Both aspects are constructed as part

of the current national experience. The nation is not only a nation that is experiencing a crisis of









object a. This discourse is unique among the four forms that Lacan elaborated because both

object a and the split subject $ occupy the most overt or manifest positions as agent and receiver,

respectively. While typically either knowledge S2 and/or master signifiers Si occupy one of the

overt positions, here they are both in subordinate, latent positions. This means that the elements

that represent the subject's division $ and its missing object a are the driving factors of the

discourse. However, this does not mean that object a is positively represented in the discourse

here. Nor, does it mean that master signifiers Si or knowledge S2 are less important or vital to

the discourse's dynamics. The Analyst's discourse is a highly critical one in the sense that it

encourages people to openly deal with their desire and allow them to re-orient their desire

towards objects and signifiers that promise less anxiety and dissatisfaction. As Bracher (1993,

72) explains,

Confronted with this discourse of the Analyst, the analysand [patient], as receiver
responding to his or her own a, is in the position to produce a new master signifier
(S ), which amounts to an alteration of the ego ideal, and this entails an altered
sense of identity as well as new meanings and different values. Only by thus
realizing how their present master signifiers alienate them from the a can
analysands proceed to separation from the alienating position embodied in their
master signifiers, the separation occurring as the analysands gradually become
reconciled to their repressed elements and, in fact, come to accept these as more a
part of themselves than the monolithic values embodied in their ego ideal.

What would be the split subject $ in this reading? One could understand Carter's

audience as occupying the receiver position. As a speaking agent, Carter attempts to provoke his

audience into the position of split subjects. In doing so, he attempts to guide the receivers

toward putting their division front-and-center, acknowledging it in a way that would allow them

to work through it. In one sense, this seems to be one of the goals of the speech. In observing

the nation's dissatisfaction, Carter acts as an analogue to an (psycho-) analyst that is, he tries to

get the audience to acknowledge their division. However, a subject does not often want to

acknowledge its division as evidenced by the widespread negative reaction to the speech. To









the influence of settled historical understandings of "common sense," even if, ultimately, no

understanding is ever truly "settled." Yet, existing constructivist and poststructuralist

approaches do not seem to account for precisely how rhetorical power works to naturalize (to

"sediment" in Laclau's terminology) particular understandings of the world as "common sense."

The dominance of a discourse is only apparent after it has become dominant, and analysis of this

change typically proposes that this discourse "must have" crowded out other discourses. Such

analyses leave open the question of the emotional and/or affective "resonance" that powerful

discourses must somehow "have" in order to effect such changes in dominance. In short,

existing discourse theories in IR leave open the question of how discourses gain social traction.

Why exactly do some discourses become "common sense" and some do not? What exactly is

involved in the "grip" that discourses have over people?7

Second, what exactly accounts for how the moment of contingency of hegemonic

attainment is erased, which then naturalizes the meaning of a given discourse? Once again, the

usual approach is conceived in retrospect: analyses of hegemonic power are typically offered

after they have become hegemonic, thus assuming that what was at work at the moment of

contingency was the foreclosure of other political possibilities. From a discursive approach,

there is nothing too controversial about this. Rarely, however, do we really gain much more of

an understanding than this; here is often where (almost anecdotal) explanations about discourses

"resonating" and "gaining currency" are offered to explain their power beyond the structure or

form of words and narratives themselves. Yet, I propose there must be something at work

beyond merely the contingent social construction of a hegemonic discourse to render the force by

which such a discourse covers over the moment of indeterminacy. Not all discourses are created


7 Here and elsewhere I borrow Jason Glynos's (2001) terminology of "gripping."









by their partial representation of something that the subject believes has been lost, but also

represent something that is just-out-of-reach that the subject desires. The fantasy offered is that

by pursuing the policies that imply a stronger attachment to these signifiers, the subject will

cover over the divisions produced by the absence of the missing Thing. Rather than

acknowledge and deal with the possibility that the ambiguity of the "self' is not something that

can be healed, the prospect of American global domination offers a fantasy that channels the

desire for subjectivity in a direction that promises a lack of absolutely nothing for America. Yet,

both this image of American global domination and the discursive attempts to pin down what the

nation is missing are fantasy objects partial manifestations of object a that indeed never

existed, but are posited by the subject to have existed and whose presumed absence sparks the

desire for the recovery of the wholeness andjouissance they promise.5

Fantasy and Identification

While articulating that they believe that what America lacks constitutes a likely source of

global chaos, other aspects of their text soften the impact of this potential source of global

disintegration. This, in fact, is the major way in which Kristol and Kagan's text differs from

Krauthammer's earlier formulations. Whereas Krauthammer emphasized unipolarity for

unipolarity's sake, without giving too much gravity to potential threats or others, Kristol and

Kagan's text is replete with other potential obstacles to national subjectivity. Indeed, Kristol and

Kagan offer up a variety of "rogue states" and other entities that, in addition to national

weakness, are threats on the horizon. China and Iran, for example, appear frequently as states

that will likely not accede to the international rules that the U.S. lays down, or that will adopt



5 Indeed, while Kristol and Kagan harken back to what they see as the glory days under Ronald Reagan,
neoconservatives at the time distressed over what they saw as Reagan's capitulation to Soviet deception. See
footnote 11 in Chapter Six.









Thus, understanding the speech as a Hysteric's discourse helps us not only to uncover

relations between elements such as master signifiers Si, the new network of signifiers S2 offered,

and the split subjectivity $ constructed. As the next section demonstrates, this framework also

helps to identify the fantasy underpinning the logic of the speech. The lack in the discourse, and

the fantasy that attempts to veil it, are found in the gaps and silences in the speech, yet constitute

its most effectively appealing aspects. Podhoretz's essay channels the subject's $ desire and

jouissance in particular directions through the fantasy offered to veil the subject's

incompleteness and impossibility of attaining wholeness.

Fantasy and Identification

As Zizek (1989, 118) argues, fantasy "provides the co-ordinates of our desire which

constructs the frame enabling us to desire something." If we understand the split subject $,

master signifiers Si, and system of knowledge S2 in Podhoretz's text, what is the fantasy

deployed that "provides the co-ordinates of desire" and attempts to cover over the structural lack

around which it coheres object a? Crucially, the nation's loss of "will," of "purposes," of

"power," and so on (or "unity" and "confidence," as Carter would put it) is not strictly due to the

nation's own shortcomings, in Podhoretz's view. Instead, it ultimately stems from the

aggressiveness and strength of the Soviet Union. "What we see in this newly tolerant, and even

benevolent, attitude towards Communism," Podhoretz fears, "is the slow erosion of our own

sense of political value in response to the Communist challenge ." (Podhoretz 1976, 39). The

American response to Soviet assertiveness has been an erroneous reaction that can be traced back

to the erroneous lessons drawn from Vietnam. The traditional world role that the US has played

in countering Soviet aggression has been temporarily forgotten or ignored due to the

"isolationist" reaction against Vietnam. The subject's $ loss, then, is not strictly its own "fault"

but is in due to the overwhelming threat that the Soviets pose. "What we see in this newly









constitutes another aspect of the lack of a full American "self." He concedes that isolationism in

America has a long history; one "must have respect for a strain of American thinking so

powerful that four months before Pearl Harbor the vote to extend draft enlistments passed the

House of Representatives by a single vote" (1990/91, 28). Yet, the manner in which

isolationists, in Krauthammer's view, define the national interest in fact goes against America's

true national interests, which extend beyond the narrow confines of the nation's borders.

America should "unashamedly" lay down its own rules for global order, since the world's

interests coincide with American interests (1990/91, 33). Although isolationism may indeed be

an old theme of American foreign policy, it is simply out of place in a world that is so obviously

unipolar which, by definition, must be dominated by the unipolar power.

"Isolationism" in this sense weakens the very part of the American "self" that must be

utilized in imposing and enforcing world order. Krauthammer's emphasis on the necessity of

"American strength and will" for world security points to qualities that the subject "America"

needs to have, in some sense has, yet in another sense does not have. In other words, "strength

and will" are part of the subject that is missing and needs to fully become its own image of itself.

These characteristics are, foremost, uniquely American. The rest of the world cannot act without

America leading the way, since "where the United States does not tread, the alliance will not

follow" (1990/91, 24). Indeed, major states such as Japan and Germany remained "hidden under

the table" when global leadership against Iraq's invasion of Kuwait was needed (1990/91, 24).

The rest of the world lacks the "strength and will" needed to define and carry out global order.

In a sense, however, so does the United States. As the unipolar power, America without a doubt

has a great deal more "strength and will" than any other power. Yet, given a currently resurgent

domestic "isolationism," and other potential "domestic" problems, the United States does not yet









unfashionable. Perhaps most significant, he refused to accept the limits on American power

imposed by the domestic political realities that others assumed were fixed" (1996, 19). The

United States needs a foreign policy of "military supremacy and moral confidence" (1996, 23),

since, as is obvious, "America's world role is entirely different from that of other powers" (1996,

26). "Support for American principles around the world can be sustained only by the continuing

exertion of American influence" (1996, 28). Reagan's international promotion of American

principles was a "very different kind of patriotic mission" than what today's current isolationist

conservatives pursue (1996, 29). "Over the long term," they argue, "victory for American

conservatives depends on recapturing the spirit of Reagan's foreign policy" (1996, 30).

Kristol and Kagan point to "America's" missing Thing in other ways. As is evident, they

place a heavy emphasis on the role of morality in both domestic and foreign policy. "The

remoralization of America at home ultimately requires the remoralization of American foreign

policy" (1996, 31). The infusion of morality back into foreign policy means that not only is

national "honor" at stake, but also the nation's proper higher purposes, "an enlightened

understanding of America's interests" (1996, 31). A "true" conservative foreign policy "ought to

emphasize both personal and national responsibility, relish the opportunity for national

engagement, embrace the possibility of national greatness, and restore a sense of the heroic,"

which has been missing since Reagan (1996, 31-2). Like Reagan and Theodore Roosevelt, who

both "celebrated American exceptionalism" in contrast to the current foreign policy

establishment, Americans should now re-discover an "elevated patriotism" and "national honor"

(1996, 32). If Americans do not, they "will fail in their responsibility to lead the world" since, as

George Kennan once said, these are "'the responsibilities of moral and political leadership that

history plainly intended them to bear'" (1996, 32).









If these points constitute the body of "objective" knowledge S2 deployed in the text, what

is the master signifier Si underpinning this knowledge? Every system of knowledge S2 is

supported by the force of its master signifiers Si, argues Lacan. The knowledge S2 offered, or

produced, in this text paints a picture of a world where American international activism is the

best way to avoid a breakdown of world order. The fact that the world is not multipolar or

bipolar demonstrates that even if multilateral management of world affairs between a handful of

large and influential states is hypothetically possible, it is certainly not the case now. American

unipolarity, in fact, demonstrates the opposite. This is because the United States is the only

country capable and willing to impose order on the global system. Indeed, an extensive

international activism is necessary to maintaining world order. "If America wants stability, it

will have to create it" (1990/91, 29). Thus, ostensibly, America does not act merely for itself,

but acts on behalf of the entire world. The "world does not sort itself out on its own" and needs

an active great power, the only remaining superpower, to provide the leadership and example

that others want (1990/91, 29). Conversely, if the United States does not take on this role, the

harm to world order will not be one of degree, but of kind. "The alternative to unipolarity is

chaos," Krauthammer (1990/91, 32) contends. The world therefore needs American power if it

is to be a civilized, orderly, and secure world. No other actor or entity is capable of providing

that which the United States can. There is either an American world, or there is no civilized

world at all.

Yet, this unipolarity is not as benevolent as Krauthammer lets on. "Our best hope for

safety in such times, as in difficult times past, is in American strength and will the strength and

will to lead a unipolar world, unashamedly laying down the rules of world order and being

prepared to enforce them" (1990/91, 33). Imposing rules of its choosing, that suit its own









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Misunderstood Years Between the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Start of the War on
Terror. New York: Public Affairs.

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Society. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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New York: New York University Press.

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Princeton University Press.

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of Minnesota Press.

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York: Routledge.


412









The fantasy objects are not purely discursive or Symbolic, but instead slip in-between the

registers of the Symbolic and the Real. In a sense, the promise of subjectivity offered by the lost

objects) of the fantasy is not merely how the subject her/himself sees the object, but how the

subject perceives the gaze of the object back at hel hln With the gaze of a whole American

subject and world peace imagined as projected back toward the subject (in other words, with the

potential for such promises seemingly at hand), the subject feels that s/he is expected to desire

according what the fantasy offers. Or, the subject's desire to be whole is subtly steered towards

these objects. Accordingly, the representations of Iraq and the "axis of evil" frustrate the

subjectivities offered in the fantasy discourse of the speech, and thus channel the affective

dimensions of subjectivity of a receiving audience. The most infamouss passage from the

speech concisely illustrates some of these themes:

States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to
threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these
regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to
terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies
or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of
indifference would be catastrophic (Bush 2002).

Read through a Lacanian lens, then, the social construction of Iraq's grafting into the war

on terror is constituted by much more than merely representations of us and them. We are

"good" and they are "evil." We defend "freedom" and pursue "justice" while they commit

"murder" and spread "terror." The mutual constitution of identities is set up in hierarchical terms

that values one and demonizes the other. However, as demonstrated here, the complex dynamics

of desires and the interweaving movements of subjectivity and affect constitute the conditions of

possibility for the binary "identities" that conventional views on social construction focus upon.

Like the September 20, 2001 speech, the identification dynamics of the State of the Union

speech were largely driven by that which is absent from the text, "missing" national objects and









possible articulations could have been instilled as dominant. This is the power of "common

sense." It "is a form of power that does not need to coerce because it commands consent in

fact, operating at the level of meaning and social interactions, it works consent from within, for it

sets the terms that makes these interactions possible in the first place" (Epstein 2008, 10).

Raymond Duvall and Michael Barnett's (2005) typology of different conceptualizations of

power is helpful in clarifying the theoretical stakes in this move. For them, "productive" power

concerns "the social processes and systems of knowledge through which meaning is produced,

fixed, lived, experienced, and transformed" (2005, 55). In other words, through discourse,

subjects and social relations are produced as meaningful. "Thus," they continue, "to attend to the

analysis of productive power is to focus on how diffuse and contingent social processes produce

particular kinds of subjects, fix meanings and categories, and create what is taken for granted and

the ordinary in world politics" (2005, 57). Through these lenses, power is analyzed within texts

both at those moments of openness that are subsequently foreclosed by a powerful discourse, and

how one discourse is able to solidify itself as dominant at the expense of others.

However, as I indicated earlier, it seems apparent that there is much more to discursive

power and the power of identity than these perspectives acknowledge. In studies of the war on

terror that adopt a constructivist or discursive approach, for example, it is frequently recognized

that something beyond merely rhetoric and symbolic meaning is at work. Yet, these recognition

are usually noted briefly without any substantive elaboration or analysis. The focus of most, if

not all, of these studies is upon the rhetorical strength of articulations deployed by political elites,

not upon this "something else" that would seem to offer a much deeper understanding of why

certain discourses and identities "gain currency" or "resonate" with the audiences of those elites

- that is, with the everyman or everywoman for whom the elites presume to speak. Existing









a kind of 'trans-ideological' kernel, since, if an ideology is to become operative and effectively

'seize' individuals, it has to batten on and manipulate some kind of 'trans-ideological' vision

which cannot be reduced to a simple instrument of legitimizing pretensions to power (notions

and sentiments of solidarity, justice, belonging to a community, etc.)." Much of Kristol and

Kagan's text is in fact devoted to this. Signifiers such as "moral clarity," "American

exceptionalism," "moral confidence," "American principles," "American influence," "patriotic

mission," "spirit," "remoralization," "honor," "national greatness," "heroic," "elevated

patriotism," "responsibility," and "moral and political leadership" constitute efforts to construct a

fantasy of the national subject around signifiers that are not seen as political, but as "trans-

individual" (Zi2ek 1997, 21) and a-political.

While Kristol and Kagan offer this range of master signifiers to an audience, their appeal

stems not from their epitomizing what the subject is, but rather what it is notyet. These

signifiers represent the subject' sjouissance insofar as Kristol and Kagan convey that when

American fully embraces them it will lack nothing. However, the subject's desire for them is

sparked by their absence, not their presence. The national subject needs these signifiers and all

that they promise if it is to become itself and heal the divisions that currently keep it from

becoming whole. The embrace of "national greatness," for example, will rid the subject of the

"neoisolationism" that currently plagues it. The pursuit of "American principles" such as "moral

clarity" and "honor" will allow it to become the "benevolent global hegemon" that it desires, but

is not yet. What exactly these signifiers represent is something that does not fully exist within

the Symbolic order constructed by the text, but are also absent from it. They are present as

something the subject needs to re-discover and re-energize, but also absent as that which does

not yet exist as part of the subject. Thejouissance implied by these signifiers is both promised









preceding chapters have demonstrated, discourses that offer fantasies of a secure collective

subject often resonate more with audiences than discourses that offer fantasies of a less-secure

collective subject. Jimmy Carter's ill-fated 1979 address on the "crisis of confidence" arguably

offered a weaker fantasy, a less effectively appealing screen against the ambiguities of the

national "self," and hence other discourses such as neoconservatism were able to gain social

traction against it. As a Hysteric's discourse, Carter's speech put front-and-center audiences'

split, and offered little in the way of overcoming the anxiety provoked by the split. Charles

Krauthammer's declaration of the "unipolar moment" in the early 1990s evoked little desire for

identification with the national subject it constructed, while William Kristol and Robert Kagan's

neoconservative call for a "neo-Reaganite" foreign policy (composed of structures from both the

University and Master's discourses) arguably began to play better for neoconservatives later in

the 1990s. Additionally, as a University discourse that offered a stronger fantasy that invited

identification as a subject within it, the war on terror discourse was highly politically successful

for a time after September 11, 2001.

A few initial implications can be drawn from these examples of how different kinds of

discourses have played out in American foreign policy debates over time. It seems as though

discurses that offer weaker fantasies of the national subject are often less politically successful

than those that offer stronger fantasies. Constructing a fantasy of the collective "self' seems to

depend upon evoking strong enough desires so that people will identify with, and thus be

interpellated as subjects within, the fantasy. This, in turn, depends upon how a fantasy object is

constructed/not constructed within a discourse. If, for example, the collective subject, such as

the Nation, is constructed as substantially lacking something that its subjects see as central to

themselves, be it "freedom," "justice," or "democracy," then the Nation cannot be viewed as too


402









leadership" are all inherently ambiguous universal signifiers whose contingent meanings are

filled in by the particular neoconservative fantasy offered. These universals, then, are not merely

filled in by the particular meanings that Kristol and Kagan construct, but are intimately and

inextricably bound to the plays of desire andjouissance that are channeled through the discourse

of the text. The particular meanings of these universal notions are bound up with fantasies that

promise a construction of the national "self' that implies an erasure of the ambiguities of the

"self." These fantasies are tied to images of others that block ourjouissance, who stand in "our"

way, who keep us from becoming who we "really" are. If not for these others, desire would be

satisfied, jouissance would be achieved, and the subject would no longer feel the frustration of

its incompleteness. The creation of political boundaries and frontiers, then, is inextricably tied

with the politics of desire andjouissance. Through the contingent plays of equivalence and

difference, universals and particulars, fullness and lack, and desire andjouissance through

fantasy, Kristol and Kagan offer a discourse the promises to fill the lack of the national subject,

itself an impossible project.

It is these aspects of Kristol and Kagan's text that offer some insights into why

neoconservatism began to recoup during the later 1990s. As Chollet and Goldgeier (2008) detail,

the rise in neoconservative influence was likely the result of several factors. About a year after

Kristol and Kagan's essay appeared in Foreign Affairs, they founded the P.N.A.C. The social

and political network that P.N.A.C. developed by neoconservatives undoubtedly helps to explain

their rise in influence (see Halper and Clarke 2004, 103-110).6 However, the content of their

message likely carries at least equal explanatory weight. "As the decade wore on," Chollet and



6 P.N.A.C. sent several high-profile open letters to public officials during the late 1990s that continued the same
fantasy offered in Kristol and Kagan's (1996) essay. These letters focused on Iraq and China. See Project for the
New American Century (1998a), (1998b), (1999).









of the Real. The fantasy object object a is that which is missing from the discourse, yet

nevertheless sparks the desire for its articulation. Podhoretz attempts to pinpoint exactly what is

missing at these several places with a multitude of signifiers, but, like all other attempts to

Symbolize fantasy objects, fails since the object does not exist in Symbolic reality. Each of these

efforts to articulate and symbolize what the national subject is missing touch upon a sense of

some "essential" quality that must be reenergized, but each also fails on its own, since none are

able to fully construct what exactly is missing.

Yet, it is at these points in the discourse, the gaps at which the string of major signifiers

are unable to fully express what underpins all of them, that offer the most appealing sites of

identification. It is here where the partial sense of wholeness (partial jouissance) experienced is,

strictly speaking, inexpressible. In the Hysteric's discourse, the split subject $ in the agent

position is supported by object a in the position of latent truth. The subject $ is driven by its

dissatisfaction with the current order and the signifiers that current represent it. It protests,

questions, and interrogates the dominant master signifiers in the hopes of finding a new signifier

that better represents it. It is the desire for "full" representation that guides the subject $, yet it a

desire for a part of its "self" that it feels is missing but cannot be represented by the signifiers it

pursues. In Podhoretz's discourse, the multitude of signifiers he attaches to what the national

subject is missing "American power," "strong," "will," "ability," "purposes," "control" and so

on all attempt to name the quality that seems to underlie all of them. However, the similarity

they share, the thing that lies beneath all of them, to act as the Si that would anchor the discourse

so as to resolve its ambiguity and inconsistency.

All of these various signifiers and phrases attempt to name what the national split subject

$ is missing. Yet each fail to fully express what is viewed as their underlying similarity. It is









the subject, such as those that see the subject as being hailed into various subject-positions. In

these approaches, the subject adopts for itself multiple social roles, depending on the particular

discourse within which it is articulated.23 Instead of viewing the subject as merely constituted by

various discursive positions, none of which can be said to represent its "essence," we should

instead focus on the subject as lack. That is, we should explore how the extra-discursive

dimensions of social life affects discursive reality. As Zizek (2005, 276) points out, "the stake of

the entire process of subjectivization, of assuming different subject-positions, is ultimately to

enable us to avoid" the loss (the real) at the heart of being a subject. Put differently, if we strip

away the various subject-positions that a subject adopts for his/herself, what remains is not

another subject-position, but rather a gap or lack in the discursive structure that has been covered

over by the subject-positions (Zi2ek 1989, 175). This gap is not merely rhetorical, but is

ontological. The gap between the subject as defined by a signifier, and that which always

escapes Symbolic representation, embodied in the term "object a," is the Lacanian split subject.

Lacan's notion of the split subject substantially complicates the notion of identification.

Lacan introduces the concept of the gaze to elaborate how individuals become subjects through

identification with something outside of Symbolic representation, object a. Individuals seek

recognition as subjects within the Symbolic order by identifying with various objects and ideals,

yet in order to act they must assume they are acting under the gaze of an other that sees their

actions as significant and meaningful. Identification with the gaze is identification with the

perspective from which subjects appear as admirable to themselves. Zizek contrasts this from

more common notions of identifying with images. Identification with images is closer to how

we conventionally think about the issue, such as identifying with images in "which we appear


23 For a recent example of this conception of the subject in IR, see Epstein (2008).









have the "strength and will" necessary to fully embrace the global role that it can only take upon

itself. The national subject is lacking something which has served it faithfully in the past, but

which it has lost at the very time when it needs it the most. What exactly Krauthammer means

by "strength and will" is left undefined, yet there is any number of ways their meaning could be

filled in. This lack of definition, indeed the impossibility of fully defining what they mean, is

precisely why they function as signifiers of the national subject's lack in Krauthammer's fantasy.

"Strength and will" function as the Symbolic stand-ins for what the subject "America"

currently lacks the full force of, yet they are still a part of the subject. They may have been

temporarily and partly forgotten or lost during the current "isolationist" worries, but they are still

a missing part of the national "self" that must be re-discovered and re-charged if "America" is

going to more fully step into its proper role as global leader. The partial jouissance implied in

both of these aspects in the illusory and just-out-of-reach image of an American-dominated

global system, and the "strength and will" that is both present and absent in/from the subject

which it must fully reclaim sparks the subject's desire for their pursuit. In the fantasy of the

"unipolar moment," the subject "America" seeks the missing objects, the missing parts of itself,

that it believes will bring it the wholeness orjouissance it seeks, yet the fantasy posits obstacles

to explain to the subject whyjouissance is not forthcoming and why its desire remains frustrated.

Although figures such as "Weapons States" are posited as blocking the culmination and

solidification of the national "self," these figures merely Symbolically cover over the

antagonisms, divisions, and frustrations that are inherent to national "identity." Even though the

signifier "isolationism" is offered for why our "strength and will" have not been delivered, this

of course does not mean that "strength and will" would automatically be forthcoming if the

"isolationist" movement were to subside. "Strength and will" do not represent anything but the









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CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

This study is about the role of affect and desire in the politics of American foreign policy.

It poses a central yet extraordinarily complex question: why are some discourses more politically

successful than others? It argues that affect and desire are ever-present and vital aspects of social

and political life. Accounting for them theoretically and empirically is indispensable in

understanding why some discourses are more appealing than others. It offers a new theoretical

framework to understand and analyze the role of affect and desire in politics and in doing so

offers guidance on some thorny theoretical questions that International Relations (IR) scholars

have yet to address. What is the relationship between dimensions of social life such as affect and

identity? How should we think about the bonds between language and affect? And, how should

we think about the politics of affect? In offering a fresh theoretical lens through which to better

analyze these intricate yet immense questions, this study substantially deepens our understanding

of facets of social and political life to which the field of IR has paid little attention.

Thinking About Discourse, Affect, and Identity in World Politics

To argue that affects and emotions are central to understanding world politics can be seen

as controversial and not. From the perspective of many mainstream approaches in IR, such as

neorealism, neoliberalism, and rationalist frameworks generally, affect and emotion play little

role in global politics. State actors' interests are assumed as pre-given and are largely based

upon material concerns and cost-benefit analyses. Factors such as affect and emotion play little

role in such perspectives, except perhaps to explain "irrational" deviations from rational interests

derived from cost-benefit calculations. Of course, many in IR have moved beyond such narrow

concerns. The rise of critical theory, constructivism, poststructuralism and other related

approaches in IR have thrown open the door to both broader and deeper understandings of actors










Mitzen's understanding implies, and adds an understanding of the role Others play in anxiety

that is in contrast to Steele's understanding (see Steele 2008, 32).ls

The notion of anxiety also has bearing on Lacan's theories on different forms of

discourse. As discussed in the following chapters, Lacan theorizes that subjects deal with

anxiety through different forms of discourse. This is similar to Huysman's, Mitzen's, and

Steele's arguments that actors deal with anxiety by constructing narratives and routines that

constrict the social environment into more manageable narratives, but what Lacan adds is an

articulation of how different kinds of discourses, or discursive structures, position subjects in

different relationships to desire and anxiety. For example, in a form of discourse Lacan terms

the Master's discourse, anxiety is suppressed through identification with a dominant signifier. A

speaker engaged in this discourse "has so successfully identified with his master signifiers that

he actually believes himself to be whole, undivided, self-identical" (Bracher 1994, 121). Yet this

"wholeness" is actually illusory, since every subject is always divided, or split. In another form

of discourse, termed the Hysteric's discourse, anxiety is not suppressed, but rather appears as the

most overt factor in a discourse. Whereas the Master's discourse veils the split or

incompleteness of identity, the Hysteric's discourse is openly driven by it. Characterized by



18 Steele's neglect of the role that Others play in anxiety touches upon a more general passing-over of the role that
Others, or difference, play in what he terms "self-identity" construction. He argues that his focus on "self-identity"
is a reaction to what he views as overly other-focused views of identity (see Steele 2008, 29-35). Yet, this reaction
may bend too far back the other way. For instance, in arguing against Katzenstein's (1996, 24) view that state
identities emerge from interactions within different social contexts, Steele says "that identities of states emerge from
their own project of the self" and that "before I can even treat another, I must experience the self (208, 34). Even
though he agrees Others are needed for the self to evolve, "the ontological security-seeking process of the Self must
not necessarily depend upon the relationship we have with others" (2008, 48). While Steele's shift of focus to the
under-examined "internal" dynamics of the self is admirable, I argue that difference is unavoidable in the
construction of the self. Indeed, from a Lacanian perspective, there is no originary "self," strictly speaking. The
"self' is a lack, and only comes to "be" through identification processes with objects "outside" of it. In this sense, I
reject the distinction Steele makes between "self-identity" and "social dependence" (2008, 63). Curiously, Steele
finds that a critical account of ontological security would benefit from a deconstructive perspective that could bring
out the discrepancies between state actions and its biographical narrative (2008, 65). Yet, he ignores the most
innovative aspect of a deconstructive perspective, that the "outside" is unavoidably constitutive of the "inside."










Future Research


The arguments and analyses of the dissertation suggest a few directions for further

research. Although this is (to the best of my knowledge) the first major work to systematically

address the above questions posed about conceptualizing discourse, identity, affect, desire, and

emotions in the way I do it, the research presented is of course far from the last word on these

complex issues. Indeed, I see this study as one of the initial steps towards a more enlightened

understanding of the role that affects and emotions play in global politics. As Chapter Two

discussed, IR scholars' interest in affects and emotions has only come about fairly recently, and

the work that has thus far been written, while illuminating, has a long way to go before IR

scholars can say they have a firm grasp of the tremendous complexity and myriad of roles that

affects and emotions have in global politics. I count this study as one of these still-initial forays

into this complex and nebulous dimension of human social life and politics.2 Although work on

affects and emotions in IR is still relatively new, the potential payoffs in political and social

insights are tremendous. Incorporating these dimensions not only into IR theory (i.e., what are

the affective and emotional presuppositions of the various schools of thought in IR? What kind

of affects and emotions do they presume drive global politics?), but also into the various sub-

fields and specialties in IR holds remarkable promise (such as, for example, political psychology


2 To view the present study through the lens of the theoretical framework it develops, the study "speaks" largely
from the position of the agent in a University discourse, with some elements of a Hysteric's discourse. This study
presents a new body of knowledge S2 (a dissertation on affect, discourse, and identification in American foreign
policy). This new knowledge S2 is presented as "objective" knowledge, untainted by the prejudices of the subject
who offers it. The product of the discourse is a remaining set of ambiguities and dissatisfactions of the fantasy that
the knowledge deploys. Although the discourse is presented as offering objective knowledge for the sake of
knowledge itself, it deploys an array of master signifiers S1 upon which this knowledge is based (the terms of the
theoretical vocabulary elaborated throughout). These master signifiers refer not to an "intrinsic" reality "out there,"
but whose definition is inevitably deferred to the battery of other signifiers that constitutes its body of knowledge S2.
Additionally, part of the discourse displays the structure of the Hysteric. The subject is dissatisfied with the current
order (i.e., the current state of knowledge about affects, emotions, identity, discourse, and social construction in IR)
and seeks a new set of master signifiers ("desire," "fantasy," "Lacan," "Laclau," etc.) that it hopes will alleviate its
lack of fulfillment. In doing so, the study produces a new system of knowledge S2 based upon the master signifiers
that anchor it.









agent. Consequently, this shifts the subject $ from the position of agent to the position of

receiving other. In the position of product is the master signifier Si, while the system of

signification/knowledge S2 occupies the position of latent truth supporting the a in the agent

position. Bracher explains that it is only with the Analyst's discourse can one counter the

tyrannical effects of the Master's discourse. Additionally, it is the only discourse that can offer a

satisfactory (if ultimately temporary) answer to the Hysteric's questions (Alcorn 2002, 87). To

accomplish this, the Analyst's discourse "puts receivers of its message in the position of

assuming and enacting the $ that is, their own alienation, anxiety, shame, desire, symptom -

and of responding to this $ by producing new master signifiers (Si), ultimate values,

formulations of their identity or being" (Bracher 1994, 123). What does it mean for the object a

to occupy the agent position, and to have the subject hailed by it?

In the clinical setting, one of the initial steps the analyst attempts is to elicit from the

patient a questioning discourse, or a Hysteric's discourse. By asking few questions, by not

leading the patient on, and by concealing the nature of his/her specific interests in the patient's

problems, the analyst presents him/herself to the patient as a kind of enigma. This allows for the

patient's discourse to go where it may, which eventually provokes a questioning from the patient

as to "what exactly does my analyst want me to say?" The response of the analyst to the

patient's discourse (which is marked by alienation, anxiety, etc.) is guided by emphasizing what

has been left out of the patient's discourse object a. By acting as the (largely silent and

enigmatic) stand-in for the patient's lack, the analyst sparks the subject's desire to identify with

something, which then begins the process of finding a new master signifier. This is precisely the

aim of the Analyst's discourse: to stimulate the patient into the process of producing his/her own

master signifier out of the battery of S2, rather than have one imposed from the outside (Bracher









"America") underpin and discursively stitch together a "war on terror" S2 which has the effect of

producing a subject $ divided between its representation in the signifiers offered by the narrative

S2 and the "missing" object a whose fullness is blocked by "terrorists.

Logics of equivalence and difference, sustained by desire and fantasy, construct both

"America" and its others within Bush's speech. "Freedom," "liberty," "hope," "strength," "great

nation," "decent and idealistic and strong," and "greatest force for good on this Earth" (Bush

2004) are all examples of Bush's deployment of a battery of signifiers partially constructing in

different ways the national/collective subject. Desire for a whole national subject in Bush's

discourse is circuited along these chains of signification, yet none offers the full representation,

thejouissance, that each seems to promise to the subject they designate. This chain of American

identification draws its differences against the chain that constructs the other within the speech.

Like Kerry's discourse, Bush draws differences against "terrorists," and although this speech was

given in 2004, Saddam Hussein and the Taliban are still others that are referenced to help define

the US. "The murderous regimes of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban," "terrorists," "evil

terrorists," and "tyranny and terror" are deployed by Bush (2004) to construct a chain composing

the threatening other, simultaneously drawing a boundary around "us." Bush's efforts to fill in

these "universal" signifiers, such as "freedom," "strength," "terror" and so on constitute the

hegemonic logic of his text. The discursive endeavors to inscribe upon these ultimately

ambiguous "universal" terms with "particular" meanings through associations with the other

signifiers (composing the chains of equivalences) are the attempts to define, to hegemonize, the

"common sense" of what these terms mean, and how desire for subjectivity will be channeled

through them.









remained consistent." Saddam, it was repeated, massacred his own people, used weapons of

mass destruction, supported terrorism, and "could not be trusted" (2007, 440). They argue that

the fixing of Iraq to the "war on terror" narrative was a major factor in the administration's

successful mobilization campaign. Likewise, Andrew Flibbert (2006) argues that "a black-and-

white understanding of international politics blurred the distinction between U.S. adversaries

such as Iraq and al-Qaeda." This image of Saddam, of course, did not immediately arise only in

the wake of September 11, 2001, but was built upon the image that had been repeated in the

American public imagination stretching back to the 1991 Gulf War. As Russell Burgos (2008)

details, post-9/11 representations of Iraq closely coincided with and reproduced many of the

images of Saddam that had become deeply embedded within American foreign policy discourse

since the early 1990s. Therefore, while September 11, 2001 opened a window for the

construction of a "war on terror" with which Saddam and Iraq became associated, the basic idea

that Iraq was a "problem" for the U.S., and that Saddam's overthrow was the "solution," had

become entrenched during the Clinton years (Burgos 2008).

Nevertheless, as Krebs and Lobasz (2007, 441) summarize, the "link between the Iraqi

regime and Al-Qaeda was established not just through the blunt tactics of continual

misrepresentation and exaggeration that have been widely noted, but perhaps more through these

subtle rhetorical deployments that capitalized on the relatively settled meaning of September 11,

reflected in the dominant discourse of the War on Terror." These "subtle rhetorical

deployments" largely paid off for the administration. Amy Gershkoff and Shana Kushner (2005)

attribute the high levels of public support for the war to the administration's frequent linking of

Iraq to September 11, 2001 and the war on terror. As they document (Gershkoff and Kushner

2005, 529), in fall 2002 up through the time of the invasion in March 2003, public support for









heterogeneous set of differences (particularities). The 'something identical' can
only be the pure, abstract, absent fullness of the community, which lacks, as we
have seen, any direct form of representation and expresses itself through the
equivalence of differential terms.

Thus, logics of equivalence and difference are at work in the chains constructing both

American identification and America's threatening others. The signifiers constituting "America"

differ from those constituting threatening others, and differ from each other to the extent that

they can be spoken of as different signifiers, yet they are equivalent to the extent that they all

give the impression of representing something shared between them. The signifiers constituting

the others) (China, Iran, Iraq, monsters, etc.) differ to the extent that they can be understood as

different signifiers, and differ from each other insofar as they can be understood as different

signifiers, yet they are equivalent to the extent that they meaningful differences between them

collapse in relation to their constitutive outside, "America."

It is desire itself that allows for these chains of identification to be tied together. Desire

for the "self," for a signifier that will represent the split subject in a way that its divisions and

ambiguities will be healed, moves from object to object. Desire in itself has no object, but is

only a desire for more desire. Without lack there is no desire, and without desire there is no

subjectivity within the Symbolic order. Within Kristol and Kagan's discourse, the desire for

subjectivity is guided along the chains of equivalence that construct both "America" and the

otherss. The desire for the national "self," for a signifier that will fully represent the subject and

which will heal its divisions and erase its ambiguity, shifts along the series of signifiers that

attempt to represent it. "Moral clarity," "American exceptionalism," "moral confidence,"

"national greatness" and so on all offer the promise of wholeness as laid out in the fantasy, yet

all fail in their promise to heal the subject's split. Thus, desire for wholeness is constantly

frustrated, and constantly shifts to avoid this frustration, just as desire is frustrated in its









The current IR emotions literature has yet to address such a thorny theoretical and empirical

question, yet at some point it will need engagement and elaboration.

Another question that relates to affective and emotional diversity is: How can we capture

the affective interactions between agents that offer fantasy discourses and receivers who accept

and who likely modify them? How should we conceptualize these affective exchanges and

interactions in the first place? This dissertation has addressed the problem of how we can

understand the affective appeal of discourses. It has largely analyzed elite discourses that were

offered to mass audiences. In doing so, it has mostly neglected the question of how these fantasy

discourses were received by audiences. In this sense, this dissertation has captured perhaps only

half of the relevant picture of the affective politics that play out between discourses that are

offered and received. This is not, however, a shortcoming of this dissertation alone. By and

large, most studies of discourse in IR focus on the discourses that are offered to audiences, rather

than analyzing texts that illustrate how audiences receive and adapt them. These studies

typically analyze political discourses as they are articulated within elite texts such as speeches

and policy documents. Other scholars have also turned to analyzing how popular culture texts

(re)produce political discourses.3 Both of these approaches largely focus on capturing how

discourses are projected to audiences rather than how audiences themselves receive them.4 What

is needed, therefore, is an approach to conceptualize how affects are received by audiences.

3 See Chapter Two above.
4 Within the popular culture literature, however, the lines between "elites" and "masses" are more blurry. As Jutta
Weldes (2003, 7, emphasis in original) explains, "Official representations thus depend on the cultural resources of a
society. So too do the ways in which they are understood. The plausibility of official representations depends on
the ways in which publics understand world politics and the location and role of their own and other states and
actors in it. It matters very much that state officials are able to represent world politics, tend thus their foreign
policies, in ways that at least significant portions of their publics find plausible and persuasive. Plausibility comes,
at least in part, from the structural congruence between official representations and peoples' everyday experiences.
This explicitly indicates popular culture in providing a background of meanings that help to constitute public images
of world politics and foreign policy." There is variation in how far the scholars in this literature pursue the ways in
which popular culture representations are received by audiences.




Full Text

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1 AFFECT AND IDENTIFICATION IN AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY By TY SOLOMON A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2010

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2 2010 Ty Solomon

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3 To my f amily

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS My sincere thanks and gratitude are due to all the people along the path that has led me here. Many thanks go to the people in the Department of Political Scienc e at the University of Florida I have truly enjoyed my time in the Department, and I have learned more than I could have imagined. For much of this illumination I am indebted to my mentors, Professors Badredine Arfi and Ido Oren. Both of them have help ed to guide me professionally and personally these past few years, and I am genuinely grateful. Both have spent ridiculous amounts of ti me talking with me about politics, my work, and the field, and I am better off lle ctual rigor and discipline are inspiring and his example is one against which I fall embarassingly short, yet nevertheless strive for. He pushed me when I indispensible advice, honest critique, and attention to the big picture have made him an ideal mento r. His insights will guide me long after I leave the Department. Both of them combined constructive criticism and encouragement y bou ndaries, and their advice that I should write abou t what interests me helped me to do so. I also thank the ot her professors from whom I have learned tremendously, whether in the course of writing this dissertation, in seminars or otherwise Professors Ai da Hozic and Sammy Barkin almost always had an open door, and offered encouragement that mattered much more than they know. I am grateful to Professor Terry Harpold for his helpful insights and assistance. T he seminars and conversations I have had with P been an invaluable and personally illuminating part of my journey. Also, t hese acknowledgements would be incomplete without mentioning Sue Lawless Yanchisin and Debbie Wallen, both of whom have helped me in more w ays that I can possibly list here.

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5 I could not have done without the friends I have made in Gainesville. They have kept m e grounded, ungrounded, laughing and active. The banter, lunch es, and general ridiculousness shared with them have sustained my s anity in ways that I will not soon forget. Sean Walsh, Ryan Litsey, Kuniyuki Nishimura, Ryan Kiggins, and Hans Schmisser are each unique in every sense of the word, and my time with them has woven the fabric of a life during the last few years that combin e d intellectual pursuit with hysterical absurdity to a degree that often appeared seamless. They were there for me and made me laugh at just the right times, and at all the other times. I am deeply grateful to Mirjam Allik. My life in Gainesville large ly overlap s with t he time we have known each other and I could not have made it through without her companionship. She has listened to me rant about petty inanities, she has listened to me when I had serious doubts, and she has offered warms words of enc ouragement when I needed them the most. Her smile makes me smile, and her hearty doubled over laugh puts me in stitches. She is beautiful, and my life is richer because of her. Finally, I thank my family. My Dad and Mom, Brian and Brenda, and my broth er and sister Levi and Erin, are the best famil y I could hope for. They have been supportive the entire time in ways intended and unintended and the occasional and gentle question about finishing conveyed just the right amount of grounding that I someti mes needed. While I am deeply grateful for the education I have received, one of my biggest regret s is that its pursuit has taken me far from them. Yet, a simple phone call or all too brief visit reminds me that I am never that far from home.

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6 TABLE O F CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 9 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 12 Thinking About Discourse, Affect, and Identity in World Politics ................................ ........ 12 Outline of Chapters ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 17 2 DEBATING DISCOURSE, AFFECT, AND IDENTITY IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 23 The Limits of Constructivism and Poststructuralism ................................ ............................. 31 Emotions and Identity ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 40 Ontological Security and Identity ................................ ................................ ........................... 48 Reifying the State ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 50 Ontological Security and Desire ................................ ................................ ...................... 56 Ontological Security and Affects ................................ ................................ .................... 63 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 68 3 THEORIZING DISCOURSE, AFFECT, AND IDENTIFICATION: LACAN WITH LACLAU ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 69 Identity and Hegemony in Laclau ................................ ................................ ........................... 70 Desire, Affect, and Identification in Lacan ................................ ................................ ............ 78 Master Signifiers ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 79 Desire in the Imaginary, Symbolic, and Real ................................ ................................ .. 80 The Real and Jouissance ................................ ................................ ................................ 85 Fantasy and Object a ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 92 The Split Subject ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 97 Affects, Emotions, Jouissance ................................ ................................ ...................... 104 The Four Discourses ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 113 ................................ ................................ ................................ 117 ................................ ................................ .............................. 121 ................................ ................................ ................................ 126 The University Discourse ................................ ................................ .............................. 129 Lacan with Laclau: Psychoanalytic Theory and th e Politics of Hegemony ......................... 133 Sites of Contestation and Investment: Nodal Points and Master Signifiers .................. 136 The Logic(s) of Hegemony and Object a ................................ ................................ ...... 140 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 145

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7 4 IDENTIFICATION, AFFECT, AND FANTASY IN THE WAR ON TERROR ............... 148 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 148 Fantasy, Desire, and Identification in the War on Terror ................................ ..................... 155 Master Signifiers ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 157 Imaginary Threats ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 160 Discourse Structure ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 162 Fantasy and Id entification ................................ ................................ ............................. 171 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 192 5 THE IRAQ FANTASY AND THE AFFECTIVE POLITICS OF HEGEMONY ............... 195 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 195 Equivalence, Metonymy, Desire ................................ ................................ ........................... 200 Grafting Iraq and Terror: State of the Union, 2 002 ................................ .............................. 208 Discourse Structure ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 209 Fantasy and Identification ................................ ................................ ............................. 212 T he Hegemonic Politics of the War on Terror Fantasy ................................ ........................ 218 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 238 6 THE AFFECTIVE POWER OF NEOCONSERVATISM: PART I ................................ .... 240 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 240 ................................ ................................ .................. 247 Discourse Structure ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 254 Fantasy and Identification ................................ ................................ ............................. 273 Hegemonic Logic ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 278 ................................ 282 Discourse Structure ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 286 Fantasy and Identification ................................ ................................ ............................. 299 Hegemonic Logic ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 306 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 312 7 THE AFFECTIVE POWER OF NEOCONSERVATI SM: PART II ................................ ... 315 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 315 Neoconservatism and the End of the Cold War ................................ ................................ .... 316 Discourse Structure ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 321 Fantasy and Identification ................................ ................................ ............................. 333 Hegemonic Logic ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 344 ................................ 350 Discourse Structure ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 354 Fantas y and Identification ................................ ................................ ............................. 370 Hegemonic Logic ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 373 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 380 8 CO NCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 386

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8 Summary of Arguments ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 387 Future Research ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 396 Policy Implications ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 401 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 409 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 429

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9 LIST OF TABLES Table page 1 1 Desire in the Imaginary, Symbolic, and Real ................................ ................................ .. 147

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10 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy AFFECT AND IDENTIFICATION IN AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY By Ty Solomon August 2010 Chair: Badredine Arfi Cochair: Ido Oren Major: Political Science This dissertation ex plores and analyzes the interweaving roles of affect, language and identification in recent episodes of American foreign policy. Its central argument is that despite receiving little attention from International Relations (IR) scholars, affect and desire are central dimensions of social and political life. Affect and desire are cruc a l to understanding the central question posed in this study: why are some discourses more politically successful than others? Some discourses come to define widely because of how people affectively invest themselves in, and thus identify with, these discourses. I offer a theoretical framework, based upon insights from the theories of Jacques Lacan and Ernesto Laclau, through which to analyze the differential affective appe al of foreign policy discourses. This framework theorizes the relationship between affect and language, and how the y combine to produce political identities and discursive power. In doing so, this framework captures the dimensions of desire and affect that other linguistic and social constructivist approaches in IR are unable to capture. I apply this framework to offer new unders tanding s of several recent episodes of American foreign policy. First, I ana lyze the discourse of the war on terror in terms of its affective appeal after September 11, 2001, an aspect that surprisingly few IR scholars have

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11 explored. Next, I turn the framework to scrutinizing how Iraq was discursively incorporated into the war on terror, and explore and identify how dimensions of affect and desire underpinned and sustained the discursive contestations and competitions surrounding American foreign policy at the time. Subsequently, I deploy the framework to analyze d iscourses of ne oconservatism. The influence of n eoconservatis m on debates over American foreign policy has ebbed and flowed over the last several decades back to the desires it evokes and the affective and identity appeals it offers. The study concludes with a summary of these arguments, suggestions for future research into these questions, and a few implications for policy.

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12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION This study is about the role of affect and desire in the politics of American foreign policy. It poses a central yet extraordinarily complex question: why are some discourses more politically successful than others? It argues that affect and desire are ever present and vital aspects of social and politi cal life. Accounting for them theoretically and empirically is indispensable in understanding why some discou rses are more appealing than others. It offers a new theoretical framework to understand and analyze the role of affect and desire in politics an d in doing so offers guidance on some thorny theoretical questions that International Relations (IR) scholars have yet to address. What is the relationship between dimensions of social life such as affect and identity? How should we think about the bonds between language and affect? And, how should we think about the politics of affect? In offering a fresh theoretical lens through which to better analyze these intricate yet immense questions, this study substantially deepens our understanding of facets of social and political life to which the field of IR has paid little attention. Thinking A bout D iscourse, A ffect, and I dentity in W orld P olitics To argue that affects and emotions are central to understanding world politics can be seen as controversial and not. From the perspective of many mainstream approaches in IR, such as neorealism, neoliberalism, and rationalist frameworks generally, affect and emotion play little given and are largely based upon material concerns and cost benefit analyses. Factors such as affect and emotion play little derived from cost benefit calculations. Of course, many in IR have moved beyond such narrow concerns. The rise of critical theory, constructivism, poststructuralism and other related approaches in IR have thrown open the door to both broader and deeper understandings of actors

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13 and their interests and identities in global politics. Building upon the theoretical trails these approaches have blazed, many scholars have now recognized that affects and emotions are not s on the The questions and challenges posed by affects and emotions are complementary and compounded in their difficulty. Gaps in empirical research point to the theoretical issues raised by them. While affects and emotions pose considerable theoretical and empirical difficulties, this should not deter scholars from developing and refining their analytic apparatuses so as to better tackle them. The payoff in empirical and theoretical insights, and the op portunities for self reflection, will produce a stronger grasp of a vital dimension of politics that has for a long time been neglected. The discipline needs novel theoretical frameworks that can shed light on affective and emotional aspects of politics w hich often receive only a passing remark, yet are usually crucial insights into political events and issues that gain our attention. Some recent literature by IR scholars on the war on terror and the Iraq War is illustrative of this tendency. As the fo llowing chapter elaborates, much has been written about the dominance of the war on terror discourse in the months and years immediately following September 11, 2001. The pervasiveness of the war on terror in American culture and society at the time was s een in everything from official policy statements and speeches to jokes and highway billboards. As such, the war on terror arguably attained the status of a cultural milieu and background which formed widely shared understandings of what the post 9/11 wor ld was like or should be. Many of these studies have typically analyzed the war on terror as a social construction rather than a naturally occurring condition. These studies argue that the Bush administration deployed a

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14 discourse on the war on terror thr ough a binary rhetoric of identity of good versus evil and civilization versus barbarism. Yet, much of this literature largely stops here. That is, it focuses our attention on the fact that the war on terror is indeed a social and discursive constructi threat. 1 While useful, such studies severely limit themselves by not addressing other crucial factors for why the war on terror, as a social construct, gained widespread traction with audiences. The emotional and psychologi cal state of Americans after September 11, 2001 is often given a brief nod in this literature without ever being more fully addressed and investigated. To argue that the war on terror was socially constructed says very little about how this discourse was appealing and politically successful than others would offer a much deeper underst anding of the contentious foreign policies that followed September 11, 2001. This is not a study on the politics of the war on terror per se, but this literature is one that illustrates the need for theoretical approaches which can better handle the polit ics of affect and desire that are often glossed over without appropriate scrutiny. These empirical gaps in the war on terror literature are symptomatic of important weaknesses in several bodies of IR theoretical literature. First, these weaknesses demons trate the need for a systematic understanding of the role of affect and emotions in world politics. Affects and emotions are multiple, fluid, and contestable, and a theoretical framework that can capture some of these dynamics will be well suited to offer insights into these kinds of empirical puzzles. 1 This is not to say, of c simply to say that the naming and construction of certain violent violence itself. Violent acts do not speak for themselves.

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15 The recent work on affects and emotions in IR offers some instructive suggestions for how to go about developing such an approach, but there has been little to no work done on the central questions posed ab ove. Second, these weaknesses point to a lack of understanding of the interweaving relationships between affects, emotions, and identity. Third, these issues also point to a general shortcoming of how the field understands and theorizes the social constr uction process itself. For example, the conventional wisdom that identities of self and other are mutually constructed through social interactions says little about the affective and emotional dynamics that presumably sustain and are bound up within these processes. In this study I bring together these different issues to offer a new way for analyzing the politics of discourse, affect, and identity. In this pursuit, I draw upon the theories of Jacques Lacan and Ernesto Laclau, who together have not b een the source of much thinking about American foreign policy or world politics within the established discipline of IR Specifically, I heory of discursive hegemony into a framework that not only theorizes the relationship between affect, discourse, and identification. This framework also explicates how these elements underpin and sustain struggles to construct political boundaries and de fine Lacan argues that people strive to identify with the social resources of culture (or what he terms the Symbolic order) because of a structural emptiness or lack around which their identities cohere. People do not have na turally given or primordial identities. They instead must identify with the Symbolic resources to which they have access (such as certain prominent or valued signifiers, words, ideologies, etc.) in order to overcome what Laclau (1994, 2 3) calls the inary

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16 desire to engage in identification processes so as to overcome the lack. The latter induces uneasiness and frustration in the subjects, and as a result they attempt identification with Symbolic resources that seem to promise a sense of identity security and stability. This continual process is always infused with affect. For Lacan, affect differs from emotion insofar as affect is that whi ch is inexpressible, that which cannot be directly represented or articulated within language. Affect escapes signification, yet it nevertheless has an effect on signification. Affects, as opposed to emotions, then, are the movements that are felt at the boundaries of what can be said and what cannot be said. We strive to find a signifier that can best express what we feel, but no signifier ultimately can do it. Language cannot fully express the affective experiences we have, and thus language, in a sen se, takes something away from being a subject as such. A subject would feel that there is always a deep part of him/her that remains outside of how s/he can describe him/herself with language. This sense that something is missing from the discourse wh ich subjects must use to speak about and construct themselves merely the lack of what we might call a full, unified, and discourses fantasies, evoke a stronger desire and appeal because of the image of a secure subject that they offer. In identifying with such fantasies, subjects attain a certain leve l of affective satisfaction promise.

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17 discourse, and identity, or what I call identification into problems of world politics When constructed, they offer some powerful insights into how and why some discourses resonate more than other s. The war on terror, for example, was more politically resonate following September 11, 2001 than a number of other discursive alternatives. Yet current understandings of discourse, identity, and social construction are unable to differentiate between d ifferent degrees of resonance By focusing on the level of merely rhetoric or language itself, existing approaches such as constructivism and poststructuralism cannot probe into the deeper affective factors why some discourses resonate more than others. Briefly put, the desires evoked and affective appeals offered are the major factors that explain differential discursive successes, and thus how some discourses might become hegemonic. In Chapters Four through Seven, I demonstrate how these ideas can be a pplied to gain a deeper underst anding of the war on terror and Iraq discourses, and why discourses such as neoconservatism have had varying influence on American foreign policy debates over time. More generally, I argue that these ideas can advance severa l bodies of current research in IR and that they offer substantial insights toward answering the main research questions posed in this study: how should we conceptualize affects and the politics surrounding them? What is the relationship between affect a nd discourse? What is the relationship between affect and identity? And, how can we employ these ideas to understand why some discourses resonate more than others? Outline of Chapters I develop these arguments and ideas in the chapters that follow. The next chapter fully lays out the gaps and weaknesses mentioned above in several bodies of theoretical literature in IR. Although my arguments and the theoretical framework I develop speak to many core issues

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18 of IR literature, there are four specific liter atures that are most directly relevant to this study. Social constructivism, poststructuralism, recent works on affects and emotions, and ontological security all offer potential insights into the major questions posed here. Yet none offers satisfactory answers to the questions posed above. Both social constructivism and poststructuralism take a limited view of social and discursive construction processes that focus on rhetorical structures without taking into account how people become affectively invest ed in these constructions. The emotions and affects literature asserts that these factors are central elements to political identities. However, there has been little systematic work on how emotions and affects relate to social and discursive constructio n, how they relate to discourse, or how they sustain political identities. Finally, other scholars argue that states seek ontological security, or security of the self, in addition to seeking physical or territorial security. Although these scholars shar e some of my concerns expressed here, there has been relatively little work on why states continue to seek ontological security in the face of continual frustration. In Chapter Three I move beyond the shortcomings of the current literature and offer my own theoretical approach. I systematically bring together some key elements from the theories of Lacan and Laclau to develop a framework that can account for both the affective attachments of discourse and identity and the politics surrounding them. S desire, identification, affect, and fantasy offer a framework to understand why people desire, how they identify with discourses, how they become affectively invested in them, and why they continue to desire and identify des pite their continual frustrations in never securing a fully stable

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19 their own particular understandings. In combining these insights from Lacan and Laclau, the proposed framework offers a way to think about the politics of iden tification as the construction of The next four chapters offer empirical demonstrations of the power of this framework through analyses of recent episodes in debates over American foreign p olicy. Chapter Four applies the framework to the affective power of the war on terror. As discussed above, most constructivist and discourse based approaches that have analyzed the war on terror have emphasized its constructed ness. I show that such ana lyses have obscured the complex plays of desire, affect, and fantasy that are in fact necessary to understand how these discourses appealed to audiences after September 11, 2001. I argue that the war on terror discourse was able to f the fantasy that it offered to shaken audiences. The war on terror could once again reclaim the definition and stability that it supposedly possessed before Se ptember 11, 2001. This fantasy of the national subject was appealing because of the way it allowed people who identified with it to avoid the ambiguity and instability at the heart of their identification processes. These same dynamics are shown in curre on terror, which is examined in Chapter Five. Desire and fantasy, not the mere social the war on terror, thu Through an analysis of the 2002 State of the Union address, in which George W. Bush e

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20 social background against which Iraq was discursively grafted. This grafting, furthermore, was not simply rhetorical blurring, but was a movement made possib le by the desire for a stable national subject. The second half of this chapter also demonstrates and explores the fantasy and affective underpinnings of the hegemonic politics of the war on terror. Comparing the discourses of Bush and John Kerry from th e U.S 2004 presidential campaign, I show ho w certain signifiers that were frequently deployed by many in the war on terror, not simply assertions of competing values, but functioned as sites of hegemonic competition for meaning maki ng and for channeling affective potentials towards certain national fantasies. Chapters Six and Seven offer an extended analysis of discourses of neoconservatism. Neoconservative discourses arguably resonated widely with American audiences after Septembe r 11, 2001, and this resonance likely goes some way towards understanding the widespread public support for the Iraq war in early 2003. Although many in IR seem to have begun paying attention to neoconservatism after the beginning of the Iraq War, the his tory of neoconservatism shows that its ideas have been a part of American foreign policy debates for many years before that Like any political movement, its influence on public debate has ebbed and flowed over time. Although neoconservatism more likely than not reached the pinnacle of its influence on foreign policy during the first Bush administration after September 11, 2001, it has had substantia l public presence for much longer Neoconservatism has been more significant at some times than others, an d I argue that this varying influence can largely be traced back to affective appeal neoconservative fantasies have offered at different times. These chapters apply my theoretical framework to map the changing fortunes of neoconservatism over time based o n its varying affective appeal.

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21 Chapter Six analyzes an early peak of neoconservative influence, the closing years of the 1970s, through a close examination of two prominent political discourses from the time. I compare and contrast the fantasies and a ffective appeals of the discourses of Jimmy Carter and Norman Podhoretz, arguing that they constituted a hegemonic contest in which they each major reason why P time was because it offered a stronger fantasy of the national subject than did Carter is on the ambiguity and vagueness of the national subject. Chapter Seven presents an analysis of varying neoconservative influence during the 1990s. The early years of the decade were a time of relatively light neoconservative influence, whereas the la tter part of the decade saw their fortunes begin to change in terms of their increasing public presence. I argue that earlier neoconservative arguments about the arrival of ld War), found most prominently in the writings of Charles Krauthammer, evoked less desire for identification because of the fantasy of subjectivity that his discourse offered. Later neoconservative discourses, most notably in the writings of William Kris tol and Robert Kagan, were more politically successful, I argue, because they offered more affectively appealing fantasies of on neoconservatism demonstrate the pow er of my framework to argue not merely for the social constructed ness of neoconservative views of foreign policy, but more importantly to analyze the differential affective appeal and desires evoked by them over time This is followed by a

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22 conclusion in Chapter Eight which reiterates and summarizes the major arguments, and offers some suggestions for future research and possible policy implications. This study is, hence, intended to be a systematic, combined theoretical, empirical, and analytical expl oration deploying a range of concepts and ideas that have yet to be the source of any serious or systematic thinking about global politics or foreign policy. The above cases were selected based on aspects of American foreign policy that existing literatur e has ignored, or questions that have had yet to be asked but are in fact vital to understanding the issues at hand. One hope is that viewing American foreign policy through some of the lenses that this study proposes will evoke more discussion of some di mensions of human social life that are exceedingly complex and thus theoretically intimidating. Yet, c omplexity should not intimidate; it should be seen as an opportunity to develop our analytical lenses in a manner that may not have seemed necessary befo re.

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23 CHAPTER 2 DEBATING DISCOURSE, AFFECT, AND IDENTITY IN INTERNATIONAL REL ATIONS This chapter presents an overview several theoretical literatures in International Relations (IR) that are most directly relevant to the central question posed by this d issertation: what accounts for the power of discourse and identity beyond the mere contingency of their socio historical construction? The contemporary, and empirical, relevance of this question is demonstrated by close readings of recent work in IR on po st 9/11 politics. Critically oriented studies of the war on terror, while illuminating and crucial for opening spaces for questioning and de naturalizing this powerful narrative, nevertheless reveal significant shortcomings in our understanding of the pol itics of discourse and identity. These gaps are not exclusive to the war on terror literature, but are instead symptoma tic of broader lapses ral literature, but in the larger theoretical holes to which they draw attention. Social constructivism and post structuralism, the emerging body of resear ch on emotions and affects in world politics, and the ontological security literature all bear directly on the question of how to account for the of these liter atures suggests tentative answers to this question, none has yet offered a satisfactory understanding of the power of discourse and identity. To begin to understand the power that language has over people, we can simply recall any number of everyday cir cumstances where this power is at work. Reading a novel is one such experience. We admire courageous characters, despise hateful ones, root for some to succeed and others to fail, weep with characters in despair, laugh with others, and so on. The experi ence of reading can be both a profoundly intimate experience but at the same time is never entirely

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24 personal. We, as individuals, experience the power that a writer or her words evoke feelings. Our feelings, though, are nev er purely ours What and how we 1 In many ways, we learn how to feel by watching how others feel. The views we hold about who we are and about our place in the world are shaped through social interaction. The emotional experiences that some texts evoke are given familiar contours through shared cultural histories and memories. The t, the capacity of a novel to arouse a multiplicity of emotions is arguably a form of power. Of course, novels are not the only tex ts that produce such responses of feeling One can have the same effect from non fiction, escapist films, documentaries, an d so on. People consume these, of course, precisely because they seek such effects. Political texts should be understood in any real difference in the ef fects produced by di spoken, graphic, etc.) can be powerful wherever they are encountered whether in a novel, a comic book, a film, or a political speech. Conventionally we can differentiate these as belongi ng terms of their social and political impact, these differences are less clearly cut. IR scholars are increasingly recognizing this. 2 Few, of course, would deny that political texts are powerful. Yet, surprisingly little attention has been paid in IR to thinking about them in the terms discussed 1 Some IR scholars have recently began analyzing aesthetic dimensions of world politics. See Bleiker 2009. its audie nce. 2 See, for instance, recent edited volumes on the intermixing of world politics with science fiction and the Harry Potter fantasy series. See Weldes 2003 and Neumann and Nexon 2006, respectively.

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25 here. IR scholars have spent much time employing a variety of interpretive methods (Klotz and Lynch 2007; Klotz a nd Prakash 2009), but few have combined these insights with understandings of how desires and emotions are evoked by varieties of texts which help to (re)produce and stabilize political identities. IR scholars have produced much innovative work on the soc ial construction of political identities, but this work needs to be supported by a deeper understanding of how identities are bound up with affective experiences of the kind that can be The diversity of ways in whic profoundly for how our views of self and other cohere. Beginning with critically oriented research in the late 1980s and early 1990s (Ashley 1987; Ashley and Walker 1990; Campbell 1990; Dalby 1988; Der Derian 1987; Klein 1990; Walker 1986), the significance for how tical scope and concerns of IR as a discipline. Empirical analyses of the processes of social construction, most often examined through textual sources, have typically centered on how self and other are constructed in terms of predication, representation, gendering, metaphor, and in social s cience theor izing (see Milliken 1999; Do ty, 1996; Tickner 1992; Chilton 1996; and Oren 2002, respectively). While t hese approaches, and others like them have taken the discipline into innovative new realms, analyses of the social and discursive construction of ident ity have, for the most part, neglected crucial aspects of identity. The affective and emotional experiences that texts produce in their audiences have received far less attention in IR than the rhetorical construction of texts themselves. While the theor etical difficulties in such an effort are considerable, IR scholars arguably should not let this keep them from theorizing about such effects. As Roland Bleiker and Emma Hutchison (2008) have

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26 recently argued, social scientific methods are often ill suited to help us understand aspects of social and political life that are as tough to grasp as emotions. However, by expanding our theoretical apparatuses to incorporate approaches that are better equipped to handle such difficulties, the payoff will be greate r comprehension of a previously neglected, yet vital realm of politics. An approach that helps to capture some of these subtle, but powerful, textual effects would offer us a more complete understanding of many aspects of contemporary world politics. Su ch an approach could shed light on aspects of politics that usually receive only a passing remark, yet are usually crucial insights into political events and issues that gain our attention. As the previous chapter mentioned this is a tendency displayed i n the existing IR literature on the politics of the war on terror and the 2003 Iraq war. Many accounts of the politics of the Iraq war have emphasized how the Bush rror. As ability to achieve a a crucial background against which the existing image of Sad dam Hussein could be grafted, thus making it seem as though Iraq was the next logical step, after Afghanistan, in the war on terror. Amy Gershkoff and Shana Kushner (2005) have showed that the high levels of public support for the war were due to the Bush frequent and explicit linking of Iraq to the war through the weapons of mass destruction ( W.M.D. ) trope provided a number of political advantag es for mobilizing public support. As for the power of the war on terror to drown out other competing narratives, Ian Lustick (2006, 17) observes that it

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27 public questioning that terrorism is a problem of the sort that must be analysis of how deeply the war on terror became embedded within American society through news media, television shows, jokes, and h ighway billboards (Croft 2006) supports the arguments and observations of many that the war on terror indeed constituted the dominant understanding of American foreign policy in the years immediately following the Sept. 11 attacks. 3 Extant critical stud ies of the politics of the war on terror have typically analyzed it as a social and discursive construction that has been deployed in U.S. foreign policy since September 11, 2001 ( Hlsse and Spencer, 2008) These studies have explored how the Bush adminis tration deployed a binary rhetoric of identity that portrayed the war on terror as one of good against evil, civilization versus barbarism, and freedom against fear. These identity tropes are drawn upon to help explain why the American public accepted the idea and why they largely favored the idea of launching a military strike against Iraq. The idea of a struggle of good against evil tapped into American religious imagery (Domke, 2004), just as the war on terror itself was of liberal interventionism (Widmaier, 2007). Even as this literature demonstrates convincingly that the war on terror was a founded on a socially constructed condition more than a self from a major weakness of the kind mentioned above. Most studies of the social construction of the war on terror, and the identities constructed by it, focus on its various narrative strands a nd 3 Many other states also accepted the interpretati on of post 9 11 world politics in terms of the war on terror, albeit to varying degrees. See, for instance, Arfi (2008), Katzenstein (2003), and Rees (2007).

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28 the various sub narratives within this discourse (Jackson 2005). Wesley Widmaier (2007) examines the particular ways in which elites interpreted and cons tructed the range of possible responses by the U.S., while Roxanna Sjstedt (2007) traces how the articulation of the war on terror drew upon historically a vailable resources, such as prior U.S. and international security doctrines. Most critical accounts of the war on terror up to this point, however, seem to do just this: bring to our attention the various ways in which the war on terror is indeed not an objective condition, but rather a social construction in which certain interpretations of the world b ecame dominant, excluding other possible interpretations which might not legitimate military intervention While illuminating, these studies limit themselves by tracing discursive and rhetorical structures as such, without examining other factors that are crucial when trying to understand why the war on terror discourse became hegemonic. The emotional and psychological state of the American public after September 11, 2001 is one of the most important factors in offering a deeper understanding of the polit ical success of the war on terror which has been largely glossed over, if addressed at all, by these studies. Some of these same studies paradoxically, illustrate this. Sjstedt (2007, 249, 237), in analyzing the historical sources of the Bush Doctrine More directly, Andrew Flibbert (2006, 326) argues that ideas about the role of on the collective understandings held by political actors themselves and throu gh their

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29 and (Flibbert 2006, 336, 337). For became dominant partly because its narrative, and the inabili ty of the Left to make oppositional headway, Krebs and Lobasz (2007, needed was a rhetoric that would make sense of these shocking events, identify the perpetra tors, would be restored. The rhetoric of crisis is consequently a rhetoric of identity, providing the occasion for re narrations of national self conceptions; it only secondarily seeks to articulate a Largely missing from this literature is a thorough understanding of the power of influential political texts after September 11, 2001. What these studies have in common, despite their som e times opposing arguments in explaining the hegemonic efficiency of the war on terror, are that each of them implies that the psychological, affective, and/or emotional state of the American public after the September 11, 2001 attacks helped to facilitate the political success of the war on terror discourse. 4 existing discourses within American society. Ideas about the role of military 4 Emma Hutchison and Roland Bleiker (2008) argue that emotions are a central component in underst anding the responses to terrorist attacks and in understanding the rebuilding of political community after such a trauma. While insightful, they nevertheless do not pursue the complex questions addressed in this chapter and the next and the relationships between discourse and emotions and affects, distinctions between affects and emotions, or how emotions play in the constitution of subjectivity.

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30 Americans (and, albeit to a lesser extent, publics abroad) accepted the legitimacy and necessity how and why this discourse was appealing, why it gained public traction, or why appeals to national identity had significant power to make a majority of the American public feel insecure. Arguments that rely on accepting that these di scourses ignore the non rhetorical aspects of why the war on terror, and the subsequent foreign policy issues that were integrated into it (such as Iraq), became hegemonic after Sept ember 11 2001 5 These claims, while perhaps accurate, do not offer systematic or satisfactory accounts of how non rhetorical factors mattered in the emergence of the war on terror discourse Perhaps m ore importantly, these gaps in t he recent literature on post 9/11 American foreign policy point to, and are symptomatic of, larger shortcomings in several major bodies of IR theoretical literature. Dimensions of social construction processes such as affect, desire, and emotion should no t be viewed as somehow separate from social construction, but instead as integral to their power. Consequently, affects and desires should not be viewed as mere supplements to current forms of constructivist and poststructuralist analyses. Rather, I argu e that these factors are crucial to understanding the power of social constructions and identities in the interpellating subjects that is, summoning them to assume a certain subjective (dis)position it the dynamic inter weaving of desires, affects, discourse, and other identity needs indeed, conceptualizing them in a way that does not deny them as separate factors at all seems to be the 5 I include my own previous work here. See Solomon (2009).

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31 crucial next step in understanding the social construction of world politics and foreign policy. These gaps in the war on terror literature are symptomatic of these much more substan tial overview of constructivist and post structuralist research reveals many of these shortcomings. The Limits of Constructivism and P oststructuralism It is now commonplace, if not clich, to argue that world politics is socially constructed. Politics and identities are widely seen not as primordial or given by nature, but rather are socially produced through meaning making interactions (Checkel 1998; Finnemore 1 996; Hopf 1998; Katzenstein 1996; Wendt 1992, 1999). Beyond these broadly accepted notions, however, the problem of how to approach the social construction of identity is highly contested How to define identity, the relationship between identities and i ultimate stability or instability of identity are all questions that IR scholars, working within a variety of theoreti cal perspectives continue to pour over. While a variety of frameworks agree with the constructivist and/or post neglect of identity issues (Katzenstein 1996; Lapid, 1989; Lapid and Kratochwil, 1996), various stripes of constructivists and poststructuralists approach the concept of identity in sometimes overlapping but frequently diverging and incompatible ways. 6 6 In a much cited article, Rogers Brubaker and Fredrick Cooper (2000) lament the conceptual ambiguity of the term understood in a weak sense), or nothing at all (because of its sheer ambigui t qualifiers, to conceptual, and met see Gleason (1983).

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32 A recent edited volume and review of the identity literature in IR offers a usef ul starting point for examining the current status of the concept. In their introductory and concluding chapters to Identity and Global Politics (2004), Patricia M. Goff and Kevin C. Dunn offer a summary of where the study of identity stands in IR. They find it productive to unpack the concept to increase clarity about what it entails. They find that arguments for the rele vance of identity align along four dimensions (Goff and Dunn 2004, 4 8). First, most identity scholars accept that identity is defined against an Other. Identity is inherently relational ; one cannot have self definition without a sense of what one is not Second, despite some approaches that argue identities are fixed, natural, and easily bounded, many argue that identity is fluid and unstable and that this fluidity itself should be an object of study. Thirdly, and perhaps most uncontroversial, the ris e of critical, constructivist, feminist, and poststructuralist theories have made it almost a given that identities must be thought of as socially constructed Although the factors which are most influential in the construction of identities remain debata ble (for instance, which actors, institutions, practices, etc. are most important in identity construction?), the question of whether identities are constructed seems settled in the critical literature Finally, accepting that identities are multiple allo ws for a wider range of research questions than the assumption that identities are singular and monolithic. Recognizing both the multiplicity of identities and that national or state identities are not always the most important or consequential leads to a broadening agenda that asks questions about why some identities take prominence over other s at different times, and how different strands of identity interplay with each other.

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33 While most constructivists and poststructuralists largely subs cribe to thes e arguments about identity, poststructuralists have perhaps pushed the furthest in terms of historicizing and deconstructing previously take for granted identities. It should be noted, however, that constructivists and poststructuralists turn to language in different ways given their often differing epistemological and ontological committments. Franois Debrix (2002, 203), for example, want to reflect the salience poststructuralism tends to emphasize the performative aspects of social practices (Debrix 2002, 4). Self styled constructivists often study rules, norms, and how changes in identity can explain political changes. Many poststructuralists emphasize the constitutive aspec ts of discursive representations and how both subjects and knowledge are bounded and produced by discourses. Poststructuralist scholars pursuing these lines of critique argue that identities are constructed through discourse, and that consequently there ar e no extra discursive foundations upon which identities may be stabilized upon which social construction is grounded (Wendt 1999). The works of several scholars demonstrate the poststructuralist stance of seeing the world known arguments about foreign policy offe possess pr ediscursive, stable identities with no ontological status apart from the many and varied practices that constitute their reality, states are (and have t o be) always in a process of

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34 constructivist theories of identity similarly conceptualizes identities as purely discursive. She Identities are continuously articulated, rearticulated and contested, which makes them hard to p in makes international identity real is the shared stories among the people who represent or speak which are not really fo (Mattern 2001, 360; see also Doty 1996 and Walker 1993). What these observations have in common is not only that identity is discursive, but also that a discursive epistemology must be combine d with a linguistic ontology if we are to more fully grasp the dynamics, and politics, of identities. Such epistemological and ontological commitments entail three kinds of claims, argues Jennifer Milliken. Discourses are, first, seen as also productive of the things defined within them; discourses bring people and objects into realms of social interpretation and intelligibility such that they can have an impact on social life. Both of these claims lead to a third, which is that discourses require constant rearticulating and in order to remain effective, of discursive strugg les is central to a discursive approach (Milliken 1999, 230). More recently,

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35 guidance to scholars working within linguistic/discursive ontologies and epistemologies. analytical focus is on the discursive construction of identity as both constitutive of and a product of foreign policy. Consistent with the ontological empha sis on language, the practical words, poststructuralist discourse analysis involves analyzing how texts construct politics through rhetorical or linguistic struc tures. Texts are analyzed not for how they represent some construct social reality. Epistemological commitments to discursive construction within texts offer alte rnative perspectives on a variety of concepts traditionally central to IR. While the theoretical advantages gained by discursive approaches are many, one particular aspect of the linguistic turn in IR is a deeper and more nuanced understanding of power. A more social approach to power moves the debate beyond the terrain of purely material and overtly coercive understandings of the concept. Charlotte Epstein (2008) describes how constructivists have been able to shift the debate about power beyond materia s, and to nearly evacuate power completely in one of their main research areas, the study of norms (Epstein 2008, 8 of meaning rather than ideas or

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36 possible articulations could have been in does not need to coerce because it commands consent in fact, operating at the level of meaning and social interactions, it works consent from within, for it sets the t subjects and social relations are produced as meaningful. analysis of productive power is to focus on how diffuse and contingent social processes produce particular kinds of subjects, fix meanings and categories, and create what is taken for granted and the ordinary in wo both at those moments of openness that are subsequently foreclosed by a powerful discourse, and how one discourse is able to solidify itself as dominant at the expense of other s. However, as I indicated earlier, it seems apparent that there is much more to discursive power and the power of identity than these perspectives acknowledge. In studies of the war on terror that adopt a constructivist or discursive approach, for ex ample, it is frequently recognized that something beyond merely rhetoric and symbolic meaning is at work. Yet, these recognitions are usually noted briefly without any substantive elaboration or analysis. The focus of most, if not all, of these studies i s upon the rhetorical strength of articulations deployed by political elites, the audiences of t hose elites that is, with the everyman or everywoman for whom the elites presume to speak Existing

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37 work on discourse and identity argues that it is the rhetorical influence of words themselves that not only has the power to create political subjects an d identities, but to foreclose the possibility Yet, scholars in other disciplines have recognized the limits of such approaches. Humanities scholar Marshall Alcorn (2002, 106 7) a rgues although current forms of discourse analysis have made strides in b e accounted for on a merely linguistic level: differences that matter in the recognition of the other reflect differences in jouissance not differences in signification per se. The violent hatreds generated by racism, for example are grounded, not in any logic of the signifier, per se, but in the conflicts of disavowed forms of jouissance that are in bodily experience not mental representations (Alcorn 2002, 107). Jouissance as the following chapter explains, is the name Lacanan theory gives to an affecti ve experience that cannot be directly represented in discourse. Viewed as a form of generalized affect, jouissance through signification in addition to semiotic and cognitive mea ning. Affective investment and dis investment in certain discursive elements can help us better understand discursive power beyond what current forms of discourse analysis offer. Alcorn (2002, 17) continues, Because of a kind of adhesive attachment that subject s have to certain instances of discourse, some discourse structures are characteristic of subjects and have temporal stability. These modes of discourse serve as sympt oms of subjectivity: they work repetitively and defensively to represent identit y. Such a perspective raises three key questions that are relevant to this discussion. First, always build upon, and are grounded in the legitimacy of, broader historical discourses surely

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38 Yet, existing constructivist and poststructuralist approaches do not seem to account for precisely how rhetorical power works to naturalize (to The dominance o f a discourse is only apparent after it has become dominant, and analysis of this change typically proposes that hat powerfu l in order to effect such changes in dominance. In short, existing discourse theories in IR leave open the question of how discourses gain social traction. some do not? What exactly is 7 Second, what exactly accounts for how the moment of contingency of hegemonic attainment is erased, which t hen naturalizes the meaning of a given discourse? Once ag ain, the usual approach is conceived in retrospect: a nalyses of hegemonic power are typically offered after they have become hegemonic, thus assuming that what was at work at the moment of contingency was the foreclosure of other political possibilities. From a discursive approach, there is nothing too controversial about this. Rarely, however, do we really gain much more of an understanding than this; here is often where (almost anecdotal) explanations about discourses are offered to explain their power beyond the structure or form of words and narratives themselves. Yet, I propose there must be something at work beyond merely the contingent social construction of a hegemonic discourse to render the force by which such a discourse covers over the moment of indeterminacy. Not all discourses are created 7 Here and elsewher

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39 equally, and we can reasonably assume a kind of affective investment in a dominant discourse that were it to be identified, can more fully account for its social power. Third, and closely related, what exactly is the relationship between affects/emotions and discourse ? Conventional approaches may argue that language merely expresses more basic feelings, that language is the t ransparent medium through which affects (in addition to intentional meaning) are delivered. For example, a realist approach to fear may offer this explanation; fear is natural or basic emotion, and it exists independent of language and has real effects re gardless of the rhetoric used to express it. However, most of the literature of concern here would likely reject such a correspondence theory of language reflecting more social complexity to the issue by arguing for the centrality of language to human social reality. 8 Yet, as shown below, even within the existing critical literature this relationship has not gained much analytical or conceptual attention. Even thos e scholars who adopt explicitly discursive perspectives have yet to engage in this line of questioning. If we accept that affects are not transparently reflected through language but are rather shaped and channeled through language, these relationships me rit our attention In this sense, a crucial question emerges: h ow does looking at emotions/affects deepen our understanding of discourse, and vice versa? In light of the shortcomings of constructivism and post structuralism outlined here, there are at least two emerging literatures in IR that may speak to these questions. 9 First, the literature 8 Again, constructivists and poststructuralists often turn to language in different ways (Debrix 2002). Also, while it is safe to say that nearly all poststructuralists focus heavily on discourse in one sense or another, some constructivists emphasize more than others the role of language in social construction. For constructivist work that emphasizes language and linguistic rules, see Onuf (1989) and Kubalkova, Onuf, and Kowert (1998). For cons tructivist work that does not, see Finnemore (1996; 2004), Katzenstein (1996), and Wendt (1999). 9 For other useful overviews of constructivism in IR, see Barkin (2010), Checkel (2004), Dessler (1999), Farrell (2002), Guzzini (2000), Locher and Prgl (200 1) and Palan (2000).

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40 on emotions is quickly becoming one of the most innovative areas of research in the discipline. A number of scholars have not only signalled the need for IR to pay attention to the political significance of emotions, but several have also studied the significance of particular emotions in specific political contexts. Most relevant to this essay, scholars of emotions have recently began thinking about the relati onship between emotions and identity. Thus, an examination of this literature is necessary to determine what insights it may hold with regard to the power of ty. A second emerging body of research that may also offer insights is the literature of ontological security. The claims of this literature that actors need a stable sense of self may also offer insights into the questions raised above. In reviewing th e relevant portions of these literatures I hope to show that despite their i nnovations and insights neither emotions nor ontological security literature as they are cu rrently formulated in IR theory offer satisfactory answers t o the questions at hand Em otions and I dentity The events of September 11, 2001 sparked a new interest by IR scholars in the emotional and affective dimensions of political life. 10 While promising as a whole, the most rel evant producs of this literature for the questions posed abov e are those studies that address the emotional dimensions of identity. Neta Crawford, in the article that seems to have kicked off recent interest in the topic, touched upon some implications the study of emotions may have for the concept of identity. Sh e approvingly cites several authors who argue that emotional significance is context dependent, and that emotions can be understood as shared expectations that a group has about collective behavior (Crawford 2000, 129). Others have addressed the 10 In addition to the works cited below, see Clarke, Hoggett, and Thompson (2006), Harkavy (2000), Hymans (2006), Saurette (2006), Lwenheim and Heimann (2008), and Mercer (2010).

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41 individua l versus collective nature of emotions. Karin Fierke (2004, 484), in a study of solipsism The emotions may remain disguised in individuals, but, to be transl ated into political agency and identity, they must be put into words by leaders, who give meaning to the individual experience individual and collective emoti ons, finding a linkage between the two levels in how elites give public expression to emotions. Jonathan Mercer addresses a similar problem in explaining how versus col lective problem in social explanation does not necessarily cause a roadblock to using emotions as explanations. One does not have to reify a group to discuss group level emotions, nor must one reduce the group to the characteristics of an individual. Ins this levels of analysis problem can be found in understanding that people have multiple identities Other variables contribute to identity, but even in the case of ideas or material interests it is an 8). Other I R scholars have elaborate d upon these themes. In their perceptive review of the IR emotions literature, Roland Bleiker and Emma Hutchison draw upon sociological theory to 4 ): Emotions help us make sense of ourselves, and situate us in relation to other s and the world that surrounds us. They frame forms of personal and social understanding, and are thus inclinations that lead individuals to locate their identity within a wid er collec tive. As Sara Ahmed suggests, emotions are an intimate part of the attachments that bind individuals to particular objects and to others; they Feelings of both plea sure and pain are illustrative here. An encounter that brings pleasure can create a certain kind of attachment to whatever brings joy.

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42 Meanwhile, a painful or regrettable encounter may create a similar attachment, or person that inflicted the pain. The emotional nature of identity and communal belonging is implicit here, because our sense of identity and belonging are constituted by the way we attached and situate ourselves within the social world. Bleiker and Hutc hison nicely capture the ways in which emotions/affects help to form bonds of community that constitute collective identities. Andrew Ross, in his assessment of of community in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks (Ross 2006). conceptualize from a constructivist perspective how emotions produce effects. He reviews the st udy of emotions in the social sciences in recent decades, examines the ability of soft (i.e., Wendtian) constructivism to handle the conceptual and theoretical problems emotions pose, and 006, 210). It is the latter that is most directly relevant to this discussion. Here, Ross explores two main issues: the symbolic case study to illustrate how cen should lo recognizing, we can support the contention that identities involve roles, symbols, and other forms of social meaning and still want to learn about the nonconscious processes that reproduce and In pointing out the shortcomings of instrumentalist versions of identity, which assume that people consciously ref lect upon the identities they adopt, Ross argues that poststructuralist

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43 conscious, affective dimension pe rformativity as an example of the promise that poststructuralist theory holds in this regard. Identity in this sense refers to repeated performances that are not caused by or reflect a pre given identity, but instead continually construct identity, which only appears coherent and whole product it engenders the discursive representation of ethnic identity rather than the bodily performance itself. His deconstr uctionist analysis reveals the need for more direct investigation of affectivity as part of the non sh atter and disrupt otherwise stable identities, and how such disruptions can highlight the conscious awareness of intentional agents It is beyond the realm of wha t we expect as qualities should not bar constructivists from stud I argue, should it bar constructivists or poststructuralists from pushing the theoretical envelope of compelling work on this issue that has already begun. s instructive, he unfortunately offers little in the way of systematic theorization of how to actually go about studying these unfamiliar aspects of identity. He does, however, raise a few possible conceptual trajectories towards what such research may lo

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44 propose more questions than answers. For instance, when discussing an especially complex and intense one (2006, 211). He does not el aborate, however, on how his Deleuzian perspective sheds light on this, or even what this statement exactly means. It appears to mean that a trauma like experience is part of everyday social reality, but nevertheless remains under theorized. A bit later, he makes the compelling suggestion that the U.S. response to September 11, 2001 demonstrates that vidual but a capacity of a body that s shared by members of a group a collec tive identity thus expresses not an aggregate of individuals but a block of in an intriguing direction, but Ross leaves open the question of how this works, or how to account for it in theoretical terms Similarly, in asking whether Americans actually felt vengeance or anger after September 11, 2 respo but as affective energies whose precise form is subject to

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45 whose nature is purely subjective to self contained individuals, but instead entail a distinctly social element bound in some way to discourse (as Laclau and Lacan propose) then it seems that affects must indeed somehow be li and affects are directly communicated through public rhetoric, whether their spread and communication i s primarily visual in terms of images and pictures or if they are transmitted in m Hussein, finally, g research on emotions the links between discourse, discursive power, and emotions/affects remain unclear. Epstein (2008, 10) argues that discursive power does not need to coerce because it commands consent in fact, operating at the level of meaning and social interactions, it works consent from within, for it sets the terms that makes these interactions possible in the first plac e. While I agree in general terms it seems that something must be at work in discursive power that discursive power at least partially relies upon an emotional resonance. Emotional resonance, however, does not seem to be strictly coterminous with a discursive power that works at the

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46 mostly) work on a conscious or cog nitive level, discursive power must work at some register Foucauldia n arguments regarding power working through disciplinary practices and other forms emotions have offered sustained reflection on this question, or have sy stematically theorized how emotions and affects may work to reinforce discursive power, or how exactly emotions and affects may solidify, or conversely, weaken identities. Concurrently, does the literature on emotions offer any insights into the questio n of how does studying emotions shed light on what happens when a discourse becomes hegemonic, whereby it erases ? This research potentially suggests that hegemonic attainments draw their strength from the emotional attachments people have to the dominant discourse ; that the moment o message that eventually becomes dominant. Yet the description of this process is nearly tautological; discourses become hegemonic because people are attached to them, and we know this (after the fa ct) because the discourse became dominant. If emotions/affects are as central to political and social life as this literature argues, then there would seem to be a deeper explanation in terms of affect of what happens when the socio historical contingency of a discursive struggle

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47 chapter, I argue that Lacanian theory, specifically the concept of fantasy, offers a more complete understanding of the hegemonic moment. Lastly, the emotions/affects literature, as this point, seems to offer little in the way of systematic theorizing on the relationship between emotions/affects and language. While most of the IR emotions/affects literature seem s to be guided by broa dly constructivist assumptions, little instructive here. Ross asserts, for ex the need for a more direct investigation of affectivity as part of the non representational or ves open what this exactly is meant by this emotions and/or affects, Ross actually points to, without directly pursuing, a concern that is central to the relationship between discourse and emotions/affects. If w e accept that there must be some affective component to the political efficacy of certain discourses (or, those that become hegemonic), this component must determine how it is that some discourses dominate and others do not. This, in turn, points to a num ber of possible ways that the relationship between discourse and emotion/affect can be conceptualized. Observing that some discourses resonate more than others, and assuming that there must be an emotional/affective component underpinning the resonance of discourses, emotions/affects would seem to be an element that is somehow bound up with discourse, yet in some ways distinct from discourse. If emotions/affects were conceptualized as conterminous with discourse, then this would likely lead to the conclus ion that every discourse is equally infused with emotion/affect. This is clearly not the case. To be able

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48 to differentiate between more and less resonant discourses, emotion/affect must be theorized as overlapping, yet not co extensive, phenomena. If th ey are viewed as partly but not always overlapping, then we will be better able to differentiate between those discourses that become sites of affective/emotional investment for people and thus become more hegemonic than those that do not become sites of w idespread affective/emotional investment. To the best of my knowledge, no one has yet explored these questions in IR. As the a Lacanian ontology can at the ce nter of IR theory. For Lacan, every discourse and identity is constituted around a loss or absence, something that is posited by subjects as missing yet is the very condition of possibility for the construction of a discourse or identity. The concept of the Lacanian Real tries to account for that which is outside of, inexpressible in, discourse, even as it determines the form and effect of discourse. jouissance or a form of social reality. Lacan offers a theory of discourse that combines with a model of identity and jouissance to understand how all three coalesce in movements that constitute human social life. Ontological Security and I dentity Before moving to a discussio n of the Lacanian inspired framework employed in this dissertation, however, I will consider another body of IR theoretical literature which offers some promise in answering the questions I have raised. Recent research on ontological security in world pol itics suggests some potential answers to the questions of what accounts for the power historical contingency. Jennifer Mitzen (2006) and Brent Steele (2005; 2008), among others, argue that states h ave a basic need for identity stability, which is achieved through the pursuit of ontological security. An overview of their work suggests that while ontological security may offer a more complete understanding

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49 than does the current emotions/affects liter unanswered crucial questions about this drive, and its relationship to language. 11 The claims of ontological security scholars are often introduced through a comparison to basic notions of phys ical security. Mitzen, for instance, introduces her notion of ontological security by exploring its implications for the security dilemma. It is a long standing argument of even if for purely defensive reasons, threatens the security of other states 12 premise of security dilemma theory is that the security states seek is physical, the protection of their territory and governance structure such as arms races, which threaten the survival of all parties Yet, physical security is not the only kind of security that states seek. These scholars argue that states also strive for ontological in time as being rather than constantly changing in order states seek ontological security because they want to maintain consistent self concepts states is constituted and maintai ned through a narrative which gives life to routinized foreign pursue physical security and survival, but instead argue that an ontological security perspect ive supplements traditional security theories which have accounted for only physical survival Mitzen contends that states can find ontological security in routines that may even imperal their 11 Mitzen and Steele have offered the most in depth dis cussions of ontological security so far in IR, which is why I focus on their work in this section. Other IR scholars have also drawn upon the concept of ontological security, notably McSweeney (1999) and Huysmans (1998). 12 For the classic statement of t he security dilemma, see Herz (1950).

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50 survival, if the situation offers the state a stable set of e xpectations that solidify a continuous identity. Steele (2008, 8, emphasis in original) similarly asserts that ontological security complete traditional reductive theo ries of state survival. While the ontological security perspective is an illuminating new direction in security studies, it nevertheless leaves several crucial questions unanswered about identity dynamics, affects, and the drive for security. Specifica lly, the ontological security perspectives of Mitzen and Steele seem to share three major shortcomings: they reify the state (while at the same time claiming that they do not), under theorize the relationship between ontological security seeking and discou rse, and lack an adequate understanding of the role of desire and affect in discourse and identity. Reifying the S tate Both Mitzen and Steele attempt to ground their frameworks by theorizing and analyzing state behavior. Both accept the long standing con ceptual assumption of states as the dominant actors in world politics Both justify their application of ontological security theory to the state level of analysis. Mitzen and Steele both argue that the theoretical focus on states is necessary if an onto logical security perspective is to be relevant to international relations. The reason is that ontological security theory is derived from individual level theori es of the self, and draws upon the work of Giddens (1984) to illustrate that individuals seek ontological security. But, Mitzen from the individual to the made by scholars is just as valid for an ontological security perspective as it is for traditional

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51 security perspectives. 13 This assumption is valuable insofar as it sheds light on th e real behavior of states when they seek both physical and ontological security (Mitzen 2006, 352). Her second n other words, the development and maintenance of routines with other groups (states) secures the sense of continuity and stability of individuals within the state. If it is reasonable to assume that inter group routines helps stabilize group ses of self, then it is no less reasonable to assume that states themselves are ontological security ontological security rwise may elude theoretical explanation (2006, 352). Pointing to other literatures that offer insights into broad state behaviors through reference to more micro level theories (such as the foreign policy psychology studies of Jervis [1976]), Mitzen finds that assuming states are ontological security seekers can provide similar explanations (2006, 352). account for why an ontological security perspective should be a pplied to states if it is to be satisfying the ontological security of its constituent individuals is problematic in that she nt members. No meaningful differentiation is made among 17). In doing s o, Mitzen misses out on the political processes through which state identity is 13 Review of International Studies 2004, 30 (2).

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52 downplays the importance of how states seek ontological security through narratives This falls state behavior (Steele 2008, 18, 58). For Steele, conversely, emotions and narratives provide a justification for applying an ontological sec pervasiveness of individual to collective ascription has been demonstrated by research on the use instream approaches such as neorealism, neoliberalism, and soft constructivism implicitly assume that some emotions link between different levels of analysi the nation state. The state agent creates an emotional connection that fetishizes the authority of a nation behavior that serves the social construction of self State agents are, in fact, how Steele deals with the individual co make choices and have the capacity to carry out decisions to allocate resources (2008, 18). State leaders have the authorita tive resources to make decisions that embody state action, but more importantly, leaders are the agents that articulate state identity during those times when it is lly that ontological security obtains for states because state agents seek to satisfy the self identity needs of the states which they lead (2008, 19, emphasis in original). Ontological securi ty is sought through the articulation of

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53 When states are threatened or their identities are challenged, biographical narratives are deployed by state agents i n order to avoid shame, what Steele argues states experience when their biographical narratives do not coincide with their actions (2008, 12 13). reference to states me shes unproblematically with existing routines in IR. As both of them reiterate, the discussion of individual looks some of the deeper problems with this pervasive assumption, Steele does discuss the potential criticism that ontological security perspectives reify the state in problematic ways He acknowledges that treating the state as a person may ignore the so metimes violent policies that states enact to deal narrative as articulated by state agents (2008, 64). He contends that rather than reifying the state, an ontolog ical security perspective can help us understand the drive that pushes states to sometimes jeopardize certain segments of their own population in order to attain narrative ied in importantly, the self ty that matters for the security interests of Thus Steele admirably deals with the state as an actor problem. Nontheless from the theoretical perspective offered in the following chapter, both Mitz to illustrate the relevance of an ontological security perspective for the security dilemma guides

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54 ome of the pitfalls in doing so. Yet, I argue that this move is problematic. Assuming that pre given states seek a stable sense of self through time seems to posit a phenomenon that needs explanation. That is, if the quest for ontological security is w hat gives states a sense of self and coherence, is not this given the state. Although she specifies that her version of ontological security focuses on dynamics would specify the state the vehicle through which ontological security is sought. The biographical narrative is important to self identity beca use it is the locus placement of their Selves in those settings. Actors, with varying degrees of success, are using narrative as the which agents create meanings for their actions. That is the ontological importance into the nation state. Indeed, narration is the most political of acts a state agent c an 2). identities, the role played by narrative is much more extensive than Steele acknowledges. Rather than only t heorize theorized as subjects performatively (re)producing the narratives they articulate. We should recognize that not only do state leaders deploy hist orical narratives in order to articulate a stable national identity, but that state leaders themselves are subjects positioned within state discourses

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55 social presence when articulated in discourse. As many in critical IR have argued, states are of identity is useful here. He argues that S tates are never finished as entities; the tension between the demands of identity and the practices that constitute it can never be fully resolved, because the performative nature of identities can never be fu lly revealed. This paradox inherent to their being renders states in permanent need of reproduction; with no ontological status apart from the many and varied practices that constitute their reality, states are (and have to be) always in a process of beco ming. For a state to end its practices of representation would be to expose its lack of prediscursive foundations; stasis would be death (1998, 12) In a sense, Campbell and other IR scholars have been arguing for some time that the articulation of sta te discourses by state agents is ontologically necessary for the continued ctive, and from the theoretical framework offered in the following pages, both individuals and states are socially constructed. Both become meaningful objects/actors/agents within social and political reality when articulated, named, and positioned within a discourse From here, it is a short step to argue that discourses themselves should be the analytical focus. Building upon Campbell, poststructuralist ana lytical focus is on the discursive construction of identity as both constitutive of a nd a product of foreign policy . Consistent with the ontological focus on language, the practical epistemological focus is one how identities and policies are articu justifying an assumption of pre given state actors that secure their identities through the deployment of stabilizing narratives, ontological security scholars should focus more explicitly on how the state itself is socially (re)produc

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56 perspective offers one compelling argument for how to theorize such practices. My perspective, in turn, adds an understanding of how these practices are produced through dynamic interplays of language, identifi cation, and more importantly desire and affect, when these terms are grasped from a perspective that accounts for their relation to the structure of discourse. Ontological S ecurity and D esire Another critique can be made of this tendency in the ontologic al security literature. Again, IR ontological security scholars begin by assuming a pre given state has an identity that must be secured by recourse to routines over time. 14 As the next chapter explains, Lacanian theory argues that lack or loss is constit utive of every identity ; the subject qua subject for Lacan can only (appear to) cohere around an absence of something that would seem to make it whole. This loss can be viewed as an inexpressible affective dimension of identity which has effects within di scursively constructed social reality. Rather than assuming that pre given states seek ontological security through the deployment of narratives, Lacanian theory puts lack at the center term for understanding this process of construction is the psychoanalytic category of identification with its explicit assertion of a lack at the root of any identity; one needs to identify with something because there is an originary and insurmountable where ontological security scholars like Mitzen and Steele begin. There is no such thing as a fully never complete. From this point, then, what we have is not identity but identification political processes that attempt to fill the absence that gives rise to the ever persistent incomplete self. 14 al security seem to illustrate the kind of desire Social Theory of International Politics That is, their reliance

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57 One of the major focuses of the Lacanian perspective I of fer is the notion of lack, and how it accounts for the ultimate frustration of any kind of full identity Although my analytical focus shifts because of the step back I take from where ontological security scholars begin, my framework (developed in the f ollowing chapter) shares some a few conceptual similarities with the approaches of Mitzen and Steele. In one sense, I Mitzen argues (2006, 343). A relatively stable identity seems to be necessary for social action, and the drive for this stability surely must fit into our theoretical understanding of world politics. h the analyses offered in the following chapters. Yet, current understandings of ontological security are incomplete insofar as they lack a model of the subject that fully incorporates the discursive and affective aspects of identity. Put differently, on tological security frameworks have no theory of the subject as such, the subject for which security (purportedly) is utmost. Steele, particularly, emphasizes the centrality of narrative in his ontology, but offers little explanation of how subjects (whe ther individuals or states) are structured through different narrative or discursive elements. I offer such a model, and more importantly, offer an understanding of how desire is channeled through discourse and the role it plays in structuring identitific ation. I argue that different forms of discourse entail different relations of desire, depending upon how a discourse positions a subject with respect to desire. It is this kind of understanding of desire that ontological security studies lack that can m ore adequately explain I mention desire at this point because, from a Lacanian perspective, the ontological security program is essentially talking about a form of desire, albeit in different terms. Mitzen

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58 and Steele argue that states seek ontological security because they require a stable sense of self in order to realize agency; i.e., they need a stable set of expectations about themselves and about the proposition that actors fear deep uncertainty as an identity threat. Such uncertainty can make it difficult to act, which frustrates the action identity dynamic and makes it difficult to sustain a self because they want to maintain consistent self (2008, 3). Implicitly, Mitzen and Steele recognize that the lack of what we might call ontological security is what prompts states to seek it. States lack that which they believe will make them fully secure. This formulation approaches the Lacanian notion of desire as co nstutitive of the subject as such For Lacan, desire emerges from the absence inherent in identity construction and social life generally. Subjects do not begin with identities that they must keep secure and maintain, but instead are constructed around a n absence, an outside of the Imaginary and Symbolic forms by which their identity is constructed, or what Lacan calls the Real No identity is ever fixed, complete, or whole because of the instability of language and structures within which it is construc the system of language (or what Lacan calls the the Imaginary form of the s ubject i s what paralysis of non meaning that which resists or exceeds the systems of resemblance and difference by which the subject understands itsel f As subjects of lack, p eople seek Symbolic recognition within their discursively constituted worlds in order to make sense of themselves and

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59 others; they cannot be envisioned as subjects i f they do not adopt a signifier as their own, one that identifies them to others. social practices that offer Symbolic recognition and the kind of ontological securi ty that Mitzen and Steele discuss. Given this constitutive incompleteness (or what in Lacanian theory is called the split or divided, subject), I focus more on how this lack has effects on discursive reality. In y finds ontological in security to be fundamental to the human condition that is, more fundamental than ontological security ; it drives the desire for identification which remains in this respect unsatisfied Read in this manner, what Mitzen and Steel e call ontological security can easily be subsumed under a broader framework that incorporates the role of language, desire, affect, and identification. I argue that Lacanian theory offers a more comprehensive understanding of the constitutive interplay b etween these different aspects of social reality, and offers methodological discourse offers a model of how decentered subjectivity (the split subject), identity bea ring signifiers, knowledge, and desire form different relationships within different kinds of discourse, which offers insights into the discursive power of identity. This framework offers an understanding that takes full advantage of the notion that ident ity is linguistically constituted, which more completely incorporates the role of language than does Mitzen or Steele. Mitzen, for instance, focuses largely on how states seek ontological security through physical routines in security competition (2006, 3 53 61), which, as Steele points out (2008, 58) significantly downplays the role of language in the construction of identity. Steele himself does emphasize

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60 broad narratives his framework lacks an understanding of the power that certain powerful 24). Familiar an itself; they are powerful precisely because of the affective investment the subject has in them. Master signifiers structure the messages that discourses carry by signifying the values in which subject (Lacan 2007, 189; Bracher 1993, 24). When master signifiers are stitched together through l identities emerge, and are eventually grafted together into the kinds of narratives that Steele emphasizes. Indeed, as shown in the following chapters, master signifiers/nodal points are the (ultimately empty) anchors around which discourses and narrati ves are structured; they are the words and values from which discourses draw the meanings they can have for those who participate in those discourses Desire also plays a role in another theoretical gap that Mitzen and Steele leave open. A Lacanian rea ding reveals that the drive for ontological security is a form of desire for a stable sense of self. 15 Bringing in the notion of lack, we can argue that the lack of ontological security prompts states to seek it through routines and the articulation of con sistent narratives. However, 15 understanding of the human condition. Citing Giddens, Mitzen (2006, 346) argues th Ironically, this assumption about ontological security remains embedded within a Hobbesian (or broadly realist)

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61 persistent drive to seek it? Somethin g must account for the gap between, on one hand, the assertion that ontological security is impossible, and on the other hand, the breakdown of the process that would seemingly occur if states realized the futility of their pursuit Mitzen (2006, 348) arg profound, that we rarely see ontological insecurity in daily life. At the individual level it only emerges when we cannot help it, when our cognitive affective organ ization of the environment is lets actors put aside uncertainty about their environment, allowing them to function (2006, 346 7). Although Steele focuses m ore on the importance of narratives than routines, he similarly oing, what motivates agents, what reminds them that they are human, is the anxiety of daily life. While agents seek to overcome this anxiety through reflexive routines, it is never completely resolved. The anxiety is precisely what motivates the agent to 1). For Mitzen and Steele, then, basic trust and anxiety (respectively) explain the drive for ontological security. These notions share some similarity with what Lacanian theory observes concerning the role of narrativ e in the drive for identity. Subjects seek identity stability through the chaining of master signifers to other signifiers, and the thereby apparently consistency of t he social practices that subjects believe entails with such signifiers. However, what a Lacanian understanding adds is that there is always a fundamental split in every such identity. While Steele focuses his

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62 the disembodiment of a state Se every identity is always already decentered, divided, or split. Every subject constructed within discourse is divided between its representation by a signifier, and a missing, inexpressible part of times of trauma though it may be most powerfully expressed by them b ut rather is constitutive of being a subject within language, it is ontological, since ( as the next chapter argues) representation in language itself even as tence in discourse; the subject can only exist as a desiring subject. Consequently, the Lacanian answer to why subjects desire and keep pursuing wholeness through continuous identifications is that fantasy holds out the promise of such wholeness. As Slav narrative framework seems to be in broad agreement with Lacanian theory on the point that fantasy or narrative is the story through which subjects makes sense of their selves. 16 S imultaneously, though, fantasy serves a much deeper function for subjects. Subjects are unable to deal with the non meaning, or absence, around which their ident ities that it can be healed through identification with various objects (such as master signifiers, or other objects of desire). Fantasies, then, channel the desire for fullness that subjects seek. ordinates; that is, 16 The following chapter explains how a sp ecifically Lacanian n otion of fantasy is far from the conventional meaning of the term

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63 of desire, language, and identity that offers a more comprehensive understanding of the power of identity (or more accurately, identification) and discourse than does the current ontological security literature. Ontological Security and A ffects Finally, the ontolog ical security literature also shares with Lacanian theory ideas about the role of emotions and affects in identity, particularly anxiety. Mitzen, Huysmans, and Steele all discuss how anxiety plays a key role in the quest for ontological security. Returni ng to the extremely difficult to reconcile competing threats and ta the deluge with which an actor finds him/herself in when confronted with the possibility of the myriad of events that could harm him/her. Unable to deal with this flood of information, the actor relies upon and ma intains basic trust and routines to institute a level of certainty that can enable its Mitzen 006, 348 9). Maintaining routines that keep uncertainty at bay provide an important emotional function of (1998) makes a similar argument about the role of w hat he calls angst In some contexts, the loss of the ability to prioritize threats leads to a perpetual crisis within which the normal principles threat experi ences in everyday life could translate into an experience of chaos and Angst 243).

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64 Steele elaborates on anxiety and the role it plays in ontological security seeking. He agrees that anxiety is produced when ontological insecurity arises when ro utines break down (Steele 2008, 51 2). Anxiety differs from other affects, such as shame and fear. Fear arises is challenged (2008, 51). Shame, in contrast, deeper feeling of insecurity because it means that someone behaved in a way he or she felt was incongruent with their sense of self they are una ble to reconcile their past or present actions with their biographical narrative as articulated by state agents (2 008, 15). Steele disagrees with Mitzen, however, on the role that anxiety plays in the maintenance of routines. Anxiety arises not from even ts beyond our control, as Mitzen implies, but rather from possible actions within our control. Citing Kierkegaard, creation of routines shields us from this an possibilities of agency (2008, 61). Although actors engage in routines to alleviate this anxiety, they can never completely do so. It is this drive, that remains unresolved, that motivates the search for onto logical security (2008, 61). I agree broadly with some of the arguments concerning anxiety offered by Huysmans, Mitzen, and Steele. But, within this broad agreement lie several differences between ontological security as articulated by these scholars an d the Lacanian framework I wish to propose To begin, Lacan devoted one of his entire yearly seminars to unpacking and elaborating upon his ideas about anxiety. 17 17 ranslators and interpreters, such as Bruce Fink (1995), Rober to Harari (2001), and others.

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65 stability. Howe ver, although anxiety does play the role of a driving force in Lacanian theory, it need to delimit the possibilities of agency and/or prioritize the world of possible threats that confront them. For Lacan, in contrast, anxiety is inextr icably tied to lack with the social resources of the Symbolic order that offer some sense of direction and meaning fantasy discourses that offer a sense of affective security). Desire is what motivates the d rive for Symbolic recognition, to be someone or something in the Symbolic Anxiety arises when this constitutive lack is itself lacki ng when this motivating absence cannot be joined in a productive way to signifiers Since subjects can only exist as subjects within discourse, the loss or absence that sparks the desire to seek recognition in the Symbolic is necessary Without lack the re is no desire, and without desire there is no subject, strictly speaking. Strangely, then, anxiety is experienced expressly when the subject actually approaches that object that but which it must not obtain if it is to continue to desire. terms of child development, for instance, Lacan argues th the child is when the relationship through which it comes to be on the basis of lack, which makes it desire is most perturbed: when there is no possibility of lack, when its mother is ed in Fink 1995, 103). To maintain our desire as subjects, we must keep as it were, a healthy distance from the Thing that promises to satisfy our desire. This is

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66 why desire constantly shifts from one (provisional) object to another; once we reach somet hing on to the next avatar of the necessary Thing Other subjects also play a crucial role in the Lacanian notion of anxiety. Mitzen, Huysmans, and Steele do not explicitly relate the experience of anxiety within the self to others. one is confronted with the bewildering array of daily threats that confront them, or when facing at arises w hen routines break down. T hese forms of anxiety do undoubtedly play a role in securing the subject. Lacan however, adds a twist to the role Others he 2001, 227). Anxiety, then, is not merely the experience that results when one is unable to prioritize threats posed by dangerous Others, unable to deal with the provoking because it expresses a lack of knowing what one is for the Other. Bruce Fink explains: Rather than anxiously waiting to find out what you are, you may well prefer to jump to conclusions (precipitate answers) about what the Other wan ts of you, with you, from you, here: you prefer to assign it an attribute, any attribute rather than let it remain an enigma. You prefer to tie it down, give it a name, and put an end to its angst inducing uncertainty. Once it is named, once you conclude that this is what the Other wants of you to sta y out of the way, for instance the angst abates, and you can set about trying to make yourself scarce (1991, 61) In this sense, Lacan concluded played a much deeper role in structuring the subject th an other affects (Stavrakakis 2007, 209). This notion of anxiety, therefore, does not necessarily have threatening connotations that

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67 that is in contrast to Steele 18 discourse. As discussed in the following chapters, Lacan theorizes that subjects deal with anxiety through different forms of disc constrict the social environment into more manageable narratives, but what Lacan adds is an articulation of ho w different kinds of discourses, or discursive structures, position subjects in different relationships to desire and anxiety. For example, in a form of discourse Lacan terms nant signifier. A he actually believes himself to be whole, undivided, self every subject is always divided, or split. In another form incomplete ness of id entity, Characterized by 18 over of the role that self is a reaction to what he views as overly other focused views of identity (see Steele 2008, 29 35). Yet, this reaction may bend too far back the other way. For instance, in arguing their own project of the self before I can even treat another, I must expe rience the self (208, 34). Even seeking process of the Self must cus to the under unavoidable in the finds that a critical account of ontolo gical security would benefit from a deconstructive perspective that could bring out the discrepancies between state actions and its biographical narrative (2008, 65). Yet, he ignores the most

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68 desiring, questioning, and/or protesting, Hysterical discourses are articulated by those subjects who are driven by their anxiety; they seek the security and stability of a master signifier that they these and other discourses allow us to trace the relationships between anxiety, desire, knowledge, and divided subjectivity in particu lar discourses. In short, Lacanian theory offers a more comprehensive understanding of the role of anxiety in identity seeking, identification, and discourse than has been considered in IR. More importantly, it offers a deeper understanding of how affect s combines with other discursive elements to produce the power of discourse and identification. Conclusion This chapter has reviewed several IR literatures that potentially shed light on what accounts for the power of discourse and identity. Many studies in IR conceptualize identities as not naturally given, but rather as contingent social constructions that can change over time. Yet, few have examined the power of discourses and identities beyond their contingency as socio historical constructions, and few have explored the relationships between discourse and affects/emotions. Consequently, few have offered sustained insights into how we can understand here all offer potential answers these questions. Yet, the constructivist, poststructuralist, emotions/affects, and ontological security literatures all have important theoretical gaps, and fall short of offering a more comprehensive understanding of the majo r questions posed here. The theoretical framework offered in the next chapter combines insights from the theories of Ernesto Laclau and Jacques Lacan, and offers one answer for how the interplay of discourse, identity, affect and desire can more fully acc ount for discursive power.

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69 CHAPTER 3 THEORIZING DISCOURSE AFFECT, AND IDENTI FICATION: LACAN WITH LACLAU The purpose of this chapter is to develop a theoretical framework that can aid our thinking about why and how discourses become politically succes sful, and why some discourses gain more social traction than others The framework will be applied to specific cases of recent American foreign policy in subsequent chapters, demonstrating that those aspects of identity, affect, and subjectivity that have thus far received little theoretical attention are, in fact, necessary to investigate if we are to gain a deeper understanding of the politics of discourse, affects, and identity. In developing this framework, I draw upon the theories of Ernesto Laclau a nd Jacques Lacan, who, together, have not been the source of much published thought in IR theory. I hope to demonstrate the extent to which discourse is structured by and infused with affect, and in doing so hope to gain greater analytical purchase on ide ntifications and discursive power, thus offering a more comprehensive understanding of the social construction process. analysis, focusing on a number of his con cepts that combine to give an account of how political been employed by a few scholars in IR, but not enough that might warrant a briefer overview. In this sense, Relations (IR) scholars are already familiar in terms of social construction, identities, and discourse. Also, L and some of his concepts are dra wn from, Lacanian theory. This observation paves the way for the second section, where I move from course, and affect are complex, and wherever one chooses to plunge in one gradually must bring in the entire range of concepts. I

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70 attempt to guide the reader on a (necessarily condensed) tour of Lacanian theory through a series of steps. Finally, in the third section I combine insights from both Laclau and Lacan to offer a framework that is able theorize both the political production and maintenance of identities and the complex dynamics of affective attachments that underpin them. Identity and H egemony in Laclau Argentinian assumptions about ontology and epistemology underlying much of the existing discourse research in IR. 1 He agrees that we do not have access to reality outside of discourse which is defined as a differential ensemble of signifying sequences in which meaning is constantly cited collaboration with Chantal Mouffe every object is constituted as an object of discourse has nothing to do with whether there is a world external to thought, or with the realism/idealism o pposition . What is denied is not that such objects exist externally to thought, but the rather d ifferent assertion that they could constitute themselves as objects outside of any discursive 2 In other words, such a theoretical approach does not deny the but argues simply that such a reality can only be made sensible to us through our descriptions of it; i.e. through discourse. Through discursive practices, signifiers, meanings, and identities are brought together to form particular constructions of t he world. These practices do not merely reflect or describe 1 Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (co authored with Belgian political theorist Chantal Mou ffe) and his solo work has been the subject of sustained commentary, including a recent edited volume. See Critchely and Marchart (2004). For his major solo works after Hegemony call 2 David Campbell (1998a, 254) notes, with some frustration, that he has included this quote three times in his work, and that this repetition has been necessary due to c ontinuing critiques based on misunderstandings of what this reality/material con ditions/ real

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71 social relations that pre exist thei r linking within discourse; rather such relations do not exist for speaking subjects outside of the discursive practices that constitute th ese relations Sin ce there is no extra discursive ground upon which meanings can be said to rest, meanings and identities are always in flux, and more importantly, are never beyond political contestation. This non foundational view of the political takes center stage in La Politics is played out not betwee n agents or actors that have fully formed identities prior to political struggle. Rather, politics is the very process through which identities are constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed, and through which discourses struggle against other discours es 2001 could be viewed as a hegemonic discourse more significant in this respect than any (see Croft 2006) It arguably defined the dominant perspective on national security and world politics, while simultaneously excluding Laclau both elaborates upon and moves beyon d these ideas by developing a novel theoretical apparatus to account for the construction of identities and political boundaries, in addition to the achievement of discursive stability and the limits of discursive construction. For instance, most post pos itivist identity scholars in IR have recognized the fluidity of identity as based upon the instability of language itself (see Goff and Dunn 2004). Laclau develops this idea by theorizing instability not only as fluidity, but also in terms of the constitu tive limits of identity. (1990, 39)

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72 ed and unattainable because of their relationship with an exterior identity which both makes the identity possible and which prevents its ultimate fixity or closure. Exclusion is thus constitutive of discourses, and consequently of identities; exclusions meaningful system of differences, but is contested by forces which stand at the limit of that 3 To illustrate, Laclau (1990, 39) discusses what ha ppens to the lives of workers when capitalism is introduced into their culture. The effects of this introduction are typically understood as the ruin of traditional communities and the divorce of the worker from a close relationship with the land. This e vent ruptures the workers traditional identities, and they can respond by forming unions, destroying factories, and so on that is, the disruptive external force that sparks the construction of new identities to deal with the dislocating event. Dislocati emergence of new articulations of identity. The construction of an exterior identity, however, cannot occur through reference to a positive, natural difference located outsi de of discourse. Rather, it can only be represented through groups, or chains, of signifiers (e.g. words and phrases) that suppress differences among political examp le is of a society that reaches a sense of its own unity through the demonization of constructed through meaning making signifying practices (Laclau 2005, 70). The effect of this 3 meaning. They are destabilizing insofar as existing social constructions of meaning are unable to make sense of the event. In this way, dislocations spark the desire, and the need, for new social constructions that can make sense of w ere initially ones of stunned silence. See, for example, Edkins (2002, 244 5).

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73 excluded, all other differences within this society become equivalent to each other, insofar as their rejection of the excluded is what they have i n common. Thus, relations of equivalence (or similarity) minimize differences between the internal elements of an identity, while relations of the war on terr or was initially a foundational signifier a round which the discourse revolved, and through its frequent articulation and reiteration with eaning within the discourse took on the meanings of those terms. differences between these signifiers were suppressed or blurred insofar as they came to have the same meaning in relation to what they meant to American identity. Relations of difference were simultaneously at work in the construction of differences between the signifiers that constituted U.S. i dentity in relation to an other against which that identity was presumed to stand In this way, practices of equivalence and difference are mutually destabilizing. 4 Constructing links through groups of signifiers subverts d ifferences within the discourse in question, yet difference and exclusion is necessary for any identity to cohere into something meaningful. ven in order to differ, to subvert meaning, there has to be a meaning All social identity is split between its exclusion of an external element, which both links and separates it from other identities, and its equivalential ties with other identities in relation to the excluded (Laclau 2005, 78). In this way that we can 4 the few IR scholars who has drawn upon these ideas from Lacla u and Mouffe.

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74 sions of identity that much of the IR identity literature has recognized, what they add (in addition to the other concepts discussed here) is a theoretical understanding of how the tension between inside and outside is (re)produced and articulated on the l evel of the signifier. If logics of equivalence and difference account for the construction of political boundaries, the question remains of how to relate the unstable nature of identities to the fixity that these phenomena have (if temporarily) in social life. How are identities constructed through meanings are unstable? Many approaches that stress this fluidity have tended to downplay the temporary fixity that identities do attain (Stavrakakis 2007, 68). 5 Simply because identities are attain partial stability. To shed light on this frequently neglected characteristi c of identities, Laclau develops the concept of the nodal point In other words, nodal points are the disc ursive anchors that bind together groups of words and concepts into sensible and meaningful statements and narratives. 6 function as tempo some essential or extra discursive ground upon which identities are founded, but instead means a temporary, unstable fixation which provides the condition of possibility for both meaning and 5 8) recent review of the the f 6

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75 contestability. They constitute the reference points through which other concepts in the discourse draw their meaning. Yet, the more terms a privileged signifier is grouped with, the more its meaning is stretched across other terms, the more emptied of clearly discernable reference point in the discourse of the war on terror. The more terms with which articulated with, or the increasing number of facets of the war on terror for which it became the domestic surveillance, for pre emptive military strikes, and so on), the more its meaning was emptied as it was stretched to represent a wider and wider span of relations between them Despite their ultimate ambiguity, nodal points are necessary for understanding what is known theoretical concept: hegemony. Put simply, hegemony defines the marginalized. More specifically, it is the achievement of a dominant construction of socio e of norms, values, views, and perceptions through persuasive re hin what is accepted as common sense. This involves the construction of relations of equivalence and difference organized around nodal points As David Howarth (2004, 262). In other words, nodal points function as stand ins around which a society is socially constructed although society itself is

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76 identities and discourses. Laclau (1996, 44) elaborates in his example of the role of the signifier Let us con sider the extreme situation of a radical disorganization of the social fabric. In such conditions people need an order, and the actual content of it becomes a secondary ch has no content, because it on ly exists in the various forms present as that which is absent; it becomes an empty signifier, as the signifier of that absence. In this se nse, various political forces can compete in their efforts to present their particular objectives as those which carry out the filling of that lack. To hegemonize something is exactly to carry out this filling function. (We have belong to the same order of things. Any term which, in a certain political context becomes the signifier of the lack, plays the same role. Politics is possible because the constitutive impossibilit y of society can only represent itself through the production of empty signifiers.) constutitively ituation simply because it is a stand who seek it, whatever it may look like, as Such powerful signifiers are necessary for hegemony precisely because their contestability allows for the bringing together, or discursive linking through equivalence, of various identities and poli tical projects around a common point of (ultimately unstable) unification. In the h a vast and changing web of American political discourse coheres. Nearly every political force in American which empties these terms the more they are cla imed by opposing forces and in changing contexts

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77 offers a novel account of the social construction of hegemonic discourses and identities. 7 However, Laclau himself, in h is most recent writings, recognizes that his approach does not go far enough in explaining or analyzing discursive power itself. Responding to a set of criticisms of his work (2004, 326), he has pointed to the need to move beyond the analysis of strictly A second step needs to be taken. For what rhetoric can explain is the form that an overdetermining investment takes, but not the force that explains the investment as such and its perdurability. He re something else has to be brought into the picture. Any overdetermination requires not only metaphorical condensations but also cathectic investments. That is, something belonging to the order of affect has a primary role in discursively constructing t he social. Freud already knew it: the social link i s a libidinal link. And affect is not something added to signification, but something consubstantial with it. So if I see rhetoric as ontologically primary in explaining the operations inhering in and the forms taken by the hegemonic construction of society, I see psychoanalysis as the only valid road to explain the drives behind such construction I see it, indeed, as the most fruitful approach to the understanding of human reality (emphasis in o riginal) Rather than merely examining the rhetorical structure of discourses, Laclau acknowledges that the next step in discourse analysis (and I argue social construction studies more generally) should be the pursuit of how affective investments in dis courses and identities further endow 7 Antonio conflict was rooted i n the objective material conditions of the proletariat and bourgeoisie. Gramsci moved away from this economic determinism in arguing that a winning anti capitalist coalition is not strictly rooted in class, but must be forged through the political creatio foundation (see Gramsci 1971). However, in their deconstruction of the histo ry of Marxism, Laclau and Mouffe single unifying principle in every hegemonic formation, and this can only be a fundamental drawing upon Foucauldian, Derridean, and Lacanian insights, remove all such foundations, and argue that political relations are solely constructed through disco urse, where no discursive elements articulated together have any intrinsic or natural relation, and have no extra discursive grounding. For these reasons, they are often labeled as belonging to the school of thought known as post Marxism. See Laclau and Mouffe (1985, 47 91).

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78 chains of signifiers bo would be sibly presume that new discourses and identities would not be articulated in the first place without some emotional or affective desire to do so. Desire, Affect, and Identification in Lacan The theories of Jacques Lacan offer substantial insights on t hese questions. Although Lacan, who was a practicing psychoanalyst and theorist, has not been the source of much thinking about international politics, he has had a considerable influence on many fields in the humanities and social sciences in recent deca des. 8 His writings often expand beyond the realm of the clinic, exploring the social construction of the subject, the role of language in the relationship between the individual and society, and, crucially, the role of desire and affect in social reality. 9 8 To the best of my knowledge, the only other empirical application of Lacanian theory in IR is in the realm of post Cold War Russian foreign policy. See He ikka (1999). Jenny Edkins (2003 ) uses some Lacanian concept s in her analys is of trauma, yet does not develop a systematic discourse theory in the manner that I do here. Similarly, Edkins (1999) provides a useful introduction to the theories of Lacan and others, but despite the title of her book ( Poststructuralism and Internatio nal Relations: Bringing the Political Back In ), there is very little discussion of the relevance of these authors to specific issues and problems in international relations. Although Lacan argued that his approach to psychoanalysis, elaborated in his writi ngs stretching from the 1930s to in social theory in the mid 20 th century, insights that Freud (writing in the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries) did not have access to. While Lacanian theory remains largely unexplored in IR, it has been widely applied in disciplines as varied as liter ary theory (Jameson 1977), film studies (Metz 1982; Mulvey 1975; McGowan 2007), geography (Callard 2003), legal studies (Schroeder 2000), organizational theory (Hoedemaekers 2008), planning studies (Hillier and Gunder 2003), and social scientific methodolo gy (Glynos and Howarth 2007). 9 understanding of Lacan is influenced by him. I also draw upon others whose work employs Lacanian theory either in psychoanalysis, such as Bruce Fink, or in the study of culture and politics, such as Mark Bracher, Yannis Stavrakakis, and others.

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79 Master Signifiers One of the closest points of conceptual affinity between Laclau and Lacan is in the similarity between their concepts of nodal points and master signifiers, respectively. For Lacan, nodal points (or in his terminology, master signif iers [ points de capiton in French]) are privileged discursive points precisely because they are those words in which subjects are most nifiers are able to exert such force in messages because of the role they play in structuring the subject specifically in giving the subject a sense of identity and a subject some natural, pre constituted identity (Lacan 1981, 207). These privileged discursive points not only offer temporary fixity to groups of signifi ers tied together in discourses, but their power lies in their ability to render an individual as a subject in a specific set of social relations. Master signifiers are those words that we turn to when asked who we are in discourse t as our own, as defining ourselves and others and are those around which our identities and our cohere. he subject is always fastened, pinned, to a signifier which represents him for the other, and through this pinning he is loaded with a symbolic mandate, he is given a place in the intersubjective network ctions as a kind of call; in accepting a master signifier as his/her own, this call constitutes the beliefs, values, and practices that is Lacanian theory combines this understanding of the interpellative power of master signifiers with an innovative approach to identification and desire. As Lacanian scholar Yannis

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80 capitonnage effected through a semiotic nodal point has to be supported by a knotting at the affective level of jouissance in order to stick. Symbolic power and authority finds its real support in the emotional dynamics of fantasy and (partial) role that master signifiers play in structuring discourses and identities cannot be explained solely by their linguistic or rhetorical representation. To unpack this formulation, and to introduce a discussion of the Lacanian concepts of the three registers, desire, jouiss ance and fantasy, we must further interrogate the subject is confronted with a question of what exactly is expected of her/him in her/his investment in the set of relations offered by the master signifier. When an American, for instance, is hailed responds with a question what is expected of me? What am I to do and how am I to relate to others, Desire in the Imaginary, Symbolic, and Real It is here that we can locate the importance of the La canian notion of desire. D esire refers t o the gap opened in the subject when hailed by a master signifier (Lacan 2006, 690 1; go on as a subject within the system of social relations offered by the m aster signifier or discourse in question. It is this gap, or lack, introduced by the signifier that stimulates desire to his/her desire is sparked to engage in th e duties and practices that s/he understands are called for offer the subject in its quest to realize its submission to a master signifier. There is no single

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81 ideology or set of beliefs in American culture, for instance, that can offer our American subject a cultural context offers nothing that can satisfy the desire to fully and completely identify with a that is fixed or i ncontestable. Since subjects must adopt some signifiers as their own if they are to make sense of themselves and communicate with others within discourse again, as conceived by Lacan as the social condition of language desire always and inevitably per sists as long as the subject exists as a subject in discourse. of 10 This leads to a paradoxical situation: desire for a signifier that the subject can assume as its own sparks the search for identity, yet none is able to fully represent the subject. De sire, then, remains unsatisfied; a fully stable identity always remains out of reach, and the search for identity stability continues. Indeed, desire does not seek satisfaction it merely seeks to ink 1997, 51). It is this quest for a sense of fullness that leads to perpetual processes of identification rath er than the construction of fixed and conclusive identity 11 mountable lack 10 are desired by subjects are most oft en symbolic objects, such as master signifiers that promise a stable identity. 11 identificatio n It demands active recognition on behalf of the claim is similar to the one I make here, her analysis remains on the purely discursive level, and neglects to incorporate the necessary dimensions of desire that spark identificatio n processes in the first place

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82 3) 12 Consequently, the construction of an (ultimately unstable) identity is only possible through continual processes of identification with culturally available social constructions, such as political ideologie s, narratives, and values (Stavrakakis 1999, 36). In other words, subjects must identify with societal discourses if they are to have a place in that society. However, due to the instability and contestability of any discourse (such as conflict over the identity is impossible, since there is no extra linguistic foundat may be grounded. The desire to assume a master signifier is only one aspect of identification, and is an expression of one desire among several kinds. One of the most oft tive is to be recognized by the other this dictum, Lacan emphasizes that desire is never truly individual, but is always channeled and given form by the social. From this, a typology of desire in discourse can be developed along three dimensions. 13 (anaclitic desire). Second, the Other can be either the subject or object of desire; in other words, the subject can desire to be recognized by the Other, or can desire to possess the Other as a means to wholeness. With both narcissistic and anaclitic desire, one can have both passive and active forms, corresponding to the desire to be recognized and loved by the Other (passive 12 This simply means that there exist no natural or primordial identities. If there were, the issue would be one of 3). 13 Si 52) discussion of this typology. Bracher (1993, 19 20) himself notes that I am presenting here [was] not developed systematically by Lacan in each of the his multiple decade career.

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83 narcissistic), the desire to be come the Other (active narcissistic), the desire to have the Other in order to achieve a sense of wholeness of oneself (active anaclitic), and the desire to become an The Other or an institution that the subject believes will bring it a For example, the object of desire can be symb olic (such as a valued master signifier) or physical (such as money). These desires are experienced in different ways in each of the three registers of human subjectivity: the Imaginary, Symbolic, and the Real (see Table 1 below) 14 Identification then, works not only at the rhetorical or Symbolic level, but also involves other registers that are intimately bound up with the discursive structures of Symbolic identification. While Symbolic identification through signifiers works on the desire to emulate, embody, and obey the ideals valued by the Symbolic Other, Imaginary identification works largely through images of the body. More specifically, images of bodily integrity and well being are central to desires evoked in the Imaginary. 15 Imaginary desire i s engaged whenever bodily representations are threatened within images or discourses. This desire is engaged in political 14 Lacan argues that human subjectivity is experienced through these three registers. Identification with master signifiers, as discussed above, occurs within the Symbolic, or the realm of discursive relations made meaningful through difference, which can be roughly understood as c ulture or society. As master signifiers (and all other the ideals that have been inculcated in them by their parents, schools, media, lan guage, and society at large, image is based (L acan 2006, 75 structured by the Symbolic order sinc e the only resources from which the Imaginary can emerge are the social resources of the Symbolic (Evans 1996, 82 3). The Real is that which is excluded from language, which is inexpressible. As discussed below, included in the Real is jouissance a gene ralized form of affect, and the ultimate object cause of desire, object a 15 Ontological security, as currently discussed by IR scholars, fits well with narcissistic Imaginary desire.

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84 threat. As Lacan argues, discourse is c specific relation with the living existence of the human being, with quite a narrow sector of its biological reality, with the image of the fellow being. This imaginary experience furnishes ballast for eve 306). Of course, these different types of desire are not mutually exclusive. Mu ltiple desires can be evoked simultaneously by the same discourse and in practi ce, each of these desires may shade into one another. Yet, acknowledging the multiplicity of desire along these dimensions broadens the scope of our understanding the effects of discourse as it is currently understood in IR. As Bracher (1993, 52) argues, The value of this taxonomy of desire four basic modes in each of three registers lies not in its capacity to serve as a totalizing system for describing and categorizing t he various elements of discourse. Its value lies rather in its demonstration of the multifariousness and complexity of desire and in its function as a kind of checklist prompting us to search a given text or discourse for interpellative forces that might not be immediately evident. Understanding desire in this way helps us better account for the power of discourses and identifications beyond their rhetorical construction. As the following chapters demonstrate, for example, prominent texts constructing A merican foreign policy discourses strongly evoked many of these kinds of desire, which helps us bette r understand their resonance Based on this typology, we may draw some initial expectations about what kinds of discou rses are more resonant than others. If people identify with certain master signifiers and

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85 more tha 16 In other words, discourses that evoke and satisfy narcissistic desires would, more often than not, be more resonant than those discourses that do not evoke and satisfy them. Discourses of patriotism, wit h their reassurance satisfy narcissistic desires to be secure (see, for example, Stam and Shohat, 2007). In this sense, we can expect to see dynamics of narci ssistic desires play out more in politics than anaclitic desires (the desire to have or possess), although anaclitic desires are by no means absent from political discourses. The Real and J ouissance Desire does not exist in isolation, and it can only be more fully understood in relation to the Real, jouissance /enjoyment, and fantasy. While the Real is one of three registers of human subjectivity, it is one that has not been widely discussed in IR. The Imaginary and the Symbolic, the registers of ideals images, and discourse, have been more thoroughly explored by existing studies of social construction. Given its multi deserves a more detailed elaboration. Desire in the Real is inextricably bound to the idea of the ing, or more precisely, as constituted by a foundational lack. For Lacan, the human drama of existing as a subject within language is characterized by loss. Taking a position within the Symbolic order introduces a divorce between that which remains outside of discourse; that which is sacrificed with the introduction of language is any possibility of our unmediated access to the Real (Stavrakakis 1999, 34) Humans employ the most basic cultural tool at their disposal, 16 an theory does not assume anything like an identifying with the social resources of the Symbolic order.

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86 language, to try to attain this unmediated access to the Real, but the very use of language makes this impossible. Language is an unstable and fluid system, never a fixed structure or set of structures. Words can never fully exhaust our attempts to use them to capture the Real, nor can they allow a full articulation of identity with ourselves. he Real can be understood in at least a couple of different ways. First, it experience of the body before his/her socialization into language; a state of child is socialized into the Symbolic and is forced to use language to satisfy its needs because the others upon whom it dep ends (parents, siblings, caregivers, etc.) have already crossed this divide it becomes progressively more removed from the Real. This progressive alienation within la nguage, the progressive distancing of the Real, is what sparks the desire to return to a conjectural wholeness [the introduction of language] which is characterized by impasses and impossibilities due to the relations among the elements of the symb struct fully, there is always a desire for its further articulation and construction. This constitutive incompleteness is also, in a sense, the intrusion of the Real into the process of social

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87 resists total incorporation into language and the Real as disruptions of Symbolic reality are not mutually exclusive. Each notion of t he Real attempts to understand the limits of social Although the Real is by definition extra discursive, that which escapes social construction, it holds a central place in a Lac anian theory of discourse Unlike the conventional constructivist or poststructuralist view that the entirety of human social reality is discursive, that sub jectivity cannot be represented and articulated in discourse. In one sense, the Real is a kind of unmediated affective experience that is diminished once the body is socialized into language. This affect is lost once one speaks, since language itself is then introduced as the medium through which one experiences social reality, rather than direct experience through the body. Put or overwriting it with sign completeness, which is impossible to recover within the Symbolic, since it is the language of the Symbo lic itself that introduces the lack. The subject qua speaking subject is, therefore, caught in a bind; it must assume a position within the Symbolic if it is to have its (biological) needs fulfilled by others who are already positioned there, but to do so requires a loss that is experienced as affect. Lacan calls this form of affect jouissance or as it is often translated, enjoyment pre symbolic, real enjoyment which is always posited as something lost, as a lost fullness, the part of ourselv es that is sacrificed when we enter the symbolic system of language and social Jouissance

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88 g extra that 17 While jouissance entails a sense of (conjectural or fantasized) le desire is always oriented towards the promise of jouissance it is never truly attained. There is always a frustration (or, lack of being) in relation to wholeness precisely because it is never reached. We search in vain for a foundation that does not exist it never existed and cannot be made to exist y et this is desire that propels our continual identification processes. 18 In a Lacanian perspective, jouissance /enjoyment manifests itself in all areas of social and merous examples of this un representable, and always frustrated, form of affect. When a believer describes his profound religious experience to a skeptic and expres agalma perceived by him as the unique ineffable kernel which cannot be shared by others (non believers) is precisely jouissance cannot put into words, yet it is the very thing that organizes his existence as a subject of a set of social relations (in this case, religion). A more explicitly political nationalism. For him, national identity is not reducible to a laundry list of cultural characteristics 17 For further discussions of jouiss ance and its place in Lacanian theory, see Declercq (2004), Evans (1998), Nasio (1998), and Miller (2000). 18 One may reasonably ask whether jouissance is another way of talking about human nature, or something akin to it. If jouissance is a pre discursi ve affective force that helps to propel identification processes, it may seem like a kind of essence or foundation upon which identification is based, or determined. Glynos and Stavrakakis (2004, 209) offer both an acknowledgement of this concern and a re jouissance one real qua jouissance seems to flirt with a certain essentialism, it nevertheless rema and always in a state of irresolvable tension with the socio other words, jouissance a determinate that pushes the subject in any specifiable or predictable direction.

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89 that define precisely what it means to be a member of a group. Symbolic identification with characteris tics of culture is a necessary element of nationalism, but this is indeed constituted through our language, religion, rituals, and so forth, yet there is always so mething else beyond the cataloging of such characteristics, that really makes us identify with a group. 19 This un this Thing, the o nly consistent answer is that the Thing is present in that elusive of the way our community organizes its feasts, its rituals of mating, its initiation ceremonies, in short all the details by which is made visible the unique way a community organizes its enjoyment Enjoyment, then, is the un performatively re produce the nation. That no national ritual alone satisf ies or fulfills the desire desire is displaced to other sources of identification. Enjoyment is Real in the Lacanian sense that it always escapes our attempts to put it into words, yet it is the affective element that binds people to their identifications beyond purely rhetorical effects. It is the Lacanian answer to Sara T his affective dimension, which is alwa ys shaped by and circuited through discourse, has been largely overlooked in the discourse and identity literature in IR. For example, rather than examining the mere social constructed should theor ize about the aspects of this discourse that offer its audience points of identification 19 of people conceive of themselves as embodying som ething extra that makes them valued more highly by the Other 5).

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90 underpinned by jouissance solely to its ambiguity and functioning as a nodal point. Rather, it When interrogated to t functions as the final referent from which contemporary discourses of terrorism draw their meaning, and eventually becomes its own ground. It is through such words that subjects become sensic al, pre ideological kernel of because people are affectively invested in it. Consequently, it is a site of contest among competing political forces that attempt to hegemonize its content, or meaning. Laca concepts of the Real and jouissance offer a new angle and additional theoretical depth to understanding affects and emotions as they have been discussed so far in IR. As elaborated in the previous chapter, much of the recent literature on emotions in IR has focused upon the shortcomings of mainstream schools of thought in addressing emotions. Andrew Ross jouissance Ross recognizes the need to investigate the non more direct investigation of affe ctivity as part of the non

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91 stating the case for the need to examine these dimensions of language. While his assessment of the limits of phenomena should be on the research agenda of IR emotions scholars is admirable, Ross does not offer a theory of discourse, does not explain the relationship between discourse and emotions, does not offer a theory of identity that explains how these elements combine to produce political outcomes, or more importantly, does not say how researchers should integrate Inde ed, Ross does not push far enough in elaborating the limits of constructivism and poststructuralism. Constructivist and poststructuralist arguments that reality is entirely socially dimensions of identity, but they ironically border on a new kind of essentialism. As Stavrakakis (1999, 65 6) argues, This position not only borders on reifying social construction as such, but the very possibility of new social constructions does not seem to fit within a constructivist framework. If social construction e nvelops the entirety of human social reality, construction begins to look like a kind of closed system in which the production of new constructions is limited to what already exists (Stavrakakis 1999, 67). Instead, there must be something outside of socia l construction that sparks or stimulates the production of new social constructions. Moreover, if this something was inexpressible. Although inexpressible, it would have discernable effects within socially constructed reality.

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92 It is this extra discursive and inexpressible aspect of human social life that a Lacanian framework not only acknowledges, but puts at the very center of theorizing. If constructivists and poststructuralists are to make headway towards understanding non rhetorical basis for the power of discourse and identity, theorizing must systematically account for these factors and elaborate their relationship with those aspects of identity that IR scholars have already proved adept at analyzing, namely, the symbolic, textual, and discursive elements of identity. As this chapter has argues, Lacanian theory offers a useful way to begin to think about how that which is non representable in discourse nevertheless has effects on language. In turn, if it has effects on discourse it has effects on identity since, as many IR scholars agree, identity exists within discourse impossible project, what drives subjects to keep identifying? The relationship between desire, jouissance and fantasy offers an answer. Fantasy and O bject a Although jouissance is the visceral dimension that binds the subject to that with which s/he identifies, it is always felt as lost to the subject. This loss, a perpetual sense of incompleteness, is that towards which desire is always oriented. As Stavrakakis explains, a lacking/impossible fullness, around the promise of encountering jouissance and jouissance 20 Desire, for this reason, has no final object; since nothing can alleviate lack, desire moves fr om one object to another. If it is the promise then, of reaching jouissance and not the achievement of jouissance or sense of 20 For another discussion on the relationship between desire and jouissance see Braunstein (2003).

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93 wholeness itself that drives identification, then this promise must be theorized in relation to desire and jouissance The Lac anan concept of fantasy p notion of fantasy is far from the conventional understanding of the term as some imagined scenario in which desires or achievements are fulfilled. Rather, Lacan understands fantasy as the frame through which the subject pursues the promise of capturing a lost (though never achieved) sense of wholeness. In this respect, fantasy is a much more fundamental part of social and political reality than is usually presumed Although there is always a blockage t desire is nevertheless sparked to overcome the blockage. Yet, there is nothing in the Symbolic order with which the subject can identify to accomplish this. Although the subject may seek Symbolic identification in master signifiers that promise a stable identity, or in Imaginary identifications of images of bodily integrity, such identifications never fully eradicate the sense of lack. As such, Lacanian theory argues that not only is the subject structured aroun d a lack, but the Symbolic order itself is lacking Returning to our hypothetical American subject who is the Symbolic order, the subject constructs a fantasy imagining what this Other must want from him/her. 21 114 15) elaborates, On a theoretical level fantasy functions as a construction, as an imaginary scenario filling out the void, the opening of the desire of the Other : by giving us a ables us to evade 21 ther refers to the system or culture that subjects perceive as conferring recognition on the actions through which they seek identification; in short, the Symbolic order itself. Jodi Dean (2006, 11) offers the helpful example of how subjects experience th forms and organizations, branches and edicts, presences and regulations, say, in our daily activities, we posit the

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94 the unbearable deadlock in which the Other wants something from us, but we are at the same time incapable of translating this desire of the Other into a positive interpellation, into a mandate with which we can identify. In other words, f antasy is the frame through which subjects learn how to desire. Since the s of it, s/he must, in order to makes sense of his/herself, locate some answer to this qu estion. Through fantasy, the subject constructs a narrative that allows it to continue desiring, and thus jouissance through continued identifications. Crucially, this fantasy construction not only chann The subject learns to desire what the Other desires; in other words, desire is always channeled through the S others want from me? at its most fundamental, fantasy tells me what I am to my others As the narr jouissance is channeled, the perpetuation of desire plays a crucial role in the construction of fantasy. Yet, how does fantasy sustain desire? What is it about certain discourses that engage subjects such that they become object that it believes will repair loss, which hol realization of fullness if attained. This is what Lacan terms object a ( objet petit a in French), the object 22 Object a desire for identification moves from object to object, these are only the temporary 22 Objet petit a a a is drawn from the French word for autre

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95 incarnations of desire, rather than the cause of desire. Object a is the term Lacan attaches to the extra esses of identification. It is a Real target of desire, which the subject feels has been lost to it yet it was only at the point of the loss was introduced. Hence the paradox of object a : it is a part of available to se very attempts As Ian Parker (2005, 171) explains, object a fruitful device to explore the orientation of a speaker, around which t hey move in a manner that a To continue to exist as a subject within the Symbolic order, to continue as a desiring subject, fantasy offers the hope of covering over loss by promising the possibility of attaining wholeness by offering various objects that purport to cover over loss. Rather than realizing the ultimately radical contingency of eve ryday life, and the impossibil the subject posits that some thing must be the the cessation of desire and therefore the end of t he subject qua subject of desire). The subject therefore retroactively presumes an object that must have caused its desire: In this precise sense, a is the object cause of desire: it does not effectively pre exist desire as that which arouses it, it mere ly gives body to its inherent deadlock, to the fact that desire is never satisfied by any positive object; that is to say, apropos of ( Via the promise of the object a fantasy masks the contingency of everyday identifications, and constitutes t he narrative which bearable In contemporary consumer society, for

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96 instance, money obviously functions as one manif estation of object a as the thing that will fill Cola as an example of a Cola is consumed, dissatisfaction and lack re merge, fueling desire for the next object. In offering the subject a way to avoid the reali zation that that his/her identificati ons are always acts of failure fantasy offers ra tionalizations for why desire will always be frustrated. 40). First, not only does the concept of fanta sy offer an explanation for why desire will always be frustrated but it also explains this frustration to the subject by attributing it to an other. Second, fantasy tells the subject what the fulfilled desire would have been had it not been frustrated by this other. Finally, fantasy suggests to the subject a way to deal with this frustration typically by removing the frustrating other. This can be incorporated, for example, as part of an explanation of nationalism as not only a product of socially constructed differences, but one that incorporates the inexpressible dimension of jouissance as crucial to explaining processes of If identity itself is a slippery, ambiguous, and insecure experience, then the political creation and maintenance of the ideological appearance of a true, natural identity can only depend on the production of scapegoats Only thus I can be persuade d that what is responsible for the impossibility of realizing my (universalized) identity, what is limiting my identity, is not the inherent ambiguity and contingency of all identity, its reliance on pr ocesses of identification, its social and political co nditioning, but the existence or the activity of a localisable group: the Jews, the immigrants, the neighboring nation, and so on. If my identifications prove incapable of recapturing my lost/impossible enjoyment, the only way these can be

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97 sustained is by actor (Stavrakakis 207, 198). The construction of others who are made responsible for the success or failure of fantasy involves not only the construction of difference, but concerns the way identifications (of individuals or communities) are structured in a relationship to always absent jouissance or sense of wholeness. The affective experience of jouissance then, is crucial for the construction of threatening others. Or, more accurate ly, the perceived loss or theft of jouissance is the crucial and/or he has access to some secret, perverse enjoyment. In short, what really bothers us about The non meaning at the heart of human experience is, in a sense, impossible to live or function with. Since people must have some degree of stability offered by identifications and fantasies, the uncertainty and ambiguity (the lack of wholeness or jouissance ) that remains is projected onto an self. The Split S ubject We can now address subject. As is evident, the Lacanian subject is far from notions of a unified subject, the Cartesian subject, or any other approach that accept s the idea of a stable and originary ego that provides a taking the very phenomenon of consciousness to be unitary, speaking of the same sely, Lacanian theory also denies other contemporary conceptions of

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98 the subject, such as those that see the subject as being hailed into various subject positions. In these approaches, the subject adopts for itself multiple social roles, depending on the particular discourse within which it is articulated. 23 Instead of viewing the subject as merely constituted by instead focus on the subject as lack That is, we should explore how the extra discursive the entire process of subjectivization, of assuming different subject positions, is ultimately to enable us to avo away the various subject positions that a subject adopts for his/herself, what remains is not another subject position, but rather a gap or lack in the discursive struct ure that has been covered over by the subject positions ontological. The gap between the subject as defined by a signifier, and that which always a is the Lacanian split subject. La notion of the split subject substantially complicates the notion of identification. Lacan introduces the concept of the gaze to elaborate how individuals become subjects through identification with something outside of Symbolic representation, objec t a Individuals seek recognition as subjects within the Symbolic order by identifying with various objects and ideals, yet in order to act they must assume they are acting under the gaze of an other that sees their actions as significant and meaningful. Identification with the gaze is identification with the more common notions of identifying with images. Identification with images is closer to how we conventio 23 For a recent example of this conception of the subject in IR, see Epstein (2008).

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99 from where we are b eing observed, from where we look at ourselves so that we appear to ourselves likeable, worthy of implicitly identify with the imagined position from whi ch I see myself as identifying with the celebrity. Thus, whereas identification with images entails identifying with representations within the Symbolic (i.e., within discourse), the gaze as such is, in a sense, ou tside of representation, and in that sens e is closer to the Real. incompleteness and object a The more conventional way of thinking about identification is, through this perspective, incomplete. One i dentifies with a celebrity, or a community or a because of an imagined perspective outside of both the subject and the other through which it is seen as adm irable to desire to become like the other to take on those qualities (beauty, athletic prowess, intelligence, etc.) seeing oneself seeing oneself identification with the other (Lacan 1981, 74, emphasis in original). The sub ject acts as if it is being seen by an other whose gaze confers recognition and approval, and a more secure sense of self. Further not a seen gaze, but a gaze imagined by me in the The gaze is not, then, a seen perspective of another individual, but gaze from the vantage of a more general other that is unseen yet presupposed. The gaze, in this sense, can be understood in conjunction with the targeted object of fantasy. The subject is guided by a fantasy that promises the alleviation of lack by reaching the missing Thing that will make it complete, yet the Thing itself cannot be made present in the discourse, the only

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100 field in which such a Thing might be signified. The subject imag ines that something that is something that must have sparked its desire, but the existence of this Thing is only retroactively presupposed by the subject who is seeking an explanation of his/her desire. Thus, not only does the subject imagine a n object that will satisfy his/her desire, but the object itself is imagined as gazing back at the subject. The object is felt as conferring recognition to the subject not only in pursuit of it, but in the imagined scenario when the subject finally ac hiev es wholeness by joining 24 The subject desires to occupy the place from which the object gazes back at it, but this place is nothing other than of the field that includes the subject and the object a staging of their encounter between the subjec t and the missing object. F antasy allows the subject to represent that it can occupy this place, the place of the object, but this realizing its desire and attaining jouissance Truly reaching this position is impossible simply because it is nothing other than the avoidance of a lack, the Real; there is nothing of the object. The elusive and inexpressible object of fantasy, then, is not only an illusory object that is presupposed by the subject as having caused his/her desire, but also has effects within the Symbolic insofar as the subject also imagines the recognition conferred upon him/her through its a imagined by the subject remains unseen because it is an aspect of the Real, outside of the 24 already inscribed into the perceived object itself, in itself retur

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101 Symb olic, but it also determine the structure of the Symbolic. The gaze of object a then, is a central aspect of the affective attachment to the fantasy that pr omises the fulfillment of reaching the missing Thing. Desire constitutes the subject insofar as it guides towards the affective experience of jouissance that pushes beyond the limits of Symbolic representation. My use of course, lead to the conclusion that there is a strict ontological separation between subject and between inside and outside, and the concepts of the gaze and object a subvert the notion that language (or, the Symbolic order) is a mere mediator between the speaking subject and a reality moreover, overla ps with the Other (in its r ole as a representative of the Symbolic order) in identifying with object a illustrates this point through some useful geometric imagery: coincides with the outside: identification with the object is not external to the Symbolic, it is an identification with the ex timate kernel of the Symbolic itself, with that which is in the symbolic more than symbolic, with the void at its very heart (1994, 178). Ex tima cy fluid movement and interchangability 25 The objec t, and the gaze imagined as if positioned from the vantage of the other are both interior and exterior to the subject. It is something that is believed to exist in the Symbolic order, external to the subject. constitutes the subject as such; without desire and its presupposed object there can be no subject as such So, the object i s at the same time internal to the subject, standing in for the anticipated endpoint to 25 Lacan often utilized surface topology (such as Moebius strips) and the topology of knots to visualize these relationships. See Ragland (2004).

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102 exterior to the subject in one sense, yet fundamentally interior in another. It constitutes an as Lacan (1992, 139) puts it. The missing object that the subject feels will make it whole, object a ivided, split between its partial representation in a signifier embedded within a fantasy, and that which escapes representation. It is split between its own gaze towards the object and the imagined gaze projected back towards the sub ject from outside the subject. The split, or lack, of subjectivity is both the condition of possibility and impossibility of identification processes. Since identification is always a precarious practice, a fully t center around which to veil the impossibility of the self, fantasy forms a screen through which loss can be avoided, and which guides desire towards the illusory whol eness ( jouissance ) for which the subject strives for through identification processes. both constructivism and poststructuralism. Alexander Wendt (1999, 224), for example, defines actor in the same way, and to that extent identity will also have an intersubjective or systemic self understandings that a particular actor has, but involves an expansion of subjective knowledge about cognitive process in which the Self Other distinction becomes blurred and at the limit as Other. Identification always involves

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103 such as David construction (see also Neumann 1 996; Walker 1993; Zehfuss 2002). Th is notion of the split subject does not deny the importance of others, or the necessity of demarcating boundaries. Rather, it builds upon these ideas by taking a theoretical step back and interrogating the condition o One could plausibly argue that constructivists and poststructuralists already ass ume that desire is at work here; after all, something must account for why subjects seek to differentiate themselves from others. However, this covers over a complex set of dynamics that are necessary for understanding why some discourses are appealing while some are less appealing. The new perspectives on the social construction process that this chapter offers interrogate precisely into those aspects of self and other tha t necessary for understanding the desire for social constructions in the first place. In Lacanian theory into being through differentiating itself from an other who m it sees as merely different. Rath but an empty space that is marked in structures of the Symbolic order by signifiers that are pinned there i.e., to have a place in society, culture, the Symbolic order. The subject desires to fill its lack with Symbolic objects

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104 that promise a whole sense of self. Others factor into this proce ss in number of ways, but in politics these others are often fantasized as as its own f projected jouissance ) then the filling of the rinsic incompleteness and ambiguity. If it can pinpoint an object that it believes caused its desire, then its recovery would seem to promise the satisfaction and fulfillment of that desire. But, desire is never ending, and fantasy allows the subject to keep believing as if such ultimate satisfaction is possible. In short, conventional disciplinary understandings of identity and the relations of self and other have largely neglected to explore these complex dynamics of desire and affect, and their role i n politics. 26 notion of the split subject thus introduces substa ntial complexity to these formulations a nd this complexity is essential to a more complete understanding of the political implications of desire and affects. Affects, Emotions, J ouiss ance With the above groundwork laid out some conceptual distinctions need still to be made between conventional understandings of emotions, on the one hand, and Lacanian concepts of affect. Although Lacan has been criticized for neglecting the affective realm in favor of a focus 26 the first time and having no prior history of either antagonism or cooperation. Through this story, Wendt originally i ntended to demonstrate that realist and rationalist assumptions about behavior could not be assumed or imputed interactions, rather than being given by nature. However, this logic must be taken further by incorporating the inescapbably affective di community through the mutual recognition of the ego and its Other, but through the mechanism of affective identification, through the intermixture of partial affects w

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105 on language and signification (see Green 1999), he in fact offers a nuanced understanding of the complex relation between affect and signification. Indeed, for him, being a subject is always an affective experience that pulsates pursuing the promise of a whole sense of self, the subject continually experiences both frustrat ion and satisfaction satisfaction in associating itself with those valued signifiers (often partial manifestations of object a ) that confer a sense of being and security, and frustration in never being able to fully overcome the sense of loss that drives the identification process. One distinction to make here is b etween emotions and affects, which can help us to is a useful distinction Not only have few IR scholars bothered to investigate the differences between conscious and non conscious (or unconscious) dimensions of emotions, but in doing so Ross opens the conceptual door to a de centered approach to the study of emotions. 27 Once emotions are viewed not as only individualistic, subjective, or conscious motivations, then the analytical focus is able to shift to the broader cultural currents upon whi ch collective emotions are c arried Drawing upon Brian 27 something that needs to be considered more systematically, not dismi

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106 A slightly different approach is taken in much of the Lacanian literature, which more fully specifies the relation between affects and representation. Just as Lacan rejects the notion of an autonomous ego, he also rejects the long tradition that separates rationality from emotion, or passion. 28 Lacan sees affects as inextricably interwoven with signification, and consequently within the field of the Symbolic. Fink has elaborated a Lacanian position on this ultimately false distinction in a clinical setting. W hat, in effect, is affect, and how is it supposed to be distinguished from the intellectual? Affect is essentially amorphous an amorphous quantity or substance, we might say metaphorically. It is common to hear patients say that it was only on Monday t hat they realized they had spent the entire weekend in some added to the state or attached to it three days into it. The state itself, if we can even speak in such a way, is often indefinable, indeterminate, and it does not come with a preset label. The attachment to it of a ready have little effect at all on the state, especially when it is provided by someone else, whether a well meaning friend or a mental health professional. It is, in fact, a sign of improvement when the patients themselves are able to put some kind of label on x y or z tter case, the process of symbolization has already begun (2004, 51) at say it was close to a mood, or disposition. 29 The affect onl y came to have meaning, to exist within the Symbolic once a name was attached to it. Naming retroactively signifies the condition that was felt, but as Fink implies, this name is likely not a description that entirely captures the mood that was experienc ed. If the affect was something readily identifiable, the 28 For a recent critical view of this tradition, see Damasio (1994). 29 only emotion, but also [as] general demeanor, mood, etc

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107 patient could have presumably attached a label to it before having lived with it for three days and could the patient work through it. The patient could only speak about the affect once s/he could bring it, however imperfectly, into discourse. This illustrates the k ind of relationship that Lacanian theory sees between affects, emotions, and discourse. As Glynos and Stavra kakis explain, For example, we can grasp a basic Lacanian insight by drawing a distinction between affect and emotion. If affect represents the qu antum of libidinal energy, we could say that emotion results from the way it gets caught up in a network of that emotions such as depression or anger can deceive: their meaning and universe of meaning and the way that fantasy structures this. It is for this reason that Lacan cautions against the lures of emotions, paying special att ention to the is said and the displacements of affect. This suggests that a key aspect of understan ding the significance of emotions in the organization of social practices involves trying to map them in relation to the underlying fantasie s that (2008, 267) remain outside of discourse, which are difficult to articulate but nevertheless have an impact on Symboli c reality, then emotions can be v signifiers we attach them to affec ts, thereby conferring on them discursive reality This is a useful way to understand the relationship between affects and emotions since it a llows us to draw a conceptual distinction between affects and language, rather than seeing them as conterminous. The study of affects and emotions should not equate affects strictly with their discursive representations, and should maintain a theoretical representations, a sense which should remain with the analyst during the study of those

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108 representations. 30 As Stavrakakis points out, conceptualizing affect and discourse as distinct yet mutually en gaged phenomena allows us to differentiate between those discourses that do not were viewed as coterminous, every discourse could be seen as an equally suc cessful site of identification and affective investment. In other words, to neglect the differences between the two registers (the Symbolic and the Real) may lead to the conclusion that all discourses or signifiers are equal sites of affective investment, which is clearly not the case (Stavrakakis 2007, 99 100). Some discourses have stronger affective appeals than others, and the reason is because defined o These ideas offer a perspective that allows the analyst to uncover the gaps of a text, and how those gaps are (partially) sewn through master signifiers and other elements that attempt t o cover over these gaps A Lacanian account of the affective dynamics of the split subject, identification, and desire certainly involves studying textual representations conceived here both broadly and narrowly Yet, it also invol ves thinking about how that which is not marked in the text may still drive the overt manifestation of emotional representations, promise of the object a as the following chapters demonstrate, is often the strongest attraction of a discourse, yet because the object of fantasy is always m issing, never quite there, this in turn drives the desire for its possession or attainment. As Fink (1997, 215) points ou t elsewhere, jouissance 30 Roland Bleiker and Emma Hutchison (2008, 128 9) make a similar point in arguing that the analysis of we can get to understanding e

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109 some unconventional epistemological and methodological implications, theorizing the limits of discourse through the concepts of jouissance object a and fantasy is useful if we are to deepen our understanding of not only the mutual inter penetration of affects and their representations in world politics but also if we are to expand our understanding of the social construction process itself. La can offers a few analogies that are useful for thinking about the relationship between the Symbolic and the Real, or, the relationship between discourse and that which escapes it. If we accept that affects (rather than emotions) are most often inexpressib le, the links between the Symbolic and the Real must be conceptualized in a manner that does not view them as co extensive, yet allows for their overlap. In the spaces where the two do overlap, discourse and affect are not two separate entities that come together, but rather mutually infuse to the extent that discourse is affective such that subjects become invested in it. The discourses of the Sym bolic channel Real affects and Lacan offers the metaphor of a hydroelectric dam to illustrate this process. Just as we cannot a ccess affects (which are Real affects ) directly, and can only posit their force within the language we use to discuss them, we cannot know the force of a river without studying the structure of a dam that channels its flow. We may pres ume that the river has forceful potential, but we can only work with that potential once it is channeled through the dam, where its force can be manipulated directly. As Lacan (cited in Boothby 1991, 62) elaborated, To say that the energy was in some way already there in a virtual state in the current of the river is properly speaking to say something that has no meaning, for the energy begins to be of interest to us in this instance only beginning with the moment in which it is accumulated, and it is accu mulated only beginning with the moment when machines are put to work in a certain way, without doubt animated by something which is a sort of definitive propulsion which comes from the river current.

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110 It is only through the dam that the river is shaped in a way that allows it to be utilized. Yet, once it moves through the mechanics and passages of the dam, it is never quite the same as it was before passing through, even if we now have a better sense of and may effectively make use of, its force. The rel ationship between jouissance as affect and signification is similar. Affect itself is inexpressible and remains in the register of the Real, outside of representation. The Real, though, exerts effects upon the Symbolic, and affect can only become meaning ful when represented in the Symbolic as emotionally charged signifiers Discourse gives contour and shape to affect, channeling it towards signifiers with which we typically name emotions. Yet, like the dam which both shapes and impedes the river, discou rse both shapes and impedes access to the forces of affect. It is the introduction of the subject into language, where the imagined wholeness of jouissance is presumed to have been lost, that the subject must resort to language to c t he lost object of fantasy. Language mostly impedes affect, yet also jouissance 37). Fantasy promis es an encounter with the Thing (e.g. a harmonious life with no proble ms, a pure Nation without antagonisms, etc.) that will fill the constutitive negativity of the subject. vase is a cultural artifact used for a range of purposes, but the very act of creating it introduces a lack into the space that is to be used. The vase is manufactured around a space that is enclosed by the vase, giving it shape and introducing emptiness where before there was merely space. The creation of the vase al so opens the possibility of filling it, of plugging up the emptiness that possibility of filling it. Emptiness and fullness are introduced into a world that by itself k nows

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111 not of them. It is on the basis of this fabricated signifier, this vase, that emptiness and fullness as subject, in this sense, also seeks to be filled. It seeks the fullness that it feels is missing, yet it the sense of lack in the first place. The vase shapes the empty space that it surrounds; language gives sh ape to the subject as lack. Through identification processes, sparked by desire, the subject seeks to fill the lack, to heal its division. Although discourse mostly impedes affect, there are variations of jouissance /affect which the subject can experienc e within the field of discourse, through partial or provisional substitutes for the object cause of desire jouissance is able to experience n fullness and loss (Miller 2000, 37). Jouissance in this regard has connotations both of pleasure and pain, balancing between these two poles. Satisfaction and d issatisfaction are both aspects of the partial jouissance jouissance that the subject always anticipates yet never attains. Both the pleasurable and frustrating aspects of jouissance are tied to fant asy. The pleasurable aspect of jouissance its positive appeal, consists in the imagined or projected fullness that the subject is promised in fantasy. Fantasy stages an encoun ter with the lost object a The appeal of the lost object derives precisely f rom the promise it holds the enjoyment that each of these formulations of a resolu tion of lack involves a master signifier that is in itself e mpty and without

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112 natural meaning. Yet, such signifiers are often the anchors around which political promises are expressly constructed; hence they frequently play central roles in national fantas ies. The true enjoyment promised, however, is just that a promise that fantasy implies without ever delivering directly. Thus, t this (which cannot be done) ; a t hat (which is unattainable) ; the meaning of and so on. Each of these pronouncements anchored in master signifiers embodies both the promise of fullness and are projected to embody is never fully attained. This is the frustrating aspect of jouissance Fantasies never completely deliver all that manifestation of object a ) that does seem at least provisionally, to offer wholeness. Some common events can be understood as momentary attainments of something approaching full jouissance which gives to the ego this blossoming of identificatory joy from which jouissance (2007, 197) points out. Yet, such experiences are fleeting. The j oyous relief of a war triumph subsides, the elation of a sports victory quickly settles, and lack is felt again Thus, the jouissance is only limited and desire continues its (ultimately never ending) search for the missing object lift all of the provisos on desire jouissance obtained is distinguished from the jouissance

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113 that th e imagined wholeness does not live up to the promise of the fantasy. That is, paradoxically, the closer the subject gets to jouissance the more desire fades, and the more anxiety sets in, since it is only through desire that we have subjectivity. In prac tice, the methodological implications of these formulation of the relation of affect to discourse is that Lacanian theory places less emphasis on specific emotions than on how discourses channel, and give direction to, affects that are expressed in emotion s In other words, instead of examining the role of defined emotions and specific emotional representations, Lacanian discourse analysis combines a theoretical understanding of affect as jouissance with the need to account for the lack orienting any text, along with the role of master signifiers and the split subjectivity that depends on master signifiers for its healing Rather than studying, for instance, how the overt representations of revenge (Harkavy, 2000), humiliation (Saurette, 2006), or shame (D anchev, 2006) play out in specific political contexts, the theoretical ideas offered (see below) offer a way to think about, and empirically analyze, the ways in which discourses channel affe cts so as to lead to the explicit textual representations of specific emotions. Every text that constructs a subject (which is nearly every text, especially political texts) is driven by something that is absent from political texts points to the fantasy that every text deploys in order to cover the loss, which in turn allows us to see how the text shapes desire towards the affective experience of securing a whole sense of self. The Four Discourses Among the most in nova he proposed to communicate his theories Crucial to our investigation of the relevance of his thought for IR are entails a different configuration

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114 betw een four basic elements common to all speech acts 31 As Bracher (1994, 127) observes [of the Four Discourses] can provide the means of determining the dialogical discursive structure of any given speech act, text, or discourse, and on that basis, the means for gauging the psychological and (thereby) socio political functions it might serve for its producers, as well as the psychological and (thereby) socio political impact it might have on various types gh Lacan initially developed this model in a clin ical setting, it can be used to describe the fantasies, desires, and identifications of any discourse that s s In this framework, a discourse is depicted as a structure composed o f four discursive positions (Agent, Other, Product, Truth) which can be occupied by four elements (master signifier S 1 system of knowledge S 2 split subject $, and object a ). The first two positions of the model are relatively straightforward. For each The position of the Agent represents the most active or prominent aspect of the discourse. this interpellation is represen achieving an effect The effect produced in the Other as a result of the hailing process constitutes the third position in the model the Product Other Product 31 The following discussion of t he four discourses draws on Alcorn (2002); Bracher (1994); Lacan (2007); Verhaeghe (1995); and

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115 Finally, underpinning the position of the Agent is a Truth. More precisely, the position of Truth provides the ground or support for the possibility of Agency, yet this Truth is ignored or repressed Agent Other Truth Produc t Each of the two positions above the abar (Agent, Other) represent manifest or overt factors that are active in the discourse, while the two positions below the bar (Truth, Product) represent the latent, implicit, or repressed factors at work in the disc ourse The positions on the left of the diagram (Agent, Truth) represent those factors active in the sending Agent, while those positions on the right of the diagram (Other, Product) represent factors active in the receiving subject. Four elements ca n occupy each of the four positions of the diagram. Each of these corresponds to an aspect of the theoretical framework outlined above. To represent the master signifier he subject a stable identification Lacan uses the symbol S 1. Returning to our hypothetical American subject, we can imagine how s/he would adopt the master his/her own, anchoring the subject with a stable sense of who s/he is. meanings within American culture, and it is from this culture that the subject absorbs what it of other signifiers that constitute America differences and connections to other signifiers whose knowledge is pinned to the Symbolic chain by the master signifier. Lacan uses the symbol S 2 to represent th is system of knowledge. However, as defined by a master signifier (or more generally, as defined by discourse), and that part of itself

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116 that it must give up in order to exist (that is, to be represented) within l anguage. Subjectivity as something signified forces a split and conjectural ontological completeness. Lacan uses the symbols $ and a respectively, to represent the divided subject and object caus and provide the foundation for being the subject pursues Yet, as I outlined earlier object a is the result being in language. The object a is only retroactively posite d as lost; moreover, the subject cannot exist as a subject without this loss and without an ongoing relation to this retroaction people become affectively invested in a discourse and/or id entif ication. As Bracher a figures that lack of being that causes all desire, and it underlies affect as well. And as the cause of desire and the ground of affect, the object a is what animates the psychology of the group or (199 4, 114) The nature of the relations between these four elements (S 1 S 2 $, a ) are determined by the po sitions they take within each of the four d iscourses. Lacan maintained that there are four basic types of discourse. Each of these configurations can be understood as representing different social links corresponding to different kinds of intersubjectivity or social effects of discourse e of desiring, questioning, or protesting; the University discourse of analyzing, transforming, or revolutionizing (Bracher 1993, 53). 32 32 Although the names Lacan gave to each of these formalizations illustrate their development in a clinical setting, to an applicable in educational or analytic settings.

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117 Hy S 1 S 2 $ S 1 $ a a S 2 University Discourse S 2 a a $ S 1 $ S 2 S 1 is the model of the others, and is thus a kind of starting point for discussing the iscursive elements seem to most intuitively match with their structural position. Beginning in the diagram above and moving clockwise, each of the discursive elements also shift clockwise one position. In the Master S 1 the master signifier is in the position of agent. S 1 is the w ord or phrase that pins the meaning in a discourse, is the dominant term or discursive anchor to which the meaning of other t erms and phrases refer back. The oth er signifiers, S 2 occupy the structural position of the other in the discourse S 1 2 indicates that the master signifier functions as the principle of order for signifiers constituting S 2 These two are the overt, unspoken aspects at work. In the position of product is object a the object cause of desire, and in the position of truth is the split subject $. Here t he master signifier (as the Agent) represses its founding truth ; that the Master, like every other agent existing as a subject, is divided. Yet it h ides this division by presenting itself as The Master who is complete and lacking nothing. Hence it gives the impression that it is not a divided subje

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118 signifiers that he actually believes himself to be whole, undivided, self ide 121). Paradoxically, to function as a master signifier S 1 this signifier m ust remain empty; its meaning is only defined by its relation to the system of signifiers S 2 here in the position of other whom the Master addresses The receiver of the message from the master, in the position of owledge, and consequently develops no legitimacy of his/her own. This passivity sustains the master in his delusion that he is self identical. The consequence of this is an effective barrier to jouissance for the other. Object a the object cause of des the authority of the master is accepted, a certain something is denied to the receiving other that cannot be allowed within the system of knowledge S 2 proclaimed by the ma ster; hence, it is unspoken and excluded (under Master can decide what is legitimate and illegitimate is excluded. However, a remains under the potential control of the other, a factor that will be decisive in the potential questioning and revolutionizing of the Hysteric and Analyst discourses respectively. However, the master has no access to object a ling the function of the master the speaker loses something: the a the c 1994, 121). Object a is lost to the master signifier S 1 ; it is outside the social construction of reality as defined by the master signifier S 1 In this way, the absence of a is mad present in this discourse, as the me aningful product a negativity at the source of desire discourse. Since a is that part of the subject $ that escapes symbolization, the more the master attempts to symbolize and articulate what is missing, the more a is more effectively distanced from the master. Consequently, in this discourse, the subject is always separated from a To go

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119 on as a desiring subject, then, the subject constructs a fantasy that gives it the illusion that it is in a true position of mastery a which can be read as the split subject in relation to a (Fink 1995 lozenge all of the various positions or relationships that the subject may take in relation to the object cause of de sire a discourse, fantasy is under the bar, the truth of the divided subject and the object cause are under the bar. a is repressed, and kept out of sight; the split subject relation to object a is conditioned by the dominance of S 1 and S 2 Perhaps the most fitting example in politics absolute monarchy. The king has unlimited authority, and what he proclaims ha s the status of Truth, no matter what hidden anxieties or problems he ma y have. The position of a doctor within the discourse of medicine (Verhaeghe 1995) is analogous A doctor functions under the s a subject within medical discourse. Acting under the master signifier, the doctor hails the patient as an object to be acted upon and who will passively deference to the master si gnifier because So long as the patient can be reduced to the battery of symptoms (S 2 ) interpretable from the position of S 1 ion as is common in the clinic of psychoanalysis revealed. T he doctor has no access to the missing object cause of his/her desire as long as s/he assumes a different position with respect to desire, s/he may form a different relationship to desire, but then s/he will no longer be

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120 no longer be pla ying th in which s/he is presumed to possess reliable control of the treatment. Bracher offers a more explicitly political example of this discourse as exemplified in Presidential C onv ention acceptance s peech. As Bracher observes (1993, 119 20) that of master signifiers (S 1 ), which are often used to ward off feelings of deficiency and lack and Bracher offers a brief excerpt of the speech to illustrate. Work and family are at the center of our lives the foundation of our dignity as a free people When we deprive people of what they have earned, or take away their jobs, we destroy their dignity and undermine their families. These are concepts that stem from an economic system that for more than 200 years has helped us master a continent, create a previously undreamed of prosperity for our people, and has fed millions of others around the globe. And that system will continue to serve us in the future if our government will stop ignoring the basic values on which it was built. (Emphasis in original) Bracher argues that the repetition of an their role s as master signifiers. They act as the reference points from which 1 2 ) that provided the possibility for our identification with the master signifiers. Throughout the rest of the ideal subject for of the audience and the television viewers at home However, divided between its overt power as a master signifier and the potential full ness it is lacking. The jouissance not because of a deficiency in our master signifiers S 1 or the system S 2 derived from them but rather

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121 1 complete submission to form of free market liberalism (S 2 subjected to the S 1 The discourse of the Hyst eric is reached from the discourse of the Master by rotating each of the four discursive elements (S 1 S 2 $, a ) clockwise one position. Now, rather than being hidden, the split subject $ is in the position of agent, the most prominent ele ment of the discourse. Supporting the split subject as agent is object a the object cause of desire, in subject who questions, who is unsatisfied with his/her place in the world, who is actively seeking to heal his/her division. The hysterical subject actively hails, or questions, the master signifier S 1 in the position of the interrogated other. What is produced out of this questioning is a new system of sig nification S 2 (or system of knowledge, culture, belief system, etc.). master signifier S 1 Mor e specifically, in this discourse the subject $ hails, or interrogates, the master signifier S 1 questioning. The questioning subject is unsatisfied by its conditio n, and it seeks security and stability in the promise of meaning and fullness it imagines it might find in the master signifier. assertion of itself as The Mast er, and continues to question or protest characteristic move is to demand of the Master recognition in return This questioning of the Master by the subject leads to the production of a system of knowledge or beliefs S 2

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122 which the master signifiers take their bearings and assume their force, and within which the hysterical subject can thus find stability. Despite its expression of alienation and division, then, the discourse of the Hysteric remains in thrall to master signifiers (S 1 ) and a system of knowledge/belief (S 2 The subject endeavors to ask what it is missing, what a is the latent truth questions the master signifier S 1 about its limit, its division prompting the master to offer a dominant signifier S 1 supported by a system of beliefs S 2 B ut none of these satisfy the hysteric The thing that it seeks, a is not to be found via the master signifier S 1 or the system of signification S 2 as defined by the master since strictly speaking, a cannot be articulated within the Symbolic order. As long as the divided subject remains in t he position of the agent, s/he will e inexpressible thing that conjectured to be missing. Therefore, the only solution the subject has is to construct a fantasy that explains both why a remains lost, but a fullness is promised in the security of a master signifier. he questioning subject experiences a state of anxiety and loss, and seeks a stable identity that will overcome this loss. In everyday life, people seek such stability in answers and responses to their questioning offered by counselors, priests, and teache rs; similarly, anxious masses seek stable identities in the speeches and master signifiers offered by politicians, just as individuals probe their friends for responses that will offer them a sense of stability (Bracher 1993, 67). A more explicitly politi discourse can be found in the speech given by George W. Bush to a joint session of the U.S.

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123 Congress on September 20, 2001, a little more than a week after the September 11 attacks. As would be expected in a presidential spee ch during a time of crisis, and in this opening portion of the speech, Bush addresses both the trauma of the attacks, while at the same time offering symbolic reassurance to the nation. 33 Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered great loss. And in our grief and anger we have found our mission and our moment. Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of ev ery time now depends on us. Our nation this generation will lift a dark t hreat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause b y our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail. It is my hope that in the months and years ahead, life will return almost to normal. We'll go back to our lives a nd routines, and that is good. Even grie f recedes with time and grace. But our resolve must n ot pass. Each of us will remember what happened that day, and to whom it happened. We'll remember the moment the new s c ame where w e were and what we were doing. Some will remember an image of a fire, or a story of rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever I will not forget this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not y ield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people. The course of this conflict is not know n, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between th em. What are the master signifier s S 1 and system of knowledge S 2 speech is sprinkled with several master signifiers that promise the audience a reassurance of the security and sense of inv are all privileged signifiers of contemporary American political cul ture, and here they offer the promise o f re establishing a security that has been lost are in distinction to the enemy 33 2001. Full text available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010920 8.html

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124 a Symbolic passive narcissistic desire to 2 is the network or system of signifiers within which S 1 has a privileged meaning speech the political culture that gives knowledge that grounds that master as such. the war on terror discourse in the weeks following September 11, 2001. In this and other public statements from this time, appeals to national identity functioned to reassure Americans of their proper place their place and alone in the world. structure in which they could re invest themselves and which would offer a stable sense of self and security that would help to repair a loss that was, retroactively, applied to the attacks. suggesting an Imaginary passive narcissistic weakness. a dark threat of violence from our people and our fu rienced is explicitly

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125 articulated as constituting who we are now as a nation yet now and only now we are also called upon to perceive our role as that of the only nation that can guarantee a strong and proper is comprehensible only in its split as both a victim (of loss) and as the prosecuting agent of what must be done. Loss is articulated as part of the national identity, something with which identify, yet at the same time that loss must be overcome by re establishing the master signifier function as S 1 as the signifier offered to re establish the fa ntasy of a unitary and stab that which will heal t also explains away in the construction of a new condition for the realization of desire, a new war, or a war on a new front constituted by the attacks. It promises an engagement holding out the possibi discourse. sense o f loss and which will provide it a sense of security and unity. Supporting the split subject in the position of Truth is the object a Again, object a is the part of the subject that is posited as lost, but yet is necessary to posit as lost if the subjec t is to emerge within language. Here, object

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126 a a stands for something that is un nameable articulated within it, as then an imposture would be revealed. In other words, a rticulating that what many others from this era ), what has been lost is seldom articulated and does not seem to be fully articulable Edkins (2002, 243) recounts this strange phenomenon in the observations of a journalist in New staring at each other with their arms dropped to their sides. A pin could drop in the United term knowing what to do and no on nameable, un representable trauma marking its effects in discourses from this time is the trace of the object a Object a itself plays no manifest role in this discourse, but it still plays a role in orienting the discourse an d 1 and S 2 At the time, various discourses a master signifier from an earlier era comprehensible understanding of what happened. The multiplicity of attempts to symbolize what exactly happened speaks precisely to the in definability o f the events. Here, it is the un nameable insecurity, anxiety, and trauma that is the very driving force of the discourse. discourse. Now, instead of constituting the latent truth of the subject (as in the a the object cause of desire, occupies the structural position of

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127 agent. Consequently, this shifts the subject $ from the position of agent to the position of receiving other. In the position of product is the master signifier S 1 while the system of signification/knowledge S 2 occupies the position of latent truth supporting the a in the agent position. Bracher explains that it is only with satisfactory (if ultimately temporary) answer to the Hysteric (Alcorn 2002, 87). To accomplish f assuming and enacting the $ that is, their own alienation, anxiety, shame, desire, symptom and of responding to this $ by producing new master signifiers (S 1 ), ultimate val ues, a to occupy the agent position, and to have the subject hailed by it? In the clinical setting, one of the initial steps the analyst attempts is to eli cit from the patient a questioning discour By asking few questions, by not leading the patient on and by concealing the nature of problems, the analyst presents him/herself to the patient as a kind of enigma. This allows for the (which is marked by alienation, anxiety, etc.) is guided by emphasizing what object a By acting as the (largely silent and enigmatic) stand to identify with something, which then begins the process of finding a new master signifier. This is precisely the aim master signifier out of the battery of S 2 rather than have one imposed from the outside (Bracher

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128 1994, 124). This is why the master signifier S 1 is produced, yet latent, in this discourse. Enigmatic desire stimulates the split subject to seek its own master signifier. Put differently, the lac k of anyone telling the subject who exactly s/he is and what is the truth of her/his suffering, motivates the subject to produce a master signifier that can fill this anxiety producing absence and give meaning to it Although the analyst acts as the enig presupposition is that the analyst has the knowledge to cure him/her, even if the analyst remains silent during the process (Verhaeghe 1995). This is why kno wledge S 2 occupies the position of latent truth supporting the analyst (here representing object a ) in the agent position. There is a system of knowledge shoring up the analyst) and receiver (patient). practice (Schroeder 2000). When a client first approaches an attorney with a problem, the attorney acts as a legal counselor who lis tens to the client so as to find the best way to help the client deal with his/her problem. The position the attorney adopts with respect to the client is approach attorneys not knowing precisely what they wan t, i.e. what their desire requires of them They may have a sense they have somehow been wronged, or may have an idea what their problem is, but have no idea how to deal with it. The client approaches the attorney in the first place because, like the ana lyst, the client supposes that the attorney has the knowledge to help him/her solve a problem, or attain their desire. Like the analyst from the perspective of the

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129 is, even though (at the initial stage of legal counseling) the attorney may not reveal the extent of his/her knowledge, the mere perception on the part of the client that the attorney does know is enough for the client to begin the process of seeking out o ptions to solve the problem. Consequently, the attorney addresses the client from the position of the object a ; the attorney acts as a stand in for the absent object cause Maste ient attain what s/he desires, but rather help the client deal with the blockages that stand in the pursuit of desire. In a similar way re does not offer the patient a path by which to attain his/her desire, but instead stimu lates the patient to engage in a process of self interpretation that removes the previous source of anxiety or instability and enables the patient to name the signifiers (S 1 ) that have structured his/her (mis)understanding (S 2 ) As Jeanne Schroeder argues of helping the client to understand how to symbolize his desire and place it within the signifying chain of law is so that the client can understand what his alternative are and how to deal with The University Discourse of the discursive elements further clockwise one position. Now in the position of agent is a system of knowledge S 2 The other receiving the message from the system of knowledge S 2 is object a The message of S 2 received by object a produces a split subject $. Underpinning the agent in the position of truth is a master signifier S 1 The University bears a close resemblance ne significant respect: they are both effectively controlled by

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130 master signifiers. A master signifier S 1 repressing the constutitive split of the subject and relying upon the pure force of authority t o hail the receiving other. In the University discourse, the master signifier S 1 remains hidden (under unrepresentable to the overt factors in the discourse (the agent and receiving other). A system of knowledge S 2 as agent means that the power of the agent does not rely upon the sheer force of authority, but rather relies system of knowledge S 2 presents itself to the receiving other as neutral, legitimate, and authoritative because it is not seen as ideologically controlled by a master. This, however, is illusory, si and held together by master signifiers. This is why a master signifier S 1 is in the position of hidden truth in the University discourse In the position of receiving ot her, object a represents the desire of the other to absorb whatever knowledge the agent offers. Yet, although object a a being an explicitly articulated part of the discourse. As discussed above, object a represents that something which is beyond symbolization, graspable only as desire, or lack. In relation to the latent division of the subject $, the position of object a as the receiving other means that what the system of knowl edge S 2 is effectively hailing is the lack in the subject (represented by object a ). The overt object of desire in this discourse is not the cause of desire itself, but instead is a stand in for the object is retroactively posited by the subject as having caused its desire. example of the University discourse. Students must desire to open themselves to receiving what

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131 the system of knowledge S 2 division and present themselves as desiring of the S 2 offered b But again, Lacan argues that every system of knowledge S 2 is underpinned by a master signifier S 1 Science is one specific branch of knowledge that relies upon this latent support. In science, legitimate end in itself. The scientific process, scientific research, is the master signifier underpinning scientific discourse, and is not to be questioned. Scientific knowledge S 2 presents itself to audiences as objective and legitimate (its legitimacy, of course, based largely on its perceived objectivity ), b ut is silently supported by the unspoken assumption that more scientific knowledge is the goal to strive for (Bracher 1994, 116). The discourse of bureaucracy is another example. Bureaucracies are constituted by rules, protocols, and procedures, all supp osedly divorced from emotion and irrationality. Bureaucratic knowledge 4, 115). It should be noted that although may have the appearance of being fixed or rigid structures, their constituent elements (S 1 S 2 $, a ) and the relative positions they take are mobile and incomplete representations. Mast er signifiers S 1 are those prominent signifiers to which subjects attach themselves, but are typically ambiguous signifiers that have no intrinsic meaning outside of the systems of signification S 2 that contextualize their meaning. The split subject $ can never be fully represented within discourse, and is always striving after a master signifier that is fantasize d to complete desire although none can. Object a is simply

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132 function missing fantasy object is believed to have been, but is nothing other than the signifier covering over the in different ways within the different forms of disc ourse. How are these discourses relevant to politics and, more specifically, to IR ? Analyzing desire is communicated and how jouissance is given contour through discourse itself. The preceding examples demonstrate a crucial aspect of discourse that most IR scholars that have overlooked. As discussed in the previous chapter, for example, most critical studies of American foreign policy after September 11 2001 focus on constructed ness or the rhetorical aspects of the war on terror. In doing so, most have emphasized the overt content over the structure of discourse. As demonstrated here, the communicability of desire through discourse is not merely an e ffect of the content of words and rhetoric, but is also an effect of the relative positions that discursive elements (master signifiers, the subject, and knowledge) take, and those positions within discourse with which hailed subjects identify. In other w ords, desire shapes subjectivity and identification in different ways, depending upon the position that subjects take with respect to desire. By concisely summarizing the relationships between identity bearing signifiers (S 1 ), belief/value/knowledge syste ms within which subjects exist (S 2 ), de centered subjectivity ($), and lack ( a ), the four discourses offers a method for understanding how these different elements play out in texts, thereby adding significant theoretical and methodological depth to discou rse analysis as it is currently practiced in IR. More specifically, Alcorn points out that the four discourses offer a method to analyze broader collective dynamics as they are constructed through ourses] describe how desire is generated

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133 and circulated by cultural authority. Second, they describe how desire becomes fixated and resistant to dialogic mediation. Third, they suggest that discourse cannot operate as agency (Alcorn 2002, 67). In other words, they show not only how desire operates through discourse, but offer an understanding of how latent desire can act as a force An significations are precisely those bonding points in discourse within which subjects are affectively invested, and which drives them to act beyond merely signification as such. Lacan with Laclau: Psychoanalytic T heory and the P olitics of H egemony Given the above summary of a Lacanian approach to identification, it may not seem immediately apparent how it may handle the politics of affects, discourses, and identificatio n. It is one thing to argue that psychoanalytic theory offers us tools to understand how some elements grip of adhesive attachment that subjects have to certain ins tances of discourse, some discourse identifications is a useful s tep in the study of discourse in IR. It may be something else, however, to argue for the political relevance of Lacanian theory that is, outside of the clinical context in which it was developed It should be clear at this point that Lacanian theory avoids much of the criticism against psychological and other kinds of psychoanalytic approaches to politics. Most such criticisms charge that it is reductionist to explain collective behavior in terms of the psychological characteristics of individuals. This is problematic since, as Jonathan Mercer explains (2006, 297), using individual level factors to explain group level factors reifies the group itself. Stavrakakis, in a discussion of the relevance

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134 psychoanalytic theory to politics, agrees that much of the skepticism towards these approaches is well the understanding of socio political phenomena by reference to some sort of psychological substratum an essence of the psyche, is something that should clearly be avoided (1999, 1). Lacanian theory however, avoids such theoretical obstacles through the way in which it conceptualizes the relationship between the subject and the socio symbolic order. Indeed, Lac an other psychological approaches commonly do, and as critics may anticipate. For Lacan, the subject is unavoidably enmeshed with the social order, the goal o f which for psychoanalytic theory is to uncover the consequences for the subject: Psycho analysis is neither a Weltanschauung nor a philosophy that claims to provide the key to the universe. It is governed by a particular aim, which is historically defin ed by the elaboration of the notion of the subject. It poses this notion in a new way, by l eading the subject back to his signifying dependence (Lacan 1981, 77, emphasis added). The subject as such, in fact, is constituted by factors that are the subject in the questions about identity, emotions, and discourse, such a dichotomy breaks down. Mercer argues that the solution to the levels of analysis prob lem in the study of identity is found in the understanding that people have different identities at different levels of generalization. Mercer exists as part of th with this formulation, yet the dynamics in this process require a much fuller theoretical elaboration, which this chapter offers. ers and partial manifestations of object a through fantasy discourses offers an other

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135 on the social order than is commonly articulated in IR theory aclau 1994, 2 3), s/he is always a social subject. In this sense, the levels of interweaving and interdependent registers where no clear line is discernable b etw een the subject Furthermore, Lacanian theory argues that not only is the subject incomplete, but identification processes necessarily continue through discussed above, the theoretical reason why subjects keep identifying with this or that discourse is because the Symbolic order itself is lacking; there is no final stability or security in the discursive r esources available in the Symbolic simply because there is no ultimate foundation grounding it. The subject is always left with some unfulfilled desires and frustrated promises of partial jouissance with social phenomena that have no grounding themselves. As Stavrakakis (1999, 41) explains, lack on the objective level means that e very such identification is only reproducing the lack in a different level from the individual experience, but something which the individual him or herself lxxii). The subject, in other words, is compelled to experience the social as something relatively stable if it is to seek security in identifying with its resources, even if, ultimately, there is no final grounding to it.

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136 The overlapping relationship between the subject and the Symbolic order allows us to return to La to combined with his other concepts of nodal points, equivalence, and difference, they off er a systematic accounting of how political frontiers are constructed, and how hegemony is created, maintained, and contested. For our purposes, considerable overlap can be seen between nodal points (from Laclau) and master signifiers (Lacan), and the log ic of hegemony (Laclau) and the logic of the object a politics of investments. Sites of Contestation and Investment: N odal P oints and M aster S ignifiers hegemony. Nodal points are those privileged words, terms, and phrases in society that embody collectively held values and ideas. Yet, there is no extra discursive ground upon which their that may be attached to them even when the subjects who identify with them suppose that such meaning is there and it is this ambiguity that allows for them to function as sites of contestation for political legitimacy example of social only comes to have social mean ing once a political project (temporarily) fixes its preferred interpretation of what the term means in that c ontext (Laclau 1996). Indeed, it is this ambiguity that creates the condition of possibility of democratic politics in the first place. The fact that despite the powerful ability of some projects to thus fix

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137 points, t he incompleteness of any social meaning is what creates space for contestation. As politics It is easy to see the overlap between otion of master signifiers. As central as they are in structuring processes of identification, the master signifiers offered by the Symbolic order are incomplete. They can never fully suture the lack around which our identifications cohere, which prompts subjects to construct fantasies in order to have the stability needed to function as a subject. It is this limitation of the discursive resources of the Symbolic that spark s continual processes of identification, rather than the permanence social change, and even social creativity in identification (Ruti, 2008). What the concepts of the nodal point and the master signifier ultimately try to account for is the relative temporary stability on which basis subjects must procee as if that subjects must have if they are to act as subjects. Although some constructivists and poststructuralists have emphasized the fluidity of identity over its possible stability they seem to have over emphasized this fluidity without devoting sufficient attention to how partial stability is achieved (see Goff and Dunn 2004). For Laclau, partial meaning is achieved when a political project succeeds in offering a dominant constru equivalences and differences) to a range of other secondary signifiers whose meaning is ultim evoking and satisfying certain kinds of desires (Bracher 1 993, 25).

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138 point de cap i ton in offering the concept of the nodal point (1985, 112). Using these insights in political analysis, I argue that we can theoretically account for the cent rality of powerful political values in terms of ambiguity which allows them to function as sites of hegemonic contestation. In the contemporary American c other widely cited signifiers function as the discursive anchors around at many hold dear, there is no i Their shifting signification meaning. William Connolly, in his classic The Terms of Political Discourse (1983, 6), is close to Laclau here, and nicely captures the implications of this view of politics : Central to politics, as I understand it, is the ambiguous and relatively open ended interaction of persons and groups who share a range o f concepts, but share them imperfectly and incompletely. Politics involves a form of interaction in which agents adjust, extend, resolve, accommodate, and transcend initial differences within a context of partly shared assumptions, concepts, and commitmen ts. On this reading, conceptual contests are central to politics; they provide the space for political interaction. Yet, it is not merely (fluid and inconsistent) signification itself that makes political rhetoric powerful. A Lacanian account of the aff ective investments in discourses offers an understanding of t he relationship between affects which are outside of discourses and discourse itself. Incorporating the affective dimensions of desire and jouissance we see that politics is not only a batt le over the hegemonic fixing of meanings of certain signifiers, but is also a battle for the discursive channeling of jouissance /affect in particular political directions. If affective attachment that American citzens and members of the politicl elite have with certain instances of

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139 discourse, then Laclau can aid in understanding how they function as sites of political contestation, and how various forces struggle to ascribe par ticular political meanings to these instances of discourse. Desire in a strictly Lacanian sense of the term, helps to explain not only why subjects are guided toward the jouissance promised by master signifiers, but also how other words and phrases be come discursively tied together into chains of signification that represent and sustain identifications. Recall that the logics of equivalence and difference, for Laclau, are discursive movements through which political boundaries and identities are produ ced. Logics of difference break down social linkages into particularities, while logics of equivalence work to coalesce meanings and identities into chains of similarity. Equivalence, in other words, collapses meanings insofar as what a chain of signifie rs has in common is their similarity to each other against an outside element. Such relations are metonymical in that the meanings of signifiers tied together in chains of equivalence are deferred to one another. In chains that typically construct contem porary her signifiers in the chain. They are equivalent insofar as the meanings between them collapse (i.e., the chain is continually deferred to other signifiers in t he chain. As Lacan (2006, 419) points insists but that none of the consists each signifier can not confer the meaning that the entire chain offers, yet meaning is never complete, never finished.

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140 Logics of equivalence bear a close similarity to the displacements of desire itself. Since desire is by definition never ending, and since the subject never encounters the lost object of fantasy, desire is transferable from object to object. These objects, again, are typically valued signifiers that confer a sense of recognition upon the subject. Since no object or signifier satisfies the desire for a better caught in the rails of metonymy, eternally extending toward desire for something else (Lacan 2006, 431, emphasis in original). Desire shifts and slides between and across signifiers that promise a more complete is argues. In short, even at the level of signifiers strung together in chains, sentences, and so on, desire is at work. Each signification of privileged terms of the chain is deferred to other s and offering a promise of representation, yet each deferring the realization of that promise. by our desire is blocked when it jouissance or enjoyment) are channeled through fantasy disc ourses that offer the promise of a whole self, similar dimensions are at work in fusing together signifiers that compose the groups The L ogic(s) of Hegemony and O bject a Another t heoretical parallel can be found between the structure of discursive hegemony, as formulated by Laclau, and the logic of the object a as elaborated by Lacan. If insights about the concepts of nodal points and master signifiers offers a way to understand t he discursive flows

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141 and politics of affect/ jouissance then exploring affinities between discursive hegemony and object a can aid in uncovering the fantasy structures that necessarily underpin dominant political discourses. While it is certainly not inac curate to say that discursive hegemony can be thought of as constituted He does this by way o f re working the categories of particularity and universality. With the advent of the the target of many strands of contemporary thought. 34 among of the best known versions of this. 35 but argues that the concept of the universal s hould not be dism issed entirely; instead it should be re thought in terms of its role in structuring modern discourses. He offers a new notion of the universal in conjunction with a re working of the correlative concept of the particular. 36 Laclau argues that the univers al should be understood not in the traditional sense of grand teleological narratives that marginalize numerous groups of people by offering a single politics. Universal concepts can still offer a way to understand contemporary politics if we accept that the time 34 For a brief overview, see Yanow (2006). 35 Lacan met alanguage that can be spoken (2006, 688) is another formulation of this. 36 Laclau initially offered these arguments within the flurry of debate over identity politics and multiculturalism in the 1990s. Since contemporary thought had rendered any notion of the universal to be oppressive or totalitarian, the assertion by specific groups of their own particular identities was thought to be a more appropriate way to confront

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142 n. Rather than seeing these notions as values that have an extra discursive referent that can be readily grasped by groups in society that seek to deliver them, such notions are Laclau proposes, ambiguous sites of inscription upon which different forces attempt to ascribe their own particular meaning which is, paradoxically, the condition of a possible realization of a more radical version of at least one of these terms As he universal has no necessary body and no necessary content; different groups, instead, compete between themselves to temporarily give to their particularisms a function of universal representation. Society generates a whole vocabulary of empty signifiers whose tempor ary The relationship between the universal and the particular, then, is not one of mutual exclusion. Rather, it is one of mutual entanglement. Through contestation, some political forces are able of what the nodal points mean. When the political right in the United States for instance, is able welfare state and anti state interv ention in the mark et, this means t hat way that has nothing to do with but only in terms of a chain of other signifiers that lack of meaning is precisely what it means to succeed in solidifying hegemony. As Laclau this sense, the categories of the universal and the particular still retain their usefulness for political analysis, albeit in a much different (i.e., non foundational) manner than traditional philosophy would have them.

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143 Yet, it is the tension between the universal and the particular that allows for their contestation in the first place. Although some political movements may be able to temporarily hegemonize, or fill in, the empty content of a societal nodal point, this achievement is always precarious. No hegemonization is ever finished since there is no extra discursive grounding political competition, but no hegemonization can ever fill their meaning completely Thus, Particular assertions of meanings can come to embody the universal nodal points that anchor a ompleteness of any hegemony means that total We can draw a close compar ison to this process of hegemonization in the logic of the Lacanian object a Recall that object a is the object cause of desire, the evasive object that fantasy discourses pursue as that which will heal wounds, alleviate loss, and bring a sense of wholen ess to the subject. Yet, object a cannot be made to exist anywhere in the Symbolic the only order in which such an object could be expressed since it is retroactively posited by the subject as having caused its desire outside of the Symbolic Rather than facing the intractable cannot be satisfied fantasies offer the subject a way to stage the promise of wholeness as embodied in something recognizable. Once the fantasy object is reached, the subject realizes that it did not bring the promised harmony, feelings of loss return, and the subject constructs a new fantasy. This notion of a fantasy object that seems to be the according to

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144 Lacan, a sublime object is an ordinary, everyday object whi ch, quite by chance, finds itself the fact that it occupies the sacred/forbidden place of jouissance and not its intrinsic qualities that confers on it its sublimity object is posited as fully occupying the space of the Thing, yet only when such an object is actually confronted does the subject discover that the jouissance promised by the fantasy does not amount to the disappoin ting partial jouissance actually experienced (Lacan 1998, 111). Put a bit differently, a believed to have sparked. Yet, this partial object cannot fully embod y the promised fullness. In his most recent work, Laclau finds the logics of the object a and hegemony to be not merely analogous, but in fact one and the same. The desire for fullness in the search for object a is the same structural logic at work in the universal particular tension in discursive hegemony. Both can be viewed as investment in a partial object which is promised, or believed to be, representative of the whole. As Laclau (2005, 115 16) explains, In political terms, that is exactly what I have called a hegemonic relation: a certain particularity which assumes the role of an impossible universality. Because the partial character of these objects does not result from a particular story but is inherent in the very structure of signification, objet petit a is the key homologies but with the same discovery taking place from two different angles psychoanalysis and politics of something that concerns the very str ucture of objectivity No social fullness is achievable except through hegemony; and hegemony is nothing more than the investment, in a partial object, of a fullness which will objet petit a and the hegemonic logic are not just similar: they are simply identical. What this discussion helps us to see is the inevitably affective component of discourses As Stavrakakis (1999, 62, 80 2) argues, the importanc e of words and phrases that function as nodal points cannot be reduced solely to their discursive

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145 position. Although they represent the final (and ultimately tautological) ground upon which identifications hinge, they function as discursive anchors precis ely b ecause fantasies and affects may be summoned to underpin their anchoring role Such words and phrases draw their appeal by promising or embodying a sense of wholeness for people seeking to alleviate loss and anxiety through identifying with political discourses. In many cases, nodal points are themselves positive manifestations of the object a of the fantasy discourse in which they appear. For other words a in the circles of equivalence and difference in which these terms drew their meanings, political speeches as the final referent for exp laining or Yet, regard without a more general fantasy construction underpinning it a fantasy which offered people a meaningful discourse through Symbolic shape to their affective experiences in their particular cultural and political context. moved beyond the wound inflicted upon it, was affectively appealing precisely because of the promise of a sense of wholeness that it potentially offered. Conclusion This chapter has offered a framework for understanding the relationships between discourse, affect, and identification. In doing so, it has explored aspects of the social construction process that IR scholars have generally neglected. Drawing upon the work of Lacan and Laclau, the theoreti cal insights offered here contribute to an approach for understanding some theoretical questions that few IR scholars appear to have addressed. While the discipline

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146 has addressed issues of discourse and identity for some time now, and has recently begun t o investigate emotions and affects, little work has addressed how best to productively conceptualize the linkages between them. In offering an approach that does so, I argue that these factors must be explored if IR scholars wish to more fully understand the social construction subjectivity, based upon his theories of master signifiers, desire, jouissance fantasy, and object a Throughout this chapter, I offered brief illustrations of some of these ideas through reference to contemporary discourses of American foreign policy. The affective appeal of the war on terror, for i nstance, can be better understood through the constellation of desires and fantasies that it simultaneously evoked and offered receiving audiences. Indeed, a more effective way to think about the power of the war on terror, e.g. its role as a hegemonic di scourse after September 11, 2001, is in terms of the affective appeal of the fantasy of identification it offered and the way in which it channeled desire and loss. This is the subject of the next chapter.

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147 Table 1 1 Desire in the Imaginary, Symb olic, and Real Imaginary Symbolic Real Narcissistic (Desire to be) Passive physical appearance to be identified with others;image of bodily well being Desire to be recognized/lovedby the Other (in the form of master signifiers) Desire t o be the object of the love/recognition that will fill the lack in the Other Active the image of an admired other Desire to engage in practices embodying master signifiers Admiring object a in another, and attempting to identi fy with it Anaclitc (Desire to have) Passive Desire to be the body desired by another Desire to be desired by the Other as embodying a valued signifier Desire to embody object a as desired by the Other Active Desire for the bodily image of an other; sex ual desire Desire to possess the Other as a means to fullness/ jouissance Desire to possess object a as embodied in a person, object, or activity

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148 CHAPTER 4 IDENTIFICATION, AFFE CT, AND FANTASY IN T HE WAR ON TERROR The safe Sphere in which Americans live is experienced as under threat from the Outside of terrorist attackers who are ruthlessly self sacrificing and cowards, cunningly intelligent and primitive barbarians. Whenever we encounter such a purely evil Outside, we should gather the courage to endor se the Hegelian lesson: in this pure Outside, we should recognize the distilled version of our own essence. (2001) Introduction In an essay that appeared in the New York Times Magazine in October 2004, journalist Ron Suskind offered an accoun t of the deep religious conviction that guided much of George W. political decision evidence of the extent to which religious faith infused operations within the Bush executive br transition from wild fraternity boy to born again Christian was well known it was in fact a key appeal of the President to many of his most loyal supporters b ut the essay emphasized how this religiosity influenced his conceptuali zation of the w ar on terror, and his role in it as President and Commander in Chief His faith was the foundation for the remarkable confidence he had in his ability to make sweeping decisions. As Suskind (2004) a premis e beneath the powerful Bushian certainty that has, in many ways, moved mountains is not just for public consumption: it has guided the inner life of This, however, this was not the most talked about anecdotal nugget in the essay. In deed, the journalistic morsel that received perhaps the most attention was something that caught based co

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149 world really judiciously, as you will ings will s and you, all of you, No doubt that what surprised many readers was the frankness of this assertion. Although this admission is remarkable on a number of levels, it is relevant here because it actually parallels conclusions of many academic analyses of the politics of the American war on terror. poststructuralist International Relations (IR) scholars have argued for some time now that between subjects and objects are problematic. The unnamed official drew a distinction (albeit c socially produced by the interactions between agents and the structur es in which they are embedded. This understanding of social and political reality characterizes much of the recent academic work in IR on the war on terror. Scholars who have employed conventional constructivist or discourse approaches to the war on t error tend to view the events of September 11, 2001, and the reactions to them, not as naturally given or self evident, but rather as socio political constructions that are historically contingent and open to contestation. 1 Many recent studies utilizing t hese perspectives have analyzed the public rhetoric and statements of elites and leaders (see chapters in Collins and Glover 2002; Jackson 2005; Krebs and Lobasz 2008; Maggio 2007), while some scholars have 1 hat have become methodologically common ways of analyzing the construction of identities within texts. These approaches focus upon the rhetorical content of texts while largely neglecting the role of desire and affects. Prominent examples include works b y Roxanne Doty (1996), Jennifer Milliken (1999) and Lene Hansen (2006).

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150 begun to move beyond elite language to examining popular and non elite texts (Croft 2006, terror, these studies typically analyze texts in terms of their rhetorical structure and/or linguistic content. Explain ing how certain words, phrases, and tropes construct actors and conflicts is a central part of a constructivist or discourse approach to studying terrorism. For instance, le analyzing Western identity has been a commonly accepted method within this literature. In this sense, much of this kind of research is close to what Jennifer Milliken (1999) has called predicate analysis looking at how nouns, verbs, and adverbs ascribe socially constructed actors and entities with various kinds of characteristics and agencies. Although much has been written on the war on terror from constr uctivist perspectives broadly understood (see Agathangelou and Ling 2004; Jones and Clarke 2006; Nabors 2006; Rojecki 2008; Schildkraut 2002), Richard Jackson (2005) and Stuart Croft (2006) have written arguably the most exhaustive constructivist analyses of the politics of the war on terror to date. 2 Like existing actors called terrorists, a nd their pre existing political tactics of terrorism, they argue that terrorism and the intersubjective understandings that socially constitute actors, eve nts, and actions in particular 2 Culture, Crisi has a blurb by nsive analysis of the political cultural discourse of

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151 neutral or ob jective reflection of reality Rather, it is a deliberately and meticulously composed set of words, assumptions, metaphors, grammatical forms, m yths, and forms of knowledge it is a ca refully constructed discourse events of 11 September 2001 did not lead inexorably to a particular response and a set of policies. Rather, the events were socially constructed to give particular meaning, and those l Even accepting that discourses of terrorism and the war on terror are sets of collectively held beliefs and constantly re articulated through intersubjective interpretations, these studies largely leave open how and why the war on terror was constructed such that it became or was perceived as, a hegemonic discourse after September 11, 2001. As such, the current literature does not address a crucial question posed in this dissertation: what accounts for the power of discourse and identity beyond the mere contingency of their socio historical construction? Croft and Jackson, to their credit, both offer arguments for how the war on terror became hegemonic, but largely do not go beyond conventional constructivis t assumptions. Jackson (2005, 159), for allows the authorities to enact th eir policies with significant support, and the extent to which assumptions and viewpoints are adopted and employed uncritically in political discourse by opposition politicians, the media, social institutions (like churches, schools, universities,

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152 n short, a discourse is most productive wh Jackson also nods to other factors, such as appeal to deeply entrenched American national myths, and the sheer vol ume of instance of the discourse after September 11, 2001 in terms of speeches, policy statements, ceremonies, debates, etc. (2005, 163 4). Croft offers similar explanations of the discursive power of the war on terror. Although acknowledging the impor tance of the initial rhetorical moves by Bush administration officials after September 11, 2001, Croft focuses on the wider cultural and societal production of the shaping a policy programme following the creation of a shared understanding of a particular crisis, have to include the creators of popular culture in a society 9). The social construction of crises and their aftermath are co produced by elites and broader cultural scourse is a truly social one one that is shared throughout the body the war on terror became deeply constituted, represents a point of rupture, and is subject to a variety of narratives that constitute the decisive intervention, of which one is successful in constituting a new strategic tr ajectory. Crisis is thus a process. The nature of the contestation of narratives is shaped by selectivity and adaptivity. Once that strategic trajectory is established, it leads to a period of stability, during which time, contradictions emerge and deve lop, which willl come to constitute, discursively, the narratives constructing them are offered to an audience, become stabilized, eventually develop which then leads to the articulation of new narratives.

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153 While acknowledging the power of the war on terror, Croft and Jackson do not pose questions about how discourses evoke, satisfy, block, or channel desires and affects, or how these phenomena are re lated to identity. Nor do they investigate how prominent political texts can shape such non rhetorical aspects of identity. Jackson (2005, 21) acknowledges, but does nging our psychic and social lives intersect. Certain words or combinations of words can make us feel anxious, fearful, angry or joyful. This generates immense powe (Jackson 2005, 22). Similarly, even as Croft documents the stabilization and contestations of the war on terror within American culture, he does not offer an explanation of the power of these narratives beyond the force of wo rds themselves. 3 For him, the rhetoric al force alone is sufficient to explain the efficacy of the war on terror, while other constitutive factors of the discourse such as affects and desires are neglected. Both Croft and Jackson turn to the war on terror media, think tanks, and popular culture) to explain its hegemonic power (Croft 2006, 186 213; Jackson 2005, 164). From the theoretical perspective offered in chapter three, however, these arguments appear incomplete. To argue that the success of the war on terror discourse depended upon its reproduction by elites and social institutions says little about the desire and affective factors driving this reproduction in t cultural phenomenon succeeds in interpellating subjects that is, summoning them to assume a cer tain subjective (dis)position it does so by evoking some form of desire or by promising 3 Croft briefly nods to this when he specifies that his u 4).

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154 s 4 Not all discourses are equal, and some discourses are more appealing than others. With this in mind, this chapter offers a substantially more comprehensive analysis of the social construction process involved in the politics of the war on terror. Drawing upon insights from Lacan, I offer an understanding of the affective power of the war on terror discourse. In doing so, I offer an answer to the question of how the war on terror was, arguably, able to achieve hegemonic domi nance after September 11, 2001. Conventional constructivist and discourse analysis are unable to account for why some discourses take hold and why some do not, since they offer no theoretical lens through which to capture the differential affective appeal of competing discourses. My approach, in contrast, drawing upon concepts such as identification, desire, affect, fantasy, and object a is able to probe into deeper sources of subjectivity and identification that allow for a better understanding of why some discourses are more politically efficacious than others. The chapter, then, offers an analysis of the war on terror in terms of its affective appeal as understood through Lacanian discouse theory. The war on terror is conceptualized here primarily i University discourse, and a particularly powerful kind of discourse that illustrates how desire, affect, signification, and a sense of loss of self combine to produce a specific type of political subject. This analysis paves the way for the accompanying investigation in the next chapter into the affective politics surrounding the discursive incorporation of Iraq into the war on terror, and of the affective underpinnings of the hegemonic politics of the war on terror. 4 As discussed in Chapter Two, Croft and Jackson are not the only ones that have largely neglected th ese factors in public, yet do not theorize about the affects and desires that presubmably underpinned its appeal.

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155 Fantasy, D esire, a nd Identification in the War on T er ror To gain a more complete understanding of the hegemonic efficacy of the war on terror discourse Although George W. Bush first publ time statement on the evening of September 11, 2001, a much more complete vision of the conflict was offered by the president in his address to a joint session of Congress nine days later on Sept ember 20, 2001. This speech is widely viewed as one of the major founding moments of the war on terror discourse. Jackson notes that nearly 80 million American television viewers watched the speech, while Croft discusses how the speech contained many of t he key themes that would come to define the war on terror (Jackson 2005, 17; Croft 2006, 69 70, 72 73). On the surface, this speech offered several key points about what had happened nine days before, and what the nation should expect to see in the comi speech relate to questions surrounding the events of September 11, 2001, such as directing Americans to the signifiers that would establish who the culprits were, why they launched the attacks, and subsequently what this what the government expected of Americans. Also offered in this speech was an ultimatum to the Taliban to turn over al Qaeda suspects, an appeal to Muslims that the new U.S. policy would constit ute Qaeda, not Islam, and the announcement of the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. In short, the speech articulated an outline for a policy program designed to respond to the events of September 11, 2001. C onstructivist and discourse analyses have considered were defined in a hierarchical manner that served to legitimate American unilateral action against them. Jackson and Croft, for example, have cited this particular speech as one wher e first

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156 defined. Signifiers identity as absolutely good and not only offered symbolic reassurance to Americans, but helped to define social and political space in the war on terror in strict binary terms which arti culated for Llorente 2002). 5 Venturing beyond the social construction of hierarchical images of self and other, my disco urses beyond their mere contingency as socio historical constructions (Glynos, 2001). Desire, affect, and fa ntasy are crucial elements by which self other relations are constituted To and to better understand its success as a political text and as a founding moment in the hegemonic project of the war on terror (in effect, its interpellative force), we can first discern what kinds of desires are evoked by 5

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157 the speech in each of the three registers of human subjectivity, the Symbolic, Imaginary, and the Real. 6 Master S ignifiers Discursive identification occurs through interpellation by the powerful words that Lacan A s I have described earlier master signifiers are not just any signifier, but are rather those privileged words that play a major sufficienctly crucial to how speech nine days after September 11, 2001 is exemplary in its frequent usage of master s ignifiers. As is commonplace for presidents addressing a joint session of Congress, Bush begins by immediately offering his audience a common signifier of unity, performatively constructing his audience as such. The first several minutes of the speech are in fact devoted to o ffering the audience mutliple master signifiers that had been disrupted on September 11, 2001. Some of these are offered in several anecdot named Todd Be to our 6 On the three registers, see C hapter T hree.

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158 the Capitol, the loss of citizens of many nationalities on September 11, 2001 leading to all oined together in a great cause each of t hese formulae proposes signifiers that have proved highly effective in modern American political culture. 7 More specifically, each of these privileged words are promoted by Bush in such a way as to be these words confers social value upon those who are seen to embody them. Not only do such linguistic offerings help to secure shaken subjects after a national trauma, but their appeal also stems from Symbolic passive narcissistic desire t he desire to be recognized or loved by the of meaning constituted by the Symbolic Order and [is] epitomized in our notions of Na ture, Society, God, and so on especially valued by the Symbolic American Other, the (imagined) entity whose gaze c onfers feelings of identity and security to those who personify such values. e discursive anchors around which the rest of the text coheres is because they stitch together the various meanings of the text ( Torfing 1999, 98). They appear at junctions where the multiplicity of issues and meanings in the text are brought together and are offered, simultaneously as self evident assertions of what and who was attacked, why we were attacked, what we temporarily 7 Uluorta (2007) argues (from a Gramscia n Lacanian perspective) that American capitalist market, religious moral, and nationalist patriotic discourses consistently help to solidify neoliberal economic hegemony in the United States. For a classic examination of American political culture, see Ha rtz (1955).

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159 lost, and, most importantly, what underpins who we are and the values we hold that will sustain us going forward. For example: e of all of these sta tements are offered as having a readily evident and unequivocal meaning. These phrases appear as mor e lofty and abstract assertions distinct highlight how they act as points of discursive condensation upon which an entire range of meanings is layered. The mere possibility that they are able to have a variety of different meanings within the same text illustrates that neither has an intrinsic meaning, but rather they only have meaning with Enemies of freedom freedom and fear justice and cruelty key points of the chain of significatio n of American identity constructed in In other words, they are the r justifies the claims or in response to the attacks

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160 terror are articulated, it is a mission of the final words, the stopping points, in the circle of signifiers constructing American identity that n bound to the fantasy and implicit promise of subjectivity that is found in the speech. Other master signifiers are offered throughout the rest of the speech each offering, or rather constructing, Symbolic reassurance to the audience of who they are, what their place in the h is saturated with generous offerings of such valued words and phrases. The power of each of these signifiers stems in part from their appeal to the various Others from whom instance, are both obvious Others from which Americans desire social approval. 8 Imaginary T hreats While intimately bound up with Symbolic identification, Imaginary identification works through the power of images. As Lacan (1988, 319) argues, language de rives power from with quite a narrow sector of its biological reality, with the image of the fellow being. This imaginary experience furnishes ballast for ever y concrete language, and by the same token for upon images of a unified or whole human form. Just as people identify with visual images of other people in photos, f ilms, and art, verbal images in discourse can evoke strong identifications 8 an examination of the rise of the influence of religion in contemporary American politics more broadly, see Domke and Coe (2007 ).

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161 with the forms portrayed. Images of bodily integrity can satisfy certain kinds of desire, while image of bodi ly integrity, and can introduce unease (or lack) in identification. a sense of bodily well being, and in doing so plays upon Imaginary identification. In construct ing images of al commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans, and to make no distinctions more graphic images are used in describing the We have suffered a great loss 20, 2001). Ha esire in the Imaginary register the desire to have and retain bodily well being. As Bracher (199 3, 38) explains, sense of security and self worth, which has its roots in a sense of bodily integrity and mastery. And conversely, anything (whether an exte rnal force or an impulse from within) that might damage the armor constituted by this body image represents a threat to our sense of self and is thus met with opposition and aggre s In addition to discerning these engagements in this speech of Imaginary threats to bodily integrity, and copious offerings of master signifiers, the speech can be re

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162 theory, we can map the relati onships between the desires discussed above and other crucial discursive elements, such as master signifiers S 1 knowledge S 2 and divided subjectivity $. Doing so allows us to uncover the lack the object cause a driving the discourse, and offers a way t o think about how this text successfully constructed and channeled certain desires and affective responses in a way that helps us to understand the (nearly) endless reproduction of its central themes after September 11, 2001. As argued below, desire in Bu channled through the structure of the University discourse. Discourse S tructure four discourses : Agent Other Truth Product eptember 20, 2001 in terms of this structure? In the most obvious sense, Bush is a speaker (agent) addre ssing an audience (other). As P resident, it was expected of him to address the country after such an unprecedented event. However, according to a dis cursive perspective, it was not George W. Bush the individual that people were looking towards for a public address, but rather the institutional (Symbolic) position P existing entity named the Although, in this particular setting, Bush was the speaking agent addressing a receiving other, according to Lacan individuals themselves cannot act as pure authors or Agents. Instead, it is the identity bearing signifiers with which they are associated that lend force to the ir message.

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163 As such, reside oriented by a number of discursive moves that construct particular relationships between different elements in the place of agency, on the one hand, and offers different positions to the audie nce, on the other. While portions of the speech offer an interpretation of the events of speech is devoted to offering the audience information about who is res ponsible, their motives, their locations, and their past actions. Al Qaeda is stated as the culprit for the attacks, and Bush offers an array of other information to support the claim that they are terrorists: their bombing of American embassies in Kenya their desire to overthrow governments across the Middle East, and so on. Bush also presents the pol financial resources, creating the Department of Homeland Security, and asking of the audience a series of requests to aid in the fight (support American values, support the victims, continued participation in the economy, etc.) (Bush 2001a). Just as Bush presents a series of specific policies as the most sensible reaction to the threat, so are the most sweeping claims in the speech offered as self evident obse rvations devoid The U.S., according to this perspective, is uniquely capable of countering this threat to and a

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164 counter the deviant values of held by the enemy. The hopes of free people around the world rest the world will rally, all 2001a). comprising the bulk of the speech? There is, of course, nothing unusual about this particular text when compared to other presidential texts in terms of its representation of America as a shining city on a hill. Nor, in this context, is there anything unusual in the president offering hi s audience what amounts to explanatory information on an unprecedented attack. Yet, the knowledge from one to another. The mode of discourse that comprises the bulk o f the speech constructs a particular dynamic of subjectivity. Bush positions himself as the leader who knows precisely what has happened and what needs to be done, a mode of discourse that fits well with the University discourse. University Discourse: S 2 a S 1 $ S 2 =War on Terror a S 1 =American Power $=Insecure Subject f the University discourse is fundamentally d isengaged: he posits himself as the self erasing observer (and executor) of e S 2 he deploys so as to justify a bold new initiative in world politics The new social reality S 2 constructing the events of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath works as Agent precisely because it is

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165 ias, but is offered as objective knowledge apart from his own subjectivity. The new system of knowledge S 2 qua agent hails the object cause a in the audience, which sparks the desire to embody the knowledge the agent offers. This produces an audience of subjects $ defined by the new battery of signifiers S 2 constructing knowledge of the new Symbolic reality. What is the relationship between knowledge S 2 and master signifiers S 1 in light of the bar obvious and readily available to the audience. Yet, a particular interpretation of the events of September 11, 2001 is offered to justify an ag gressive response, and to close the possibility of 2 offered in the speech seems, on the surface, to operate apart from p particular understanding of American self image and perceived world role S 1 ts performative dimension, presenting what effectively amounts to a political decision based on reliance on the force of master signifiers. These master sig nifiers, in turn, are those discursive anchors in which subjects are most affectively invested. This investment is not the result of a rational engagement w believed to represent, but is instead is a kin bound up in the fantasy promise of subjectivity that the discourse is seen to offer subjects. What is the master signifier S 1 at work here ? The master signifiers S 1 that unde rpins the which

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166 embody American power and global hegemonic aspirations. Although knowledge S 2 in the place of agency does not directly acknowledge the master signifier S 1 which is its truth, that knowledge S 2 implicitly draws upon S 1 to support itself. Following reasoning offered for the American military response to come. Universal American values are the basis for and the explanati on of, the aggressive foreign policy plans offered in the speech. aggressive and unilateral foreign policy. A different logic is at work in the speech from the one that is presently as most manifest in the o vert discourse itself; since American military might is the instrument through which American message of liberty and freedom are to be spread, the privileging of American pow er itself is the truth of the discourse, which implicitly underpins signifiers such as force in terms of sheer arguably religious conversely power, dominated by the United States, [that] compels states and people to join what is projected as an 9 ized by the implicit master signifier 9 In this regard, Lacanian theory suggests a conceptualization of power that challenges Foucauldian views. panoptic gaze), and the agency wh ich allows itself to be seen, to fascinate our gaze (the aim of the display of insignia and rituals of power) dual function of power in the constitution of subjectivity that is often left out of Foucauldian understandings. While the notion that power produces the subject frees analysis from more essentialist formulations (e.g., the notion that power only constrains pre constituted subjects), Foucauldian analyses often l eave out the intersubjective affective dimensions that helps to explain why subjects submit to their subjection. On engagements between Foucauldian and Lacanian approaches on the question of power, see Butler (1997), Newman (2004), and Vighi and Feldner ( 2007).

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167 S 1 1 implicit order. How should we understand object a structure of the Universi ty discourse, instead of a direct relationship between the subject and its object of fantasy, there exists a non a In the position of agent, knowledge S 2 hails object a in the other, which in turn pr oduces the divided subject $ (in the product position). Yet, recall that object a does not exist in Symbolic sense of that term but instead in the manne r Lacan attaches to the indefinable sense of frustration and incompleteness that accompanies identification. As the object cause of the a is retroactively posited by the subject as having existed, as having caused its desire. A f never ending, fantasy offers the subject the prospect of reaching the inarticulable Th ing that 13). Within the University discourse, then, knowledge S 2 as the Agent does not interpellate object a per se, since this object is extra discursive and does not exist in Symbolic reality. Rather, knowledge S 2 in terpellates the lack in the discourse where object a is supposed to have been What does this mean? What is object a In the September 20, 2001 speech, the collective it was, yet throughout the speech there seems to be a certain something else that was lost on September 11, 2001. Bush allu des to it

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168 s kill American prosperity. They did not touch its source. America is successful because of the hard throughout much of the countr pinpoint, locate, and articulate what only consistent ans community organizes its feasts, its rituals of mating, its initiation ceremonies, in short, all the details by which is made visible the unique way a community organizes its enjoyment ( better viewed as attempts to articulate, or sym bolize, that which is not able to be fully articulated. its semantic is founded precise jouissance exists only as long as its specific enjoyment continues to be materialized in a set of social practices and transmitted through sis in original). 10 10 To be clear, this is not merely a repetition of the more conventional argument that the nation state is a social construct rather than an objectively existing entity. Instead, I argue that nation state can never be fully constructed, or imagined since it is a fantasy organized around an elusive object that always remains indefinable (and hence, un constructable)

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169 numerous attempts to pin down what exactly are points to the very indefinability of that t hese multiple attempts to name that which was lost, constructed re troactively immediately after September 11, 2001. The discursive attempts to name and attach a signifier to that which has been lost points to both the presumed to be missing object a and the split subject $ produced by the discourse. Recall that the su bject is never a fully unified entity who is fully represented by the signifiers that describe it in relation to other signifiers Rather, the subjec t is always split or divided $. It is partially represented in discourse by its signifiers, yet it is thi s partial representation that evokes the desire for what it believes can be full representation. The subject always feels as if its current symbolic representatives do not fully express all that it is, and this lack of representation exudes a kind of frus tration on the part of the subject. This frustration pursues a signifier that it continually frustrated. No signifier is able to provide the full representation that the subject representation that the subject desires offers the promise of jouissance the affective experience of a subject with no division, lacking nothing. Yet this supposed to have been explain away it s constitutive incompleteness. son (1983). On state sovereignty as a social construct, see Ashley (1988), Barkin and Cronin (1994), Bartelson (1995), Biersteker and Weber (1996), Walker (1993), and Weber (1995)

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170 attempts to name throughout the speech. This element (partially represented in terms such as aspect of the national subject, but is absent. Yet, the national subject is also presented through a set of signifiers that are said to represent throughout the speech are said to express the subject as it is now crucially,in the wake of a trauma that has given form to its present search for meaning For example, as discussed above, symbolic representatives of a national subject that are viewed as fully present, as fully a nd 11 sive points around which Yet, this is not all that America is after September 11, 2001 These well worn signifiers 11 e reader that, based on the theoretical impossible project that is continually pursued through identification processes. Similarly, the divided self, split between its representation in a signifier and that which is missing from representation (embodied in the term object a ).

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171 offered as has been made to be missing but the discursive known limited oratory skil ls. Rather, it has much more to do with the ontological. The Nation Thing cannot, by definition, be made to exist within our discursive, Symbolic reality. The multitude of master signifiers presented in the speech at tempt to cover over the constitutive lack of the America n attempt to construct a national subject over the wounds that September 11, 2001 wrought. In both constitutive of what the subject is now taken to be and that which it may become The national Understanding speech as a University discourse helps us not only to identify relations be tween elements such as master signifiers S 1 the knowledge S 2 deployed in the a and the kind of subjectivity $ constructed. This framework further helps to identify the fantasy underpinning the logic of the speech. The fanta sy deployed is not explicitly stated anywhere in the speech, yet it is simultaneously the most elusive and most affectively appealing aspect of the speech. The fantasy deployed offered the promise of Fantasy and I dentification richly tailored with master signifiers and images of bodily threats, it is only by complementing these with an underst anding of fantasy that we can account for opportunities for identification, its channeling

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172 of desire (towards an illusory jouissance Lacan, in pursuing jouissance (unders tood as a conjectural affecti ve experience of the whole and fully stable sense of self), the subject always encounters frustration and satisfaction satisfaction in associating itself with those valued signifiers that confer a sense of being and security, and frustration in never bei ng able to fully overcome the sense of loss that drives the identification process. Since most subjects are unable to deal with the contingency of their identifications and asy offers a way for the subject to deal with these impossibilities. By constructing a narrative that explains why one is never able to fully become oneself, the subject is able to believe that (illusory) wholeness is nevertheless achieveable The manner in which fantasy accomplishes this is that the contingencies and ambiguities of identification are projected onto an other (Stavrakakis 2007, existence by functioni ng as a kind can be projected. Instead of accepting the incompleteness of all social identity, most subjects find it more appealing to believe that wholeness or enjoyment is possible if not for the Other wh o that the subject seeks, then this further pushes the subject to attain that which it appears others a whi relation to object a (Fink 1995, 174). Nation free of threats, antagonisms, and division is an image which covers over the constitutive divisions of such an entity

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173 in fact, exist before September 11 2001 as, for show 12 The un wounded, unsullied, pure Nation without division is on is posited as having been lost at the moment of trauma, yet, such an ideal had never been fully constructed before then. It must be assumed to have existed, though, in order for the war on terror narrative to be coherent. Again, this fits well with th e logic of a fantasy object, or object a : The paradox of desire is that it posits retroactively its own cause, i.e., the object a is does not exist In other words, the object a is always, by definition it does not exist since it is nothing but the embodiment, the materialization of this very distortion, of this surplus of confusion and perturbation introduced by desire into so turns of history. They are constructed in different ways in different contexts. In one sense, they do not exist outside of the linguistic/discursive performances and practices that constitute them, as many in IR have argued (see Campbell, 1998). Howeve r, what is often left out of such accounts is precisely what is at stake in this The appearance of the Nation in speech is indeed one more performance (in t here we see the impossibility of fully 12 finished as entities; the tension between the demands of identity and the practices that constitute it can never be fully resolved, because the ter push to keep pursuing a project that is ultimately impossible. The imaginary staging of, or promise of, an encounter with jouissanc e within fantasy propels the desire to keep searching for it.

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174 fantasy object of the war on terror discourse exists not only Symbolically, but, eccentric to the Symbolic, as an aspect symbolic representati this text is founded upon the promise that it is possible to reclai m the quality or Thing that was and others. However, it is the war discourse itself that retroactively constructs what it says was lost, a mythical unity th at never was. In this sense, it is that which is missing from the discourse that is the driving force behind its very construction. 13 This closely corresponds to the logic of fantasy. As Glynos and Stavrakakis (2008, 258) explain, fantasy structures typically feature a scenario promising the subject satisfaction and completion (the beatific side of fantasy), and implies a disaster scena rio (the horrific side of fantasy). The war on terror, as articulated in this speech, contains both God himself, who inspires c 13 Recall from the previous chapter that this notion (that something outside of social construction must nevertheless spark the construction process itself) helps to resolve the problem that b t be part of its dynamic. See Stavrakakis (1999, 65 70).

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175 un, message, and catch all political becoming fully itse lf, but also simultaneously provides the site upon which the impossibility of the fantasy is projected. Not domestic or international political constraints, not the likely strains of long term military actions, not the likelihood of casualties, or disagre ements among potential allies are mentioned as possible obstacles to this endeavor allies. Not only does this fantasy (like other fantasies) offer an idealized goal and simultaneously tacit obstacle s to its actual ization, but also, and perhaps the more important point from the sense that it offers the subject a degree of protection from the anxiety associated with a direct jouissance or sense of self, so says the fantasy, is the elimination of the only obstacle blocking it, the figure o ation with the gaze is from where we are being observed, from where we look at seeing oneself seeing oneself Lacan (1981, 74, empha sis in original) observes.

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176 Similarly, perspective of another, through the imagined gaze o f another function within th e discursive dynamics of the speech. As discussed above, the discourse of the speech is rich in images that evoke desires for bodily integrity and security. On the level of the ountry, and the identification in terms of literal resemblance is often how we conventionally think of The gaze, o n the other hand, works when an audience identifies not with the literal unspoken position from that posited as lost by the discursive attempts to fill the social void shaken open by the events of September 11, 2001. Even when it makes its appearance it can only be obliquely referred to, circled around, since it cannot be made to exist in Symbolic reality, but is instead part of the Real, which is extra discursive. This just out of reach quality is itself what sustains desire f or it, driving its pursuit. From an unspoken position of power supported by an assumption that it is wrong for America to lack what was taken away (beyond the loss of 3,000 implicit invitation for the audience to accept. In this sense, the gaze subtly constructed by the speech offers a way to fill out the fantasy structure of the speech (see Dean 2005, 502). Here, the appears to c onfer recognition to the subject who pursues it and in the imagined encounter when the subject finally joins me, at

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177 the most profound level imag fantasy promise of its attainment. The subject desires to occupy the place from which the object gazes back at it, but this place is nothing other than the subje e presupposition of the possibility of fulfilling its desire and reaching jouissance Truly reaching this position is impossible simply because it is nothing other fullness vagueness and ambiguity of the national subject also through the gaze with which it subtly invites the audience to look at itself It is from the imagined perspective of a pure, undivided speech is articulated functions much more powerfully in interpellation than literal images precisel y through t he concealment of this gaze. It is the gaze of the fantasy object itself, the imagined perspective of the Nation Thing, which is projected to the audience and offers an almost irresistible position for the audience to inhabit, the position from where an a udience of on behalf of a certain gaze in the Other

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178 gaze is project, and is promised endpoint of the fantasy. In creating a place of power from whi ch a place nowhere mentioned in the text Bush creates a space withi n which individuals implicitly (perhaps even unconsciously, or non consciously) recognize themselves as subjects of the new the war on terror. Wendy Brown (2005, 33) aptly captures the political ramifications of this when she notes that this type of ident imperial arrogance, [and] It is through these spaces that the speech constructs where individuals, in becoming subjects, are affectiv ely tied to the discourse. The fantasy within the speech, like other fantasies, always escapes socio symbolic capture), thereby organizing the affective dimensi on of the positive objects in reality ca n function as objects of desire, filing in the empty places opened up emotion laden passages and signifiers in the speech are, consequently, not free floating exper iences that are purely individualistic, but instead are channeled through the discourse of the to the frustrated subjectivity that is produced as a result, which sparks the desire to reclaim the jouissance or sense of wholeness. P rocesses of affective identification in the speech,

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179 one of the most discussed aspects in the literature of the war on And so on. Yet, the construction of hierarchies of mutually constituted ide ntities is only one part of the constellation of desires and affective identification that the war on terror evokes and invites. Identification does not only occur in the sense that the audience would identify w in that, to centers around the affective appeal of the something more offered in the speech. This something more that is alluded to throughout the speech is indefinable, yet this indefinability is precisely what evokes the desi re for it, and its affective grip Remember that fantasies consist of both frustrating and satisfying experiences for the subject. Recall that jouissance connotes both of pleasure and pain, satisfaction and dissatisfaction, presence and absence. The sub between these two limits. The split subject continually pulsates between fullness and lack. Satisfaction and dissatisfaction/frustration are both aspects of the partial jouissance that subjects can exper jouissance that the subject always anticipates yet never attains. Partial jouissance the object of the Nation Thing. In this sense, the University struc ture channels the affective force with which it calls subjects into its Symbolic order or body of knowledge S 2 The Nation Thing pertains to the Real in the Lacanian sense most affectively appealing at the p oint where it is most difficult for subjects to articulate what it represents what demands their loyalty and attachment to it. The partial jouissance or wholeness, experienced by subjects in relation to the Nation is, strictly speaking, inarticulable

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180 The subject constructed within this discourse is split between the signifiers that partially represent it and that part of it that appears to be missing. The fantasy of the speech, the fantasy jouissance is attainable if only the sole obstacle is appropriately dealt with. This affective appe al, then, is constructed upon the boundaries of the Symbolic order and the Real, between that which can be spoken and that which escapes discourse. The deployment of a fantasy that tells an audience, albeit not directly, that identification with the fanta sy of a of these very identifications, and will solidify the national subject with which they identify, is an affective dynamic that moves between both the Symbolic and the Real and as a conseque nce delineate an Imaginary, ideal national subject world, but these signifiers are privileged precisely because they offer the promise of full representation, of jouissance wi are appealing because they embody both what the national subject is and what it can be if the f our freedoms our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, ou r freedom to vote and

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181 again regain that which was lost, partially sym The jouissance that the fantasy promises, a Nation Thing whose wounds are fully healed and whose division is repaired indeed an entire civilization whose savior is an assertive Ameri ca, ar e implied as possible in this situation However, this is only a promise implied in the fantasy, and cannot be directly or fully delivered or experienced in the fantasy. Fantasy can only stage an encounter between the subject and its jouissance bu t can never directly deliver it since it is merely the retroactive presupposition of what the subject supposes caused its desire. The identification, and the subjec ending) desire with a narrative that tells the subject that a supposed missing part of itself caused its desire. Yet thi s is merely the jouissance without ever experiencing the wholeness of its pr omise. This pulsation between fullness and lack, presence and absence, frustration and satisfaction are precisely the dynamics that drive the subject that whose fantasy of fullness is blocked by a terrorist other, partial satisfactio n in pursuing the full these movements illustrate exactly what Lacan (2006, 78) meant when he proposes

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182 precipitously from insufficiency to scholars have only begun to touch upon. In a sense, we can view the mutually constitutive dynamics of object a fant asy, and identification in terms of what Andrew Ross (2006, 212) calls is apture popular energies without directly jouissance or enjoyme nt. As discussed by Fink (2004, 51) and Glynos and Stavrakakis (2008, 267), there is an important conceptual distinction between what are conventionally thought of as readily identifiable emotions (such as shame, fear, hate, revenge, etc.) and the more am orphous pre discursive affective potential/ jouissance that a Lacanian approach emphasizes. As Glynos meaning and significance is a function not of their intrinsic they come to have Symbolic existence, once they are articulated and named within discourse. in turn confers upon them social meaning. Without acknowledging these elements, elements which are not strictly coextensive with discourse as is typically theorized, but nevertheless

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183 ontological aspect of discourse that can gain some theoretical purchase on the differential affective appeal of different discourses. Consequently, explanations of the power of post 9/11 American foreign policy have been unable to fully explain the hegemonic appeal of the war on terror. Several recent studies of emotions and emotional responses surrounding September 11, 2001 and the war on terror unwittingly i llustrate this conceptual distinction between emotions and affects. Work on revenge (Harkavy, 2000), humiliation (Saurette, 2006), and shame (Danchev, 2006) explores the multiplicity of specific emotional responses to the events of September 11, 2001. Ta ken together, these and other studies rightly illustrate that this very multiplicity should be recognized and explored even further. 14 However, there has been much less work on the more ambiguous affective potentials (we may even say pre emotional) from wh ich these specific emotional responses were shaped. As demonstrated here, Lacanian theory offers a way to take a theoretical step back from examining representations of specific emotional affects and how they are channeled by fantasy discourses, which then opens the door to the definition and naming of specific kinds of emotional responses. mber 11, 2001 does, without necessarily realizing it, take a step back from looking at specific emotions to exploring the more indefinable affective potentials that are prior to emotional responses. Jack Holland (2009) and Dirk Nabers (2009) conceptualize the events of September 11, 2001 as a rupture of social meaning that was later filled in by discourses constructing American national 14 For other work on emotions in the war on terror, see Bleiker and Hutchison (2008) and Tuathail (2003). Criticisms of these works are offered in Chapters Two and Three.

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184 of change, as they a re characterized by a void of meaning that might be deliberately constructed a structural gap that has to be filled, a situation of fragmentation and indeterminacy opened by crises and the identities that are subsequently constructed lies in the social acts of agents that attempt to fix and stabilize meanings. Since meaning structures are both ruptured and changed by crises, the creation and transmission of meaning through discourse is the driving factor behind political change (Nabers 2009, 193). Regarding the events of September 11, 2001, constructing Americ 2). 6) language failed to adequately or consistently regulate the meaning of the 11 as a crisis, the act of its construction was erased from memory and the void it filled was partially forgotten as it was retrospectively re Togeth er Nabers and Holland offer a partial link between, on the one hand, what extant constructivist and discourse analyses tell us about the social construction of the war on terror and, on the other hand, what a Lacanian approach uncovers. Their discussions and analyses of

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185 relation to disrupted social meanings. In other wor ds, they do not theorize the social effects of meanings as such. However, some of their analyses do indirectly illustrate the kind of progressive symbolization that t ook place after September 11, 2001 on which basis nebulous affects were articulated into more defined emotions and attached to master signifiers that justified their meaning conducted aft er September 11, 2001 captures one aspect on this process. Holland draws upon individual interviews conducted in the days and weeks after September 11, 2001. While many commentators and scholars have discussed how the shock of (see Campbell, 2002; Edkins, 2002), Holland offers samples of how this shock was received by many: It was unspeakable (Hiller 2001, quoted in Holland 2009, 279). [It] made it difficult t o talk point, it was very difficult. (Bisson 2001, quoted in Holland 2009, 279). 2009, 279). 2001, quoted in Holland 2009, 279). 279). The events were sufficiently shocking that the discursive resources availa ble to most Americans 11 created resulted from two primary factors: the shattering of the foundational

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186 myths of U S security culture and the res This silence, however, did not last long. Various discourses began competing to define the the events. Public understandings began to be (re)produced and articulated through official interpretations as time went on. Themes of nationalism and defining the new enemy were frequently expressed. [It was a] crime against humanity (Gospodarek 2001, quoted in Ho lland 2009, 285). general (Kyriagis 2001, quoted in Holland 2009, 285). How can they live among us and not see kindness? (Chapman 2001, quoted in Holland 2009, 285). [We should ] take care of the situation no matter what the c War, whatever . we need to strike back ten times harder than While Nabers (2009) a nd Holland (2009) frame their analyses in terms of the discursive construction of meaning of September 11, 2001, re ad through a Lacanian lens, these analyses are most define social meanings, and after September 11, 2001 the disintegration of meaning opened the analysis in particular implicitly shows is that the stakes in the discursive politics following September 11, 2001 was not only the competition for the hegemony of social meanings, but that the channeling of affects was occurring simultaneously. As the fi rst set of quotes from Holland (2009, 279) imply, it was not just social meanings that were unsettled, but the affective responses to the events were seemed the only words available to try to

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187 symbolize wh at had happened. Familiar discursive tropes no longer seemed adequate to express that shock experienced. Yet, with no such resources available to make sense of what had happened, no definable emotional response was yet possible. As one person indicated, were not up to the task of giving contour to the experience. Only after the spread of official discourses did emotional responses begin to take sha pe. Official discourses were reproduced conduits through which af fects could be articulated and brought forth into Symbolic reality. The progressive symbolization that constructed recognizable emotional responses su ch as ger in isolation gives us access to nothing overlap between all three registers of human social reality the Symbolic, Imaginary, and the Real. Yet, our stronges t attachments form as Real attachments. The affects experienced after perhaps better understood as initially unstructured potential. They were Real in the Lacani an sense of remaining outside the discursive frameworks of the Symbolic order, affective potentials that escaped efforts to articulate them into everyday categories of emotional recognition. It was only after prominent fantasy discourses began to re orien t national desire and jouissance around

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188 was acted out that it became possible to articulate more definable emotions. A helpful way to understand this shift from affects to nameable emotions affect bound to signifiers is through the metaphors discussed in the previous chapter about the relationship help in underst anding how affects remain outside the discursive bounds of the Symbolic order, yet nevertheless have an impact on that order. Just as we cannot know the forceful potential of a river before it flows through the passages and mechanics of a dam, we similarl y cannot have direct access to affects except through the discourses which we use to talk about them. It is only through the passages of the dam that the force of the river can be determined and utilized. However, once it passes through the dam, the rive r is not the same as it was before. The dam both impedes and shapes the force of the river. Likewise, it is only through the discourses and representations of the Symbolic order that the force of affects can be understood, even if discourse in some sense impedes those affects, and even if discourses shape affects into more specific emotional directions that distorts their initial potential. The progressive symbolization ions, even if articulate social meanings, but more importantly signal a bringing into Symbolic existence of affects that were inexpressible, which later came to be named with more conventional emotional

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189 signifiers. Just as the dam shapes the force of the river, so did discourses of the war on terror construct a national/collective subject which offered people a way to channel the affective ambiguity of their identifications into a shared the jouissance that they presumed had b een lost at the moment of trauma. Yet, this jouissance that was presumed to be lost was the retroactive presupposition by subjects that something identifications with th at national subject, and the affective pulsations constitutive of them, were, for a time, vividly open on September 11, 2001, as some of the above statements suggest. R ead through a Lacanian framework analyses go some way in illustrating the affective discursive dynamics of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath. Yet their arguments about the power of the war on terror explicitly neglect to incorporate affective or emotional power. Their focus on social meaning s, rather than the infusion of affect and discourse, limits their ability to fully explain the resonance of the war on terror discourse explain why certain discourses resonate the acceptance of a discourse depends on its credibility, and this will not be granted if its 285) offers a similar explanation. Regarding September 11, 2001 spe cifically, he argues: remarkable job m from a resonance was aided by the scale and shock of 9 11 combined with the relative

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190 paucity of alternative crisis narratives; the void strategically selected in favor of the constru ction of crisis mobilized by the Bush government (Holland 2009, 285). Nabers and Holland are certainly correct in pointing out that discourses must be credible nalyses of the war on terror by only examining the rhetorical content and social meanings of post 9/11 discourses, they neglect how affects and began shortly afterwards. On some level, the resonance of the construction of September 11, by the Bush administration, as Holland (2009, 285) asserts. Yet, it was not merely the lack of discursive alternatives that explains the traction that th e official discourse gained. 15 Certain possibilities were efficacious not only because there may have been a lack of discursive competition, but also because people became more affectively and emotionally invested in some discourses and not others. T a somatic marker (2009, 287 89), drawing upon Gearid Tuathail (2003), who in turn draws olly (2002, 35) 15 The notion that there w as 15) points out, there were various commentators at the time argued that Septem ber 11, 2001 should be conceived as an attack by Saudi Arabian radicals, as a result of a threat posed by internal American Muslims who could not be assimilated into American culture, as a criminal act, or as a crime against humanity.

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191 imbued, preliminary orientations to perceptions and judgment scale down the material factored into cost benefit analyses, principled judgments, and reflective serves as a linguistic and affective symbol that condensed an entire set of collective meanings and feelings once its content had been fixed by the hegemonic project of the war on terror. That tions to perception, feeling and action generated by the somatic marker of r signifier. While Holland and Toal are justified in emphasizing the affective dimensions of linguistic symbols that function as somatic markers, a Lacanian approach subsumes these markers under a broader systematic framework that also includes their unav oidably interlacing relationships with other dimensions of social construction, such as fantasy, desire, and discourse. In other words, the somatic marker concept is only one aspect of the social construction process, and lacks integration with other elem ents of discourse and identification that are necessary for understanding the power that particular signifiers and narratives have in interpellating individuals as subjects of/to specific fantasies. The reason why master signifiers have such powerful emot ional appeal is because of their embedding within a particular fantasy narrative and appeal of reaching object a the promise of becoming whole, complete an d harmonious with oneself. The subject identifies with fantasy discourses (structured around master signifiers) because they allow the subject to locate Symbolic being rather than facing the void, or the Real, around which its desire circulates. Rather t can never be fully satisfied (as long as one remains a Symbolic subject), that one can never fully

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192 become whole, that one will always experience frustration, fantasies allow the subject to follow the (illusory) promise of jouissance found in fantasy objects, whatever partial Symbolic (Toal 2003, 859) it released. Conclusion wa frequency and manner in which signifiers that had heavy historical and emotional histories were American political context. For example, passive narcis sistic desire in the Symbolic the desire to be recognized or loved by the Other was frequently evoked after September 11, 2001, as was the Imaginary desire for bodily integrity or unity (passive narcissistic desire in the Imaginary). 16 dynamics within the fantasy offered certain kinds of political identification, which in turn produced a specific type of political subject and it response to the war on terror discourse The discourse after September 11, 2001 took the form of the University disco urse and in it, a powerfully appealing fantasy was offered to those who identified with it. After the trauma of a national tragedy, a fantasy was constructed that offered the promise of recovering a fully whole, harmonious, and healed Nation, i.e. a compl ete subject. The underlying University structure of 16 For a typology of desires in the Symbolic, Imaginary, and Real registers, see Chapter Three.

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193 the war on terror offered a Symbolic contour through which national affects could be articulated fantasy off ered the promise of jouissance (in this case, the repair of national trauma ), yet the promised object was illusory. National wholeness was retroactively posited by the fantasy and in turn produced a subject whose (illusory) lost object is perceived to be recovered through the enactment of the fantasy, which in turn entails a re experience through the Symbolic contours offered by the fantasy. Of course, the war on terror discourse did not begin and end with its con struction of a Symbolic system where in (Bush 2001a). Administration officials pronounced that no distinction would be made between terrorists and those states that aided in their operations. As this continued, the fantasy of the war on terror chann eled the interweaving dynamics of loss, desire, identification, and jouissance long after September 11, 2001. Identifying the dynamics of the fantasy not only offer a deeper picture of the discursive The following chapter continues this investigation and analyzes the politics of desire of on as a part of the war on terror, and the hegemonic politics of contestation identities through equivalence and difference, and the construction of discursive hegemon y, and a I show that the desires and affects that have

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194 previously been neglected by scholarly of the politics of the Iraq war are, in fact, necessary to understanding the political dynamics that helped to make t he idea of war possible in the first place.

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195 CHAPTER 5 THE IRAQ FANTASY AND THE AFFECTIVE POLITI CS OF HEGEMONY Introduction In this chapter I continue my analysis of the affective power of the war on terror discourse More specifically, analyze the a ffective politics of fantasy surrounding the incorporation of Iraq into this discourse and demonstrate that these affective dimensions are necessary to account for the hegemonic contestations constituting American foreign policy discourses on Iraq. Where the previous chapter examined the affective hold of the war on terror, grafting into the war on terror discourse. The chapter proceeds as follows. I first briefly discuss existing scholarly accounts of how Iraq was articulated as a focus in the war on terror. Specifically, I show that these accounts neglect how the dynamics of desire and fantasy made possible the incorporation of Iraq into the war on terror thus making the American invasion account for how Iraq was disc ursively grafted into the discourse. Third, I analyze the construction of subjectivity and fantasy in the major text that grafted Iraq as part of the war on terror, the 2002 Sta te of the Union address. Last I examine the fantasy and affective underpinni ngs of the hegemonic politics of the war on terror. Comparing the discourses of George W. Bush and John Kerry from 2004, I demonstrate how certain powerful nodal points, ned as sites of hegemonic competition for the channeling affective potentials towards certain fantasies. In other words, the politics of discursive hegemony cannot be reduced solely to rhetorical competitions over social meanings. Rather, the affective p olitics of the construction of

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196 subjectivity are crucial in differentiating the varying appeal of discourses. Only by incorporating these hitherto neglected aspects of social construction can we more fully understand the affective power that have produced the power of the discourses of the war on terror and the Iraq war Many accounts now exist of the politics that cast Saddam Hussein and Iraq as part of the war on terror (see for example, Isikoff and Corn 2006; Packer 2005; Ricks 2006; Woodward 2004). T he rhetorical fuzziness that Bush administration officials deployed in making pronouncements about al reproduced in the media has been debated and criticized by many. Some argue that the a dministration intentionally selected intelligence data that bolstered the case for war while ignoring the ambiguity that many in the intelligence community expressed regarding the interpretation of the status of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Others p oint out that American intelligence of American allies (most notably Great Britain) was also mistaken. These particular debates aside, IR scholars who have examined the politics of the Iraq War from critical and constructivist perspectives have made a number of observations and arguments about the rhetorical politics surrounding it. Richard Jackson (2005, 103), for instance, examines the rhetorical confluenc possibility of terrorist attacks from the use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, and conf lated them with states that may supply such weapons to non state terrorists. The administration made this link between terrorists and states appear to be natural and beyond mous is an

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197 Jackson (2005, 107 08) argues, such as allowing the U.S. to target much more broadly definable state actors rather than a small group of individuals. elaborated upon the degree and frequency with which the conflation of these elements was September 11, 2001 constructed a link between terrorism and rogue states. 1 Croft, much like Jackson, rightly points out that the connection between states and terrorism is n ot limited to the immediate period before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but was made right away after September 11, transnational organization (al Qaeda) to immediate (2006, 107). The effect was, again, to define the enemy broadly as to exploit geopolitical opportunities presented by the crisis (2006, 108). The connection between non state terrorists because they could deliver such weapons to terrorist groups. This claim took on a rhetorical life of its own through its repetition and reproduction in the medi only be made because it was consistent with the policy programme; consistent with the discourse discourse only intensifi ed throughout 2002 and early 2003 (Croft 2006 143 44; see also Gershkoff and Kushner 2005; Oren and Solomon 2008). Ronald Krebs and Jennifer Lobasz (2007, 440) also argue that after the State of the Union address in early 2002 on of Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime 1

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198 and white understanding of international politics blurred the distinction between U.S. adversaries s uch as Iraq and al in the wake of September 11, 2001, but was built upon the image that had been repeated in the American public imagination stretching back to the 1991 Gulf War. As Russell Burgos (2008) details, post 9/11 representations of Iraq closely coincided with and reproduced many of the images of Saddam that had become deeply embedded within American foreign policy discourse since the early 1990s. Therefore, while September 11, 2001 opened a window for the become entrenched during the Clinton years (Burgos 2008). between the Iraqi regime and Al Qaeda was established not just through the blunt tactics of continual misrepresentation and exaggeration that have been widely noted but perhaps more through these subtle rhetorical deployments that capitalized on the relatively settled meaning of September 11, ministration. Amy Gershkoff and Shana Kushner (2005) frequent linking of Iraq to September 11, 2001 and the war on terror. As they document (Gershkoff and Kushner 2005, 529), in fall 2002 up through the time of the invasion in March 2003, public support for

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199 the invasion never dropped below 55 percent, and often hovered at a level between 60 and 80 percent (see also Kull, Ramsay, and Lewis 2003/4). All of these arguments and offer important insights into the politics that allowed the idea of striking Iraq to gain significant public support. 2 Yet, a combination of insights from both Lacan and Laclau sheds light on an entire range of crucial factors that most IR scholars examining this issue have thus far neglected the discursive structures, desires in the first place. Just as prominent constructivist stu dies utilize a limited conception of the social construction of the war on terror after September 11, 2001, studies of the politics of the 2003 Iraq war have a relatively limited understanding of the social construction process. While conventional underst andings of social construction are incomplete for a number of reasons (as discussed in the previous chapters), they are also problematic in that they fail to include elements of affects, desires, and fantasies that can offer a much more thorough understand ing of the affective politics of the Iraq war. A more theoretically inclusive understanding of the social construction process can help us identify elements of these political discourses which allowed them to gain as much social traction as they did, that is, through the kinds of political subjects that these fantasies produced. difference and offers an analysis of how the discursive elements that constituted poin ts of identification in the war on terror were (re)produced through these social logics that worked to 2 Other arguments on the politics of the Iraq war discuss the s o 2007; Kaufmann 2004; Krebs and Kaufmann 2005; Thrall 2007), and the role of nationalism in the United States in closest to my concerns here, I address these more directly. But my overall criticism, that most studies of the Iraq id

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200 make the war on terror Iraq linkage seem natural. In doing so, I offer a discourse theoretical ave remained under theorized. I then itself made possible by the desires for subjectivity implicit in the bringing together of certain privileged signifiers. Th University discourse, with largely the same dynamics tying together loss, knowledge, and 9/11 fantasies of the Nation. Equivalence, Metonymy, D esire 3 officials. Its repetition by other major elites, institutions, and media also constituted a coalescence whose effect was to condense many of the discordant elements of wha much more refined tone was taken months later when such governments were portrayed as more uttered in the same sentence s in late 2002 and early 2003. As the p 3 Parts of this section draw upon the analysis in Solomon (2009).

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201 meanings between these signifiers were, to an extent, collapsed during late 2002 and early 2003. As discussed in opposition against which it can draw meaning. This construction of an outside cannot occur this process a logic of insofar as their differences are subverted in their shared opposition to an outside group of signifiers. What they have in common is not som ething positive, but is instead a shared difference with their common outside. American security discourses during this time coalesced around a series of signifiers whose ultimate groundlessness allowed them to be temporarily fastened into chains in which they became meaningful within the war on terror. For example, from the beginning of the war on terror, both the U.S. and the enemy were represented discursively in chains of signifiers that drew their meaning from their differences with each other. The meant in relation to the other, was a circuit of meaning composed of a chain of signifiers articulated 4 4 that their identity is modified as a

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202 of the discourses constituting them. Just as these processes worked to organize signifiers into coherent discourse s in the early months of the war on terror, so were the same processes at work in the discursive incorporation briefings, official institutional documents, and media coverage throughout 2002 and early 2003, logics of equivalence worked to subvert whatever meaningful differences existed between them over their shared extent that the boundaries between them collapsed and that although they were not viewed as synonymous entities, in a sense, th ey did mean the same thing in relation to the threat they posed temporarily fixed in a way that changed whatever previous temporary meaningful fixation they may have been conjectured to have possessed (see Laclau and Mouffe 1985, 105). As the national and international focus on Iraq increased over the course of 2002 and

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203 United Nations weapons inspections eff orts (Cheney 2002). Just as al 2002). Just as the con sh 2002). The discourse that had existed since September 2001 thus provided a background against which a variety of threats could be understood and normalized, whether those threats came from terrorists or Iraq. It was through a privileging of logics of equivalence, over logics of difference, in which or you are wi position of the U.S. and terrorists within the war on terror remained largely the same as the identity and position of the U.S. as (re)produced in reference to Iraq. The same discursive structure that had successfully rendered insecure American subjects in late 2001 had also, by March 2003, successfully interpolated a majority of Americans as insecure against the spectre of

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204 terror as a conflict against terrorists and evil regimes/Iraq collapsed their meanings in a way that discursively (r e)constructed them as the same kind of threat. Both promoted the same ideology non state actors and the threat posed by US designated state sponsors of terrorism was never differentiated in a way that made them threats that warranted being dealt with in different ways. If military action against one was justified, so was it justifi ed against the other. The discursive differences effectively pose the same kind of threat to the U.S., through the dominance of the logic of equivalence that was at work in collapsing the nature of the threats. Yet, a focus only on these dis cursive dynamics themselves can tell us little about the desires and fantasies that underpinned these associations in the first place. Supplementing this Laclauian reading with an application of Lacanian insights on desire is necessary in understanding the appeal of this discourse beyond its overt discursive dynamics as such. nature of desi re, and synthesizing these insights offers a deeper grasp of how national desire was Nation (as elaborated in the previous chapter). Recall that for Lacan, desire Symbolic order. Since the subject is always divided from itself, the desire for an undivided and complete self guides it towards objects it believes will alleviate the persistent sense of anxiety an d lack, thus healing its division. Master signifiers are often discursive objects that subjects desire, since their significance within the Symbolic order instills them with a sense of value

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205 which makes them appealing. However, desire does not engage sol ely with master signifiers, but American national/collective subject in the war on terror was frequently constructed around the identification, albeit sometimes less directly, and often in conjunction with master signifiers. togeth constituted. Lacan (2006, 421) calls this feature of language metonymy, the way in which signifiers form links to each other. Metonymy allows for not only the construction of l inguistic chains, but also the Symbolic channels along which desire for subjectivity is guided. As Mark Bracher (2003, 50) explains, in a chain and ultimatel y an entire network that provides the pathways along which identification 39). Desire is what allows for equivalent and metonymic associations in the first place. Desire is what allows for the sticking togeth er of representation. Desire, however, is continually frustrated in its shifts along these discursive rs seems to promise the full representation and whole sense of self that the subject seeks, but each signifier on its own fails to provide the satisfaction it appears to offer. Thus, desire shifts from signifier to signifier continually without ever touch while simultaneously

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2 06 identities are mutually constitutive, insofar as they necessarily draw their meaning from their opposition to each other, Amer ican desires are both satisfied and frustrated within the war on able to achieve some level of (provisional) Symbolic stability. There is a kind of partial satisfaction in the limited representation that these signifi ers do provide. Yet, when desire signifiers draw their meaning i n the first place. This understanding of the infusion of discourse and desire can shed significantly more politics surrounding Iraq in 2002 and early 2003 were certainly political calculations by foreign policy elites. In another sense, however, the effects of this discourse on audiences cannot be self especially in the wake of September 11, is a never ending project, because so long as the subject exists i n Symbolic reality, it will always be split between its representation by signifiers and an ineffable sense of frustration that it always feels is not captured by its Symbolic representatives. On the never ending nature of desire, Lacan (2006, 431) argues derangement of instinct than the fact that it is caught in the rails of metonymy, eternally

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207 extending toward the desire for something else even argues t is original). Desire, then, is effected through a series of substitutions. Signifiers in a common chain are substitutable for each other insofar as their meanings are defer red to each other (logic of equivalence), and are opposed to signifiers in excluded chains (operating through a logic of flow and are frustrated through thes e Symbolic channels. In this sense, then, the inclusion of and white understanding of international politics blurred the dist signifying complex in which American national security discourses attempted to cover over loss with the construction of a coherent national self. The same structures of desire that had operated in the chains of equivalence constructing American and terrorist identities after September 11, 2001 operated in the same manner in rela progressively grafted into the discourse. 5 The frustration of desire over the lack of a coherent came to substit national desire in reference to them, and channeling desire towards the narrative that offered a 5 symbolic role of Saddam Hussein in security discourses following the 1991 Gulf War.

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208 Indeed, blockages or obstacles to the construction of the subject are always part of a fantasy allowing the subject to deal with the contingency and ambiguity of its identifications. Desire is always embedded within a particular fantasy structure that offers the subject a promise of fully be coming itself. Thus, desire cannot be understood apart from fantasy, jouissance and object a Nor can the effects of these factors be grasped without understanding their mutual relations with regard to each other, as structured by a particular form of d and fantasies underpinning the war on terror Iraq discourse. Doing so allows a deeper understanding of both the promise of subjectivit y offered to audiences and its affective appeal, on terror discourse. Grafting Iraq and Terror: State of the Union, 2002 While there were many thousands of texts that helped to solidify the synthesis of Iraq and the war on terror (such as speeches, daily press briefings, policy documents, news media coverage, think tank reports, the prounouncements of pundits etc. ), the February 2002 State of the Union addr ess in particular stands out as a key moment in this synthesis Thomas Ricks (2006, 38 Union address Iraq. The first speech had done the targeting that is, stated the goal. The West Point speech provided the doctrinal, or intellectual, rational namely, the strategy of preemption. According to Bob Woodward (2004, 925, 130 3), this State of the Union garnered

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209 Although major portions of the annual State of the Union add ress are typically devoted to Bush offered a narrative that (re)con structed events since September 11, 2001, focusing on the rebuilding efforts in New York and Washington, D.C., and the military campaign in Afghanistan, along with some briefer mentions of some domestic agenda items such as taxes and education. Of course, the most memorable passage in the speech regarded foreign policy, when the to terrorism and their drive to obtain weapons of mass destruction. Discourse S tru cture As with the speech of September 20, 2001, there are a number of moves in the February State of the Union whose significance for the construction of subjectivity can be understood ing the speech with a and then moves to offer reassurance in the form of valued master signifiers (evoking Symbolic passive narcissistic desire), stating that the American movement appears several times, in which the lack of security is brought to the forefront which sparks the desire for a body of knowledge that will offer a sense of stability. Then, almost immediately, a body of knowledge S 2 is offered in the form of a coherent and meani ngful $ constitutively split between their representation by the battery of signifiers offered in the new body of knowledge S 2 and that which is missing fr om the narrative.

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210 University Discourse: S 2 a S 1 $ In this manner, the identification dynamics and discourse structures of this speech largely reproduce the structure found in the first major articulation of the war on terror on September 20, 2001. T he bulk of the State of the Union is driven by the dynamics of the University discourse. The body of knowledge constructing the social reality S 2 occupies the Agent position. The new social reality S 2 is offered as commo nsense apart from the political perspective of Bush the individual, yet is implicitly driven by a fascination of the possibilities of American power itself, the master signifier S 1 and embodied in words like fiers function as sites upon which a range of meanings are written, which implicitly carry the main messages of the speech. For instance, will not escape the have known freedom's price. We have shown freedom's power. And in this great conflict, my implications are, again, offered as self choice more clear or for 2 incorporating Iraq was constructed, thus conferring upon it a power of agency that transce nded the particular individuals offering it. For

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211 in just facing the facts we have to recognize that terrorist networks have relationships with terrorist states that have weapons of mass destruction, and that they inevitably are going to get their hands on them, and they would not hesitate one minute in using them. Croft 2006, 139, emphasis added). Similarly, in March 2002 CIA Director Georg e Tenet testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that Iraq had close ties to terrorism, that they had contacts with al Qaeda, and that their mutual hatred of the US suggested an alliance. As debate, having a particular knowledge denied to others. The President built upon these out the case for bringing about change in Iraq with increasing Iraq of agency because it is viewed as operating apart from political perspective. The position that this discourse structure offers an audience both provides a fantasy space is perpe tually insecure, so long as it remain s within the University structure. The fantasy underlying the University the State of the Union is close to that of the September 20, 2001 speech. Recall at that time, shortly after the attacks, the obscure f antasy object was the Nation Thing, the object that was promised by the fantasy that would make the subject whole and fully secure if only the sed their eradication.

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212 fantasy object is constituted on a much grander scale, which inversely corresponds to a more insecure subject. In the State of the Union, blocking the construction of a fully whole and secure American subject, but other signifiers such hough, is not only Thing. A much grander fantasy is offered that broadens the kind of subject the discourse attempts to construct. anta entire world because they are right and true and unch Fantasy and Identification This expanded vision of the war on terror functions as a fantasy in the way it attempts to cover over loss inability to fully construct the Nation and the subject of the and a peaceful planet not as elusive goals possible one day in the distant future, but as possible in the short term, if only the few obstacles are confronted. The audience is offered a fantasy that not only promises a sense of wholeness and security, but offers a Symbolic promise that rises above any conflict or antagonisms th at could otherwise be conceivable with the endeavors

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213 constructs are retroactively presupposed as existing were it not for the few obstacles to these fantasized endpoint s. However, this fantasy, like every fantasy, necessarily fails due to the gap between the Symbolic reassurance that it offers and the Real that always escapes Symbolic representation. The role of fantasy is to offer a narrative which allows the subjec t to avoid the anxiety, paralysis, and division inherent in being a subject. Fantasy discourses posit a promised endpoint, or goal, which offers the potential for the alleviation of fear and anxiety. Yet, as long as the subject remains a subject within t he Symbolic order, divided between its representation in signifiers and a ) that escapes representation, the subject will always be divided. Indeed, this division is necessary to exist as a subject. Without division there is no desire, and without desire there is no subject. The fantasy offered in the Iraq war on terror discourse functions in this manner. Sweeping claims about world peace that only the United States is positioned to deliver represen ts the promised end of the fantasy. Rather than acknowledging the impossibility of fulfilling desire and the ultimate impossibility of reaching the fantasy take s this deadlock into account by condensing its failure in the figures of the were secure world peace and a secure Nation In other words, the only not the countless other constraints that would presumably accompany such an endeavor, and certainly not the recognition of the inherent ontolo gical impossibility of constructing a full and stake of social ideological fantasy is to construct a vision of society which does exist, a society

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214 fissure is masked. In other words, fantasy is a means for an ideology to take its own failure into account in advance sense of self it must present some impediment, some scapegoat, upon which the frustration of the self can be projected, so that the realization of its impossibility can be avoided. a a ), the University discourse positions object a (in the position of a receiving Other) between the subject $ (in the position of product) and the body of knowledge S 2 offered (in the position of agent). As discussed above, what this means is not that object a itself is hailed by knowledge S 2 as agent, since a is not an object that cannot be made to exist in Symbolic reality. As the object cause of desire, object a is absent, and represents the place of loss. What S 2 hails, then, is the absence or point of failure in the discourse where the a supposed to have had a secure Nation and world peace were it not for the sole figures of terrorists and Saddam Hussein. This fantasy sutured Nation and a terror free world) that the fantasy posits as lost. Yet, the lost object itself was only retroactively constructed as such by the fantasy. The war on terror Iraq discour se is predicated upon the idea of a fully secure America and a world peace that is threatened by terrorists and Iraq, but these notions themselves are the Symbolic representatives upon which the impossibility of a complete national subject is projected. T he fantasy must offer some explanation for why the desire for a

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215 an American subject remains unacknowledged, and the inherent ambiguity of identification is blockages offered terrorists and rogue states like Iraq. Thus, bot h frustration and partial satisfaction are offered through the State of the Union discourse. Partial satisfaction of jouissance The jouissance implied through the pursuit of the fantasy is appeali ng to subjects who desire to identify with a stable jouissance attained through identification with the collective subject constructed in the speech (Miller 2000, 37). How ever, frustration is experienced through the ultimate, and inevitable, failure of the fantasy to fully procure the jouissance it implies. The collective subject is thus incomplete, and the identification it offered to audiences pulsated between both lack and fullness, satisfaction and frustration, and presence and absence. This interpellative appeal of the fantasy resonates on an affective level through the spaces created for an audience in terms of both the image and the gaze. The speech paints a vari ety of sense of corporal security. A few of the more vivid examples illustrate such imagery: gas to murder thousands of its own c itizens leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their

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216 register, the de sire for bodily well being. These threats to the Imaginary body are part of a constellation of desires presumably evoked by the speech. Active narcissistic desire in the to mind with the positive imagery of brave Americans and military successes, as is Symbolic passive narcissistic desire (the desire to be recognized or loved by the Other, often through the embodiment of the values represented by master signifiers, such a Identification with such images, however, only works in conjunction with identification through and 110) argues that identification with images is always subordinate to identification with the gaze. Identification with images is appealing because of the position from which subjects imagine themselves being seen as identifying with the images. The fantasized position from which we see ourselves as likeable is what gu ides gaze of the object at us that influences the way in which we identify with images. Premised the fantasy) the imagined gaze of these objects back at an audience creates a space in which the desires of the audience are encounter with them. A whole American subject and international peace are fantasmatic in the sense that they are both present and absent in/from the discourse. They are presented t o an audience as recognizable and worthy of pursuit, as objects that are desirable which can be spoken of (because, in fact, they can be spoken of) At the same time, they are absent from our current politics, and it is their absence that drives the desir e for subjectivity promised by their recovery.

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217 The fantasy objects are not purely discursive or Symbolic, but instead slip in between the registers of the Symbolic and the Real. In a sense, the promise of subjectivity offered by the lost object(s) of the fantasy is not merely how the subject her/himself sees the object, but how the subject perceives the gaze of the object back at her/him With the gaze of a whole American subject and world peace imagined as projected back toward the subject (in other wor ds, with the potential for such promises seemingly at hand), the subject feels that s/he is expected to desire these objects. Accordingly, the representatio subjectivities offered in the fantasy discourse of the speech, and thus channel the affective dimensions of subjectivity of a receiving audience. The most (in)famous passage from the speech concisely illustr ates some of these themes: States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide the se arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their h atred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic (Bush 2002). Read through a Lacanian lens on terror is constituted by much more than merely represe ntations of us and them. W e are that values one and demonizes the other. However, as demonstrated here, the complex dynamics of desires and the interweaving movements of subjectivity and affect consti tute the conditions of possibility Like the September 20, 2001 speech, the identification dynamics of the State of the Union speech were largely driven by that which is absent

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218 is always held as just out of most ine xpressible aspects of identification, constitute the strongest and most appealing points of affective attachment to the subjectivity the fantasy offers. The Hegemonic P olitics of the W ar on T error F antasy A Lacanian reading of the grafting of Iraq into the war on terror demonstrates that the social construction processes involved in the politics of the Iraq war were much more complex than existing IR formulations antasy of This continual definition was achieved through the ways in which desire and fantasy were organized through the structure of the University discourse, whi ch in turn channeled the affective appeals of these discourses. While the president was obviously not the only speaker who helped to articulate the discourse, Jackson (2005, 154) notes how the war on terror remained consistent and coherent across a variet y of speakers (not to mention media and institutional contexts [Croft 2006]) without significant deviations from the main narrative. This is not to say, of course, that there was no political contestation in the shaping of the oach reminds us, the politics of discursive hegemony is always a some discourses do achieve dominance to the extent that they are able to crowd out competing di scourses, they must maintain this dominance through constant articulation. Discourses require continual maintenance. Hegemony, however, does not occur solely on a rhetorical level. Something beyond rhetoric itself must account for the political success of some discourses over others. Not every signifier or discourse is an equal site of affective investment, and those that

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219 are more successful (in terms of becoming more dominant) than others evoke stronger desires and thus have a greater affective appeal. The stakes in the construction of hegemony are not just which a majority of subjects will find a sense of wholeness, what Lacan calls jouissance The ways in which the war on terror was able to marginalize alternative discourses has not, of course, gone unnoticed. As several scholars have noted, the hegemonic power of the Iraq war on terror discourse was demonstrated not only in its pervasiveness in Am erican culture and society (see Croft 2006), but also in the fact that many politicians did not, or politically could make this point in their argument that C unsustainable arguments against the Iraq war: in the rhetorical obstacles erected after September 11. The establis hment of the War on Terror as the organizing discourse in foreign policy, in combinations with the existing portrait of Saddam Hussein as evil and as a terrorist, deprived leading Democrats of socially sustainable arguments with which to oppose the adminis been left without access to the rhetorical materials needed to craft an acceptable rebuttal. What they could do and what they did was raise questions about the timing and circum stances of an invasion. The boundaries of sustainable rhetoric had been narrowed after September 11, limiting the space for vocal opposition (Krebs and Lobasz 2007, 445). The ability of the war on terror to crowd out other narratives and opposition cri ticism is do with the constitution of the subject and the struggl

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220 rhetorically boxing in opponents. 6 Indeed, the main question explored by this chapter is how we can understand the appeal of the war on terror Iraq discourse beyond their rhetorical construction as such. Somet necessary fixity and appeal to crowd out other competing discourses in the first place. As ly because it fills the air or books; it is effective when it works on the desires that trigger particular meaning there must be something else at work that ex focus of this chapter has turned toward not only how hegemonic discourses are able to displace others by leaving opponents without the linguistic resources to effectively counter them, but also how to under stand the grasp of these discourses that gives them fixity and subtle, but powerful, affective appeal in the first place. I have argued that national discourses of the Iraq war were powerful precisely because of the affective attachments people had to the m. These fantasies offered the promise of fully healing the subject of the Nation by eliminating the sole obstacles presented to its frustration. This national fantasy had such a successful affective appeal not merely because it offered familiar rhetoric al tropes of national identity to people, but more fundamentally because it offered a construction of a subject that allowed people to avoid the instability and insecurity effects of the Real at the heart of their identification processes. It is these p rocesses of affective identification that are fundamentally at stake in hegemonic competition. Employing the combined insights of both Lacan and Laclau, we can see how fantasy discourses, with their powerfully appealing promise of reaching the missing and 6 Krebs and Loba subjectivity of targeted actors. An exploratio n of these similarities is worthy of a paper in itself.

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221 a ), are fought over by political forces that seek to define the Symbolic anchors around which fantasies cohere. This kind of competition was clearly evident in the politics surrounding the war on t error and the Iraq war. A particularly illustrative example can be found in the dueling speeches by President Bush and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry given at the Republican and Democratic Presidential nomination conventions during the 2004 election campaign. Each speech was constituted by numerous attempts to define the nodal points (or, master signifiers) of American political discourse in particular ways. As Krebs and Lobasz (2007) argue, Democrats, Kerry included, were ultimately hemmed in by speaking from within the discursive confines of the war on terror. More specifically, though, we see in them the attempt by different political forces to fill in the ultimately empty content of American nodal points, constituting implicitly competi ng attempts to channel the affective investments within the war on terror Iraq fantasy. 7 Both party convention speeches include much of the typical material one expects from such performances stances on party faithful. The Bush (2004) and Kerry (2004) speeches are also notable for the ways in examples of the nodal points around which American political discourse was anchored at the 7 By looking at these two texts from 2004, I obviously do not claim that they had an impact on the Iraq war debate prior to the start of the war in March 2003. I analyze these texts simply as an i llustrative example of discursive competition to hegemonize the nodal points of American political debates at the time. Although there was always ntil

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222 were arguably ones that play ed a major role in constructing American identification at the time. 8 time it is technically left undefined, its political meaning can be implied when put into c ontext: I learned what it meant to be America at our best. I learned the pride of our freedom. And I am determined now to restore that pride to all who look to America (Kerry 2004). from where the sons and daughters of liberty gave birth to our nation, here tonight, on b ehalf of a new birth of freedom I accept your nomination for president of the United States (Kerry 2004). And tonight, we have an important message for those wh o question the patriotism of Americans who offer a be tter direction for our country. Before wrapping themselves in the flag and shutting their eyes to the truth and their ears, they should remember what America is really all about. They should remember t he great idea of freedom for which so many have given their lives. Our purpose now is to reclaim our democracy itself (Kerry 2004). from which Kerry attempts to claim it as a value whose meaning is not defined by Bush, but whose more is opposed greement and Republican claims about the nature of the war. These are discursive efforts both to contest 8 Nabors (2009, 204) analyz

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223 speech refer back. This re ferent, due to its intrinsic ambiguity, is a kind of discursive blank slate upon which a number of different meanings are articulated. It defines the founding essence of o the Bush administration are condensed into this signifier which, among others, functions as a nodal point which his opposition politica l force attempts to claim for itself. from the Bush administration not only work to temporarily fill in these words with particular meanings, but they in fact point discourse: $ S 1 a S 2 jouissance is conflicted, since the subject $ feels that s/he is not adequately represented by the master signifiers which are currentl y dominant in a society. The split subject $ is in the position of agent here, which means that the discourse is governed by a mode of questioning, resistance, and protesting. The subject $ is driven by dissatisfaction underpinned by the lack of that whi ch will give her/him a sense of wholeness (object a in the position of truth), and seeks a new signifier that offers such a promise (Lacan 2007, 129). As such, the subject $ interrogates the

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224 current master signifiers S 1 which are dominant, hoping that th e Symbolic order, the Other, will offer something else that will alleviate its frustration, dissatisfaction, and anxiety. Yet, as long as the subject $ remains in this structure, all the current master signifier s S 1 are able to do are to offer is to offer a barrage of meanings that are currently defined by the master S 1 which produces a system of knowledge S 2 (in the product position). Yet this does not satisfy the subject $, since s/he is shielded from her/his desire for the missing object a which is w hat s/he $ is seeking. Politically, this is obvious a large part of the Kerry campaign was based upon criticism of the Bush administration. Yet, what is not obvious is that the particular kind of subject produced by constituted by its protesting, and is left without a signifier of its own that can offer it the kind of stability it implicitly seeks. M any of the major passages in the speech are, on the surface, criticisms of the current order S 2 o change the world, but challenges to the prevailing definitions political values. He asserts that we will not be militarily su

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225 Each of these criticisms, and others in the speech, can be understood not only as part isan political attacks, but more generally as a discourse whose subject $ is dissatisfied with the integrity Kerry asserts, and by rejecting the prevailing definition of how those ideals are defined by current master signifiers S 1 will we be able to reclaim their proper understandings. Only when we reject the Bush will their genuine meanings shine through (Kerry 2004). Discursively, each of these disapprovals is a rejection of the signifiers offered by the current System (S 1 ), represented by the Bush administration policies urse is driven by its division $, its frustration with its interrogation of the master signifiers S 1 currently dominant in the Symbolic order, and the deployment of a body of knowledge S 2 defined by the current master (represented by the Bush administratio n) only further frustrates the protesting subject. a is in the position of latent truth suppo rting the divided subject $. The split subject $ is separated from its missing object (under the bar). At several moments in the speech a re currently lacking. W e must he proposes, and we must take back the

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226 partially point to a sense that th e country is not currently what it should be. The current order S 2 does not represent the chain of words that partially represent what we are missing point s to the fantasy of this discourse. position). As such, it constructs a subject $ that is split between its representation in a chain of signifiers (S 1 ) and tha t which it feels is missing, but would offer a sense of completeness if recovered (object a ). Yet, what precisely is missing is not part of Symbolic reality, but resides outside of it. The enjoyment ( jouissance ) that the subject feels is lacking is, stri ctly speaking, indefinable for this reason. It remains outside of Symbolic reality because it cannot adequately what is lacking without ever definitively meaning s, but here they are articulated as all overlapping, as chain of equivalences whose meanings refer back to one another. They are deployed to express some quality that is viewed as underlying and similar to all of them. They each attempt to capture a part of what is missing, yet none by itself adequately represents what this is. Here, object a (under the bar latently supporting the divided subject $) is the sense that something is wrong, amiss, and lacking

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227 without being able to directly attach an adequate signifier that fully represents it. This sense is prese nt and absent from the discourse. Its partially articulated character drives the desire for its (re)capture, and this absence offers the most affectively appealing, and most inarticulable, aspect of the speech. For Kerry and his campaign, there is the se hijacked by the current administration, who has misused them to disastrous effects. Only by from them, will America once again of the fantasy is, of course, to vote for Kerry. The place of the missing object in the discourse, the place of object a also points to the objet petit a particular understandings of universals and particulars are useful here. Within hegemonic struggles, some political force s are successful in re inscribing the ambiguous content of spreading the values of democracy and liberty across the globe, this does not mean that this meaning, since its meaning (like any other signifier) only comes from its embedding within a object a functions when a particular object is seen to embody the promise of full subjectivity

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228 (when an norm words), the logic of hegemony is at work when different political forces attempt to articulate As hegemony is nothing more than the investment, in a partial object, of a fullness which will There are a few noda text. It is able to do so through its constitutive ambiguity. Once again, it the signifier t hat simultaneously defines the founding essence of America, defines America in reference to the enemy, and is a word that can be deployed in a criticism of political opposition whose policies attempts to fill in this nodal point with his own preferred meaning. As a central signifier (among others), it helps to define nodal point is also implicitly supp orted by a fantasy scenario which offers the promise of jouissance that has, in a sense, been blocked by the Bush administration. In doing so, the discourse sparks the desire for its recovery, since it is constructed as something central to who with the affective appeal of the jouissance it seems to promise the audience. secondar y signifiers that construct the system of knowledge S 2 within which the master signifiers S 1 identifications. Kerry deploys a number of other valued signifiers (s een as valued, that is, in the

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229 throughout the speech. As Kerry (2004) narrate family, faith, ha n the terms are also deployed often in the speech, such as represent it and those that attempt to repair the lack of what the subject is believed to be missing. A multiplicity o n the Symbolic order. This chain of equivalences does not merely construct American identification within the text, but signifiers constitutes a discursive attempt to both what can be spoken in discourse, and that which cannot be fully articulated but can only

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230 is present in the se features, that appears only circle around the national Thing that the y all attempt to represent directly. Yet, this national Thing is not something essential or fundamental, but is simply the lack of the fully expressible sub ject, courses and flows along the equivalential words that attempt to represent it. Each of from how the current administration understands it, or from how i t is defined in the current political order S 2 would wield them as cynical political tools to sup supported valued terms in a way that construct Laclau, this is precisely the function of hegemony values with particular and contingent meanings. And, I would add, a particular and co ntingent fantasy that channels the desires and affects sustaining them.

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231 Just as desire holds together this chain of equivalences represent ing the nation, so does a chain of equivalential signifiers attempt to express that which the national subject is believed to be missing. Kerry offers a range of terms to express the sense of frustration with the current political order S 2 convey what exactly the nation is missing. Each represent wh to pin down and name the Thing that is lacking points precisely to its indefinability. What exactly is missing is partially represented in the array of signifiers that Kerry presents to name particular meanings Kerry inscribes upon them. al points with his own preferred particular meanings, his text (2004) concedes much to the existing security discourse: known before (Kerry 2004) And then, with confidenc e and determination, we will be able to tell the terrorists: freedom (Kerry 2004) I am proud that after September 11 th for unity to meet the danger (Kerry 2004) He accepts that there is, and that there is a need for, a war on terror. The enemy is new, unknown, and nebulous, closely reproducing existing portraits repeated since September 11, 2001 (see Jackson, 2005). While later in the speech Kerry (2004) argues for a different approach

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232 sedimented version of the Bush discursive role. underpinning the expansive vision of the war on terror as the simultaneous elimination of terrorists and the aggressive and robust promotion of democracy: The terrorists are fighting freedom with all their cunn ing and cruelty because freedom is their greatest fear. And they should be afraid, because freedom is on the march (Bush 2004) The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom (Bush 2004) I believe all these things because freedom is not America 's gift to the world; it is the almighty God's gift to every man and woman in this world (Bush 2004) Now we go forward, grateful for our freedom, faithful to our cause, and confident in the future of the greatest nation on Earth (Bush 2004) understanding of what the war on terror is, and what it should be. Not only is it a justification/rationalization for an American mission to engage in particular kinds of foreign role in constructing American identification through the narrative. As with most of the other major texts constructing the war on terror, this one als o fits well with the University discourse. (re)constructing the same narrative and the same underlying fantasy of the Nation as had been offered since September 11, 2001. Master signifiers S 1

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233 2 which has the effect of producing a subject $ divided between its representation in the signifiers offered by the narrative S 2 a Logics of equivalence and difference, sustained by desire and fantasy, construct both in different ways the national/collective subject. Desire for a wh discourse is circuited along these chains of signification, yet none offers the full representation, the jouissance that each seems to promise to the subject they designate This chain of American identification draws its d ifferences against the chain that constructs the other within the speech. given in 2004, Saddam Hussein and the Taliban are still others that are referenced to help define the threatening other, simultaneously drawing a boundary hegemonic logic of his text. The discursive endeavors to inscribe upon these ultimately signifiers (composing the chains of equivalences) are the attempts to define, to hegemonize, the through them.

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234 In one regard these two texts can be understood within the broader American presidential election climate of 2004 as instances where two parties fought over who will successfully articulate the master signifiers of American political debate, such significantly, in terms of constructions of the national subject, this competition can be understood through the coinciding logics of discursive hegemony and object a However, as the differences in these two speeches demonstrate, no hegemonic definition is ever total. The simple Laclau (2005, 70) speak Particular meanings can come to embody the universal nodal points around which political debate coheres, yet the inevitable instability of every hegemony means that total discur sive closure is impossible. As a contest between the Bush and Kerry discourses to achieve hegemony, from the was because it was less appealing in an affectiv (University) structure and continued to offer the same fantasy to audiences, a fantasy that had w as largely devoted to offering the same kind of affectively secure subject that it had offered since September 11, 2001. In this case, the fantasy promise of the Nation, of reaching a point of acles that blocked our

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235 fulfillment, was more appealing than the constitutively insecure subjectivity offered by the Kerry signifiers offered by the Bush administrat ion, protesting the subject constructed by them, not to constituted by anxiety and insecurity, not stability and security. We can contrast this with the Univer 2 implicitly sustained by the force of master signifiers S 1 frequently offer audiences a more secure discourse with which to identify fantasy because it did not offer a strong promise of subjectivity as it had been defined by the war this object was being blocked n ot by some foreign enemy, but by the Bush administration. When Kerry discussed terrorists and terrorism, his discourse adopted and maintained the same implicit or as a University discourse. Additionally, it is worth noting that the discursive structures underlying both of the speeches are precise (i.e. mirror) opposites. The University discourse tuting it (i.e., knowledge S 2 in the place of agent, master signifiers S 1 as latent truth, object a as other, and the divided subject $ (Hysteric) discourse. One could perhaps argue that Bush and Kerry were, in a sense, speaking different languages. Or, at the very least, they were speaking past each other. discourse necess administration, or offered within the war on terror more generally, was arguably less important in

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236 understanding its success than the desires it evoked and the subtle but powerfully appea ling invitations to secure subjectivity that it offered. As I have argued, most successful discourses are so for these reasons. As David Morrison (2003, 278) points out, The crucial point is that it is not that the subject, who internalizes [the] discour se, is necessarily intellectually convinced by it, but that this subject desires to believe [the] discourse in order to achieve certainty (by suturing the social) and avoid the anxiety of the gap between the symbolic and the real. The successful avoidance via fantasy, of anxiety resulting from the failure of the symbolic marks an eruption of enjoyment within the subject. Thus fantasy is for the subject enjoyable. Thus, perhaps the most crucial elements in understanding how discourses, like the war on ter ror and sustain fantasies that offer a way for people to avoid the anxie ty and ultimate indeterminacy of their identification practices. Hegemony, then, must be underst ood to necessarily encompass the affective dimensions of subjectivity a the universal aspirations embodied in the term) illustrates the component of fantasy underlying the power of nodal points in the first place, and thus their affective appeal. Nodal points/master signifiers are sites of political contestation precisely bec ause of their prominent func tion of the nodal point is not solely reduced to its discursive position. It is supported by signifiers have in terms of the promise of subjectivity that they offer. Like every other dis course, nodal points/master signifiers played a powerful role in the politics of the war on terror and the

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237 s, more deeply, a competition to channel the national fantasy supporting the desire for it and its affective appeal. The struggle was a discursive competition to construct a fantasy of a national subject which subtly invited people to become subjects with simultaneously also the Symbolic manifestation words (1989, 43) affective attachment so stro ng that we cannot (or dare not) interrogate it further, lest insecurity and anxiety set in. It is typically the last assertion, the stopping point, in the tautological and self rrogate doing so, we would realize that far from representing it is instead a securing fantasy which we (re)construct for ourselves to avoid the ultimate ambiguity of the Nation. the partial embodiment of the just out of reach object a re for people whose lack, desires, and identifications had been structured through the fantasy of the war on terror since September 11, 2001. This element of fantasy is crucial for understanding the appeal of the

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238 discourse in terms of what it offered for component of the hegemonic power of the war on terror (Stavrakakis 1999, 82). The Iraq discourse was not merely a rhetorical struggle over its soci al meaning, but more fundamentally was a contest over how the discourse of the national fantasy would be channeled, and thus what kinds of political subjects would be (re)produced by it. Conclusion This chapter has attempted to demonstrate the necessit y of accounting for the affective underpinnings of the discursive grafting of Iraq into the war on terror, and the affective dimensions of the politics of discursive hegemony. I first offered a critical review of existing arguments and analyses that IR sc holars have offered on how Iraq was incorporated through is necessary for more fully understanding the equivalences that account for this discursive merger t hrough an analysis of the 2002 State of the Union address. I then analyzed the affective politics of discursive hegemony in dueling speeches by two opposing political forces. George the struggles that occur over the definitions and re inscriptions of common American nodal points, but also must be understood to channel the desires and affects of audiences through the respective fantasies that they offered. The affective dimension of hegemony is one that has largely yet to be incorporated into IR scholars accounts for foreign policy and national security discourses. The analyses and arguments offered in this chapter were addressed to specific gaps in both the IR theoretical litera ture and in recent work on the war on terror and the Iraq war. What this chapter has not offered, however, is a historical analysis of the genealogical roots of the war on terror. Several scholars have examined how the war on terror has relied upon a var iety of

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239 historical narratives that are deeply embedded both within American foreign relations and American culture more broadly. Many have noted how elements of the war on terror bear a close structural resemblance to the operating assumptions of the Cold long established notions of American exceptionalism. One strand of thought that arguably had a ach to foreign affairs was neoconservatism. Indeed, many commentators, both popular and academic, have poured over the links between neoconservatives and the Bush administration, and the disproportionate t term. Although several IR scholars have examined neoconservatism and its relevance to the war on terror, few have analyzed its affective power. Neoconservatism has been a vocal and influential movement in American foreign policy for at least three deca des, stretching back to the 1970s. Although neoconservatism likely reached its peak during its time in the halls of power after September 11, 2001, its influence on American foreign policy over time has been a story of ups and downs, ebbs and flows. The affective dynamics of the rise and fall of neoconservatism suggest untapped theoretical and empirical questions worth asking, and are the subject of the next chapter.

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240 CHAPTER 6 THE AFFECTIVE POWER OF NEOCONSERVATISM: PART I T he truth is that the benev olent hegemony exercised by the United States is good arrangement than all realistic alternatives. To undermine it would cost many others around the world far more tha n it would cost Americans and far sooner. Robert Kagan (1998, 26) I know that engagement with repressive regimes lacks the satisfying purity of indignation But I also know that sanctions without outreach and condemnation without discussion can carry forward a crippling status quo. Barack Obama (2009, emphasis added) Introduction The visceral emotions surrounding the impact of neoconservatism on world politics no doubt help to explain the recent interest International Relations (IR) scholars have s hown in the topic. While there has been popular and academic commentary on neoconservatism for a long time, it seems to have been the George W. policy and the resultant politics of the Iraq war that have prompted many IR scholars to focus their attention on it. Many have rightly focused on the pivotal roles of neoconservatives in key positions in the Bush administration (Halper and Clarke 2004), while others have examined its theoretical underpinnings an d its status as a theory of international politics (Rapport 2008; Williams 2005). Some have examined the debate between realists and neoconservatives over justifications for the Iraq war (Schmidt and Williams 2008). Others still have criticized neoconser arguing that they are a unilateral form of idealism (Reus Smit 2004). 1 1 Other recent work i n IR on neoconservatives examines their links to the thought of Leo Strauss (Drolet 2009; George 2005), their political morality (Guelke 2005), and their embrace of democratic peace theory (Ish Shalom 2007 8). Additionally, see Durham (2006), Hurst (2005) and Owens (2007).

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241 I build upon this growing body of work on neoconservatism, albeit from a new perspective. The stron g emotions evoked in many observers of global politics by neoconservatism actually points to a gap in this literature. While an examination of its logic and political and theoretical perspective is crucial, scholarly analyses have neglected understanding w undoubtedly resonated with American audiences after the shock of September 11, 2001, and this resonance likely goes some way towards explaining the widespread public support for the Iraq war in 2002 and 2003 (see Kull, Ramsay, and Lewis 2003/4). Although much attention in IR on neoconservatism seems to have been after the beginning of the Iraq War, a look at the history of neoconservatism shows that its ideas have bee n present in American foreign policy debates for decades. Like any political movement, its influence on public debate has ebbed and flowed over time. Although neoconservatism perhaps reached the pinnacle of its influence on policy during the Bush adminis tration after September 11, 2001, it has had substantial public presence decades before. In this chapter and the following one, I explore these hitherto neglected ebbs and flows of neoconservative influence in terms of its varying affective appeal. Neoco nservatism (which I argue is, fundamentally, a discourse ) evokes a variety of images and narratives of American national identity, and its appeal, or its resonance with audiences, is based upon how it mobilizes those elements of national identity. The dis cursive power and appeal of neoconservative discourses, I argue, can be understood by comparing the affective security it offers with what competing discourses offer s to its audiences Employing the theoretical framework elaborated in chapter three, syste matically blending insights from Lacan and Laclau, I offer an exploration of the central question posed in these two chapters: what accounts for the rise and fall of

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242 neoconservative influence on American foreign policy debates? I argue that the ebbs and f lows of its appeal over time can largely be traced by to the particular kind of identification that it offers audiences. Conventional discourse analytic methods are unable to account for the sources of these ups and downs since they offer no theoretical l ens through which to capture the differential affective appeal of competing discourses. My approach, in contrast, drawing upon concepts such as identification, desire, affect, and fantasy, is able to probe into deeper sources of identification that allow for a more comprehensive and compelling understanding of why some discourses are more politically efficacious than others. The analysis it can provide thus offers a substantial contribution to the literature on neoconservatism, showing how its ebbs and fl ows of resonance with audiences can be traced back to the fantasies and identifications it has offered at different times. In examining the rise and fall of neoconservatism, this chapter and the next not only demonstrate the analytical strength of my theoretical approach in terms of its ability to uncover the differential affective appeal of discourses, but also demonstrates that hitherto neglected factors of desire, affect, and fantasy are in fact central to understanding the social construction proce ss itself. The power of words hinges not upon their mere utterance, but in the way they There seems to be at least two periods prior to September 11, 2001 when neoconservatism signifi cantly shaped public debate over foreign policy. The first was during the Carter administration and early Reagan administration. Some of the most effective criticisms of rs such as Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol. John Ehrman (1995, 99) notes that during this time the

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243 increase their own sense of importance and self eilbrunn (2008, 137) similarly neoconservatives at the time also illustrates the rapidly increasing attention they were receiving. In 1977, the New York Times explored the growing appeal of conservative ideas in America, and liberal writers and academics, small and influential magazines such as Commentary edited by Mr. Podhoretz, and The Public Interest Times continued, neoconse rvatism was gaining ground in public debate over both foreign and domestic policy. Additionally, Peter published in 1979, testifies to their growing influence at this tim e. A second period of public prominence seems to have been the later 1990s. Halper and Clarke (2004, 74 111) document how during the 1990s the neoconservatives swung widely the early part of the decade both lamenting the new lack of focus of American foreign policy and attempting to re orient it themselves, neoconservatives spent the later 1990s accentuating themes of neoconservative thought that had previously not taken cent conservatives used the last decade of the twentieth preferred policy option, black a nd white moralism as the preferred form of analysis, and in isolation from international context. A substantial portion of their intellectual energy during

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244 th e late 1990s was focused on Iraq as the most immediate national security threat. In addition, they paid much attention to the challenges to American power posed by China, Russia, North Korea, and their perceived decline of American military power itself ( Halper and Clarke 204, 110). For reasons elaborated below, these constructions of threats offer a glimpse into why neoconservatism was able to gain increasing public traction during this period. and later 1990s contrasts with what seems to be its diminished influence during the early 1990s. Just as neoconservatism has had peaks of public presence, it has also had troughs. The end of the Cold War left many casting about to find a framework throu gh which to make sense of this monumental ch ange. IR scholars were, of course, no exception (see Gaddis 1992 93). The neoconservatives, in this sense, were no different than other intellectual/political movements at the time. Part of this, no doubt, ste ms from the fact that they split into a few different ideological camps at this time. Some argued that with the implosion of the Soviet Union, the U S was now free to assert its power and shape the te even remotely had the capacities to constrain it. Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer (1989/90, 49) wrote that the U S onservatives disagreed. Some believed that American foreign policy should adhere to more realist principles guided by the prudent pursuit of a narrow national interest. Jeane Kirkpatrick (1990, 40 American p Krauthammer nd cautioned that

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245 the U S should not busy itself with grand visions of spreading democracy, which easily shade into imperialistic temptations. These ebbs and traced back to the kinds o f emotional and affective responses it evokes. Both before and after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the arguments offered by politicians and pundits cobbled together under this label have provoked, and still provoke, a multiplicity of strong rea ctions. 2 To its disciples, neoconservatism is often held up as the last best defense of civilized nations against the onslaught of dark forces from outside. It stands firm and unyielding against those who would seek to destroy our values and our way of li fe, and to replace it with weaker principles that are incapable of providing the same strength of moral compass that Western values offer. Indeed, this is often the deep reason underlying much neoconservative argumentation on both domestic issues and fore ign affairs. Since Western values are universal they are the last bulwark opposing the social decay that will inevitably occur if non Western values gain a foothold. Indeed, as the above quote from neoconservative writer Robert Kagan suggests, Western v alues are universal not only because they are in our best interests, but because they serve the interests of everyone around the world. The decay brought on by excessive liberalism in domestic politics, and the chaos, and inevitable violence, which will o ccur if Western values cede (or are forced out of) their dominant position of global influence is the ultimate fear of the neoconservative realize that the benev olence displayed by the United States is good for them. This perhaps partly explains their combative style and supreme self confidence, and constant sense of looming 2 As is well than a coherent set of axiomatic beliefs. While I do not engage here with the politics of its naming, or with the argum ents advanced by those who are categorized as neoconservatives but disavow their inclusion, I recognize the relevance of these debates. For more on this, see Dorrien (2004, 7 25).

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246 rvatism, they know they are right. To its critics, however, neoconservatism arouses a level of ire that is perhaps currently unmatched by any other outlook on foreign policy. Most obviously, the rationales and justifications offered for the Iraq war, t he strategic blunders associated with the preparation and conduct of the war, and the lives lost as a result offer plenty of reasons to denounce neoconservative ideas and their influence on American foreign policy. These ideas, many argue, have had such a destructive impact not only on untold lives around the world, but their policy implementation has so damaged the US and its capacities to deal effectively with a range of international issues that it will take years for the US to climb out of the reputati onal pit that neoconservatism has dug. The state of American foreign relations at present, not to mention the state of Iraq, stands in almost ridiculous contrast to the self assurance and certainty that neoconservatives displayed just a few years ago. It its fitting, detractors argue, that now, albeit after disaster has already occurred, that neoconservatism is getting the scrutiny and criticism it deserves. With the blunders of the Iraq war, and a new administration, these previously dominant ideas seem safely out of the halls of power. Even its former disciples believe that the These two chapters proceed as follows. 3 This chapter analyzes the influence of neoconse rvatism in the closing years of the 1970s (the first period of heig htened public impact), comparing the collective fantasies in the competing discourses of Jimmy Carter and Norman Podhoretz. I argue that a major reason why neoconservatism became so succes sful at this time 3 I forego both an overview of what could be considered the general tenet s of neoconservative thought, and a review of the history of neoconservatism both as a movement and as an ideology. On the former, see Stelzer (2004). On the latter, see Dorrien (1993), Ehrman (1995), Halper and Clarke (2004), and Heilbrunn (2008).

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247 prominent discourses offered by the Carter ad ministration. 4 defined fantasy of the national subject than did the relatively mo re defined fantasy of the national subject and the obstacles to its enjoyment or fullness. I argue that these stronger desires it evoked are a major reason why neoconservatism began to gain influence in the closing years of the 1970s. After analyzing the se two competing texts from this early period of neoconservative influence, the following chapter examines the changing fortunes of neoconservatism in the 1990s. Neoconservatism become much more prominent in American foreign policy debates as that decade progressed, and in contrasting and analyzing the fantasies found in the writings of Charles Krauthammer and William Kristol and Robert Kagan I argue that its rising influence can largely be traced back to the kinds of desires each of their discourses evoke then proceeds in three steps: first, I detail the structure of the discourse, understood through third, I examine of how these aspects underpin the hegemonic log ic of each text. through the last three decades can be traced back to their reactions to the social upheavals of the 4 I emphasize that there is no such thing as a fully defined self or subject.

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248 1960s and Americ an foreign policy throughout much of the 1970s. Particularly in the realm of communism often displayed a vehemence that contrasted vividly with the cautious reciproc ity of dtente on the part of different administrations, and what they saw as the larger foreign policy Communist expansion in the 1970s as not just a potential p their view, the U S to capitulate on the necessity of Ame rican military might. The fear was that a lack of willpower on the part of the US to defend its interests (and by extension, the interests of the West) by projecting power would combine with the growing assertiveness of Soviet expansionism, thereby endang ering democratic states everywhere. A forum in Commentary magazine in July 1975 perceived trend. Jimmy Carter, arriving in office on a wave of anti Washington se ntiment after years of of tensions with the Soviet Union, havin g peaked during the 1960s, was largely ending and a new global environment was emerging where superpower rivalry was less important for American foreign policy than attention to human rights and issues of interdependence. In June 1977, for example, Carter gave a speech in which he expressed optimism that the U S he

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249 questionable alliances with unsavory and undemocratic leaders. 5 Carter did not see the same Soviet aggre ssiveness that neoconservatives did. Consequently, they launched continuous attacks on him once they realized that he saw the global situation in diametrically opposed terms om the strength style appeasement (Heilbrunn 2008, 145). These foreign policy debates took place, of course, within the larger context of the late 1970s domestic economic crisis Oil shocks, rising inflation, and stagnating economic growth throughout the decade occurred alongside massive social changes. Many of the trends rooted in the 1960s broadened in the fo llowing decade, not only civil rights issues, but related shifts in social mores that many saw as the source of complex national problems. Rising crime rates, climbing divorce rates, greater attention to abortion, and a more pronounced sense of greater so cial permissiveness led many to question the well being of the country as a whole. Like With these t roubles besetting Carter throughout his tenure, by 1979 he was right in sensing with an array of leaders, intellectuals, and citizens, and returned to Washington to address the country about its problems. The speech he gave on July 15 covere d not only the energy crisis, as 5 Full text at http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=7552

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250 problems. 6 deeper than gasoline lines or energy sources, deep The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways. It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and s oul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation. The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the s ocial and t he political fabric of America. The plummeting public confidence in government, defeat abroad and defeatism at home, and economic problems caused by multiple sources were all symptoms of a deep shift in attitudes and outlooks of Americans towards not just the problems themselves, but towards how they lived knit T oo many of us now tend to worship self indulgence and cons umption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we've discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We've learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptin ess of lives which have no confidence or purpose. abroad to win victory in this struggle, nor was the problem a technical or legal one that could be solved through pu different paths, and it was one that they had to make for themselves. One path w as one the 6 Full text at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/carter/filmmore/ps_crisis.html

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251 road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and restoration of American values. But, by shunning the easy path of economic selfishness and materialism, Americans could restore the values that they had temporarily strayed from. In doing so, they could overcome the crisis and regain the confidence once lost. The fundamental solution, as Carter saw it, was that appears in the address). Not long afterwards many wondered whether the President himself was a major part of the crisis, rather than merely being the messenger of bad news. Less than a month after the s peech, the New York Times raised commentators since have agreed, and have reflected on the notion of how much bluntness the faith a belief in national progress, in the American dream few were prepared to admit its still evidently were uncomfortable with the image of a president conveying such a message, one

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252 not what [people] wanted. They wanted the reassurance of someone who would not burden them of this undoubtedly sheds some light on the reception, and subsequent speech. 7 Yet, I argue, without belittling the importance of such a reading, that the deeper reason for the negative reception that the speech garnered has more to do with the way in which (in alt with the national loss experienced, rather than the way audiences and the desires and frustrations it evoked through the collective fantasy it constructed. In addition, approaching the speech in this way uncovers some of the dynamics of desire that account for why other competing discourses of neoconservatism were mor e politically successful. Examining this speech from the theoretical perspective elaborated in chapter three can help us uncover the roles of discursive and affective appeals that are not immediately apparent. How should we understand the appeal of the speech in terms of insights from Lacan and Laclau? such signifiers are crucial as those markers that give added weight to certain instances of discourse. These are privileged points in social and political messages because of their role not only as strong intersubjectively held values, but also because they are sites of investment for people who desire the affective security and stability that these prized signifiers offer (Bracher 1993, 24 7 For other contemporaneous reactions, see Goldman (1979), Walsh (1979), and Broder (1979).

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253 signifiers, and others, function as the and d are largely equivalent to each other in terms of their meaning. In this case the construction of on them by adopting such values as their own. fat or identity is determined to a large degree by what happens to those signifiers that represent us (Bracher 1993, 25). To discern the collective subject that th e speech constructs, we can map the national confidence. By c had fortified the nation in past times that has now been replaced by doubt and pessimism. In Carter mood at the time. Yet, Carter was constructing a particular understanding of what the national mood was, and what solutions existed. Yet this does not explain why this discourse was not as politically successful as

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254 will allo w us to identify the loss driving the articulation of the discourse, and the fantasy underpinning it. Discourse Structure Agent Other Truth Product By mapping Cart 1 knowledge S 2 the split subject $, and loss a are positioned relative to one another via these four possible positions, we can explore which particular discourse (Master, Hysteric, University, or Analyst ) best fits constructed not only in politically familiar terms of stre ngth and accomplishment (overcoming the crisis), but also in terms of missing something essential that determines who simultaneously has a solution to overcome it. The way out that he offers is, first, to convince the problems stem not from readily identifiable enemies, but rather its embrace s view) of values in fact, signifiers that have led it down the wrong path. Carter, for example, states that self indulgence and consumption piling up material goods cann ot fill the emptiness of lives which growing disrespec t for government and in the

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255 road that Carter saw the natio fragmentation and self interest conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility It is a certain route to failure Carter is, in a sense, protesting master signifiers that he sees as dominant in American the values that have made America the land of progres s and optimism in the past; should adhere are ones that Carter himself offers. A renewed dev orientation which will lead down the $ S 1 a S 2 Recall that this type of discourse is characterized by questioning and protesting (see 1 knowledge S 2 split subject $, and loss a relative to each other in such a way as to construct a national subject whose insecurity and instability are at the forefront, driving the articulati on of the discourse. Mark Bracher (1993, the subject is conflicted as a constructs a subject $ that i s indeed conflicted between the ideals that society offers and that which it feels is missing from its being. The subject that is, as Carter would want to construct it subject is prompted by the desire to re capture a fundamental part of itself that has been lost (partially

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256 object a Carter offers a barrage of new master signifiers S 1 which promise the security and stability that is desired, and which promise to 2 the renewed sense of purpose that will once again heal the ruptures that have plagued the national subject. I next clarify how each of these different elements $, S 1 S 2 and a must be What exactly is the split subject $ in the speech, how is it constructed, and what is its rela tion to the other elements S 1 S 2 a dissatisfied with the current order, and protests or questions its perceived place in that order. an expression of t dissatisfaction with what he sees as the prevailing order and attitudes of the country. Although Carter begins by addressing the problems associated with the energy crisis, he quickly moves to address problems that are much deeper than energy discourse constructs is lacking, that is, the nation is lacking something of itself Carter articulates this in multiple ways in the speech. First and foremost is the loss of e ourselves, he finds, and it is insidiously eating away at t

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257 lack of confidence is what is l is not just a crisis self assurance, but one of deep belief in what is possible for the nation as a whole. Thus, not only is there a loss of faith in the government, but it coincides with a l ack of only in government itself but in the ability as citizens to serve as the ultimate rulers and shapers America is not what it sho uld be, and it is evident not only in feelings signified by status. The national subject is not what it should be, is not what it believes it should be. It feels as though it is divided from those signifiers it believes truly represent it. And, if the subject can subject. Carter continues to attempt to pin down wh at precisely is missing as he sees it indicated in some of the evidence he offers. Carter states, for example, that public opinion, economic time in U.S. his be worse than the past five years. Two thirds of our people do not even vote. The productivity of American workers is actually dropping, and the willingness of Americans to save for the but is also something that it, in some ways, still has. Or, at least has t he potential to re energize. descriptors, but are fundamental ch

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258 it needs to overcome the crisis and to once again become the full subject it believes it on ce was. the future has always supported everything else public institutions and private enterprise, our core essence to America n society which is reflected in the American system of government, and if that essence can be re discovered, re ignited, and its energy re problems will begin to give way. After all, in his view, these are the very qualities that h ave our confidence. We are the heirs of generations who survived threats much more powerful and is in its construction as a collective subject in the text of the speech, is in the present rent attributes government are all delineated throughout the speech as different indicators of what is wrong with the national subject, but for Carter all of these factors point to something coherent believed to be necessary to u of the current national experience. The nation is not only a nation that is experiencing a crisis of

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259 only the epitome o f strength, democracy, and its shortcomings are necessary for without the other and comprehend the message of the sp course and its positive possibility, its crisis of confidence and what Carter sees as the potential seeds to overcome it, pull in different directions. Yet, an audience cannot understand one without the other within th split between what it is and what it is lacking, between what it is now and what it could be. The split is constitutive of the national subject as it is constructed in the speech. Th e fantasy deployed in the speech (elaborated below) cannot maintain its coherency, it cannot make sense, without this split. If the subject $ is split between what it is and what it is lacking, what exactly is national subject missing? In other words, what is object a in the speech, that lacks/should spark the a is in the pos both protests the master signifier S 1 and seeks a new one (since every discourse operates through master signifiers, even protesting ones [Bracher 1994, 67]). Yet the split subject $ is driven by its unsatisfied desire, by its frustration with the currently dominant master signifiers S 1 that attempt to represent it. The split subject $ as agent (in the discourse) interrogates (represented by er signifier S 1 questioning its authority and position in the hopes of satisfying its desire and healing its split. The object a in the speech is not something that is explicitly articulated, but is rather something that the discourse is unable to pin do wn. Object a is not an empirically existing

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260 entity, but is the name Lacan gives to the lack sparking the articulation of a discourse. The empty place of the discourse, that inexpressible element that the discourse never directly or explicitly captures in a does not effectively pre exist desire as that which arouses it, it merely gives body to its inherent deadlock, to the fact that desire is never satisfied by any positive object representation, outside of the Symbolic, and is part of the Real, which means that it does not exist except as a missing element. Like every discour element that is outside of the discourse yet is necessary for the construction of the discourse. something posited as fundamental and, honored American in stitutions such as part of the national subject is viewed as having been taken away by the economic and social upheavals of the 1960s. Those events sapped something from the national subject that, in There is a sen se that something is missing, y attempts to articulate it fails on

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261 it is, is precisely the missing object a This something is not a n empir ically determinable object; it is, rather, the very form of t has sapped something that made sing through this discourse illustrate the impossibility of fully constructing the national subject. This multiplicity of signifiers attempting to constru ct exactly what has been lost fits well with the logic of object a fully ourselves, that we are lacking some thing that would, if re found, offer the promise of enjoyment or national wholeness what Lacan calls jouissance each articulates a sense of what is missing, but does not capture definitively what is missing. Indeed, each of these words is commonly un derstood to ent what the subject is lacking, what it once had but is now lost. There is a sameness to each one, and they all attempt to pin down precisely what they all have in common. However, each fails on its own to express the lost object directly. Indeed, each

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262 that once was, but now is not. This failure to fully Symbolize the l ost object is what sparks the desire for its reclamation. Yet, precisely because it cannot be fully represented, the desire for it is ongoing, sliding across and through the signifiers that attempt to represent it, but never object under these signifiers, only a lack that the signifiers themselves attempt to cover. It is this inexpressible Thing object a tification, that is always just out of reach, and consequently keeps animating the desire for its recuperation This empty place is the lack evokin g the articulation of the discourse. This gap in the discourse corresponds to the empty structural location of object a in the position of truth What is S 1 tionship to the split subject $ and the system of knowledge S 2 1 with which it is frustrated. It is dissatisfied by the representation offered by the master S 1 and desires a new one that it believes will not only better represent it, but will offer the promise of wholeness, jouissance which the subject posits to have lost. Recall that the master signifiers are those prominent words and phrases that discursively anchor the message of a text (the aggregate of S 2 ) Functioning in the partially fix meaning within signifying c

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263 sim as a word on the level of the signifier here is a number of words that function as master signifiers S 1 knots together a set of m expresses a number of different meanings. future, we are also beginning to close the door on our p piling up material goods canno In turning toward the false satisfaction of material objects, Americans were turning away from ich then, is what has defined us as a nation in the past, what we have turned away from, what we are now missing, what we need to get back, what still remains in us, and what we need to re discover and re signifier. In bringing tog ether a variety of meanings within the speech, it is an anchoring ambiguity that allows it to function as an anchor in the first place. As the ambiguou s representative that encompasses all that the subject lacks and what it senses it must recover, the

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264 subject questions it for the satisfaction and fullness it promises. The split subject $ interrogates the master signifier S 1 as something that it is missi ng and that it desires. In protesting signifiers subject $ pursues the signifier it now desires to be its new master S 1 and its tying together its various portions in a way that is vital for its coherence. What is the system of knowledge S 2 that is produced as a result of these dynamics? Recall that the system of knowledge S 2 network of signifiers that supports the master S 1 The master signifier S 1 largely defines the Yet, the master S 1 can only have meaning if it is, in turn, supported by a network of signifiers that gives it the appearance of definite meaning The network of signifiers S 2 can be thought of as those secondary signifiers that are tied together throug h their common reference to the master signifier S 1 Knowledge S 2 split subject $ questions the master signifier S 1 about its inability to adequately represent it, all the ma ster can do in return is to offer the split subject $ a battery of other signifiers in hopes of the new system of signifiers S 2 orient his audience away from these words and towards others, which constitute the new system of knowledge S 2 he attempts to construct.

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265 annot adequately be described through these signifiers, even though he sees them as overriding the current culture. Or, put differently, he sees the national subject as too strongly attached to these particular master signifiers that are evoking its frust and thus are better master signifiers S 1 than the pessimistic ones t hat are currently embraced by society. In attempting to construct a new body of knowledge S 2 for his audience through these new signifiers, he hopes to re orient their desire through a new fantasy channeled through these the speech, Americans will be poised to reclaim what has been lost. Doing so, Carter says, g role to 2 Carter orientation S 2 Tackling the crisis head r sense of unity, our confidence in for freedom and purpose must, at its core, be underpinned by and

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266 signifiers, a new body of knowledge S 2 in return. The goa l is to produce a new network of signifiers S 2 2 produced by this Thus, by ela 1 S 2 $, a ) we are better able to discern the workings of desire within his discourse. Re ed to placate and reassure his audience, the discourse he offered was one of in split $, its anxieties and incompleteness, were front and center (in the agent position) in the discourse, and thus offered the attendant insecurities a nd anxieties that correspond to the discourse helps us not only to uncover relations between elements such as master signifiers S 1 the knowledge S 2 deployed in the speech, and the kind of subjectivity $ constructed, but it also offers a way to understand the desires evoked and frustrated and/or satisfied within the speech. discourses. characterized by analyzing, transforming, or revolutionizing (Bracher 1993, 53). a $ S 2 S 1 Here, the missing object of fantasy, object a occupies the agent position. The split subject $ occupies the position of receiving other, while the master signifier S 1 is p roduced by the discourse. The body of knowledge is in the position of latent truth, underpinning the place of the

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267 object a This discourse is unique among the four forms that Lacan elaborated because both object a and the split subject $ occupy the most overt or manifest positions as agent and receiver, respectively. While typically either knowledge S 2 and/or master signifiers S 1 occupy one of the overt positions, here they are both in subordinate, latent positions. This means that the elements that rep a are the driving factors of the discourse. However, this does not mean that object a is positively represented in the discourse here. Nor, does it mean that master signifiers S 1 or knowledge S 2 are less important or vital to encourages people to openly deal with their desire and allow them to re orient their desire towards objects and signifiers that prom ise less anxiety and dissatisfaction. As Bracher (1993, 72) explains, Confronted with this discourse of the Analyst, the analysand [patient], as receiver responding to his or her own a is in the position to produce a new master signifier (S1), which amou nts to an alteration of the ego ideal, and this entails an altered sense of identity as well as new meanings and different values. Only by thus realizing how their present master signifiers alienate them from the a can analysands proceed to separation fro m the alienating position embodied in their master signifiers, the separation occurring as the analysands gradually become reconciled to their repressed elements and, in fact, come to accept these as more a part of themselves than the monolithic values emb odied in their ego ideal. audience as occupying the receiver position. As a speaking agent, Carter attempts to provoke his audience into the position of split subjects. I n doing so, he attempts to guide the receivers toward putting their division front and center, acknowledging it in a way that would allow them to work through it. In one sense, this seems to be one of the goals of the speech. In observing ssatisfaction, Carter acts as an analogue to an (psycho ) analyst that is, he tries to get the audience to acknowledge their division. However, a subject does not often want to acknowledge its division as evidenced by the widespread negative reaction to the speech To

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268 put its division and incompleteness at the forefront in a way that forces the subject to actively Yet, it is precisely the role of fantasy to a world without fantasy would be akin to chaos. Putting the receiver position, would force it to face the reality that it is lacking. Instead, the goal is to provoke the split su bject $ into a search for a new fantasy. As Carter deploys this discourse onto his audience, hailing them in the position of split subject $, he offers them a range of new master signifiers that he believes will indeed shift the national fantasy to one th at evokes less dissatisfaction and anxiety than the current one. In doing so, he hopes that a new batch of master signifiers S 1 will re orient the national desire. This is shown in the master 1 occupancy of the product position, implicitly s upporting the split subject $. In trying to turn his audience away from its current master signifiers S 1 that have led to anxiety and simultaneously offers and leads his 1 are the intended product of the discourse, fantasy fantasy can ultimately heal this division, or promise the subj ect a recovery of that which it feels it has lost. What would be the system of knowledge S 2 the receiving subject presumes that the analyst, in the agent position, knows what s/he is talking

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269 about, that s/he possesses the requisite knowledge to adequately help the subject deal with the analytic process of helping the subject work through his/her divisions canno t properly proceed if the subject does not believe that the analyst has the knowledge to help him/her. However, while the subject assumes that the analyst truly does know what the subject means when s/he speaks, and truly does know what the proper fix wil l be, this is a presupposition on the part of the subject. The subject assumes that the analyst knows what needs to be done. While the subject may assume the analyst will know exactly what to do, the analyst actually lets the subject gradually generate a new master signifier that will lead to the construction of a new fantasy. This new fantasy, furthermore, is not one that is imposed by the analyst. Rather, it is developed by the subject through his/her slow and difficult interrogation of his/her own di visions, and his/her realization and engagement with his/her presumed lack. Indeed, in Lacanian analysis the analyst does not tell the subject what to think or what it should be, but instead remains as enigmatic as possible throughout the process, resisti ng definite answers to the inducing identification. through his Symbolic/institutional p osition as the President, but as a President who has acquired of this crisis, he stresses that he has spent time with an array of citizens who have offered him different perspectives on the crisis, and what to do abou

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270 from almost every segment of our society business and labor, teachers and preachers, governors, mayors, and private citizens. And then I left Camp David to listen to other Americans, men and women like you. It has been an extraordinary ten days, and I want to share wisdom of the American people, but it has also bore out some of my long standing concerns Carter, after having spent ten days listening to Americans from all walks of life, presents e one who not only has the knowledge that comes from being president, but who has spent the time to gain first hand knowledge from the the audience a new positi on toward their desire, a new position towards their master signifiers. After having spoken to a range of different people, Carter believes that by prompting people to orient its desi re towards ion that provokes his audience into facing their own divisions, he in fact prompts them to take up the position of agent in a division is at the forefront, the most overt element of the discourse. The subject is then in a position to produce for itself a new system of knowledge (in the product position) channeled by a evoke

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271 from the audience. This, Lacan (2007, 33) points out, is what is ideally supposed to occur in ut simply upon not just upon the immediate economic problems the country is facing, but also upon the t them. He hopes that they will begin asking tough questions about their current desire. In reflecting upon the overall spiritual direction of the influences Carter hope s that a new realization will dawn upon people that the nation has successfully dealt with more difficult problems than the current ones, and that in summoning its strength the nation can get through this tough time. In other words, Carter encourages the national subject to take a stance to deeply engage with its own divisions and antagonisms, and in doing so embrace new system of knowledge, a new and re energized American is one sense in which its fit is questionable. The agent in the a Again, this does not mean that object a is a positively existing entity in this discourse, something that is readily and unproblematically identifiable. Rat her, it is the place of lack in the discourse. The analyst occupies the agent position as a stand in for the signifier on him/her, by remaining as enigmatic as possible in the analytic process, the analyst is standing

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272 fantasy) the subject is able to begin the process of confronting the truth of his/her desire (that it is never ending, and constantly shifts between objects that promise fullness). As a result the subject will be able to generate his/her own master signifiers wi thout having them imposed on it attempting to offer a new set of master signifiers to the audience, rather than acting as the enigmatic stand in for the n national subject at the forefront, and seems to prompt the audience to adhere to new master insights into the dynamics of desire of the speech. In exploring how each discourse framework is able to map how desire is intersubjectively channeled through the speech, we can identify the kinds of identifications it offered, and we can also make more e xplicit the subtle characteristics that other discourses (such as neoconservatism) were competing with. Discursive competition is not merely between words and rhetoric. It is also a struggle for the channeling of desire in particular directions, embedded within particular fantasies that promise fullness, or jouissance This framework further helps to uncover the fantasy underpinning the logic of the speech. The fantasy deployed is not explicitly stated anywhere in the speech, and it is simultaneously th e most elusive and most affectively appealing aspect of the speech. The lack in the discourse, and the fantasy that attempts to veil it,

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273 are found in the gaps and silences in the speech, yet they constitute its most affectively appealing aspects. Fantasy and Identification Recall that for Lacan, the experience of being a subject, of seeking stable identifications, is not merely discursive, but is also entails not only what we think of as convent ional emotions (such as fear, hate, love, shame, etc.) but also more nebulous affects such as frustration/insecurity and stability/security. 8 In pursuing jouissance or a whole sense of self, the subject continually experiences both frustration and satisf action satisfaction in associating itself with those valued signifiers that confer a sense of being and security, and frustration in never being able to fully overcome the sense of loss that drives the identification process, thus undermining the sense o f wholeness. Since subjects are impossible) and the realization that desire is a never ending process of desiring, fantasy offers the subject a way to deal with these impossibilities. By adopting a fantasy that explains why one wholeness is nevertheless reachable. The manner in which fantasy accomplishes this is that the ambiguity, contingency, and deadlock of identification are projected onto an other (Stavrakakis precarious identifications by functioning as a incompleteness can be blamed. Rather than accepting the inherent incompleteness of all social identity, and the impossibility of fully securing jouissance most find it more appealing to believe that jouissance is poss ible if not for the Other who blocks or steals 8 A discussion of the distinctions between emotions, affects, and jouissance is offered in Chapter Three.

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274 203). In other words, fantasy stages an encounter between the subject $ and the missing object a a ) while offering the subject a reason why it has not attained its presumed to be missing part. uts the loss of national self front and center, the fantasy he jouissance (understood as confidence, progress, optimism, etc.) is itself incomplete. The fantasy is incomplete in the sense that it does not offer a well defined screen a upon which the national loss is attributed is not a foreign enemy or external body, but the he national character. Our iness or reassurance, but it is the truth and it is a Carter cannot introspection can restore what we can succeed only if we tap our greatest resources blockage posed by some readily identifiable for eign body, but of constructing our lack of jouissance as our own problem. The instability and precariousness of the nation itself is projected not onto a easy to Americans to more

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275 ification from where we are being observed, from where seeing oneself seeing oneself t evokes identification with the other (Lacan 1981, 74, emphasis in original). The gaze itself can be understood as another aspect of the object of fantasy, object a Not only does the subject imagine the missing object will satisfy his/her desire, but t he missing object itself is imagined as gazing back at the subject. The object is felt as conferring recognition upon the subject not only in pursuit of it, but in the imagined encounter when the subject finally achieves jouissance by becoming one with th determines me, at the most profound level argues. The subject desires to occupy the place from which the object gazes back at it, and to achieve the jouissance promised, but this place staging an encounter between the subject and the missing object which is itself a lack. elusive object of the speech is a all of the different ways that Carter tries to discursively pin down exactly what it is that is missing illustrates precisely the impossibility of its articulation. The various attempts to articulate what this loss is take center stage in the speech. In other words, the ambiguity of the sparks the articulation of the speech, as indicated incompleteness of the subject front and

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276 ambiguities an with this incompleteness, however, is itself insecure. Fantasies typically offer a way for subjects to deal with the ambiguities of their identifications, so as to avoid a direct confrontation with the desire will eventually be satisfied and the jouissance it seeks will be attained; in other words, it offers a kind of veil a gainst ambiguity and incompleteness with a promise of wholeness. does not act like a veil against offer t he audience a way to deal with the ambiguities of identification and desire, but instead left open this ambiguity. The missing object of fantasy is, in most political discourses, viewed as something that is attainable if only the obstacles of the fantasy are dealt with. Yet, there are few deeper than gasoline lines or energy shortages, deeper even th of balancing out the loss of the weighty signifiers Carter argues are at stake. The construction of does not offer a comforting gaze for the audience. While fantasies typically offer a screen in the way of such a screen. Indeed, the audienc e here is, in a sense, put face to face with the was has been lost, and it is unclear how to get it back. There is no obstacle to overcome beyond which the proper bring about the jouissance we are looking for. The gaze projected back at the audience, then,

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277 was not the gaze of a fantasy object that is promised as attainable if some readil y identifiable obstacles are removed. Rather, it was the gaze of object a itself, the void which discourses of national subject in terms of the recognition if con ferred. Rather, it re emphasized and projected back at the audience the dispersal and vagueness of the national subject. 9 The illusory position from which subjects could imagine themselves becoming one with the missing object (thereby attaining jouissanc e ) was itself vague, and without a well defined fantasy staging the encounter. reinforces anxiety, ambiguity, and incompleteness. In this way, this discourse placed the contingency of national identification at the forefront, contingency with which most subjects are unable to live or deal with adequately. Rather than constructing a fantasy that satisfied desires for a reinforcement of the self, and a corresponding sense of security at a time when it was lacking, Carter offered no stable alternative for dealing with the incompleteness of national identification. Andrew Bacevich s of fundamentally, having no readily identifiable blockage between our loss of being and our often comes with a stronger fantasy (Glynos 1999). As Glynos and Stavrakakis (2008, 262) fantasmatic narrative to provide a convinci Generally, the greater lack that fantasies construct often evokes correspondingly stronger desires 9 One is reminded here of an aphorism from Nietzsche (19

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278 for identification, whereas fantasies that do not construct a substantially lacking subject often evoke wea ker desires for identification. Therefore, such fantasies will often evoke less desire for identification and subjectivity with the discourse in question. Thus, desire will be less oriented towards the kind of identification and jouissance that the disco urse offers. Hegemonic L ogic attempted to define the common sen se of the time about what was wrong with the country and other wo rds, it constituted an attempt at the construction of what Laclau calls discursive hegemony. Employing the combined insights of both Lacan and Laclau, we can see how fantasy discourses, with their powerfully appealing promise of reaching the missing and i ndefinable a approach to the construction of discursive hegemon y allows us to trace the politics of identification, fantasy, and jouissance discourse also constitutes its hegemonic logic. Recall that f or Laclau, common political signifiers that are viewed as timeless and which are seen as having some readily grasped extra discursive referent are instead ambiguous sites of inscription upon which different forces attempt to ascribe their own particular me aning. As seen above, this also largely constitutes the process objet petit a and the hegemonic logic are not just similar: they are

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279 simply working of the concepts of the universal and the particular are useful here. Through contestation, some political forces are able to fill in the empty content of n of what the nodal points a the logic of hegemony is at work when political forces attempt to articulate their particular meaning of social fullness is achievable except through hegemony; and hegemony is nothing more than the investment, in a partial object, of a fullness which will always evade us because it is purely tches together a range of meanings, and is able to do so through its constitutive ambiguity. Again, it is simultaneously what has defined us as a nation in the past, what we have turned away from, what we are now missing, what we need to get back, what st ill remains in us, and what we need to re discover. It is something that has been lost but must be regained. Carter attempts to fill in this nodal point, meaning(s). Yet its meaning as a nodal point is not merely discursive, but is underpinned by a fantasy construction offering a promise of reaching the jouissance that the subject desires, the the affective appeal of the jouissance it embodies for the audience. In this filling of

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280 constitute the system S 2 which it both ties together and which supports it as a system of meaning. ructure identifications. meaning of our own lives and in the loss confidence in the f Carter believed. In one sense they are indeed different signifiers, but the way they are deployed by Carter they are used to express something similar, or equivalent, underlyin g each of them. The range of other signifiers that Carter deploys in his attempts to symbolize what has been lost and what we must get back constitute not only a multitude of atte mpts to capture the missing object a without however ever fully doing so. These words also compose a string of similarities, or set of equivalences, along which the desire for object a piece, the part of its elf that it needs in order to attain the jouissance staged in the fantasy of the speech, flows along these signifiers. Again, they are different words which often have different r underlying them all ultimately, the missing object a

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281 it is desire itself that allows for their sticking together in the first place. Desire shifts between and across signifiers that imply full representation of the In this desire for something else representation, so desire is guided to another, and then another, none of which live up to the promise of the jouissance of a whole sense of self. Thus, at the level of signifiers strung together Stavrakakis (1999, 62, 80 2) argues that the centrality of ce rtain signifiers and phrases that function as nodal points cannot be reduced only to their discursive position. Although these identifications hinge, they perf orm as discursive anchors precisely because of the implicit fantasies and affects underpinning their centrality. They draw their appeal by promising or embodying a sense of wholeness, jouissance for people seeking to alleviate loss and anxiety through id entifying with political discourses. In many cases, nodal points are themselves partial positive manifestations of the object a of the fantasy discourse in which they appear. Just as in is underpinned by affect. E fundamentally in secure fantasy of the split subject, one can see the dynamics of the hegemonic struggle at work.

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282 iscourse was unable to achieve significant social traction. This contrasts substantially with the competing neoconservative discourses offered at the time. In the hegemonic competition to channel iscourse largely failed to resonate widely sacrifice did not grab the public imagination was because many of the discourses it contended with offered not only another view but because they offered a more appealing fantasy of collective subjectivity than did Carter. Neoconservative discourses at this time were able to gain traction, secur e fantasies they offered to American audiences The writings of Norman Podhoretz, who and constituted a hegemonic challenge to the discourses of the Carter a dministration. As Ehrman (1995) documents, neoconservatives spent much of the mid to late 1970s warning about Soviet expansion and aggression at a time when the American foreign policy establish the time, this was an understatement. As Podhoretz saw it, the main justification for neoconservative indignation towards Carter was because of his continuation of the policies pursued by Gerald Ford, Henry Kissinger, and Richard Nixon. To Podhoretz, such outlooks were not reasonable responses to a changed international situation, but were tantamount to appeasement and retreat. Podhoretz laid out his case in a Comment ary [which] offered a sweeping account of the current struggle for the world and a stinging

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283 the country since Vietnam. On the political left, this new mood constituted quite a shift in perspective, given that most of the strongest responses to Soviet expansion had been enacted by liberal Democrats like Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson. Interventionism as a foreign policy against Com than power and conflict and competition. Our new role would be determined by a n (Podhoretz 1976, 33). This spreading attitude affected co view. Republican foreign policies, such as dtente with the Soviet Union, opening up relations withdrawal from anti Communist in The consequences of these developments, Podhoretz warned, were dire. At the same time the U S was experiencing second thoughts about its world role, the Soviet Union was re energized. Regarding the U S major, in fact the only, beneficiary would be the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union is a great (Podhoretz 1976, 3 7). As the U S was slowly inching backwards, the Soviets were showing S continued on this path, if it retreated at every point of encounter with Soviet interests, eventually the U.S would surrender every bit of global ground until it was surrounded by a sea of hostile Communist

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284 and undermine the last remaining democratic society would be i rresistible, and to combat such subversion would require a degree of repression which would itself endanger democratic to see the Soviet Union as somehow les s than an undeterrable and overwhelming deadly threat, a had gone a lon more significantly, the U S into retreat. The US had to step back into the role it had occupied since World W ar II in defending liberty against Soviet expansion. It was only the U S that could stand up for the rest of the world, and in doing so could turn the dangerous tide that had been rising. To fail would be ined and ferocious and barbarous enemies of the ominous tone that many have noted is characterist ic of his writings. Heilbrunn (2008, 77) his style and accu racy of his writings, this certainly captures something of his pronouncements. Yet, placed within the broader context of late 1970s foreign policy debates, and the growing public presence he and other neoconservatives were gaining, the fantasies that his texts construct offer a view into their affective appeal.

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285 similar to Cart missing, but that, in apparent agreement with Carter, that the national problem can be traced to a question of willpower. However, the fantasies each text d eploys, and the consequent desires evoked, are quite different. And, these differences are crucial for their differential affective appeal. selves as questioning the prevailing order. Both saw themselves as protesting what they viewed as dangerous rising tides that threatened to not only overwhelm the e nation into an abyss of dreadful ramifications. Just as Carter warned that the continued pursuit of narrow self interest and materialistic consumption would lead the nation away from traditional values of community and hard work, Podhoretz strongly warn ed that if the nation relinquished its vigilance against Communism, it would be on the losing end of the titanic struggle against the Soviet Union. Podhoretz saw himself in opposition to the U S and protested against polic 10 has taken 10 policies with which he disagrees. Another of his oft mentioned art icles was a 1977 piece in ng tolerance of homosexuality. Podhoretz, though, did not reserve these criticisms only for Carter. After some initial praise, and began pur suing talks with Mikhail Gorbachev. For instance, the mere title of one article illustrates his despair Reagan to Neville Chamberlain, and proc

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286 us 1976, 32). The new broadly all developments that Podhoretz (1976, 33) tried to resist. us to uncover the loss sparki ng the articulation of the discourse, and will aid in tracing how desire channels the fantasy of jouissance discourse in terms of how its master signifiers S 1 system of knowledge S 2 split subject $, and ob ject a are positioned vis vis one another through these four possible positions, we can find Discourse S tructure In terms of how Podhoretz constructs the nat ion and its problems, his text fits well with divided between the equivalential signifiers S 1 that represent it within the Symbolic order and that part of itself that it presupposed as lost ( a ). Podhoretz hopes to re orient national desire towards that which will make the nation whole, constructing a new understanding S 2 of, in his view, the proper role of America in the world. $ S 1 a S 2 Bacevich (2005, 236) notes that these criticisms of Reagan were offered during one of the most massive peacetime build ups ever of American military power.

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287 affective appeal? As the fol lowing discussion shows, while the structure of a discourse matters for its appeal and resonance with audiences (especially in its hegemonic competition with other discourses), the fantasy texts deploy is equally as important in understanding how the text channels desire and jouissance relation to the other elements (S 1 S 2 a discourse, the split subject $ is characterized by dissatisfaction with the current order, and text? For him, the national subject is substantially lacking in several respects. Podhoretz begin s his essay by lamenting that, in his view, the United States has to a large extent succumbed to an has taken not come upon the country suddenly, but rather has crept into national debates over foreign policy without many realizin persuaded to adopt, sometimes without full awareness of what it is they are committing understands it general isolationist view is still, as it has always been, that the United States has no business

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288 United States should no longer do anything to check th e spread of Communist power and currently plagues the country, as it covers an array of actions and non actions that for him all shar e the same under lying qual ities over which Podhoretz anguishes is a substantial part of his discourse, and it is necessary to understand what he views as its origin. The division and incompleteness of Through an elaboration and discussion of where, for Podhoretz, isolationism comes from we can better understand the nat y important for him as is the presence of the Soviet Union in blocking the United States from becoming what aggressiveness and in terms of how different political groups in the country have contributed to its isolationism. the culmination of a considerable turnaround in the politics of American foreign policy, since the although the demagoguery of Senator Joseph McCarthy was in some way s regrettable, it nevertheless originally had the effect of galvanizing liberal Democrats into pursuing actively

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289 anti McCarthyism, but the anti Communists among them wer e even less sympathetic than the McCarthyites to the kind of liberalism that was either unambiguously pro Soviet or that was Communist left not only offered criticism of those it saw as sympathetic to Communism, but mor e broadly pursued a number of initiatives to stem the political and economic initiatives to encourage democratic reforms and the development of free institutions in all those countries which were part of the free world only, or anyway largely, in that they often deplored the gross conservative emphasis on military power as the main weapon in the fight against Communism and for the defense of freedom and democracy also tended to be bolder in the use r all, under liberal Democratic administrations that the United States had intervened in Korea and Vietnam. It was Vietnam that brought about end of the actively interventionist liberal foreign policies, even anti e liberals among them who led the United States into the Vietnam war, it was also the liberals who later turned against this war which they themselves had made, who led (or at least coopted) the opposition to it, and who de domestic divisions created by the escalation, prolonging, and eventual loss of the war and retreat of American troops led to the weakening of the anti an ti

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290 eign affairs to a they would now be based not upon strident anti dhoretz, this colossal change of liberal the United States in this truly brave new world, it was certainly not the use of American power to check the spread of Liberals had made the more substantial political shift, but conservatives were no less guilty of fostering a national mood of isolationism. As such, conservatives are also part of the conservatives often gave the impression of being more hawkish on Communism than liberals. in order to balance Soviet over by Communists, and Henry Kissinger supported several efforts of aiding anti Communists in places like Portugal and Angola (35). N office and in practice have been rather less bellicose than their standard rhetorical gestures would of Nev not to be a Communist interven Kissinger held the view that the Unit ed States is in political and economic decline at the same time the Soviets had entered an n do is get out of the way as

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29 1 as might draw us into conflicts with the Russians for which we no longer have the power or the an unacceptable and navely perilous conclusion. The upshot of this discussion is in the particular ways that it constructs the subject, the constructed within again become the aggressive anti Communist leader that it needs to be, yet is not currently. it from stepping into its necessary, but neglected, global role. The country is rife with domestic political divisions that cut across it. Fr om liberals who have turned their back upon their proper roles as anti Communist hawks, to conservatives who are much less anti Communist than their re form a round isolationism. The nation, the collective subject $, is incomplete, and it is this sparks the desire for the jouissance it is missing, yet and this is th formulae permit us to see the fantasy deployed in the speech (elaborated below) cannot maintain its coherency without this division and incompleteness. with what Podhoretz sees as the true global role of the United States vigilant confrontation with constituted through not only the di what it could be if it woke up from its current isolationism. Its incompleteness also is tied to

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292 y the discourse, which in turn evokes the desire for its recapture. necessary but neglected role as global anti Communist leader, what is the missing object that the subject seeks? What is object a emptiness in the discourse, and how is it related to the desire and jouissance channeled by the incompleteness, there is something else that is much more substantial and consequential to not only the position of the United S attempts to pin down, represent, or symbolize what exactly he felt the subject $ was missing, att empts to name with different words and phrase in different ways. Yet the multiplicity of attempts at representation fails, and in fact demonstrates that it is nothing but the structural lack in the text. There are several places where Podhoretz attempt s to discursively pin down and name what exactly is lacking. Throughout the text, Podhoretz offers a number of critiques, arguments, and observations that in one sense point to different issues, but in a stronger sense all point to a certain similarity. supported actions such as the CIA aiding various rebel anti Communist groups around the world many such people think they believe there are things the United States should do to check the spread of

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293 less assertive in this pursuit than previously hawkish liberals (35). He accuses Kissinger and ased withdrawal from anti of a new intern ational order of which no one is in charge, still seem unaware of the extent of Soviet ambitions, and the extent to which they have thus far been limited in action by American Podhoretz believes that while the new liberal and conservative d oves are dangerously mistaken, there is another alternative much ridiculed after World War I, and its cold w ar equivalent, defending the free world, was Communist aggression (40). Once, before this most recent bout of isolationism set it, the United was le ading a free world alliance in the entirely meaningful sense that every free society foggy to the American foreign policy establishment (40). The reason, Podhoretz believes, comes down to questions of conservative isolationists say that we lack economic standards the United States is the most powerful country in the world, the issue comes

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294 worl d yes, the free world against the spread of Communism? Contemplating the strength of This lack of will translates to the denial by liberals and conservat ives of the need to spread American influence around the globe. It is a denial of American power. It is a denial of political soil for the seeds of Comm unist influence (33 4). All of these pronouncements by Podhoretz can be viewed as attempts to pin down the object a His criticism of both liberals and conservatives, and his declarations that American must reignite it s willpower are all different ways of expressing the same condition that is viewed as underlying all of them. Each of these articulations points, in some ways, to different aspects of what Podhoretz views as the major problems with American foreign policy Yet, more significantly, there is something similar underlying all of them; they while all of theses signifiers often have differing conventional meanin gs, their deployment in should currently have any of these. It lacks reality what the national subject is lacking. The gaps in the texts poin t to something that the subject is missing, yet this missing object itself is not a discursive or Symbolic object, but is part

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295 of the Real. The fantasy object object a is that which is missing from the discourse, yet nevertheless sparks the desire for its articulation. Podhoretz attempts to pinpoint exactly what is missing at these several places with a multitude of signifiers, but, like all other attempts to Symbolize fantasy objects, fails since the object does not exist in Symbolic reality. Each o f these efforts to articulate and symbolize what the national subject is missing touch upon a sense of able to fully construct what exactly is missing. Yet it is at these points in the discourse, the gaps at which the string of major signifiers are unable to fully express what underpins all of them, that offer the most appealing sites of identification. It is here where the partial sense of wholeness (part ial jouissance ) experienced is, position is supported by object a in the position of latent truth. The subject $ is driven by its dissatisfaction with the cur rent order and the signifiers that current represent it. It protests, questions, and interrogates the dominant master signifiers in the hopes of finding a new signifier subject $, yet it a subject is missing on all attempt to name the quality that seems to underlie all of them. However, the similarity they share, the thing that lies beneath all of them, to act as the S 1 that would anchor the dis course so as to resolve its ambiguity and inconsistency All of these various signifiers and phrases attempt to name what the national split subject $ is missing. Yet each fail to fully express what is viewed as their underlying similarity. It is

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296 this evoked by the loss of what it presupposes must have caused its desire, which in turn propels its find a new set of signifiers to replace the ones that currently cause it anxiety and dissatisfaction. signifier (si nce it is the master signifier S 1 guiding the liberal and conservative foreign policy what it should be and what it can be in the future. Desire has no specified o bject, but shifts between objects which promise a representation that will alleviate incompleteness and dissatisfaction. The desire for jouissance slides along the signifiers that offer the possibility of wholeness, even if the experience of jouissance it self cannot be found in any of them. which it currently adheres. found and re point to an inexpressible Thing underlying them all. Yet, the Thing is nothing but a structural lack, the gaps of the split subject $, the places of mis sing jouissance around which the entire text coheres. None of these signifiers on its own satisfies the desire for jouissance ; rather, desire courses along these words, continually deferred to the next word in the chain, delayed by its inability to be sa tisfied or fulfilled in finding the wholeness it seeks.

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297 If desire for jouissance is never satisfied, what is (are) the master signifier(s) S 1 in 1 relate to the other manifest elements in t he discourse, the split subject $ and the system of knowledge S 2 ? The split subject $, in its dissatisfaction, seeks new signifiers that offer the promise of full representation and master signifiers. Many of these, for Podhoretz, are signifiers that have previously served the nation well, have represented us well, and are those to which we must re attach ourselves. For example, American as the highest political value, while the political (39). This is the view not only of Communists themselves, he argues, but also of internal leftists and liberals Americanism has obverse: a tendency, now widespread both here and in the Western democraci es generally, to less (39). Once these basic values have been re discovered and re asserted as guiding principles of American foreign policy, the United States can once again step back into its proper world role, doing so, was leading a free reedom on the face of

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298 Each of these statements offers not only a prediction by Podhoretz of what the global results will be once the United States re asserts itself, but more importantly offers a new set of master signifiers S 1 each of these plays t he role of the preferred master signifier S 1 in the discourse. They constitute what the subject wishes to become, but is not yet. As argued below, these nodal points are crucial both in how they channel desire and the promise of jouissance as well as in their absence. These master signifiers S 1 also point toward the system of knowledge S 2 in the discourse. master signifier S 1 The new system of knowledge S 2 is the product of questioning by the toward the kind of new system that Podhoretz ultimately looks forward to. In fighting for those who would subvert them (and hence us), the split subject $ will live in a world where those signifiers still prosper, and where a majority of people exhi larating very large numbers of people in this country find a sheer willingness to proclaim the superiority of our political values to the political culture of Marxism and Communism, how sick they are of creeping [fragmentation] from within in the sphere of political discourse, and how happy they become when they see the United States once again speaking in clear accents as the 2 such encapsulated in this somewhat hopeful closing of his essay.

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299 relations between elements such as master sig nifiers S 1 the new network of signifiers S 2 offered, and the split subjectivity $ constructed. As the next section demonstrates, this framework also helps to identify the fantasy underpinning the logic of the speech. The lack in the discourse, and the f antasy that attempts to veil it, are found in the gaps and silences in the speech, yet constitute jouissance in particular directions through the fantasy offered incompleteness and impossibility of attaining wholeness. Fantasy and Identification ordinates of our desire which e understand the split subject $, master signifiers S 1 and system of knowledge S 2 around which it coheres object a aggres sense of political value in resp onse to the Communist challenge oretz 1976, 39). The American response to Soviet assertiveness has been an erroneous reaction that can be traced back to the erroneous lessons drawn from Vietnam. The traditional world role that the US has played in countering Soviet aggression has been temporarily forgotten or ignored due to the

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300 tolerant, and eve erosion of our own sense of political value in response to the Communist challenge an accommodation in the sphere of ideas to match the accommodation we have been making in the political liberty which they of course do not regard as crimes at all can fairly be described as a synonym of the surrender of our political culture to the in the end to Communism, and the mi staken American reactions to it, plays at least as significant of a role in projected, onto an other. To avoid the possibility that our national problems are entirely our own fault, the fantasy offers a rationalization why America is not achieving the enjoyment that it deserves. America fantasy offers both imaginary fullness and possible disaster, as most political fant asies do (Glynos and Stavrakakis 2008). If the subject pursues the fantasy, the free world will continue, liberty will come to those to whom it is currently denied, and the United States will again step democracy. If, however, this pursuit fails, loss, and to truly b ecome ourselves again, the United States should, in a sense, mirror the

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301 stitch together an otherwise anxiety t, discourse, while also leaving open the contingency and ambiguity about how to deal with the frustration. Why is this? Many discourses about a national subj nicely illustrates this. Not only does the neoconservative fantasy of the Communist threat produce a scapegoat upon which national problems can be projected, but it evokes precisely the solutions to national (in)security, and in doing so he offers a sense of affective security to those evident in both how Podhoretz describes the past, and hopefully future, role of the U S. Throughout the Cold War, the U S as the defender, or even as superiority of our political values to the happy they become when they see the United States once again speaking in clear accents as the jouissance that is seen as attainable if only the fantasy were pursued. (Re)constructing national identification with common, but powerful, American audiences, and allows opportunities for an audience to affectively rei nvest in these

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302 routed toward once again becoming more fully our selves. Our self division will be healed once our signifiers coincide with who we really hegemonic struggle with the discourses of the Carter administration, Podhoretz defined the nodal and jouissance them, in doing so allowing itself once again to be represented by them. They thus offer partial jouissance jouissance he promise of their appeal, yet are merely attempts to symbolize a lack. The fantasy underpinning their place in the discourse channels desire for them because of the jouissance they imply. Yet the full jouissance imagined is never attained since the ver y existence of the fantasy itself functions to veil the impossibility of the wholeness it promises. attachment to the partial jouissance offered by the fantasy. It is the gaze of the fantasy object itself, which is projected to offer an appealing position for the audience to inhabit, the position from how the fantasy stages an encounter with the object that is presumed missing object a pression or sense of what the subject can become, a sense of the jouissance that is promised if the fantasy

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303 is defeated, once Soviet aggressiveness is halted, once th jouissance seen as possible, indeed inevitable, once the blockage is successfully removed. No other obstacles, no political difficulties or antagonisms, no disagreement among different political groups, no continued domestic divisions or lethargy on the part of liberals and conservatives, and no perceived problems with allies or other global actors. Jouissance is indeed presupposed in 144) argues, object a is not something that positively exists in symbolic reality, but is merely the ending and perpetually unfulfilled desire, an object that the subject presumes must have caused its desire. Thus, the missing object a the jouissance of a unified and ha the lack of full illusory jouissance discourse of the text. It is an affective experience, simultaneously satisfying and frustrating, which lies outside the discursive bounds of the text itself (outside the Symbolic order), but is nevertheless channeled through the text exists in the gaps and spaces of the text which are constructed within discourse and those which escapes it.

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304 Desire for jouissance and the gaze are linked to the function of the Communist other within the text. sociality of desire. Lacan (1978, 235) argues that desire is never individual, but is always intersubjective fantasy illustrates this aspect of desire. While the Soviets are the implacable enemy, they simultaneously seem to embo dy all the traits that America should be. The rapid spread of 37) and the general image of an unyielding Communist behemoth suggests to admire in Communist assertiveness. Podhoretz clearly argues for an aggressive promotion of American ideals, wishes the United States would once again become a great superpower, and sees American expansionism as the best way to counter Soviet growth. The Soviets are without at the same time there is something about them that reinforces our notions of who we should be during this time of isolationist sentiment. chapters, national identification is not constructed solely around a simp le catalogue of socio cultural indefinable, yet partially manifests itself thr ough national rituals, ceremonies, and performances.

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305 he wants to steal our enjoyment (by ruining our way of life) and/or he has access to some secret, eived as something inaccessible behavior. 11 For Podhoretz, the Thing that Ame rica is lacking during its unfortunate isolationist mood advan ambitions, and the absence of effective resistance, will carry them and that could well be to the een lost, it would once again was leading the free er power in the form of Soviet nuclear capability, power in the form of Russian imperial dynamism, power in the form of the size and potential of the population of China, power in the form of the persuasiveness of Marxist ideology to the masses of mankin d mutual construction of self and other here does not occur only on a discursive, Symbolic level, e in a sense 11 concepts of imaginary (image) and symbolic (gaze) identification.

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306 a mirror of what American behavior should look like. The United States should go as far as its own are covering the world with Communism. They are ind ideological dominance. Their theft of our precious Thing the indefinable object a is blocking us from fully becoming who we can be. The subject $ exists not only in the Symbolic order, but the part of itself that is missing missing, yet a vital part exists as both present and absent from Symbolic reality. The Symbolic representation of the subject and its absence of representation intermingle and contaminate each other at the point at which the subjectivity o ffered by the text is both the most appealing and the most precarious. Thus, we remain split, divided, and insecure. the lost part of our being, which will heal th e gap in our collective subjectivity. Hegemonic Logic The affective dynamics of desire, fantasy, and jouissance inseparable from, and crucial to understanding its resonance with audiences. Both neoconservative discourses a nd the discourses of the Carter administration attempted to define offers substantial insights into the affective underpinnings of the dynamics of discursive the various meanings of the text, an d those major signifiers that other signifiers ultimately refer pr

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307 that brings together the various significatio These nodal points support, and are supported by, the strings of equivalences and differences that construct the sites of identification within the text. As L aclau (2005, 78) argues, other identities, and its equivalential bond with all the others vis vis all social (that is, di scursive) identity is constituted at the meeting point of difference and t characterizes Communism, and through their differentiation from those strings of words and signifiers and phrases tha t construct Communism with certain qualities and characteristics.

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308 att the chain and from their difference to their opposing signifiers in the chains constructing is a threat to the United States, yet their discourse, this chain forms a system of meanings in which the meanings themselves lie at the intersection of the equ is continually deferred to the others in the chain, and is simultaneously differentiated from As discussed above, the groups of signif representation. For Podhoretz, although the United States is mistakenly attaching itself to energiz e if it is seemingly refers to an extra discursive feature of the U.S., but in fact only refers back to another

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309 all of these also draw their meanings from their equivalence to others in the chain, and to their difference from sm, the continually refer back to each other and their oppositional/differential analyze the mutual how desire underpins the production of these boundaries. Desire, the desire for a whole sense of self, for jouissance is never fully satisf ied. It is a movement that shifts from object to object, from signifier to signifier, and is never satisfied by the representation that various signifiers offer and by the partial jouissance fiers into equivalential chains. Desire passes along the words that promise full representation, yet e that each, or all, will bring the full

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310 jouissance yet the chain as a whole does not deliver on this promise. The chain itself cannot offer the representation the subject seeks because there is no who jouissance text is both a movement of satisfaction and frustration partial satisfaction in b ringing together a group of signifiers that attempt to pin down something never finding the full representation it seeks in the chain that merely covers the lack of the subject. Desire slides along the chain wi thout ever touching the jouissance that the subject presupposes and seeks. Jouissance points that are underpinned by an implicit fantasy scenario, and the dynamics of this rela tionship constitute another part of the hegemonic logic of the text. Specifically, the roles of the universal hegemony. Recall that for Laclau, hegemony is not the ascension of the discourse that most duty to tool through which American expansionism is to be conducted and A merican universals

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311 different times in American foreign policy, but here its meaning is filled in a particular way. The other major nodal points that Podhoretz offer s are constructed through these same Podhoretz deploys. They play substantial roles in the fantasy of his discourse, and it is the tension between their lack and imagin Soviets do not, w world not yet attaches itself to its true present and absent in/from the discourse, part of the subject and not fully part of the subject. The fantasy in the discourse offers jouissance embody the jouissance discourse. Communism, hides the impossibility of their full realization. Or, more specificall y, the fantasy of their attainment, and the Communist obstacle posed, allows the subject to avoid the lack at its

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312 heart, to avoid the Real that provides the condition of possibility and impossibility of its construction upon which their affective appeal and centrality to the text rests. Conclusion A crucial The respective fantasies implicitl y constructed, the national subjects partially constructed, the and the dynamics of filling and loss that constitute the hegemonic attempts of both texts al l of constitutively insecure fantasy offered in the structure of the audiences, the fantasies of fullness and jouissance promised to audiences, the identifiable the closing years o f the 1970s all help to explain why neoconservatism was able to gain a foothold and public presence at the time. Although the configuration of desires and split subjectivity that both texts offer can be understood as Hysterical discourses, the fantasies ( and constructions of national loss) that they offer are the crucial factors for understanding their respective appeals and resonance. The competing hegemonic fantasies of Carter and Podhoretz in constructing the national loss of enjoyment, and the blockag e to overcome so as to reclaim national wholeness, evoked differing desires in audiences, which led to their different political fates. The opportunities for affective investment in each of these discourses, through the

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313 national/collective subjects that t hey partially constructed and the hegemonic contest over which To conclude, there is an interesting side story that ties together national desire, identification, a day retreat to Camp David where he prepared the speech, he solicited input from nearly 130 visitors from all walks of American life. One of them was University of Rochester historian Christopher La sch. In January 1979 Lasch had published The Culture of Narcissism recession, oil shortages, soaring crime rates and faltering cities, [his] book leapt onto the best asch applied a clinical understanding of narcissism to diagnose a range of social pathologies that, in his view, had spread throughout hatred, escapes into a grand iose self conception, using other people as instruments of 12 After listening to deeper spir (Bourne 1997, 442), Carter procured Lasch and others to help him prepare the speech. These presidency and, who believed narcissism to be the very problem plaguing the country, thought the crisis could be fixed with what they viewed as a heavy dose of blunt honesty. Perhaps if Carter and his advisors had had a deeper understanding of the dynamics of desire, affect, and fantasy in the construction 12

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314 not have further added to them. In doing so, they could have perhaps avoided contributing to the rise of neoconservatism at the time.

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315 CHAPTER 7 THE AFFECTIVE POWER OF NEOCONSERVATISM: PART II Introduction This chapter continues the analysis of the affective p ower of neoconservatism began in the previous chapter. That chapter analyzed the plays of desire and affect of competing discourses during an early period of neoconservative influence in the texts of Norman Podhoretz and Jimmy Carter. In this chapter I e xplore the descent and rise of neoconservatism in the 1990s in terms of its affective appeal. I analyze the discourse of Charles Krauthammer in the early 1990s (a time of relatively minor neoconservative public impact), and compare it to neoconservative d iscourse later in the decade (a period of heightened public impact), as found in the writing of William Kristol and Robert Kagan, I argue that a major reason why neoconservatism was unable to gain social traction earlier in the decade was because it offer ed less defined fantasies of subjectivity and evoked less desire (and thus constituted a less appealing site of affective investment and identification) than later neoconservative discourses with more defined fantasies posing clearer l wholeness (in Lacanian terms). I briefly conclude by suggesting that the power and appeal of neoconservatism should not be underestimated in future debates over American foreign policy. The chapter proceeds chronologically by first uncovering the fan tasies in the writing of Krauthammer, and then compares it to an analysis of the writing of Kristol and Kagan. The analysis of each text, as in the previous chapter, proceeds in three steps: first, I elaborate the structure of each discourse, understood th fantasy and identification appeal of each text; and third, I examine of how these aspects underpin the hegemonic logic of each text.

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316 Neoconservatism and the End of the Cold War The early impact of the n eoconservatives on American foreign policy debates during the Carter administration was quite asymmetrical to their level of influence toward the end of the Cold War and its immediate aftermath. Their early heyday during the late 1970s and early 1980s dis sipated as the decade wore on. Long gone were the days, Ehrman (1994, 177) points out, Commentary article could lead to an ambassadorship, establish policy for an 1980s, once influential neoconservative forums like Commentary had lost much of their influence (Ehrman 1995, 171 1 Like most other per spectives on global politics at the time, the end of the Cold War played a big part in this, and it threw the neoconservatives somewhat into a state of confusion. relied upon communism as its focal point, and thus provided a reference against which their foreign policy ideas could be advocated. More broadly, a glance at some of the most prominent neoconservative ideas about foreign policy (as found in the writings not only of Podhoretz, but also other prominent neoconservatives like Jeane Kirkpatrick and Irving Kristol) demonstrates much of neo campaign against the USSR was essentially defensive, inasmuch as it was responding to an existing threat and that is was required in the circumstances 3) finds (with perhaps a touch of schadenfreu de 1 By the mid

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317 Union to conceive that it might disappear. It was their mental balustrade, something they could lean on in their battles against effete liberals at home. Deprived of it, they diminished at this time was because of their split response to the end of the Cold War. Since its gradual birth in the 1960s and 70s, the movement had committed itself to the defeat of communism, but when this happened they were faced with questions that had largely been glossed over during those decades of relative unity. Upon what principles should the U S build its post Cold War foreign policy? And, in a world with one remaining superpower, how broadly coalesced into two camps. Some argued that a narrower definition of the national interest best suited the new times. Others saw an opportunity, with the Soviets gone, to spread American influence across the globe in the form of crusades for democracy (Halper and Clarke 2004, 76). Many of the older generation firmly embraced the idea that with the threa t of communism now vanquished, the U S should have a more constricted definition of the national interest. Since the Soviets had been the reason for an expansive world wide policy of containment, there was no reason left to maintain such far reaching int erests. Jeane Kirkpatrick, who was one of published in Commentary This paved the way for her appointment by Reagan as ambassador to the United Nations. Yet, with the end of the Cold War, she backed a more modest approach to aband oned (Kirkpatrick 1990). Irving Kristol largely agreed. He argued that the U S should no longer be concerned about balance of

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318 campaigner of democracy would easily lead to unnecessary global commitment s. Doing so would force the U S into the role of world policeman, and he as he saw it, the U S would very likely pass on this position (Kristol 1991). 2 Other neoconservatives disagreed. They believed that with the Soviet Union out of the way, the U S was free to actively spread its own democratic values around the world. Partly, this split was a generational change. Just as writers like Kristol, Kirkpatrick, and Podhoretz had helped to shape the older generation, younger writers like Robert Kagan, W illiam Kristol, and Joshua Muravchik largely took over the reins of the movement. Muravchik, for example, contended that promoting democracy should take center stage in American foreign policy, peacefully if possible, but through military intervention in cases of egregious brutality on the part of some states (Halper and Clarke 2004, 79 in other words, world 008, 217). Perhaps the most influential of this group early on was Charles Krauthammer, who (Ehrman 1995, 181). Krauthammer had spent much of the latter 1980 s criticizing isolationist tendencies of both Democrats and Republicans, and when the Soviet Union collapsed he scoffed at the idea that a newly unencumbered superpower should constrain its global interests by becoming tied down in international institutio ns (Ehrman 19945 181 2). He proclaimed that the 2 In neoconservative circles, this debate began back in the mid National Interest democracy.

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319 1989/90, 47) and that the Gulf War of 1991 demonstrated the structure of the new international order beyond a doubt (Kraut hammer 1991). It was a widely eier 2008, 13). Krauthammer Foreign Affairs which made the case for a re orientation of American fo reign policy away from the narrower and more restrained visions offered by older neoconservatives. Krauthammer began by going against the grain of what he saw as the conventional wisdom about how the post Cold War world would look. In doing so, he elab orated his vision of what American foreign policy should look like, and what its guiding principles should be. The three main assumptions underpinning the conventional wisdom at the time were false, in his view. First, it was mistaken to assume that the power diffusing away from the two superpowers and towards a number of other up and coming states and regions. While others contended that states like Japan and Germany and regions such as Europe would rise as pow er centers, Krauthammer argued that events like world reaction to eminence. Only the U S had the economic, political, diplomatic, and military clout to shape the world as it saw fit. No other state had comparable power to counter the kind of aggression that had occurred in the Persian Gulf (Krauthammer 1989/90, 23 7). Second, it was just as mistaken to assume that with the collapse of the Soviet Union the U S could get over the domestic divisions ov

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320 had taken hold in the country, which posed a significant obstacle to the internationalist agenda the U S now need its more sophisticated variant was realism of the kind being expressed by other for eign policy intellectuals. Krauthammer criticizes Kirkpatrick specifically, arguing that rather than strive to S instead had an obligation to impose its power and vision upon a chaotic international system. and thus needed a great power to actively engage in sorting out others (Krauthammer 1989/90, 29). Finally, conventional wisdom was mistaken in assuming that with the end of the Cold War, the potential for conflict would be greatly diminished. On the contrary, Krauthammer 23). Iraq, Syria, Libya, and North Korea were the most prominent examples of small states that could amplify their power through the possession and use of WMD. 3 Such s tates are not merely 2) view, er public debate seemed to be largely inverse to the sweeping vision it offered. Ehrman (1995, 183) argues that 3

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321 alone the broader public. Instead, it was the more re alist oriented policymakers in the George H. W. Bush administration who were successful in articulating a narrative that was influential (Heilbrunn 2008, 203). Of course, the fact that, unlike in the first Reagan administration, neoconservatives had been shut out of the first Bush administration undoubtedly factored in to defensi 4 Yet, as elaborated below, neoconservatives were also out of power during the later 1990s, a time which many observers agree that neoconservatism arguably began to resonate much more with the public. Instit utional exclusion alone cannot, then, be the sole factor in understanding Instead, a comparison of neoconservative discourses at this time can shed light on this unevenness. The fantasies of subjectivity offered by neoconservative discourses, and the consequent desires evoked, underpinned by the affective appeal of identification with jouissance offer a distinctive view of the social ebb and flow of neocons ervative success during the 1990s. neoconservatism that would later come to dominant the movement, yet for particular reasons did not early on. Discourse Stru cture identify the fantasy of subjectivity in the text. can be better understood by mapping how each of four factors (maste r signifiers S 1 knowledge 4 For explorations of the differences between traditional conservatism and neoconservatism, see Barry and Lobe (2002) and Micklethwai t and Wooldridge (2005).

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322 S 2 subjectivity $, and lack a constitutive elements, we will be able to better understanding the fantasy deployed but it. Krauthammer begins his essay by protesting what he views as the erroneous conventional wisdom that has been put forth by policymakers and the rest of the foreign policy community (1990/91, 23). This kind of protesting and questioning of the dominant order is characteristic of articulation of the narrative. However, the bulk of the essay is, instead, largely devoted to the laying out a description of what the author sees as the new structu re of the international system. That is, Krauthammer paints a detailed picture of the global system as it currently exists. His argument uses assertions that are offered as obvious as to be indisputable, and pronounces international conditions as so evid ent that any clear headed observer would agree. Of course, far from reflecting the new construct these new understanding of American power in relation to the rest of the world. In this University Discourse: S 2 a S 1 $ questioning, the University discourse is characterized by indoctrinating and/or educating. Note that the structures of the two discourses are mirror o split subject $ occupies the agent position (the most overt and manifest aspect of the discourse), object a occupies the position of latent truth underpinning the split subject $, the master signifier S 1 occupies the other position, while a system of knowledge S 2 is produced. In the University

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323 discourse, by contrast, each element (S 1 S 2 $, a ) occupies the opposite position (i.e. diagonal) 2 now takes on the position of agent, supported by a master signifier S 1 in latent truth position. Object a occupies 2 In the agent position, knowledge S 2 hails the lack a in the other, which in turn produces the divided subject $. The body of knowledge S 2 in the agent position means that the power of the agent does not rely upon the 2 is presented to the receiving other as legitimate and authoritati ve because it is not seen as ideologically controlled by a master. Knowledge S 2 here is seen as operating apart from the bias, perspective, and prejudice of the particular agent offering it. Thus the knowledge itself has agency since it is seen as separa te signification S 2 is underpinned and held together by the performative force of master signifiers S 1 Hence the master signifier S 1 appears as the latent tr uth of the agency of knowledge. Object a in the position of receiving other represents the desire of the other to embody the knowledge S 2 offered by the agent. Although object a does not mean that it is somehow fully represented, or that is an overt or explicitly articulated aspect within the discourse. Object a rather, represents the inexpressible Thing, the missing piec e of the subject $, which is beyond Symbolic representation and is part of the Real. In relation to the split subject $ in the position of product, the position of object a as the receiving other means that what the body of knowledge S 2 effectively hails is the lack in the subject. The overt object of desire within the discourse is not the cause of desire itself, but instead is the

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324 Symbolic and partial stand object is retroactively posited by the subject as having caused its desire. How should we understand the body of knowledge S 2 and how does it relate to the other manifest elements in the discourse, its master signifiers S 1 and the split subject $? Kra uthammer presents the bulk of his argument in terms of offering a picture of the international system as the Cold War is finally winding down and nearly over, and what the new future will look like. In this sense, Krauthammer places at the forefront the b ody of knowledge S 2 that his discourse deploys. The articulation of this new knowledge is the driving factor of the discourse. The knowledge S 2 that the discourse constructs about the new structure pretensions to the contrary, this is obviously not the case. Knowledge S 2 is never neutral, but is always (explicitly or imp licitly) supported by a master signifier S 1 This is a signifier of pure power that attempts to achieve Symbolic closure through the force of authority that the agency of knowledge S 2 attempts to soften or cover. For Krauthammer, there are three indisput able facts that comprise the fundamental characteristics of the post Cold War world. First, the structure of the new international system is unipolar. Second, world order is put at risk of there is a rise of isolationism within the United States. Third, the most dominant country in the world is rate power and no prospect in the immediate future of any

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325 the United States, atten impending fall of the Soviet Union, there is simply no other power that can pose a comparable threat to the United States, and the fact that it can now, seemingly, do want it wants wit hout any with the military, diplomatic, political and economic assets to be a decisive player in any conflict in whatever part of the world it chooses to i Again, for Krauthammer, the knowledge S 2 that he presents is beyond argument simply because it is offered as empirically true and beyond dispute. This, for him, contributes to its legitimacy, and also its agency as the dr iving factor of the discourse. Those who disagree with him simply do not see the obviousness of American global supremacy. Krauthammer is thus adamant that the new structure of the international system is unipolar and not multipolar, as some commentators (who remain unnamed) have argued. While he conjectures that a multipolar world may come to pass in time, it has not yet, and will likely not for decades (1990/91, 23 4). This does not mean that there are no second order powers that can have an impact up on the global system. Germany and Japan have sound and strong economies, Britain and France can deploy not unsubstantial military capabilities if needed, and the Soviet Union at the time still existed with some political and military power (although these were quickly declining) (1990/91, 23 4). rate power and no prospect in the immediate future of through the Un multilateral world and the promise of the United Nations as a guarantor of a new post Cold War order. But this is to mistake cause and effect, the United States and the United Nati ons. The

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326 (1990/91, 25). international system was made evident by the 1990 91 Gulf war. This also is presented as solidifying the knowledge S 2 structure of the post pole of world power that cons behavior of second d xt century act as a single power, its initial disarray and disjointed national responses to the crisis in the Persian Gulf again only were other major states demonstrated that others do not, and cannot, act without America leading the way for them: Although Krauth short term, its long term endurance is by no means guaranteed. The risks of American isolationism are the second element of the post chorus of Americans this vision of a unipolar world led by a dynamic America is a nightmare. Hence the second element of the post (1990/91, 27). Isolationism is a theme of thinking about American foreign policy that goes back

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327 the United States, and the more elusive (1990/91, 28). Like the obviousness of unipolarity itself, the impracticability of isolationism was revealed by the Gulf War. An aggressive state that invades an oil producing neighbor who is vital to rican does it epitomi ze the third part of the system of knowledge S 2 deployed, the threats posed from seductive developments of the new unipolar international system. Although a unipolar s ystem might seem at first to be less prone to conflict than a bi or multipolar one, this is not the case. Cold War world: the emergence of a new strategic environment marked by the proliferation of peripheral and backward states [that] will be able to emerge rapidly as threats not only to regional, but to world, securit Iran, and South Africa are all mentioned as current and/or potential Weapons States that could pose a threat in the near future (1990/91, 31).

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328 2 deployed in the text, what is the master signifier S 1 underpinning this knowledge? Every system of knowledge S 2 is supported by the force of its master signifiers S 1 argues Lacan. The knowledge S 2 offered, or produced, in this text p aints a picture of a world where American international activism is the best way to avoid a breakdown of world order. The fact that the world is not multipolar or bipolar demonstrates that even if multilateral management of world affairs between a handful of large and influential states is hypothetically possible, it is certainly not the case now. American unipolarity, in fact, demonstrates the opposite. This is because the United States is the only country capable and willing to impose order on the glob al system. Indeed, an extensive but acts on behalf of the en an active great power, the only remaining superpower, to provide the leadership and example that others want (1990/91, 29). Conversely, if the United States does not take on this role, the needs American power if it is to be a civilized, orderly, and secure world. No other acto r or entity is capable of providing that which the United States can. There is either an American world, or there is no civilized world at all. safety in such times, a s in difficult times past, is in American strength and will the strength and will to lead a unipolar world, unashamedly laying down the rules of world order and being own

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329 interests, is almost by definition in the interests of the rest of the world, since without American political, military, and economic global dominance. Ameri ca is obliged to, and indeed must compel the world to conform to its own rules, lest bedlam swallow the globe. An American world ordered by American rules is in the service of the rest of the world, who cannot provide order themselves. American stabilit y is global stability. Global stability, in turn, means America own power is good for the world, and good for America. This understanding of American power is the master signifier S 1 that underpins, and makes possible, the vision of the unipolar world. This notion of American power for its own sake is the master signifie r S 1 knowledge of unipolarity. There is a close relationship between the master signifier S 1 and the body of knowledge S 2 typically se en as non political and non who offers it, which confers upon it the sense of legitimacy, which in turn gives it the power of scourse, S 2 and S 1 are mutually implicating insofar as he articulates them as nearly overlapping. The world is unipolar, is still a dangerous place, and it needs the unipolar power to make the world less dangerous. American power is used on behalf of the world that is perceived as wanting it, and is used on come to overlap. Am

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330 he unipolar world offers a thin 2 to cover the latent truth of the American power S 1 constructed and 2 is presented as obvious and beyond question, thus also implying that the need for American global supremacy and American imposed world order (constituting the master signifier S 1 ) is also beyond question. system of knowledge S 2 to the audience in a discourse, which then produces a particular kind of the o nly superpower to survive the Cold War. The most forceful assertions of the text are rate power and no (political, economic, military) it chooses, and this is United States, acting unilaterally and with extraordinary speed, that in August 1990 prevented time being, is here to stay. America is the preeminent global power

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331 division, antagonism, or frustration. The national subject does not seem as frustrated by the divisions that typically plague split subjects $. Thus, it is almost as if America has achieved the very goal that not only helped to guide its behavior throughout the Cold War, but has nearly achieved the foreign policy goals that neoconservative s had been driving at for decades. The United States has come as close to as close to wholeness, to jouissance hieved the jouissance because of what Krauthammer implies throughout the tex t regarding the constitution of world However, there are some obstacles posed to the full realization of an American imposed world order. There are, i n other words, a few blockages to the fantasy image of an American world that constrain the fullness or jouissance that the subject believes it could experience were it not for the blockages. World security in the current unipolar world is threatened by t he risks We are in for abnormal times. Our bet hope for safety in such times, as in difficult times past, is in American strength and will the strength and will to lead a unipolar world, unashamedly laying down the rules of world order and being prepared to enforce them. Compared to the task of defeating fascism and communism, averting chaos is a rather subtle call to greatness. It i s not a task we are any more ea g er to undertake than the great twilight struggle just conclu ded. But it is just as noble and just as necessary (1990/91, 33) Throughout the Cold War the U.S. strove for security against a mortal foe, and now must explicitly, for Krauthammer evidently means the lack of American imposed global rules and order. With the fall of the Soviet Union, there is no longer the possibility that another state

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332 power will be able to impose a different set of global rules. Having defeated f ascism and communism, the U.S. has come close to the possibility of a world managed by American rules. and the Cold War) an ideologicall y pacified North seeks security and order by aligning its worn from conflict, voluntarily step behind the dynamic leadership of the United States since it is the only state that can provide world security. This sense of world security, understood by Krauthammer as a distinctly American and American provided security, can be understood as the wholeness the subject seeks. Once there are no more threats to world, to the American world, it will seemingly lack nothing. The jouissance of world security that it sought during the Cold War was denied by communism and thus out of reach. The jouissance that seems closer now that communism is no more seems closer still; the is closer to American domination than ever before. But, jouissance is still out of reach. The fantasy constructed by the text implies what such a world may look like, but also offers a number of obstacles and loss es that explain to the subject why its enjoyment is still not forthcoming. This, in turn, points to the place of object a in the discourse. In the University discourse, object a occupies the position of receiving other. Yet, this does not mean it is a positively existing entity in the Symbolic order. Object a the missing Thing that the subject feels will make it a whole subject once again, that is, once the missing object a is recovered. Although the subject believes this is something that has been lost,

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333 it is only a retroactive construction of something lost. In order to believe that it can alleviate its loss, to feel that its anxiety and division can be healed, the subject presumes that something m ust have caused its desire. The subject then constructs a fantasy that pinpoints what it believes was lost, why it was a crucial part of itself, what now keeps the subject from reclaiming it, and implies the jouissance that will be experienced should the missing object be found. As a text offer an underlying fantasy that posited something lost, a lost part of the subject, that if recovered would again bring securi ty and wholeness to the subject. As with most texts, desire would be channeled through the Symbolic discourse of the text toward the object a which would be constructed as missing. A fantasy would be offered to the subject that would promise the satisfa ction and security of wholeness, of jouissance which the subject would then follow through which to procure the enjoyment promised. subject that does not seem to a in unipolarity and the blockages posed to it. What the split subject is missing in this discourse is in one sense something that has been lost, and in another sense is something that has not existed, but which the fantasy promises is on the cusp of coming into being a truly American centered desires something that is just out of reach (an American world order). Fantasy and Identification The fantasy that fills out the structure of the University discourse brings us to the relationship between the subject $ and the missing object a a ). There is not a direct relationship between the subject and the missing object, but rather different Symbolic

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334 what it believes is mis sing. The knowledge S 2 deployed in a University discourse produces a the discourse where the subject $ presumes its missing part must have been. The neoconservatives at other times. In one sense, this is to be expected. Different times and issues call for different arguments. Yet, many observers note that since the beginning of the movement in the 1960s and 1970s, one fairly consistent quality of neoconservatism is the ever present sense of doom just around the corner, and national choices that are always starkly dichotomous. As Bacevich (2005 if the nation disregards the neoconservative call to action there is the abyss. On the other hand if the nation heeds that call neoconservative precepts that char acterize the movement from its beginning until after September 11, 2001 (including the primacy of military power, and the idea that American global hegemony is benevolent and beneficial for non Americans). Yet, crucially, his notion that se by, while at other times in his writing has taken center stage, conflicts in significant way with the major thrust of this message of unipolarity. It is through this tension that we can understand the affective appeal (or lack thereof) of the fantasy. Rather constructing This, in turn, does not evoke desire for identification, but instead functions to kill desire for identification. Remember that, for L acan, desire is coextensive with lack (Fink 1995, 54). To exist in the Symbolic order (indeed, to exist as a subject at all), one must desire. Loss evokes desire,

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335 desire drives identification, and only through identification with the social resources of the Symbolic order can subjects gain the recognition they need to achieve a sense of stability and it constructs is, strictly speaking, not missing all that much. As the unipolar power, or, as the subject is constructed through the fantasy of being a unipolar power, there is not much desire in else that might make the subject feel more secure or more stable. As the unipolar power, jouissance in terms of a world shaped by American imposed rules. Now that the Cold War is over, and now that the only other superpower that remotely had the capability to impose its own global ru jouissance have largely been specific object begins to fade. If one were to find the Thing that would t ruly make one whole, desire would die, and subjectivity would evaporate. The meaninglessness of the Real would set in, and one would cease to be a subject within the Symbolic order. As Lacan (1998, 111) argues, he jouissance obtained is distinguished from the jouissance jouissance the more desire fades, and the more anxiety sets in, since it is only through desire that we have subjectivity, and t herefore the more desiring the subject becomes almost reaching a state of desiring for the sake of desiring. han it may otherwise, the fantasy of the

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336 First, one way we can understand object a in this fantasy is the lack of a n American dominated world towards which Krauthammer guides the audience throughout the text. While unipolar to the extent that every other state or actor willingly submits to American imposed threat to world security for the rest discusses are some of the few states mentioned at all in the text, presumably because they are the outlaws that do not conform to post Cold War order as defined by the United States. North Korea Iraq, Libya, Argentina, Pakistan, Iran, and South Africa all pose a blockage to American/global order through their possession (at the time) of weapons of mass destruction, even though some of these states are more threatening than others. The obstacle these few states achieve complete safety, evokes the desire to remove them as obstacles to the fantasy. Desire is guided toward this image of a perpetually Am erican dominated world, yet pushes up against the signifiers that pose obstacles to it. Desire pushes towards that elusive object it believes will offer the jouissance of being a complete subject, here, an American centered world with American imposed glo bal rules. Although this object is unattainable, since it is but a Symbolic manifestation of a void, a part of the Real that the subject feels is a piece of itself yet does not solutely American dominated global system is presupposed to have existed were it not for these few states that pose

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337 American centered world is entirely plausible and d esirable, yet this very object or image of desire that promises the subject wholeness does not exist in Symbolic reality. orld order hinges upon the affective movements that give rise to self other relations in the first place. The construction of these from those states that states who are members of and who are perceived to openly welcome the new American world, and t presents a threat to our identity. We should rather inverse this proposition: the fascinating image thus prevents us from ac an dominated international system

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338 e that illustrate the affective function of and attachment to fantasy obstacles. Particularly, the notion that fantasies often presume that are without a doubt apons ckages in which the other is should be doing. One gets the sense that, as the lone superpower, America itself sho uld have the sole right to engage in the behaviors engendered by such forces. promote its own ideas for how the world should be policed and organized, and that no other entity or state has the ability or license to do so. America alone should dominate the world, and, for Krauthammer, it should be intolerant of anyone else attempting to preempt this new st of the world does not, and thus others and nationalistic expansi on and dominance are to be welcomed. American nationalist

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339 driven internationalism is beneficial for the world, other nationalisms are threatening. This illustrates precisely the Lacanian notion that constructions of self and other are underpinned by desi organization of ascination exhibited by enjoyment that they are perceived by th again, d emonstrate the affective dynamics that give rise to the production of self other relations. Second, there is a sense in the text that despite being the sole remaining superpower, the recurrent isolationism in the U.S. Indeed, if this revival becomes widely influential, an rank status will not be (Krauthammer 1990/91, 26). Although the reasons remain unnamed, he alludes to national debt essay. Although he does not explicitly relate this to isolationism, in terms of the fantasy elements of his discourse it

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340 ust have respect for a strain of American thinking so powerful that four months before Pearl Harbor the vote to extend draft enlistments passed the isolationists, in Krauth int erests coincide with American interests (1990/91, 33). Although isolationism may indeed be an old theme of American foreign policy, it is simply out of place in a world that is so obviously unipolar which, by definition, must be dominated by the unipolar power. These characteristics are, fore most, uniquely American. The rest of the world cannot act without t In a sense, however, so does the United States. As the unipolar power, America without a doubt

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341 necessary to fully embrace the global role that it can only take upon itself. The national subject is lacking something which has served it faithfully in the past, but which it has lost at the very time when it needs it the most. What exactly Krauthammer means filled in. This lack of definition, indeed the impossibility of fully defining what they mean, is precisely why they function as signifiers of the nati currently lacks the full force of, yet they are still a part of the subject. They may have been temporarily and partly f discovered and re going to more fully step into its proper role as global leader. The partial joui ssance implied in both of these aspects in the illusory and just out of reach image of an American dominated which it must fully reclaim desire for their pursuit. In the fantasy of the that it believes will bring it the wholeness or jouissance it seeks, yet the fantasy posits obstacles to expl ain to the subject why jouissance is not forthcoming and why its desire remains frustrated. r over the

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342 lack of what the subject believes it needs to pursue the image of an American dominated world, itself an illusory ob ject projected by the fantasy to contain the jouissance it desires. Both the image of an American e incompleteness However, the crucial point here is that the desires evoked by these dynamics of fantasy d as the sole superpower, there is not much desire in jouissance in terms of a world shaped by American imposed rules. However, once the subject approaches the make one whole, desire would die, and subjectivity would evaporate. The desires evoked by the fantasy obstacles posed and the evaporation of desire the closer it approaches the jouissance it gaze constructed by the fantasy evo kes little desire in an audience for a complete subject. The su bject and the missing object that offers the subject a view from which s/he could appear likeable to her/himself, and thus desire and strive for, that the subject does not already occupy. ire for identification, in fact helps to dissolve desire. In closing in on a truly American centered world, the desire for

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343 of dissatisfaction because it come s too close to the object(s) of desire. Without desire there is no subject, and here the subject is close to fulfilling its desire. In a sense, several aspects of t fated comments on the national it fails to spark substantial desires. If the United States now sits astride the globe with little to fear from other of jouissance the subject must feel as constructed the United States, and the world, in terms of there being little left for the United Although there is within reach, these aspects are in tension with the unipolarity thesis The notion of the United continue to be the unipolar power are in conflict with each other. For these reasons, that other neoconservative discourses had enjoyed, both in the past and subsequent to

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344 Hegemonic Logic neo conservative text, which in turn helps us to understand its attempt at achieving discursive discursive dynamics that underpin the texts hegemonic logic. Mapping the constructions of equ ivalence and difference, nodal points, and universals and particulars through the above understandings of fantasy and desire can offer an understanding why this text was unable to achieve widespread resonance with audiences. s of equivalence and difference are useful in demonstrating how political identifications and boundaries are drawn through the mutual construction of self and other. For Laclau, all social identifications are constituted at the intersection of logics of e ly used throughout the United States is the unipolar power (1990/91, 23). Other signifiers contribute to building this diplomatic, political, and economic assets to be a decisive player in any conflict in whatever part of the world 33).

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345 These various signifiers together constitute American identification within each link in this chain of signifiers is deployed to express an aspect of American identification in the text, and all together attempt to express something similar between the equivalent to each other insofar as they are meant to express the similarities between them. In this sense, their meanings collapse to the extent that they are seen as expressing some underlying or foundational quality. Yet, there is no extra bject that it tries to express directly, but deferred to the other links in the chain without traveling outside the chain, since such an the Real, which is inexpressible. Their meanings are both equivalent hem as meant to express something they all share. Yet what they share is simply their difference with the signifiers constituting the others in the fantasy. T

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346 ying the opposite values the United States is attempting to create for the rest of the world (1990/91, 26). While these states pose threats because they flaunt their weapons of mass destruction and suppress democratic impulses, they must be countered beca use they pose blockages to the fantasy of an American centered world order. If anything other than American t than American this chain of signifiers together construct the identifications of the threatening other, and draw their meanings from both their similarities to each other (i.e., their equivalence) and their difference to the chain of signifiers cons inasmuch as one can speak of them as different signifiers, but are also meant to express some similari ty underlying all of them. Yet, what they all share in common is not something positive, but rather their differences from its other, the American chain of equivalences. Both the American chain of equivalences and the other chain of equivalences draw t heir meanings from their mutual differences. Thus, but their d ifference to an opposing chain. Logics of difference break down the boundaries produced by logics of equivalence. Both logics are at work in both chains in the way that a

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347 boundary is constructed between the American chain and the chain of the other, and in the way the differences within each chain are suppressed in relation to their difference from the other. It is also along each of these chains that desire flows. Desire, for Lacan, has the same metonymical movement as does signification and meaning w Desire is the element that allows these signifiers to be brought together in chains of equivalence jouissance is channeled through th concentrated along the chain of equivalences that attempts, but ultimately fails, to repre sent the yet each fails do provide the fullness that the subject seeks within the Symbolic. What the subject truly desires does not exist in the Symbolic order, but is instead part of the Real. The missing object(s) that the subject feels will make it whole ag ain, the illusory and just out of reach image of an American dominated global do not exist within the Symbolic order, and thus cannot be fully represented in the chains of equivalence that attempt to construct an American subject. Similarly, desire is also frustrated in the chain of differences, the chain of the other that is mutually constitutive of equivalences. Desire for subjectivity flows along both chai ns and is both partly satisfied and frustrated in this this representation is partial. Desire is also frustrated by the signifiers representing the othe r, which the subject believes blocks the fulfillment of its own representation.

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348 kinds of presence and absence that as the chains of signification in which they are po sitioned. The main messages of the essay rely upon the force of the nodal points Krauthammer deploys. constitutes the attempt at hegemony of this text, since for Lac lau (1996, 44) hegemony is this a neutral descriptor that fully and accurately represents the country, but is rather a site of inscription upon which a range of meanings can be constructed. This is true of their role in real interest, its true argue for, that America should largely keep to itself and should merely aim to defend its ow n which, through its very associations within the chain, shifts its meaning away from what the Americans, the timeless meaning of what the country is must always and continually be filled in by signifiers whose meanings are contingent. that Krauthammer constructs. b he text, from the structure of the can be if America steps

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349 that have gotten us through of the world does not, to what the country needs to re discover and re charge if it is to more fully rder (1990/91, convey its major messages. As such, their contingent filling in constitutes the hegemonic effort Yet, discursive hegem ony is always underpinned by the dynamics of desire and affective evocative of desires to be a full subject. Indeed, what he offers is a discourse in which the jouissance as the text constructs it. In constructing a world order in which America, the national subject, has come fa irly close to achieving what it desires (i.e. a global order based its own unparalleled power and the rules of its choosing), the hegemonic attempts at filling in prominent nodal points with his own preferred and contingent meanings presumably evoked littl e desire in audiences. The meanings of the fantasy in which the subject was close to the wholeness of jouissance The hegemony attempt to because the underlying fantasy of the discourse offered little for subjects to desire, thus its lack To conclude this section, I arg ue that the relative lack of widespread social traction that neoconservatism had in the early 1990s can largely be traced back to the fantasies of subjectivity

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350 that it offered. These fantasy aspects, taken together, help us to understand the relative lack of Compared to the early peak of neoconservative influence in the late 1970s, neoconservatives had trouble after the end of the Cold War. Using the ideas laid out in chapter three, this method of discourse analysis not only demonstrates a deeper understanding of self other relations, but can trace how the affective dynamics of desire and jouissance play out in texts, which offer some insights into why some discourses are more successful than others. While neoconservatism in the early 1990s was unable to spark desires in widespread audiences, toward the latter part of the decade its political fortunes began to change. While Krauthammer remained within the movement as one of its foremost advocates, other writers, most notably Robert Kagan and William Kristol, began to articulate neoconservatives themes that would turn out to resonate more with audiences than did similar discourses just a few years before. By the 1996 presidential election season, neoconservatives felt as though their movement, and conservatism in general, had lost energy. Although they had supported Bill Clinton over George H.W. Bush i realpolitik approach first term focus on humanitarianism left them not only out of power, but without a leader who sha term Congressional elections did not benefit neoconservatism as one might expect. As Chollet and Goldgeier (2008, n Party abandoned mentioned foreign policy or national security, and foreign policy generally did not play much of a role in the campaigns of that year (Chollet and Gold geier 2008, 107 9).

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351 Although the 1994 Republican victories did not work out well for neoconservatives, the 1996 campaign season saw the beginning of increased efforts by the movement to have a heavier presence in foreign policy debates. Observers point out that it was around this time that neoconservatives did begin to gain more attention. As Halper and Clarke (2004, 74, 103) argue, these years of the late 1990s, Halper and Clarke (2004, 101) also argue that the considerable number of books, statements, and briefs offered by neoconservatives could all be summed up in very simple and doctrinaire notions: 1) supporting democratic allies and challenging the promotion of political and economic freedom everywhere, and 4) increase d spending on rgence of China as a strong, determined, and potentially hostile power; the troubling direction of political developments in Russia; the continuing threat posed by aggressive dictatorships in ecline in American hinged upon the ki nds of messages they were offering. Early discussions of spreading democracy and unipolarity, given the time, did not seem to catch on while statements about China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, and potential American military weakness did seem to gain some traction. Many of these ideas had roots in an essay that came to form the basis for much

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352 a Neo Foreign Affairs in 1996 an d, as Heilbrunn (2008, positions would constitute much of the ideological impetus behind the Project for a New American Century (P.N.A.C.), the think tank formed by Kristol, Kagan, and others in the spring of 1997. P.N.A.C., of course, would later become synonymous with what many saw as the neoconservative hubris of the Bush Doctrine and the push for war in Iraq in 2003. sto bears some initial similarity to War, centered around the United States. As Krauthammer had offered a vision of the world as unipolar with the United States o n top, Kristol and Kagan also implored conservatives, the Clinton administration, and American citizens more broadly to recognize that the U S retains this position in the late 1990s. However, the particular dynamics of world political order differ notab themselves as the outsiders of a conservative movement and Republican Party that, in the mid 1990s, has little interest in foreign policy precisely at the time when they shou ld be offering a new vision of American global leadership. For them, the mid 1990s felt like the mid 1970s for neoconservatives (Kristol and Kagan 1996, 19). Like the dominance of Kissinger style realism of that time, neoconservatives felt dominated by t he status quo of the isolationist stances of the then ndidate, uced to asserting that there really [were] differences in foreign policy

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353 What conservatives, and the nation, needed was a bold new vision offering a well defined role for American power, a vision that ne view, the proper role of the U S no other superpower to worry about, the U S was already in a position of strategic dominance, and the fir st goal of American foreign policy should be to preserve this hegemony by supporting allies, strengthening its military capabilities, and spreading its values around the world. Hegemony was not something to be feared, as some (especially traditional conse rvatives) often did. Rather than denouncing hegemony as something akin to imperialism, and rather than defending oneself against the charge from other countries, Americans should wholeheartedly Kristol and Kagan walk through a list of events in the past six months that, although world role. American navy forces deterring Ch inese aggression against Taiwan, American troops stationed in South Korea deterring a possible invasion by North Korea, American troops and a significant naval presence in the Persian Gulf to deter potential aggression by Iraq or Iran, and deployment and w ithdrawal of troops to and from Haiti all of these actions demonstrate both the capacity of the U S to deal with a range of international problems, and reveal the indispensability of American power in the post Cold War environment. According to Kristol (Kristol and Kagan 1996, 21 2). Indeed, the fear of most around the world is not that the U S will overreach, but that it will not (Kristol and Kagan 1996, 22).

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354 To maintain this dominance, and to make it clear to an uninterested American citizenry tha centerpiece of American foreign policy. First, they declared th at the $260 billion defense budget was much too small. Instead of the additional $7 billion that was added the year before, the U S should spend at least $60 $80 billion more each year. To clarify that this is not the radical proposal that it appears, t he authors argue that their proposal was much less than the 50 percent of gross national product that the U S had spent at the height of the Cold War (Kristol and Kagan 1996 25). Second, they advocate greater citizen involvement in military matters. Sin ce citizens were, by and large, unaware of the importance of American military efforts abroad, Kristol and Kagan advocate more programs to involve citizens in military service and to find understanding that its moral goals and its fundamental national interests are almost always in t as Reagan had infused Americans with a sense of purpose and exceptionalism, so a neo Reaganite re orientation must embrace these fundamentals. Thus, many of the elements that characterize much of neoconservative thinking are forcefully articulated by Kr istol and Kagan. Discourse Structure constructions of hierarchies and self and other. Supporting these overt manifestations of self and other, however, are implicit fan tasies and subtle interplays of wholeness and lack, which spark desires for subjectivity and identification. As with the above analyses of neoconservatives texts, ctures

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355 international system, but to offering a series of policy pr oposals that if enacted, in their view, knowledge S 2 master signifiers S 1 split subjectivity $, and the position of lack a Kristol and to the University discourse. University Discourse: S 2 a S 1 $ are best understood through the framework of the University discourse, it arguably has elements s discourse. This will be pointed out as the discussion proceeds. First, however, we 1 S 2 $, a ). What is the body of knowledge S 2 earlier one such that it resonated more with audiences, the body of knowledge S 2 in both is quite f a conservative their strategy is to present this worldview in terms of offering a picture of what they claim the world is actually like. Kristol and Kagan str ongly protest what they deem the current consensus on American foreign policy. Having won the Cold War and defeated the Soviet Union, many in the United States were now either seduced by a renewal of the traditional Republican platform of isolationism, or

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356 c rs contend there is no ulk of the essay is devoted to a policy agenda that Kristol and Kagan hope will be implemented to extend this hegemony into the far future, the knowledge they deploy as a and it must do w construction, rather than merely and a politically representing an international s ystem outside of the discourse used to describe it. Recall that knowledge S 2 occupies the position of agent in the University discourse. Here perspective. A lthough it is actually underpinned by the force of master signifiers S 1 they remain mostly latent or are seen as secondary in the discourse, their power and force covered by the deployment of a body of knowledge that is seen to legitimate them, rather tha n vice versa. deploy but also by the sheer force of the master signifiers that take center stage in much of their argument. The overlap between knowledge S 2 and mas ter signifiers S 1 is often close in any discourse (particularly in University discourses, given their positions as both its agent and latent truth), but they seem to be particularly close in this text.

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357 To see this, we must next isolate the master signif iers S 1 of this text, and see how they relate to its knowledge S 2 signifiers that help to tie together its various meanings through their embedding within the fantasy offered. Their text s eems to rely more upon the force of master signifiers than even the other neoconservative texts analyzed above. Kristol and Kagan deploy a multiplicity signifiers and their entrenchment within their particular fantasy fills in their ambiguous meanings in particular ways. For example, they contend that most Americans do not realize that the rest of the world is now unprecedentedly receptive to American values in th democratic governance, an international system of free democracy, free markets, [ For Kristol and Kagan, these and other principles are not worthy of promotion simply good for all who are exposed t invigorate these principles as the central part of American foreign policy. The United States a neo currently pursued by the Clinton administration and a conservative Congres s (1996, 29). Such a re

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358 international itself stands for. There are also many other valued signifiers that are offered throughout the essay, particular where they put forth their policy proposals. These will be el aborated below in terms of their role in the fantasy of the text, since they are signifiers that the national subject does In terms of the relationship between S 1 and S 2 here, place knowledge S 2 in the position of agent, while positioning S 1 in a secondary, but ultimately 2 of the current international system, the current default hegemony of the presented as the condition that paves the way for stronger attachment to our master signifiers. Re cent American actions abroad support this knowledge, such as the American navy deterring Chinese actions against Taiwan, American troops in South Korea deterring aggression by North Korea, and American troops and navy deterring potential aggression by Iraq or Iran (1996, 20 directly to the obviousness of the role and necessity of American power (1996, 20). The very predominance by strengt

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359 Although the current unipolarity of the international system is seen as automatically presenting the logical cho ice for the United States to further strengthen its position, one can also read this as American principles themselves are just as important for solidifying American hegemony as is the observation that American already is the hegemon. After all, the stren gth of s benevolent hegemony to the is underpinned not just by its mi litary power, but by the power of its core principles. The value to others (1996, 31). Indeed, if America chooses not to spread these values and turns to It is worth noting that some aspects of this demonstrate the dynamics of the Mast discourse. S 1 S 2 $ a (S1) and system of knowledge (S2) function as ends rather than means, that is, whenever its concepts are used to institute its preconstituted knowledge in its audiences and thus achieve 1 occupies the agent positi on, the most overt or prominent aspect of the discourse, and which address knowledge S 2 in the position of

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360 the receiver. The split of the subject $ is relegated to the position under the master signifier S 1 yet it is also the latent truth of the master. The master S 1 attempts to present itself as one who is fully constituted and without division or incompleteness. The master gives the impression that it is fully represented by its signifier S 1 and that nothing escapes its representation, unlike most oth er subjects $ who are split. Its adherence to its master signifiers S 1 gives the impression that it enjoys the wholeness and jouissance that is implied by the notion of being fully represented in is in fact excluded from the discourse, and is found in the position of product on the side of the receiver, a But this is a latent part of the discourse, overshadowed by the power of the master signifier S 1 The master signifier is to be obeyed and fol ink 1995, 131). their own advocacy without elaboration. signifiers that should be desired for their own sake, rather than what can be gained from their pursuit and embrace. Their evident not only keep our current attachment to them, but for why we should even more strongly attach ourselves to them and attempt to more fully represent ourselves under the force of the promise t 2 in this reading, is secondary to their force in and of themselves. The United States is the lone remaining superpower after the other

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361 iousness of their universal 1 address the 2 they deploy (S 1 2 current superpower is secondary to th e full embrace of the master signifiers S 1 that will bring Yet, the force of these master signifiers S 1 is just as frequently linked to the body of knowledge S 2 about current world politics. The sprea d and adoption of American principles are Kristol and Kagan by pointing to the various instances of American power holding back dark and threatening forces fro m those few states that reject American principles. Deterring China, North Korea, and Iraq does not merely illustrate American military prowess, but demonstrates what happens when those who do not share our master signifiers S 1 attempt to exert their own master signifiers. Thus, the power of their master signifiers S 1 is intimately linked to the knowledge S 2 1 and its body of knowledge S 2 seem to propel its a rticulation. Additionally, the subject as constructed within the discourse is indeed divided, and this policy proposals that they advocate implicitly correspon d to the fantasy of their discourse, which attempts to cover over the divisions they construct to bring the national subject closer to the jouissance power of the master and is missing something that will bring it what it desires. The body of know ledge S 2 they

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362 division $ further unless the fantasy is pursued. ambiguity they simultaneously cover are aimed at recovering the missing object(s) which will make the national text can be understood as a University discourse. The point of this is to in a pure form in political discourses, but that they often closely share characteristics. In this case, the close relationship between the body of knowledge S 2 and the master signifiers S 1 that Kristol and Kagan deploy complicates understanding its functioning as either a Master or a University discourse. Yet, as Alcorn (2002, university comprise the largest modes of discourse would frequently overlap. In this case, the position and relationship between knowledge S 2 master signif iers S 1 dynamic closer to that of the University rather than the Master, although the two can be closely related. 2 and master signifier s S 1 constitute the text as largely a University discourse, what is the split subject $ of Kristol and position of lack, the place of object a in the discourse. On the surface, their text, again, bears

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363 some similarity to one strand of thinking that neoconservatives (and many others) had offered since the end of the Cold War. That is, that the U.S. remains the lone superpower, and that it should take advantage of th is strategic opportunity to spread its values and influence as it saw fit. largely emphasized the obviousness of unipolarity, Kristol and Kagan have by this time b egan to discuss (or construct) potential pitfalls to American hegemony. There is no doubt that hegemony Since the rest of th e world greets assertive American internationalism, not only is there not much interests, etc., but it allows for the universalization of American values. However, t here are significant threats and losses, both close and on the horizon, which will undermine the U.S. if it achieving wholeness, but a series of obstacles threa ten to chip away at it, thus pushing full lone superpower, and that which it is missing that would further solidify this role. In the pos t Cold War environment, the U.S. has come close the (neoconservative) dream of total global domination, but lacks that which will allow it to fully accomplish this. What exactly it is missing is partly articulated in a number of ways by Kristol and Kagan. In an echo of Krauthammer and

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364 responsibilities has, in one sense, more to do with domestic politics than with other states. o U.S. vital interests or to world peace has tempted Americans to absentmindedly dismantle the material and spiritual foundations on which their national well threat the Uni (Kristol and Kagan 1996, 23). The choice, as is typical in neoconservatism, is stark. Either the world acquiesces to American domination and America itself re ignites the strength it once had, or it faces the disintegration of world order. This is precisely one of the reasons why the rest of the world sees American hegemony as good for it Since most of the world supports and welcomes American values, interests, and aims, and since the rest of the world takes its lead from America itself. America does not follow the rest of the world, but the world follows America. fac tors can point to different things. America, despite having recently successfully exercised its more insular mood than at anytime since before the Second World War. The events of the last six months have excited no particular interest among Americans and, indeed, seem to have been interests or to world peace has tempted Americans to absentmindedly dismantle the material and

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365 spiritual foundations on which their national well conservati ve common sense at the time for betraying their domestic policy principles in their the Western tradition at home, but to profess indifference to the fate of Ame rican principles s to the position of the object a Their attempts to name, to attach a signifier to, what exactly the subject is lacking points precisely to the idea Symbolic rea marginal quality that can be supplemented by a rebalancing of priorities. The loss is central to o bring about global disorder. That which is Symbolically missing from their text is nevertheless that which sparks its very construction. That which is lacking in discursive reality evokes the desire for its recapture not only a discursive subject in the Symbolic order, but is an le present and absent in Symbolic reality, and present and absent in the R eal. They attempt to articulate this in many different ways. For example, the lionization of purpose in U.S. foreign policy. He championed American exception alism when it was deeply

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366 unfashionable. Perhaps most significant, he refused to accept the limits on American power exertion of r American place a heavy emphasis on the role of morality in both domestic a remoralization of America at home ultimately requires the remoralization of American foreign emphasize both personal and national responsibility, relish the opportunity for national engagement, embrace the which has been missing since Reagan (1996, 31 2). Like Reagan and Theodore Roosevelt, who establish ment, Americans should now re nd political leadership that

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367 Kristol and Kagan thus list a number of factors that they believe hold back America from becoming what it can be, and in their view truly is. While the many factors that t hey list can be viewed as different elements that must come together to reinvigorate the nation to pursue the global hegemony that is its historical responsibility, the very multiplicity and re articulation of these missing factors can be viewed as the pos ition of loss underlying their construction of the missing jouissance Kristol and Kagan offer a range of master signifiers that are highl y valued in American political culture, and deploy them in a way that points to these various discursive deployments, in a Lacanian sense, point n ot to all of the different aspects of character and quality that the country must embrace in order to further solidify its global hegemony, but to the very impossibility of fully articulating that which the national subject is lacking. The national subj through its difference from others (such as China and Iran), but is produced as a subject that is missing something that is keeping it from becoming what it should properly be. The nation al currently the default global hegemon, largely intervening around the world where it sees the need, but unfortunately has only done so reluctantly, after America lacks that which it needs to more fully embrace and solidify its dominant position

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368 beyond challenge (1996, 20). The multi plicity of attempts to pin down exactly what the national subject is missing points precisely to the desire for the jouissance or wholeness implied by these signifiers. Desire flows along these signifiers that promise full representation for the subject, yet none of them alone satisfies or fulfills the desire for wholeness. The jouissance the subject to pin down what is exactly is indicates not only the subje will represent it, but one that will bring back the jouissance it believes has been lost. This multiplicity of attempts to articulate the jouissance all that the subject once had, but no longer has, which evokes both the frustration of the national did have what it it had what it now believes is missing, its retroactive projection of this fullness sparks its desire to reclaim it. For Kristol and Kagan, when Reag an embodied all of these principles, when he led the free world by aggressively promoting American principles, when he placed universal morals or at least much closer than it is currently. The fantasy of the full American self that is projected back draws out the contrast with the significant incompleteness of the subject now, and desire lacking, point to the kind appeal that discourses need if they are to hails individuals as their subjects

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369 has to batten on and manipulate some ki which cannot be reduced to a simple instrument of legitimizing pretensions to power (notions political. While Kristol and Kagan offer t his range of master signifiers to an audience, their appeal stems not from their epitomizing what the subject is, but rather what it is not yet These jouissance insofar as Kristol and Kagan convey that when American ful sparked by their absence, not their presence. The national subject needs these signifiers and all that they promise if it is to become itself and heal the divisions that cur rently keep it from is not yet. What exactly these signifiers represent is something that does not fully exist within the Symbolic order constructed by the text, but are also absent from it. They are present as somethin g the subject needs to re discover and re energize, but also absent as that which does not yet exist as part of the subject. The jouissance implied by these signifiers is both promised

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370 by their partial representation of something that the subject believes has been lost, but also represent something that is just out of reach that the subject desires. The fantasy offered is that by pursuing the policies that imply a stronger attachment to these signifiers, the subject will cover over the divisions produced by the absence of the missing Thing. Rather than can be healed, the prospect of American global domination offers a fantasy that channels the desire for subje ctivity in a direction that promises a lack of absolutely nothing for America. Yet, both this image of American global domination and the discursive attempts to pin down what the nation is missing are fantasy objects partial manifestations of object a t hat indeed never existed, but are posited by the subject to have existed and whose presumed absence sparks the desire for the recovery of the wholeness and jouissance they promise. 5 Fantasy and Identification While articulating that they believe that wh at America lacks constitutes a likely source of global chaos, other aspects of their text soften the impact of this potential source of global lier formulations. Whereas Krauthammer emphasized unipolarity for stol and weakness, are threats on the horizon. China and Iran, for example, appear frequently as states that will likely not accede to the international rules that the U.S. lays down, or that will adopt 5 Indeed, while Kristol and Kagan harken back to what they see as the glory days under Ronald Reagan, footnote 11 in Chap ter Six.

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371 favored nation overall strategy for containing influencing, and ultimately seeking to change the regime in (1996, world order, of course, defined by American principles (1996, 26). Spre ading American actively pursuing policies in Iran, Cuba, or China, for instance ultimately intended to bring re broadly, Kristol and Kagan (1996, 24) fear Middle East, much less to extend while they are aggressive. We spread our universal values to the benefit of all, while they spread fear and threaten peaceful nations. We construct world order, they wantonly upset it. Yet, e fantasy and figures of these states. Appealing fantasies require an other. As Stavrakakis (2007, 198) argues, insecure experience, then the political creation and maintenance of the ideological appearance of a true, natural identity can only depend on the

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372 impossibility realizing my (universalized) identity, what is limiting my identity, is not the and benevolent wing would be peaceful and largely free of antagonism, tension, and conflict if not for non conforming states such as China and Iran. The fantasy of American security, which is is, like all fantasies, an impossibility is difficult to deal with, and evokes uneasiness in subjects. Fantasy offers a way to deal with this contingency through a discourse that Symbolically covers over the contingency of the Real in identification processes. It is this aspect of fantasy that drives much of the identification appeal of Kristol and a ) must be confronted with appropriate programs of national military service and more national patriotic spectacles incompleteness o f American global domination can be projected. It is not the possibility that national subject, are incapable of fully enjoying our jouissance because of the impossibility of its full experience, because we are not enjoying that which is our projection of the enjoyment we

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373 atively small group of others who impede American total hegemony. China, Iran, and others not only threaten us, but block the construction of the world, woul d reclaim mythical wholeness jouissance The fantasy presupposes, implicitly, that remembering the days when Reagan summoned the full potential of American spiritu al and military might, stared down the Soviet Union, and won the Cold War for the side of freedom. They recall back even further in the past, when Roosevelt inspired Americans to embrace their America is missing something loss drives the desire for rec laiming that which has been lost (the indefinable object a ) and Kristol and Kagan offer a neoconservative fantasy explaining what the subject must do to once again reach wholeness. Hegemonic Logic It is precisely the elements of fantasy that underpinne d and formed the affective component of the neoconservative attempts at discursive hegemony in the late 1990s. The greater public resonance that neoconservatism started to claim in the later 1990s through understanding its fantasy, desires, and appeal, an d through how these elements provided the The logics of equiva lence and difference function in much the same way here as they

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374 attempt to precisely pin down the subject within discourse, and others are constructed through through different predications that attempt to express who and what they are, and what they share aggression by Saddam Hussein or th 20 present w these various names and signifiers constitute not just a series of others in Yet, their interrogated, one must rely upon the other signifiers in the chain to fill in the definition. Their meanings, then, both differ and are deferred. The y differ to the extent that they are deployable as

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375 different signifiers, such that one can speak of them as different. Yet each of their individual meanings is deferred to the others in the chain. Similarly, logics of equivalence are at work in the con struction of American identification. As discussed above, a range of signifiers is offered to express what Kristol and point to a different quality or characteristic of the national subject, they also seem to express a certain similarity underlying them all. Like the construction of difference in th e chains quality that cannot be expressed by any of them individually. Their meanings, thus, differ and are deferred; each of the signifiers differs from each othe r in one sense, yet their meanings within meanings are collapsed to the extent that even though they are viewed as expressing a or the chain as a whole. The meaning of one is deferred to another without touching an circle around that which underlies the chain, which is simply a place of lack, the loss of the that which makes the equivalence possible cannot be s omething positive (that is one more difference which could be defined in its particularity), but proceeds from the unifying effects that the external threat poses to an otherwise perfectly

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376 only be the pure, abstract, absent fullness of the community, which lacks, as we have seen, any direct form of representation and expresses itself through the equivalence of differential terms. Thus, logics of equivalence and difference are at work in the chains constructing both differ from those constituting threatening others, and differ from each other to the extent that they can be spoken of as different signifiers, yet they are equivalent to the extent that they all give the impression of representing something shared between them. The signifiers constituting the other(s) (China, Iran, Iraq, monsters, etc.) differ to the extent that they ca n be understood as different signifiers, and differ from each other insofar as they can be understood as different signifiers, yet they are equivalent to the extent that they meaningful differences between them collapse in relation to their constitutive ou It is desire itself that allows for these chains of identification to be tied together. Desire ambiguities will be healed, moves fro m object to object. Desire in itself has no object, but is only a desire for more desire. Without lack there is no desire, and without desire there is no subjec which will heal its divisions and erase its ambiguity, shifts al ong the series of signifiers that all fail in their promise to heal frustrated, and constantly shifts to avoid this frustration, just as desire is frustrated in its

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377 inevitable encounter with the signifiers of the other(s). The two chains are mutually constitut ive other(s) who are seen to block our representation. The wholeness and jouissance that these chains of equivalence attempt to represent, or bring into the S ymbolic order, cannot do so. The did not exist in Symbolic reality before it was presumed by the fantasy. The chain of equivalences attempts to touch this American identification is implicitly supported by a fantasy that promises to represent that which is a they all share. Implicit in these plays of equivalence and difference are also dynamics of filling and or Laclau, the construction of discursive hegemony refers to the contingent filling in of the ambiguous and indistinct shared political concepts that every society generates. Identifications are produced through the plays of filling and emptying of univer is part of my identity as far as I am penetrated by constitutive lack, that is as far as my differential identity has failed in its process of constitution. The universal emerges out of the particular not as some principle underlying and explaining the particular, but as an incomplete The plays of universals and particulars are not just the politics of differ ence and similarity, but are, as shown above, blended with the plays of presence and absence of desire and jouissance

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378 meanings they attempt to fill with particular neoconserv ative understandings. Most obviously, here, is an ambiguous site of inscription upon which Kristol and Kagan define their own and aggre ssively promotes its ideals as those that should define global order. Wrongly understood, it is a country that merely sits on the sidelines to play exemplar for others to follow. ctice a policy of clarity eans the active particular meanings attributed to it throug h hegemonic contests, and the authors fill it in here as discover and utilize if it is to fully become itself again. The other prominent signifiers, embedded within the neoconservative nd political

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379 filled in by the particular neoconservative fantasy offered. These universals, then, are not merely filled in by the particular meanings that Kristol and Kagan construct, but are intimately and inextricably bound to the plays of desire and jouissance that are channeled through the discourse of the text. The particular meanings of these universal notions are bound up with fantasies that promise a constr jouissance desire would be satisfied, jouissance would be achieved, and the subject would no longer feel the frustration of its incompleteness. The creation of political boundaries and frontiers, then, is inextricably tied with the politics of desire and jouissanc e Through the contingent plays of equivalence and difference, universals and particulars, fullness and lack, and desire and jouissance through fantasy, Kristol and Kagan offer a discourse the promises to fill the lack of the national subject, itself an i mpossible project. neoconservatism began to recoup during the later 1990s. As Chollet and Goldgeier (2008) detail, the rise in neoconservative influence was likely the result of several factors. About a year after Foreign Affairs they founded the P.N.A.C. The social and political network that P.N.A.C. developed by neoconservatives undoubtedly helps to explain their rise in influen ce (see Halper and Clarke 2004, 103 110). 6 However, the content of their 6 P.N.A.C. sent several high profile open letters to public officials during the late 1990s that continued the same New American Century (1998a), (1998b), (1999).

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380 r focus on vulnerabilities and threats whether from missiles launched by rogue states, rising powers such now do to fill its time, their concerns shifted later to both explicit and potential threats. More deeply, however, there was much more to neoconservative pronouncements than recognizing subjectivity offered stronger appeals for identification than earlier discourses emphasizing unipolarity. The greater loss of subjectivity in later neoconservative discourses, particula rly neoconservatism were more appealing because they offered more secure identifications for people looking for ways to avoid the Real at the heart of their identific ation processes. In terms of foreign policy discourses in the United States during the late 1990s, neoconservatism began to through the fantasies constructed to satisfy these desires by promising to reclaim a national and global wholeness that was ultimately impossible. Conclusion While neoconservatism saw the height of its influence during the first administration of George W. Bush, it has had substantial impact on American foreign policy debates over the last several decades. However, this influence has been unsteady. Neoconservatism has been more influential in public debates at some times and less so at other times. Although times and contexts change, this back to the kinds of identifications it has offered its audiences. In competition with other discourses, it has sometimes evoked more desires in audiences and sometimes less, and the

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381 f antasies of subjectivity that it has offered has sometimes promised more appealing fantasies of subjectivity and sometimes it has offered less appealing fantasies. In utilizing insights from Lacan and Laclau to explore the affective hegemonic appeal of th ese ebbs and flows of neoconservative influence, this chapter contributes fills a considerable gap in the growing literature on neoconservatism. Thus, my overall goal has been to both uncover subtle aspects of the affective lure of neoconservative discour ses and to demonstrate the analytical strength of my theoretical framework that can fulfill that goal. In accounting for the desires and affects that are inextricably tied to the construction of subjectivity, my framework offers powerful tools that can mo ve far beyond conventional social constructivist and discourse analysis as they are currently practiced in IR. It should be noted that the reasons behind the political success of neoconservatism have not gone completely unnoticed. A few scholars have tri ed to explain the overall success that neoconservatism has had over the past several decades. Political theorist Shadia Drury (1997), in her examination of the links between Straussian theory and modern conservatism, argues that there four major reasons f or its success. First, she argues that neoconservatism has been successful because of its ability to ally itself with multiple critics of modern liberalism, such as feminists, libertarians, communitarians, and Republicans (Drury 1997, 170). Second, neoco nservatism thrives on the recent besiegement of American liberalism, as indicated by the the proponents of neoconservatism and those in the majority who are likely its most eager listeners (Drury 1997, 174 5). Finally, th e populist and nationalistic themes often deployed by

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382 7). neoconservatism, rath er than differentiating between its periods of greater and lesser political impact. In this sense, the analysis offered here is both a much more nuanced account of the political fortunes of neoconservatism, and offers a more nuanced account of neoconserva tive constructions of subjectivity. Perhaps a bit closer to my own theoretical approach is communication scholar Kenneth neoconservatism has been successful writings, for instance, of Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan), neoconservatives were able to blen d a reliance on social science with the morality of traditional conservatism. Again, like Drury, Zagacki seems to homogenize neoconservative highs and lows without giving them due attention, and without offering a way to understand or explain its changing political fortunes. However, Zagacki focuses much of his analysis on early neoconservatives who were much more concerned about domestic policy than foreign policy. Specifically, his discussion focuses upon the rhetoric of early neoconservatives whose cr iticism of the welfare state was based upon the same social scientific discourse upon which much of the welfare state was built. So, although neoconservative principles on foreign and domestic policy overlap (Guelke 2005), my emphasis here on the desires and affectivity of the construction of neoconservative subjects goes deeper Parts of what these other scholars have argued about the success of neoconservatism complement my argumen t here. However, a broader examination of the success of

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383 that Drury points to. Indeed, a more comprehensive study of neoconservatism could likely contextualize its rise and fall with the ebbs and flows of American nationalism, and would scrutinize the close relationship between the two. The question of how far has neoconservatism come to define recent past and contemporary incarnations and articulation of Americ an nationalism is one ripe for study. Some recent works have already pointed toward these relationships. For instance, Anatol Lieven (2004) critically discusses the influence of neoconservatives in the Bush administration and the rise of nationalism afte r September 11, 2001, yet devotes relatively little attention to it within his historical study of American the existing traditions of [American nationalism] and g iven them a radical and extremist twist. Thus, they have turned sympathy for Israel into support for Likud; and they have taken beliefs in into arguments for inte would contribute much to not only literature on nationalism and neoconservatism, but to the study of American foreign and national security policy more broadly. Of course, this ch apter has neglected what is most likely the most successful period of the neoconservative drama its success after September 11, 2001. Indeed, as mentioned above, much of the attention that IR scholars have given to neoconservatism in recent years seems to stem from its relationship to the Bush Doctrine and the politics of the 2003 Iraq War. The Bush administration was, (in)famously, populated by many who fit easily into the neoconservative ember 11, 2001 bear striking similarities to the kinds of apocalyptic language used by neoconservatives since they first broke

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384 with the Democratic Party in the early 1980s. While not necessarily the only issue on the neoconservative radar screen during th e 1990s, the construction of Iraq as an enemy after September 11, 2001 rested upon discursive foundations laid in large part by neoconservative writings during the decade before. The previous chapter, offering a Lacanian Laclauian reading of the politics of the war on terror attempts to analyze the particular affective appeal of these fantasies, without necessarily framing the issue solely as the success of neoconservatism after September 11, 2001. In one sense, though, many of the texts analyzed in the p revious chapter could be categorized as neoconservative. There remains, of course, plenty of research to be conducted on neoconservatism. One major research question to be addressed is the one suggested above: a study of the relationship between neocon servatism and American nationalism more broadly. Another question to address regards the political fortunes of neoconservatism after the blunders of the Iraq War. Although, as of this writing, neoconservatives do not hold the place they once had in the h alls of power. from many Bush administration policies, have predictably become targets of neoconservatives. Charles Krauthammer (2010), for example, recently c riticized the Obama administration for allowing terrorist suspects who are American citizens to be read their Miranda rights, while time wasting in the face o approach toward Iran While P.N.A.C. is now defunct, Williams Kristol and others recently founded the Foreign Policy Initiative, a new organization devoted to promoting the same princip les that concerned P.N.A.C. While Heilbrunn (2009) has written on the recent musings of

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385 neoconservatives, yet their future impact, both in terms of being out of power, and in terms of their close ties to the Iraq War, remains to be seen.

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386 CHAPT ER 8 CON CLUSION voke in audiences and the affective appeals they offer. International Relations (IR) scholars have spent much of the last couple of decades trying to understand identity and all that it entails. How the self comes to be through reference to an other, tha t is, the mutual constitution of self and other, has been one of the major findings of several schools of thought in contemporary IR. However, the focus on the social construction of self and other has largely neglected the role of desire and affects, and the role that they play in how some constructions of self and other are more politically successful than others. Some discourses are powerful not merely because of the words that constitute them. Rather, they are successful because within these words ar e implicit yet powerful fantasies of subjectivity in which people affectively invest themselves so as to avoid the intrinsic ambiguity of their always incomplete identifications. Discourses that offer stronger fantasies of subjectivity are often more affe ctively appealing to audiences than discourses that construct weaker fantasies of subjectivity that do not offer a veil over the ambiguities of their identifications. The desire for a that offer such a promise, to understand the affective appeal of recent discourses of American foreign policy, I hope to contribute to and enlighten both th understanding of the social construction process more generally. In this conclusion, I summarize and discuss a few directions for further research and policy im plications that it suggests.

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387 Summary of Arguments Substantial gaps in the IR literature on the war on terror and the 2003 Iraq war initially prompted the questions and concerns raised in th is dissertation. While much has been written on these issues, most of the IR literature that addresses the political dominance of the war on terror, in the sense of achieving a dominant understanding of American foreign policy after September 11, 2001, gl osses over the crucial questions on why and how it was able to become so successful. value are plausible, they in fact overlook substantial gaps in our understanding of not only the discursive power of the war on terror. They are also symptomatic of important shortcomings in several bodies of literature on IR theory. Chapter Two address es these shortcomings. The limitations in the war on terror literature point to larger gaps in the understanding of some issues and concepts that poststructuralist, a ffects/emotions, and ontological security literatures all offer insights into what explains the resonance and affective appeal of certain discourses. Yet none satisfactorily addresses the main questions posed in this study: What accounts for the resonance and political success of some foreign policy discourses over others? How do desire and affect fit into an explanation of why some foreign policy discourses are more successful than others? The question of political success invites another major question that has guided this study: What is the relationship between affect and discourse? This is a question that has received little sustained theoretical and conceptual attention in IR, and Chapter Three offers one answer to it. Drawing upon the theories of Jacques Lacan and Ernesto Laclau, I developed a framework that accounts for both the affective power of discourse and the politics of contestation that entail

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388 theory offers considerable insights into the social construction of subjectivity and identification. Its also offers a nuanced understanding of the relationship between affect and discourse. For mic of desire and affect (what Lacan calls enjoyment, or jouissance ) which comprises both frustration and satisfaction. People achieve some level of affective security or satisfaction in identifying with the social resources of the Symbolic. Yet the desi re for jouissance is always frustrated since no Symbolic manifestation to be missing part (object a ) brings the fullness that fantasies promise. People often identify with political discourses that offer a promise of a fully secu ambiguities, the intrusions of the Real, into their identifications. These dynamics play out in different ways within different structures of discourse and identification. Thro ugh logics of equivalence and difference, and the emptying and filling of particular and universal political values, discursive hegemony is constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed. The affective dynamics of desire and fantasy are constitutive and ev er present features of hegemony. The subsequent chapters offer analyses of various episodes in recent American foreign policy guided by questions that the literature has thus far neglected. Chapter Four begins by offering a brief review of existing soc ial constructivist and discourse based arguments about the war on terror. Many of these arguments focus on and emphasize how the war on terror discourse constructed a world of self and other, us and them, good and evil, and civilization against barbarism.

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389 terrorist, and later Iraqi, other served to legitimate widespread support for American foreign cts alone ignore the complex movements of affect and desire that constituted these self other relations in the first place. The power and resonance of the war on terror discourse, I argue, can be traced back to the particular desires it evoked and the fan tasies it offered audiences. Later, the discursive incorporation of Iraq into the war on terror narrative was constituted by these same kinds of affective movements. Through logics of equivalence and difference that were brought together by the movements in the war on terror. A focus on the constructions of self and other alone cannot account for the power of these particular discourses, since not every construction of self and other is political successful. Even though some discourses are more successful than others, no discourse is complete. Rather, any discourse is always in the process of articulation and re articulation, and is thus politically contestable, even if in certain contexts it might appear that a discourse is foundational origin of the discourse. The politics of discursive struggle which constitute hegemony were evid ent in the 2004 presidential campaign, where George W. Bush and John Kerry offered competing fantasy discourses that functioned to channel the desires and affects of audiences in particular directions. Much research into the war on terror and the Iraq war has discussed the role of neoconservatism in American foreign policy after September 11, 2001. Chapters Five and Six offer analyses that explore the affective politics of the varying success and influence that neoconservatism has had in debates in Ame rican foreign policy over the last several decades. The politics of the Iraq war have sparked an increased interest by IR scholars in the topic, and

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390 much of this recent work has focused on issues such as the prominent positions held by neoconservatives in the Bush administration, the status of neoconservatism as a theory of This literature however has left untouched questions about the affective appeal of neoconservative discourses. Thus, these two chapters ask what accounts for the rise and fall of neoconservative appeal over the last three decades. My framework, based upon insights from the theories of Lacan and Laclau, offers a way to identify the desi res and affective appeals (or lack thereof) of discourses that most constructivist and poststructuralist frameworks are unable to discern. Through close readings of how neoconservative discourses have offered different kinds of fantasies of identification at different times, thus evoking different degrees of desire for identification, I offer an explanation for the changing fortunes, the ebbs and flows, of neoconservatism in American foreign policy debates. Chapter Five presented the first analysis of an early period of neoconservative influence, and offered a close reading of two influential political texts of the late 1970s. By closely analyzing the competing discourses of Jimmy Carter and Norman Podhoretz I demonstrated how ervatism was able to gain ground in the hegemonic struggle against defined fantasy e defined fantasy of the The influence neoconservatism was gaining at the end of the late 1970s, however, contrasted with its relative lack of influence during the early 1990s, as the Cold War came to a

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391 ately following the Cold War offered a fantasy in which the national subject was close to the object it presupposed was missing. This fantasy failed to spark desire for identification since it constructed a subject that was, in a sense, not lacking much, and was close to its fantasized fullness of total global domination. In contrast, a few years later neoconservatism seemed to gain more appeal, and I trace this back to the fantasies that were national wholeness. This fantasy f unctions to evoke stronger desire and affective appeal than American foreign policy debates in the later 1990s. Each of these case studies ask questions that hav e largely been ignored by IR scholars, and hence offer substantial contributions both to the literature on the war on terror and the Iraq war and to the growing body of work on neoconservatism. In offering these specific contributions this study also enga ges and contributes to several theoretical areas in IR more broadly. First, it contributes directly to the burgeoning literature on affect and emotions in IR. Although political thinkers have long recognized the role of emotions in politics (stretching back strongest motives in politics), 1 concerns about emotions and affects in global politics has largely been obscured during the past several decades by ration alist disciplinary orthodoxies. Only 1 On a related note, Richard Ned Lebow (2009) has recently developed an approach that combines constructivism with ancient Greek insights on motivation and identity (such as appetite, spirit, reason, and fear).

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392 recently have IR scholars re discovered affects and emotions. However, much of this recent work has focused on lamenting the lack of attention to affects and emotions in politics, has made general statements about the importance of emotions in the solidification of political community, or has studied the role of specific emotions in particular global contexts. I add three major contributions and new perspectives to this literature. (1) I offer a systematic framework that theorizes the part affect plays in the construction of the subject. Lacanian theory offers a picture of the subject as a constant pulsation between lack and fullness, satisfaction and frustration, and he dynamics between desire, affect (as jouissance ), and identification offers a much more comprehensive picture of the subject than does constructivism and poststructuralism. (2) To the best of my knowledge, this is the first work that offers a sustained engagement on the question of the relationship between affect and discourse in IR. This is a crucial aspect of affects that has IR scholars have yet to address. If discourse is viewed as constitutive of social and political life, rather than just a trans parent medium through which a more fundamental reality is transmitted, then the question of how discourse shapes that which it brings into Symbolic existence is one ripe for investigation. In this pursuit, this study offers one perspective on this problem of the relationship between language and affect, and does so in a manner that does not view language and affect as coterminous. It instead conceptualizes discourse as an appealing site of identification when it is composed of strong fantasies of subjecti vity. Such fantasies provide a more appealing Symbolic channel for affect. (3) I offer a framework with which we can analyze the hegemonic politics of affect. In discussing discourse one is led to discussing its contestation. Not only do I demonstrate how discourses themselves engage in hegemonic contests. I also show how desire constitutes these struggles, and how the latter are channeled through affect imbued fantasies of

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393 subjectivity. Therefore, discursive hegemony is not just a struggle over meani ng. It is also a Second, this study is a major contribution to the IR literature identity. Identity, of course, has constituted a significant part of t he IR research agenda since at least the late 1980s and early one, if not the conceptual shooting star in International Relations (IR) scholarship since the 199 0s, at least among scholars seeking an alternative to the realist general level, this study goes beyond conventional constructivist understandings of how self and other are mutually constitutive thereby offering a much more c omprehensive and substantial view of what is involved in social construction processes. Constructivist arguments that identities are mutually constituted through social interaction (rather than being primordially or naturally given) is an important insigh t which however does not say much on the desires and affects that are inevitably bound up in social construction processes in the first place. What I have attempted to demonstrate is that identity is not merely the reflection of a ntifying with objects incomplete project due to the instability of language. Yet they have overlooked the affective again, the self constructs fantasies within which a crucial part of itself is presumed to have been lost. The subject presupposes that the presumed missing piece of itself must have caused its

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394 desire. However, this is only a fantasy that enables the subject to believe that it is not a split subject thus engages in continual processes of identification with fantasy discourses that promise jouissance 2000, 37) gained in identif ying with fantasy objects are overlooked in the current IR literature on process that involves affective movements that are both inside and outside of discou rse, both present and absent in/from Symbolic representation, and both satisfying and frustrating in the involved than what the current literature allows fo r. Third, this study contributes to the security studies literature. In one sense, my analysis of the power of discourse and identification in debates over American national security is another addendum to the movement in recent years to broaden the no tion of security beyond its traditional emphasis on the physical security of the state. By moving beyond state centric widening it to include aspects such as en vironmental, economic, and human security, and deepening their interrogation of the concept through approaches and epistemologies that had traditionally remained outside of state centered security studies, such as critical theory, constructivism, poststruc turalism, the Copenhagen School, feminism, and other approaches (Buzan and Hansen 2009, 7; see also Baldwin 1997; Beier and Arnold 2005; Booth 2008; Krause and Williams 1997; Sjoberg 2009). My own understanding of security has been deeply influenced by th ese and other works, and this study is indebted to the disciplinary trails that they have blazed.

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395 Constructivism and poststructuralism have often argued that security politics is nd threatening Other, but not merely reflect actors and threats. They also socially produce and reproduce them. My analysis has shown is that others are ind eed needed for a self, and that there are intricate projections and imaginings of others that are comprised within affective politics of enjoyment or jouissance puts caused the desire for its recapture, and to believe this the subject identifies with fantasies in uality that the subject has lost. The recent American national securi ty discourses, this Thing often has taken the (partial) image of the Nation without division or antagonisms, or a global system dominated by American imposed rules and order. Both images are simultaneously present and absent in/from the national subject, both there and not quite there, something that the subject partly has but also something it needs the intrinsic ambiguity and vagueness of the nation its elf. The affective politics that construct the poststructuralist security studies program examining not only how subjects of (in)security are produced, but als o how the politics of desire and affect are an integral part of the legitimation processes of national security policies.

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396 Future Research The arguments and analyses of the dissertation suggest a few directions for further research. Although this is (to the best of my knowledge) the first major work to systematically address the above questions posed about conceptualizing discourse, identity, affect, desire, and emotions in the way I do it, the research presented is of course far from the last word on these complex issues. Indeed, I see this study as one of the initial steps towards a more enlightened understanding of the role that affects and emotions play in global politics. As Chapter Two s only come about fairly recently, and the work that has thus far been written, while illuminating, has a long way to go before IR scholars can say they have a firm grasp of the tremendous complexity and myriad of roles that affects and emotions have in gl obal politics. I count this study as one of these still initial forays into this complex and nebulous dimension of human social life and politics. 2 Although work on affects and emotions in IR is still relatively new, the potential payoffs in political an d social insights are tremendous. Incorporating these dimensions not only into IR theory (i.e., what are the affective and emotional presuppositions of the various schools of thought in IR? What kind of affects and emotions do they presume drive global p olitics?), but also into the various sub fields and specialties in IR holds remarkable promise (such as, for example, political psychology 2 To vi presents a new body of knowledge S 2 (a dissertation on affect, discourse, and identification in American foreign policy). This new knowledge S 2 who offers it. The product of the discourse is a remaining se t of ambiguities and dissatisfactions of the fantasy that the knowledge deploys. Although the discourse is presented as offering objective knowledge for the sake of knowledge itself, it deploys an array of master signifiers S 1 upon which this knowledge is based (the terms of the but whose definition is inevitably deferred to the battery of other signifiers that constitutes its body of kn owledge S 2 Additionally, part of the discourse displays the structure of the Hysteric. The subject is dissatisfied with the current order (i.e., the current state of knowledge about affects, emotions, identity, discourse, and social construction in IR) lack of fulfillment. In doing so, the study produces a new system of knowledge S 2 based upon the master signifiers that anchor it.

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397 and social psychology). Indeed, the potential insights into global political life through the pursuit of these lines of research are comparable, if not greater, to the insights the discipline began to gain in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the rise of constructivism and poststructuralism. One big question that poses substantial theoretical obstacles is: How is i t possible to capture the diversity and multiplicity of affective and emotional responses to major events and crises? Chapter Four of this study analyzed the affective power of the war on terror discourse, and in doing so it explored how the Symbolic fant asies of a wounded Nation functioned to invite subjects to identify with the fantasy to avoid the lack around which their identification processes cohered. Although Chapter Four asks a question that has yet to be asked by the existing literature (what acc ounts for the power of the war on terror beyond its mere social constructed ness?), and although it identifies the hitherto ignored dimensions of desire and affect at work in that discourse, it does not explore the multiplicity of emotions that likely circ ulated in the months and years following the events of September 11, 2001. Andrew Ross (2006, 214 15) asks a similar question in his study of constructivism and emotions, and closes by pointing to the likely differential political effects of affects and w definition of emotion). While I focus explicitly on the affective dimension, and thus differentiated my approach from those who focus more on the role of specific emotions, the complexity of affective and emot ional responses to crises is an issue calling for more investigation. Is it possible to capture the multifaceted complexity of collective emotional responses to a traumatic event like that of September 11, 2001? Is there a single theoretical approach tha t can capture such diversity? Or is understanding such complexity better served by breaking it down into more manageable parts (such as the continued study of specific emotions)?

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398 The current IR emotions literature has yet to address such a thorny theoret ical and empirical question, yet at some point it will need engagement and elaboration. Another question that relates to affective and emotional diversity is: How can we capture the affective interactions between agents that offer fantasy discourses and receivers who accept and who likely modify them? How should we conceptualize these affective exchanges and interactions in the first place? This dissertation has addressed the problem of how we can understand the affective appeal of discourses. It has largely analyzed elite discourses that were offered to mass audiences. In doing so, it has mostly neglected the question of how these fantasy discourses were received by audiences. In this sense, this dissertation has captured perhaps only half of the re levant picture of the affective politics that play out between discourses that are offered and received. This is not, however, a shortcoming of this dissertation alone. By and large, most studies of discourse in IR focus on the discourses that are offere d to audiences, rather than analyzing texts that illustrate how audiences receive and adapt them. These studies typically analyze political discourses as they are articulated within elite texts such as speeches and policy documents. Other scholars have a lso turned to analyzing how popular culture texts (re)produce political discourses. 3 Both of these approaches largely focus on capturing how discourses are projected to audiences rather than how audiences themselves receive them. 4 What is needed, therefo re, is an approach to conceptualize how affects are received by audiences. 3 See Chapter Two above. 4 of a society. So too do the ways in which they are understood. The plausibility of official representations depends on the ways in which publics understand world politics and the location and role of their own and other states and actors in it. It matte rs very much that state officials are able to represent world politics, tend thus their foreign policies, in ways that at least significant portions of their publics find plausible and persuasive. Plausibility comes, at least in part, from the structural This explicitly indicates popular culture in providing a background of meanings that help to constitute public images in how far the scholars in this literature pursue the ways in which popular culture representations are received by audiences.

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399 particular discourse under analysis? What texts does that audience produce that will en able the researcher to examine the reception and adaptation of the affective discourses that were offered the first place? To the best of my knowledge, these questions have yet to be asked by affects and emotions scholars in IR. There is another question which relates to affects, emotions, reception, and change. outside of discursive representation, yet are nevertheless channeled through certain kinds of discourses) and emotion (responses that come to have Symbolic existence once they are named and specified, i.e., fear, happiness, love, hate, etc.), what exactly is the process involved in affect becoming emotions? How exactly does inexpressible affect come to be named as a more readily identifiable emotion? What kinds of desires, subjectivities, and discursive performances are involved in such shifts? What are their political ramifications of this shift? To the best of my knowledge, these questions have yet to be asked, and will likely pose substantial challenges to current disciplinary understandings of affect and emotion. One possible guide for how such a co nversation might conceivably be played out is the debate between constructivists and poststructuralists overall the importance and role of changes in state identity in world politics. It has been a common constructivist argument that changes in behavior can be traced back not to its exogenously given self interest, but rather to its identity and perceived role in the particular social structures within which it acts (Jepperson, Wendt, and Katzenstein 1996). Poststructuralist scholars have critic ized this conception of identity and identity change, arguing that state identities are so multifaceted and contestable

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400 influence in state behavior (Zehfuss 2001 in a promising position to examine the manifold channels through which identities are volatile emotions that mediate political relations among nations, institutions, networks, and other ight be modified to investigate the affective dimensions of identity (Ross 2006, 214). Ross, however, thought in IR which may best suited to tackle emotions and affects. It is quite possible that theoretical watering down of identity that many poststructuralist scholars have lamented. David Campbell (1998, 207 227) found th at by the late 1990s mainstream constructivism (epitomized The Culture of National Security edited by Peter Katzenstein) was actively domesticating many of the most radical and innovative insights that had been drawn from earlier explorations of the concepts of discourse and identity. For him and others (see Zehfuss 2002), this cooptation signaled not only less interesting insights into world politics through the development and application of these concept s. Their watering down also, more importantly, served to de legitimize and ostracize poststructuralism as a disciplinary The same potential seems to exist with how the future study of aff ects and emotions will play itself out in IR. Future arguments over the role and influence of affects and emotions in world politics could plausibly split off into a couple of different camps, with one arguing that

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401 shifts in state behavior can be traced b mean), while others could possibly reply that emotions are much too complex to be isolated and conceivable. 5 The affects/emotions literature is still relatively new, if no longer in its infancy then perhaps in its adolescence, and thus disciplinary politics have yet to spring up to the degree that they have reached around the concept of identity. Therefore, it is timely that its exceedingly important insights and radically innovative theoretical potential should be actively cultivated and pushed in order to ward off the kind of domestication that has occurred recently in close by conceptual neighborhoods. If id entity, a highly complex and perpetually disputed and contested concept, can be reduced to one of many discrete variables in an equation where its relative influence is tested against other variables, then there seems to be little doubt that affects and em otions can also be similarly reduced to the standards of social scientific hypothesis testing. As of this writing, t hese points are admittedly moot. Y et such concern about the silencing of theoret ical potential is far from groundless. Policy Implicatio ns Given the above possible trajectories for future research into the politics of affects and emotions in American foreign policy and global politics more generally, this study also suggests a few implications for foreign policy practice. Although writte n primarily to make a contribution to a number of theoretical and empirical literatures in IR, the analyses here do offer some potential policy relevant insights. The construction and legitimizing processes through which foreign policy discourses become p olitically successful, that is, whether or not they resonate with audiences, depends upon the affective appeal of the fantasy of subjectivity that they offer. As the 5 For a recent critique of the tendency to divide IR into paradigms, see Barkin (2010).

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402 preceding chapters have demonstrated, discourses that offer fantasies of a secure collect ive subject often resonate more with audiences than discourses that offer fantasies of a les s secure collective subject arguably offered a weaker fantasy, a less affectively appealing sc reen against the ambiguities of the and split, and offered little in t he way of overcoming the anxiety provoked by the split. Charles s ervatives later in the 1990s. Additionally, a s a Unive rsity discourse that offer ed a stronger fantasy that invited identification as a subject within it, the war on terror discourse was highly politically successful for a time after September 11, 2001. A few initial implications can be drawn from these examples of how different kin ds of discourses have played out in American foreign policy debates over time. It seems as though d iscurses that offer weaker fantasies of the national subject are often less politically successful than those that offer stronger fantasies. Constructing a depend upon evoking strong enough desires so that people will identify with, and thus be interpellated as subjects within, the fantasy. This, in turn, depends upon how a fantasy object is constructed/not construc ted within a discourse. If, for example, the collective subject, such as the Nation, is constructed as substantially lacking something that its subjects see as central to the Nation cannot be vi ewed as too

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403 close a worked to evoke relatively little desire for subjectivity. To be a subject one must desire, and to desire one must feel to be lacking a substantial part of oneself identification because closeness to the fantasy object of a unipolar world. Something must be felt to be missing from the fantasy for it to evoke desire. A fantasy discourse constructed where its subject i s viewed as nearly complete will likely resonate less than fantasies that offer a more lacking image of subjectivity. Subjects are likely to be drawn to a fantasy which they feel more securely channels their affective experiences toward a fantasy object. Subjects are perhaps less likely to be drawn to fantasy discourses that do not seem to construct these dynamics. Fantasies of the subject are always articulated through a particular (yet ultimately unfixed) structure, the components of which are staged in particular relationships with each S 1 and knowledge S 2 are at the 1 have the force of agency while 2 occu pies the receiver position. In the University discourse, knowledge S 2 itself has the force of agency. Master signifiers S 1 and knowledge S 2 are often the most forceful elements of a discourse. They often constitute the Symbolic anchors upon which subjec s are fastened. Thus a discourse that positions these elements as its most over t elements may be expected to resonate more than discourses that position them differently, as less overt and forceful. The other two discourse structures, t he Hysteric and the Analyst, do just this. In the discourses of the Hysteric and the Analyst, the most vulnerable aspects of

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404 subjectivity are front and and ambiguity is the agency driving the discourse, and the missing fantasy object a incompleteness is in the receiver position while the missing object a occupies the agent position These two discourses are consequently much more critical and potentially unsettling to subjects fantasies are likely more anxiety inducing and uncomforta ble than discourses that offering reassuring masters signifiers and knowledge in an overt manner. As what we might call a general expectation, then, discourses that offer master signifiers and knowledge overtly, sometimes with the force of agency, may oft en resonate more than discourses that offer a discourses may prevail more often and be mo re affe ctively appealing always way to counter a University or Master conclusion that social change against established Master and University discourses could never occur, and this is obviously not the case. And, these general expectations are complicate d when discourses with similar structure s discourses compete against one another, what should we expect for which one will succeed? I

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405 mattered for the affective appeal that each text evoked. Thus, in discourses with the same or by each, and the consequent desires evoked by each. These are merely some initial thoughts and expectations about what kind of discourse structures may tend to be more successful than others, but as this study has shown, the affective appeal of a discourse (or lack thereof) is composed of an array of dimensions and dynamics which also depend upon the larger soc ial and cultural contexts within which the discourses are articulated. We could perhaps imagine how some of these insights might be employed in current of ser ious engagement and diplomacy with Iran, such overtures (as of this writing) have not nuclear energy options is a thin veil covering their attempt to produce nuclear w possession of such weapons, American leaders argue, would threaten American troops and bases throughout the Middle East and close allies such as Israel. As both George W. Bush and Obama have repeatedly emphasized, the US has said it will n ot allow Iran to build nuclear weapons. As such, all options (i.e. military) as the American diplomatic slogan goes. The American public, by and large, shows similar tendencies in their opinions regarding Iran. A Pew Research Cente r report in October 2009 showed that although the public approves of direct talks between Iran and the US, most are not sanguine as to their success. Furthermore, a majority polled (61%) said that it is more important to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons even if this means taking military action, than it is to pursue negotiations (Pew Research Center 2009). Only a relatively small minority (24%) said that that it is more important to avoid military action even if it means that Iran would acquire a nuclear weapon.

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406 These views were shared across the political spectrum, to varying degrees. A strong majority of Republicans (71%) and independents (61%) said that it is more important to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons even if it means milita ry action. This view was less widely held among Democrats (51%), but far fewer (31%) said that it is more important to avoid military action than it is to allow Iran to possess a nuclear weapon (Pew Research Center 2009). If the Obama administration dec ide d that it wanted to revive its campaign idea that direct talks between Iran and the US would be productive and mutually beneficial, what kind of discourse might the administration deploy to try and shift public opin ion toward this idea? If the Obama ad ministration decided that it wanted to puruse serious direct talks with Iran, it would have to address the public pessimism regarding the anticipated failures and futility of such talks. Direct talks are widely supported, yet cynicism about the potential failure likely feeds into similarly widespread support for military action. First, the administration would likely want to articulate and deploy a discourse to the public that positions knowledge S 2 and master signifiers S 1 as the most overt or manifest e are often more powerful and appealing because of the fantasy of secure subjectivity that they offer (in contrast to Hyste their kn owledge S 2 and master signifiers S 1 A University discourse offered to the public which 2 about the potential and likely benefits of direct talks between the US and Iran would be a first step Such a discour se may put front and center (in the agent position) a construction of the US Iranian relationship that did not focus only on supposed Iranian duplicity but instead upon potential benefits to the US to be gained from direct engagement.

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407 Constructing a disc ourse that offers audiences a secure position of subjectivity (as the discourse must also be appealing to audiences seeking to invest themselves in the secu re image of a collective subject. As we have seen, to evoke desires for identification, a fantasy must maintain a kind of balance so as to not evoke too little desire. Construct an image of the subject which is vague and ambiguous (as Carter did), and fe w desires for secure subjectivity will be evoked. Construct an image of the subject that has nearly reached its fantasized jouissance (as Krauthammer did), and this similarly will evoke anxiety rather than desire for identification. If the Obama administ ration were to articulate a vision of the current US Iran relationship in which kind of fantasy which woud evoke desires for identification on the part of audi ences. For engagement with engagement (and the consequent non achievement of American foreign po licy goals) could be articulated as could be achieving much more than what it currently is if it only pursued direct engagement with Iran. Such engagement could be a fantasy to be pursued, the endpoing of which is the fulfillment of lobal potential. T his vision of engagement with Iran could be constructed as taking US could be directly linked in a variety of ways to the democra cy movement in Iran. A discourse that constructed a vision of the US Iran relationship in terms of how the status quo is

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408 blocking the full potential of our master signifiers would likely evoke more identification than a discourse that discussed the issue solely in the language of policy and/or Iranian deceit. To deemed to be problems (Alcorn 2002, 5). Articulating the Iran issue in terms of an American national subject that is being blocked or hindered by the status quo of self imposed non engagement could begin to channel national desire toward this fantasy 6 6 That is, if the goal is a serious a current foreign policy toward Iran is far from the the approach Obama campaigned on. As of this writing, for example, the administration (Secretary of State Hilary Clinton specif ically) recently criticized a potential deal between Iran, Turkey, and Brazil where Iran would ship supplies of enriched uranium to these two countries. At the same time, the US is currently pushing for new sanctions against Iran in the United Nations Sec urity Council. See Slackman (2010).

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429 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH political science from Southern Illinois Un iversity Carbondale (2005), and another degree in political science from the University of Florida (2008). His research has been published in Political Studies Review and Millennium: Journal of International Studies