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(Re)Writing the ’National Security State’ : How and Why Realists (Re)Built The(ir) Cold War

17 mars 2004 , par David Grondin

Paper prepared for the International Studies Association (ISA) Conference in Montreal, Canada, March 17-20, 2004.

P.-S.

In this paper, I adopt a poststructuralist approach with the aim of developing a critical understanding of how the hegemonic status of realist theories serves to legitimize current U.S. national security policy. I focus on two main points. First, I explore how the realism prevalent in the theoretical discourse of IR in the United States is itself a political practice that is constitutive of a particular reality, rather than merely neutrally describing it. Second, I maintain that these realist discourses subjectively and artificially lock U.S. national identity into a Cold War-like national security focus. Indeed, in the wake of 9/11, realist discourses do not merely seek to explain but also serve to legitimate U.S. national security conduct and its hegemonic power. As such, the United States remains constructed as a national security state in realist discourses. I want to show how the idea of the U.S. as a national security state is being (re)produced by practices that would neither appear nor claim to do so. If the national security discourse that made the Cold War possible - in American realist discourses at least - is (re)applied to our own era, then a similar pattern of legitimizing and constituting a national security state will be reproduced.

Paper prepared for the International Studies Association (ISA) Conference in Montreal, Canada, March 17-20, 2004.

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