The discourse of the New World Order: ‘out-casting’ the double face of threat
Discourse & Society Copyright © 2004 SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi) www.sagepublications.com Vol 15(2–3): 223–242 10.1177/ 0957926504041018



A B S T R A C T . This article suggests that a productive way to make sense of the discourse and actions surrounding the 11 September 2001 attacks, and thereafter, is to view them within the larger context of the discourse of the ‘New World Order’. This involves an intertextual analysis of President Bush’s speeches since 11 September, along with speeches made by the previous presidents, George Bush Senior and Bill Clinton. Our focus is on a significant element of this discourse – the definition of a moral order, as constituted vis-à-vis the identification and explication of two faces of threat: Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. We propose a way of analyzing the constitution of the ‘twin terrors’ through ‘out-casting’, a macro-strategy that encompasses the four micro-strategies of ‘enemy construction’, ‘criminalization’, ‘orientalization’ and ‘(e)vilification’, all which rest upon a logic of binarism. We argue that such a discursive bipolarity perpetuates, in the post-Cold War international system, a blueprint for heightened difference and conflict. KEY WORDS:

discourse of the New World Order, intertextuality, Osama bin Laden, ‘out-casting’, Saddam Hussein, US presidential speeches

Several commentators have described the 11 September terrorist attacks, and the American response, as inaugurating a new strategic era or a ‘new stage in world history’ (Said, 2001). While the attacks were unprecedented in terms of shock value and audacity of execution, the ensuing discourse of President Bush and his cabinet cannot be said to constitute a rupture in contemporary American and world history. In this article, we argue that the American presidential statements and actions arising from 11 September and thereafter should be viewed as part of a larger discourse on the ‘New World Order’ (NWO). Although this concept was originally introduced during the administration of the first President Bush


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(henceforth, Bush Senior), its enunciation is not restricted to that period. The concept, we contend, had continued resonance during the Clinton administration, and has carried on in the present administration of President Bush. Viewed historically, the NWO can be said to be a discourse-in-the-making, with the texts and practices following 11 September representing an important moment in the fuller working out of this discourse logic – one that has been implicitly underway since the end of the Cold War. The aim of our article is to demonstrate that the present American response belongs within the logic of the discourse of the NWO. Following Foucault, ‘discourse’ is understood as comprising a field of related statements – revealed in concrete content across time and space – which produces and structures a particular order of reality. Our aim is to analyze the discursive statements constitutive of the NWO, with primary focus on those of President Bush. In so doing, we hope to demonstrate the intertextual ‘relations of coexistence’ (Foucault, 1972) in the field of statements across the three separate American administrations, and straddling the two political parties. Although each administration has had to deal with different events, and although the governments of Bush Senior and President Bush (on the one hand) and Clinton (on the other hand) have espoused and/or pursued different political agendas and priorities, the articulation of the NWO is a point of commonality for the post-Cold War presidencies. Although, in Foucault’s sense, a discourse is not attributable to particular individuals in history, those in positions of institutional authority do function as key figures in the inauguration of the emergence and development of particular forms of knowledge and truths (Foucault, 1967). The official public speeches in which the discursive statements of the NWO are evident deserve comment in this regard. When Bush Senior first proclaimed the dawn of an NWO in 1991, it was a performative act (Austin, 1962). Subsequent pronouncements of a similar nature – even if not explicitly referring to the expression ‘the New World Order’ – by Clinton and the current President Bush have helped further define, maintain and develop the concept. The analysis for this article, therefore, is based upon a corpus of speeches and written statements made by the three leaders across three key historical moments. The set of speeches by President Bush deals with the terrorist bombing of America and its aftermath, and spans a period of one year (11 September 2001 to 12 September 2002). The Bush Senior data occurs in the context of the 1990–1 Gulf War, while the Clinton set involves speeches made in the contexts of American military action in Afghanistan and Sudan, and Iraq in 1998. The data are analyzed in terms of the emergent overarching elements constitutive of the NWO and, in this article, one of these elements will be dealt with in detail, together with the discursive strategies employed in its realization.1 The study provides an intertextual analysis, realized in terms of lexico-grammatical, semantic and rhetorical choices in language use. As a whole, our analysis of the NWO discourse is undertaken not for its own sake but as a critique of ‘what is’ (i.e. the kinds of common-sense assumptions and unquestioned modes of thought), as established within particular regimes of

During the Bush Senior administration. The identity of the United States as the sole superpower was not something that could be merely asserted. As long as the United States had been responsible for ‘containing’ the Soviet Union. and would have to compete for world influence (Klare. 1992: 342). no longer could America define itself in relation to the Soviet ‘other’. we need to look back at the emergence of the discourse. In our study. 1992. however. it is necessary to first outline the recent politico-historical conditions that have made the articulation and elaboration of this particular set of statements possible. Speaking of American military intervention in the Gulf. because of a convergence of a number of factors: (i) the end of the Cold War. it had to be legitimated and performed periodically. (ii) the determination of the United States to retain its superpower status. which emphasized both American military leadership in countering global aggression and the maintenance of a liberal–democratic internationalism. The answer to the question ‘Do we [the United States] want to remain a superpower?’ was ‘a resounding “yes” ’ (Klare. The invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein in 1990 presented an excellent opportunity. and (iii) the emergence and articulation of ‘new’ threats. the United States now faced industrial and economic competition from Europe and Japan in a world free of the East–West military confrontation. it had a clearly defined role and undisputed clout in international politics. Although it possessed unrivalled military might. One such approach was the geo-strategic model. . and continues to exist. Pfaff. Before presenting our intertextual analysis of (one aspect of ) the NWO discourse. he explained that ‘what is at stake is more than one small country: it is a big idea: a . it was clear that the United States was unwilling to relinquish its traditional commanding role. For this. but it does not provide the bigger picture in which the recent actions are embedded. With the dissolution of the Soviet threat.Lazar and Lazar: Discourse of the New World Order 225 truth and rationality. and the constitution of knowable objects and subjects in the process. 1991). The discourse of the NWO emerged. a crisis of identity emerged. however. . therefore. objects and subjects can be seen in terms of the definition of the threat (the focus of this article). Bush Senior proclaimed that ‘this is an historic moment . Having been accustomed to global leadership for over 40 years. The discourse in context To say that President Bush’s statements and campaign concerning the ‘war on terror’ are predicated upon the 11 September attacks establishes the most immediate context. 1991a). and the reinvention and legitimation of American superpower identity in the post-Cold War era. respectively. in his State of the Union speech. Later that month (29 January). devising a foreign policy strategy that justified the continued relevance of American world leadership became imperative. we have before us the opportunity to forge for ourselves and for future generations a new world order’ (Bush Senior.

or as hierarchy. also targeting states suspected of harbouring terrorists and. he further broadened the scope by identifying Iraq. however. religiously-motivated political violence. between 1995 and 1998. ask for and demand. Iran and Libya) was not a new phenomenon. in his 2002 State of the Union address (29 January). Iran and North Korea as potential terrorist hotspots. Let no one doubt our staying power’ (quoted in Klare. Osama bin Laden was among those heading the American ‘wanted list’. Let no one doubt our American credibility and reliability. to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind: peace and security. bin Laden and the Al Qaeda network associated with him have been targeted by the current Bush administration for masterminding the 11 September attacks. indicted for the twin bombings of embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. During the Clinton administration and at the present time. this threat has taken other specific forms.. again. 1994). Here. which we call ‘defining the moral order’. Iraq. underpinning the discourse that is in formation – as New World Order and as New World Order (see also Hayward. Although state-sponsored terrorism by ‘rogue’ states (e. The implications of this noble vision were made explicit by Bush Senior in another speech (11 September 1991): ‘recent events have surely proven that there is no substitute for American leadership .g. . 1992: 346). More recently. 2000). or. the United States reportedly spent more than $10 billion in 2000 alone. Further. 1991b). This was reflected in the increase in funds devoted to counter transnational terrorism. the shift from state actors to non-state. command and direct. particularly that of Islamic ‘fundamentalist’ groups. leading and defending the moral order – are . In other words. was perceived as an escalating threat. We have identified four elements constitutive of the NWO. the Clinton administration issued three presidential directives. freedom and the rule of law’ (Bush Senior. . In the Clinton years.226 Discourse & Society 15(2–3) new world order – where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause. focusing on the semantics of ‘order’ makes available a wide range of senses pertinent to the understanding of the constitutive elements of the discourse: thus. ‘order’ as instruct. With the demise of the Soviet threat. and. as a verb. requisition. The other three elements – belonging to. the world order that is new is the order of the New World. transnational ones as perpetrators of political violence was increasingly taken up as a serious new threat. the United States had found its new enemy – the ‘threat of terror’ – in the person of Saddam Hussein. control and normalize. ‘order’ as stability and harmony. Recently. The president has expanded his focus. we are able to discuss in depth only the first of these elements (see note 1). or regulate. Also. as evident in presidential statements in which language and actions all belong within a common/shared discursive space. which led to the centralizing of White House control over counter-terrorism operations (Simon and Benjamin. The discourse-(in)-formation The NWO may be simultaneously read in two ways.

2 How is threat articulated? In what sense(s) are Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein discursively formulated and conflated as threats to the moral order? A strategy we propose is that of ‘out-casting’. Saddam Hussein was the named threat. As President Bush makes clear. which in one form or another is reiterated in the presidential statements. in preparation). 1990. 1992. 1989). 2001d) Saddam Hussein and the other enemies of peace (Clinton. One way this is achieved is through the lexicalization of ‘enemy’ and its juxtaposition with ‘our’ values. enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country (Bush. the four elements are closely interconnected. no middle ground is to be had. the macrostrategy. for the enemy is one who violates ‘our’ values. Osama bin Laden has continued to be the face of threat. 1967). division and excision of that threat (Foucault. van Dijk. in the realm of morality there are no ambiguities. as the following examples suggest: in every generation. Yet it emerges as the defining. ENEMY. justifies the identification. the world has produced enemies of human freedom (Bush.Lazar and Lazar: Discourse of the New World Order 227 discussed elsewhere (Lazar and Lazar. Bauman. DEFINING THE MORAL ORDER The NWO is premised upon a moral order defined by the United States. 1995).CONSTRUCTION Enunciating the ‘enemy’ is pivotal to defining. presupposing and entailing one another in a mutually constitutive way. In the aftermath of 11 September. The public moral order is built up normatively vis-à-vis the articulation of the aberrant ‘other’ or ‘threat’ which. Our use of the term encompasses its senses as both noun and verb.g. which are manifested differently in a range of specific micro-strategies as explicated later. whereas in the Clinton administration Osama bin Laden gradually filled the major role. Who and what constitute the referent(s) and sense of ‘threat’ in the post-Cold War period? During the administration of Bush Senior. is based upon the dichotomization and mutual antagonism of outgroups (‘them’) and in-groups (‘us’) (e. Out-casting. it assumes legitimation because of its embeddedness in the morality trope. a process by which individuals and/or groups are systematically marked and set aside as outcasts. although Bush has now extended the threat to reinclude Saddam Hussein. 1998b) . The political exigency of morality was evident already in Bush Senior’s inaugural presidential speech: ‘America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle’ (Bush Senior. indeed. The key value at stake in the NWO discourse is ‘freedom’. 2001b) on September 11th. fundamental concept mainly vis-à-vis expressions of opposition to it. establishing and maintaining a moral order. at the same time. The polarization in the present case is made to appear understandable and. Of course.

and how it is elaborated. 1998a) The notion of freedom predominates in the discourse. that the adversary is construed as having no desire for freedom? On closer inspection. 1998a. Also evident in the speeches are references to ‘peace’ and ‘dignity’ and an association with ‘all that is good and just’. 2001a. then. 2001d) they have attacked America because we are freedom’s home and defender (Bush.228 Discourse & Society 15(2–3) Freedom’s role as the cornerstone of the moral order is further established through its constant depiction as a target: freedom itself is under attack (Bush. freedom may be defined as one’s ability to decide and choose. contained in the notion of freedom is a very particular politico-economic ideology that appropriates to itself attributes of righteousness. 2001d) Ours is the cause of human dignity. Semantic field: peace. But what does it mean? In common-sense usage. In other words. 2002d) Free trade and free markets have proved their ability to lift whole societies out of poverty – so the US is working with the entire global trading community to build a world that trades in freedom and therefore grows in prosperity (Bush. democracy (Clinton. Here is an analysis of ‘freedom’ that examines the semantic field it enters into. freedom guided by conscience and guarded by peace (Bush. 2001b) freedom and all that is good and just (Bush. liberty and equality. we find both wider and specific meanings encompassed by ‘freedom’. what it collocates with. Their leaders are self-appointed. our freedom of speech. 2002a) Elaborating statements: They hate what we see right here in this chamber – a democratically elected government. They hate our freedoms – our freedom of religion. 1998b) our liberty. sustaining a very particular understanding while exuding a sense of universal acceptability. 2002d) Collocations: freedom and opportunity (Bush. 2002e) What emerges is the understanding of ‘freedom’ in the particularistic sense of western capitalist liberal democracy. Thus America’s . 2002d) freedom and democracy (Bush. 2001a) freedom and the dignity of every life (Bush. how is it. 2001b) the bin Laden network of terrorist groups was planning to mount further attacks on America and other freedom-loving people (Clinton. human liberty (Bush. appearing as a buzz-word of universal resonance. our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other (Bush.

for instance. the labelling of bin Laden as a terrorist or Saddam as a tyrant becomes easily justifiable. 2002d) . The highlighted nominal group. 2001b) If America is aligned with freedom. and Nazism. and totalitarianism (Bush. our very freedoms came under attack (Bush. 2001d) The groups associated with him [Osama bin Laden] . They hate our freedoms – our freedom of religion. our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other (Bush. Expulsion from the established moral order is reinforced. 2002d) history’s latest gang of fanatics trying to murder their way to power (Bush. 1989). . can be read unequivocally as synonymous with democracy. it makes counter-violence an urgent task (Fortin. there is never any doubt that the politico-economic ‘non-ideology’ in question is American. our fellow citizens. together with the universalization of the values it espouses as normative. share a hatred for democracy (Clinton. The point is accentuated by the apposition of ‘our way of life’ with ‘our freedoms’: today. in Clinton’s statement that ‘the bin Laden network of terrorist groups was planning to mount further attacks against Americans and other freedom-loving people’ (Clinton. Bush said that ‘the attack on our nation was also an attack on the ideals that make us a nation’. . 2001a) we will not allow this enemy to win the war by changing our way of life or restricting our freedoms (Bush. at the same time. This is implied. Speaking on Ellis Island on the anniversary of the attacks. Indeed. particularly in Bush’s statements. . our way of life. then (following the logic of binarism) the adversary cannot also be associated with it. . through the characterization of the enemies’ values and beliefs as deviant and morally repugnant: Its [Al Qaeda’s] goal is remaking the world – and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere (Bush. our freedom of speech. whose meaning was over-determined by the twin symbols of the Statue of Liberty (over Bush’s right shoulder) and the American flag (over his left). 1998a). 1998a) Where the ‘other’ is excluded from having a stake in freedom. 2001d) those who believe that some men and women and children are expendable in the pursuit of power (Bush. the discourse upholds a clear dichotomy between those who love freedom and others who are said to hate it (and therefore by implication America): They hate what we see right here in this chamber – a democratically elected government .Lazar and Lazar: Discourse of the New World Order 229 claim of the high moral ground is bolstered. While the appeal to the universal has important strategic functions in ‘de-politicizing’ and ‘de-ideologizing’ liberal democracy. The strategy is meant to deny any appropriation by bin Laden and those associated with him of ideologically respectable terms like ‘soldiers’ or ‘freedom fighters’. 2001d) By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions – by abandoning every value except the will to power – they follow the path of fascism.

suggests a religiously-motivated totalitarian ideology. From this perspective.230 Discourse & Society 15(2–3) There are three points worth noting here. in which the goal is control of people’s will. 2002a) CRIMINALIZATION A second aspect of out-casting in the construction of threat to the moral order is . 2001d) These enemies view the entire world as a battlefield (Bush. 1990a) Further. there is a lumping together of ‘their’ beliefs with historically well-known ideologies of oppression. 2002d) The crisis rhetoric. Whereas the values of America and the NWO have been de-politicized and made to appear non-ideological – with ‘freedom’ as a shorthand for the universal values of humanity – the enemies’ values have been deliberately politicized and ideologized. etc. . Second. 1998a) Freedom and fear are at war (Bush. they seek to actively destabilize and replace ‘our’ moral order. ‘challenge’ and ‘threat(en)’ are frequent in the discourse: disrupt and end a way of life. The lack of differentiation makes this an ‘efficient rhetorical ploy to emphasise how bad the Others are’ (van Dijk. whereas we stand for the cause of freedom. Sims (1999: 19) summarizes this nicely: It is conventional . furthermore. powerfully evokes the script of a universal conflict: This will be a long. contrasted with the supposedly non-ideological quest of ‘human liberty’: Its goal is remaking the world – and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere (Bush. 2001d) There is a line in our time and in every time between the defenders of human liberty and those who seek to master the minds and souls of others (Bush. the second example below. it has been challenged by the clashing wills of powerful states and the designs of tyrants (Bush. ‘imposing’ and ‘seeking to master’ strongly convey the menacing enemy intent. 2001d) freedom has been threatened by war and terror. ongoing struggle between freedom and fanaticism (Clinton. ‘their’ beliefs and visions are ‘radical’ and fanatical. Drawing on Derrida. a threat to our way of life (Bush. The enemies’ ‘will/pursuit to power’ indicates that their beliefs are not only different from ‘ours’ but also that. human rights. and connote intolerance and irrationality. . antithetical to liberalism. justice. in particular. Only the enemy are [sic] nasty ideologues. Note. This evokes a crisis rhetoric. liberal democracy is not an ideology so much as an ideal state of affairs. but that one’s own side does not. alarmingly. 2002e) Iraq’s threat to peace (Bush Senior. 1994: 20). ‘the minds and souls’. material processes such as ‘remaking’. The coordinate structure. The synonyms ‘disrupt’. First. to believe that one’s opponent has an ideology. making the threat all the more imminent and ominous. Third. enemies are depicted as driven by power (note especially the nominals ‘the will’ and ‘the pursuit’).

A straightforward means is simply to lexically designate the enemy as a criminal: from the general category criminals (Bush. premeditation is one of the hallmarks of terrorist violence. systematic rape of a peaceful neighbour (Bush Senior. . to kill all Americans (Bush. 1998). schooled in the methods of murder (Bush. Representations here encompass a range of time frames. Criminalization of the enemy is discursively built up in a number of ways. 2001d) and killers (Bush. but against civilians. a proliferation of criminal actions is attributed to the enemy. (Clinton. and its methodical nature suggests that the enemy is all the more deadly (Bush. such violence is the result of someone’s policy or decision. 2002b): their mission is murder (Clinton. 2002a) a sense of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts (Bush. Clinton. as follows. 2002b) The enemy’s criminal acts are represented as intentional. pillaged and plundered a tiny nation no threat to his own. and among those maimed and murdered. not only against soldiers. 2002a. He subjected the people of Kuwait to unspeakable atrocities. nor is it accidental. Here. it is not a matter of momentary rage or impulse. The representation of calculated action is over-lexicalized in the discourse. Political violence in itself is not necessarily always illegitimate: what is important is the ‘web of signification’ it enters into in historically specific discourses and relations of power (Dillon. As Pillar (2001) explains. 1998b) As projected actions: we know that these weapons [of mass destruction] in the hands of terrorists would unleash blackmail and genocide and chaos (Bush. 2002b) his ruthless. suggesting that the threat is an enduring one. Not once. 2001d) Saddam Hussein systematically raped. As past actions: Afghanistan’s people have been brutalized (Bush. . 2002a. 2001d) and dangerous (Bush. Further.Lazar and Lazar: Discourse of the New World Order 231 the criminalization of the political actions of the enemy. criminalization once again invokes a moral and political order and an ideal of answerability. 1998a). 2001e) to the specific naming as murderers (Bush. 2002b. 1991b) . 1991a) As habitual actions: the terrorists’ directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews. but repeatedly . indeed. innocent children. 1991). 2001d ) [Saddam] has used [weapons of mass destruction]. (Bush Senior. against which the actions of the perpetrator are read as deeply transgressive. 2001d) they are determined to expand the scale and scope of their murder (Bush. through the strategy of over-lexicalization (Fowler. 1998a) the terrorists’ directive commands them to kill (Bush. 2001d) thousands of dangerous killers.

Bush Senior. or to traditionally vulnerable people – civilians. but even against his own people. Bahrain and Iran. buildings and factories have been looted. This enables the rallying of international support against a morally decrepit enemy: Afghanistan’s people have been brutalized – many are starving and many have fled (Bush. Moms and dads. . or to the ordinariness of the targets – the victims were in airplanes or in their offices. 2002a. . 2001d) [Saddam] . 2001d) Bin Laden publicly vowed to wage war against America. 2002a) Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait has been a nightmare . saying – and I quote – ‘We do not distinguish between those dressed in military uniforms and civilians. homes. with the additional meaning of ‘civilians/noncombatants’: thus. .232 Discourse & Society 15(2–3) What makes the enemy’s crimes particularly heinous is the deliberate refusal to distinguish between military combatants and civilians: the terrorists . 1990b). the murder of innocents (Bush. They are all targets’ (Clinton. gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq (Clinton. leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children (Bush. the loss of innocent life/lives (Bush. violence against innocents (Bush. 2001d). Friends and neighbors (Bush. 1998a). and not only a foreign enemy. both as noun and as adjective. business men and women. which goes to show that nobody is safe from the tyranny. Victims are found not only outside the enemy’s borders. Saudi Arabia. . 1989) – especially effective where children are among the victims: Iraq . firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel. military and federal workers. children shot in front of their parents. which emphasizes the enemy’s negative acts by describing them in overly specific. The purpose is not so much to describe or explain as to incite a strong affective response (Fortin. 2002c). graphic and visualizable terms. 1991a). including women and children (Bush. 2001d). The word ‘innocent(s)’ appears frequently. Disappearances and graphic accounts of torture are widespread. Babies have been torn from incubators. a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens. . . 1998a) The representation of the political criminal is further shown vis-à-vis characterizations of their (civilian) victims. . make no distinction among military and civilians (Bush. . 1990b) The singleminded and cold-hearted pursuit of criminal violence by the enemies is made both explicable and outrageous when couched in terms of a depraved value system that has no reverence for human life. 1998b) The horror of these crimes is heightened through a strategy that van Dijk (1995) terms ‘concretization’. Clinton. (Bush Senior. A similar effect can be achieved through reference to size – a small and helpless neighbor [Kuwait] (Bush Senior. 2002c. but also include internal civilian populations. Secretaries. ‘they’ are aligned with death and ‘we’ with life: .

. 2002c) The enemy’s sacrifice. at best. . minimize and unintended all illustrate this. but as positively delighting in the loss of lives. They are honorable. as well as the linking of the sacrifice with terrorism and their ‘radical visions’. not even their own. and this nation honors all who died in our cause (Bush. a noble deed. The death of American soldiers is represented as the ultimate sacrifice. this separates us from the enemy we fight. as is shown in the examples. Even with non-civilians. Our enemies value none. instead. the loss of innocent lives and casualities are also euphemistic in this context. America is further shown to be circumspect about killing. however. who carried out this mission while making every possible effort to minimise the loss of innocent lives (Clinton. They embrace tyranny and death as a cause and a creed. We value every life. In the examples below. more abstract terms are preferred: Afghanistan proved that expensive precision weapons defeat the enemy and spare innocent lives (Bush. . 2001d) terrorist leaders who urged followers to sacrifice their lives are running for their own (Bush. They are dedicated. America is seen to cherish the sanctity of life and to defend lives everywhere. (Bush. Reference to it is accompanied by expressions of pride. even in war. . We choose freedom and the dignity of every life (Bush. 2002a) our armed forces. and we are grateful (Bush. Further. We stand for a different choice. 2002a) more than anything else. even to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. unlike the statements above in which the actions of self-sacrifice are encoded in ‘hedged’ material processes (to be prepared to make) or in the middle voice (who died) – which puts some distance between the actions of the American leaders and the deaths of their soldiers – the deaths of the ‘others’ is pointedly attributed to the terrorist leaders.Lazar and Lazar: Discourse of the New World Order our enemies send other people’s children on missions of suicide and murder. 2001e) I am proud of all who have fought on my orders. . . honour. They represent the best of our country. is made ignoble by the absence of positive adjectives. misguided: By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions . words such as ‘kill’ or ‘murder’ are hardly ever used. This makes ‘their’ sacrifice involuntary or. there will be unintended Iraqi casualties (Clinton. not even the innocent. 1998b) The giving of one’s life for some important purpose is a notion that is used both of enemy and of self – but of course with quite different connotations. 2002d) 233 The enemy is depicted not only as uncaring about human life. . 1998a) and while our strikes are focused on Iraq’s military capabilities. dedication and gratitude: we ask a lot of those who wear our uniform . The choice of the nominal groups. By contrast. they follow in the path of fascism (Bush. 2002a) . spare.

2002b) He subjected the people to unspeakable atrocities (Bush Senior. particularly the Islamic world. only endured (Bush. and absence of conscience and human decency – which sustain this ethnocentric imagery: our country was attacked with deliberate and massive cruelty (Bush. The political corollary of this is the relegation of the Oriental beyond the boundaries of the western-defined social and moral order. [as] the normal state of affairs’ (Said. brutality. mercilessness. we argue that certain resilient stereotypes he outlines do surface in contemporary American presidential speeches – hardly surprising. 2002a). and the accompanying moral justification for the West to control and contain the unruly ‘other’. 2002e) or ‘these enemies view the entire world as a battlefield’ (Bush. particularly ‘Arab– Orientals’. Across the presidential speeches. this of course is antithetical to America’s expressed value of peace. we found an over-lexicalization of sets of synonymous terms – cruelty. Features of orientalism permeate the other proposed strategies of outcasting as well but. aberrant and inferior. 2002b) A third orientalist motif is that of the duplicitous Arab. since the end of the Cold War. There is.234 Discourse & Society 15(2–3) ORIENTALIZATION We have identified ‘orientalization’ as another discursive strategy for maintaining as ‘core’ a unitary western moral order. not peace. 1991a) terrorist groups are hungry for these weapons and would use them without a hint of conscience (Bush. the stereotype of bellicosity. 2001b) mindless and merciless killing (Bush. A second orientalist stereotype is moral degeneracy. Although we recognize Said’s tendency to paint with broad brushstrokes (Ahmad. Not only irrational and . the implication is that the west is normal. 1992. More than two-thirds of the casualties of American military action since Vietnam have been Muslims. American conventional capability has tended to be disproportionately directed against the so-called ‘third world’. ‘the aggression and brutality of evil men’ (Bush. It is the appropriation into the NWO discourse of a framework of persistent cultural stereotypes about non-western ‘others’. virtuous and superior. we contend. without any one of them simply being reduced to orientalization. 1978: 49). since the thinking underlying the NWO relies largely on simplistic dualisms. We present here four representative stereotypes associated with orientalism. and for out-casting the ‘other’ to the ‘periphery’. 1983). Said (1978) has famously argued that Arabs and Muslims have been historically constituted by the West as strange. Porter. 2002a) the murder of innocents cannot be explained. ruthlessness. for instance. the notion that Arabs thrive in conflict situations and see ‘strife. Thus. Mazrui (1994) has noted that. 2002b) The moral depravity of the ‘other’ is further couched in terms of irrationality or incomprehensibility – yet another stereotype: the depth of their hatred is equalled by the madness of the destruction they design (Bush.

2002a) Even further. to where it ends. 2001d) Further. . This is an enemy who preys on innocent and unsuspecting people.g. 1978: 287). is one way in which this is highlighted: [the terrorists] are recruited . . there is the orientalist motif of the uncivilized ‘other’. bestial metaphors: . there are metaphors that represent the enemy as non-human: the confrontation is then no longer between two very different groups of people but is. . the enemies’ duplicity is elaborated through their furtive operations. they are sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world to plot evil and destruction (Bush. Two sets of non-human metaphors may be discerned in the discourse. . 2001b) Finally. seeking ‘cover’ and the ‘underworld’. established through a semantic field comprising lexical choices pertaining to ‘hiding’. . and hides in the centers of large countries (Bush. however. . Yet. who runs for cover and tries to hide: [the terrorists] are sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world to plot evil and destruction . 2002a) this enemy hides in shadows and has no regard for human life. 2001b) we are not deceived by their pretences to piety (Bush. someone to be restrained and tamed: the United States of America is an enemy of those who aid terrorists and of the barbaric criminals who profane a great religion (Bush. The choice of the material process (to) plot. . 2001d) A terrorist underworld .Lazar and Lazar: Discourse of the New World Order 235 debased. ironically. The material process of ‘hiding’ anywhere (in shadows) and everywhere (e. 2001d) terrorists and dictators plot against our lives and our liberty (Bush. 2001d) fanatics and killers who wrap murder in the cloak of righteousness (Clinton. an interspecies war. Arabs are also credited with ‘cleverly devious intrigues’ (Said. then runs for cover (Bush. . 2002c) The ability to recognize the other’s duplicity and cunning. that which makes the enemy sinister simultaneously depicts him as a coward. operates in remote jungles and deserts. in history’s unmarked grave of discarded lies (Bush. 1998a) war has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder (Bush. suggests that America is even smarter than the ‘clever enemy’. in countries around the world) shows particularly how menacing and pervasive a strategem it is. operates in remote jungles and deserts (Bush. One set mostly involves predatory. instead. deliver to United States authorities all leaders of al-Qaeda who hide in your land (Bush. with nefarious goals. 2001e) Literal and metaphoric references to ‘jungle’ (for example) also contribute to the ‘untamed’ image: a terrorist underworld . delegitimizes any claim to virtue and renders ‘their’ deceitful efforts futile: And they will follow that path all the way.

As a strategy of out-casting. 2002a) the only way to defeat terrorism as a threat to our way of life is to stop it. . As President Bush said. . and it has been regularly invoked ever since. Instead. . 2002a) Evil is also linked to the enemy through action. . 1990a) The second set implies parasitism – either animal or plant: eliminate the terrorist parasites who threaten their countries and our own (Bush. one based upon the spiritual/religious dichotomy between ‘good’ and ‘evil’. Clinton. in the days following the 11 September attacks. the very worst of human nature (Bush. Bush. . 2001d) today. they represent evil and war (Bush. 2001a) America. and destroy it where it grows (Bush. it is construed vis-à-vis an alignment with God and religion. 2001b) our enemies . . It continues to be an important element in the NWO discourse. either the goal of the enemy’s activities or the object of ‘our’ perceptual vision. is on the side of good. For instance. 2001b. plot evil and destruction (Bush. the enemies’ activities are classified as evil (‘evil. The appeal to (the Christian) religion in politics is part of an American tradition that dates to the beginning of the republic. and it must be opposed (Bush. but rather something alive and in our midst: these terrorists do not represent peace. and invokes a moral duty to destroy that evil. we mean to highlight a particular and powerful kind of vilification. (Bush Senior. although this is seldom stated explicitly. by contrast. Collectively. The threat is constituted as evil quite simply through lexical reiteration of the word. and is . our nation saw evil. the enemy bears the quality of evil. Attribution also happens at the rank of the clause: in the first and second examples below.236 Discourse & Society 15(2–3) this is an enemy who preys on innocent and unsuspecting people (Bush. The latter makes the threat of evil immediate and ‘real’:3 They . 2002a) we have come to know truths that we will never question: evil is real. ‘this will be a monumental struggle of good versus evil’ (2001b). despicable acts of terror. these clauses imply that evil is not a theological abstraction. whereas in the third example. eliminate it. were as wrong as they are evil (Bush. the threat(s) to the NWO are built up consistently through a process of vilifying an opponent. . 2001a). By coining the term ‘(e)vilification’ here. (e)vilification effectively banishes the other from the moral order that is fundamentally good and godly. and this occurs freely across the speeches of President Bush. an Iraq permitted to swallow Kuwait . 1998a) no peaceful international order is possible if larger states can devour their smaller neighbours . 2001d) ( E ) VILIFICATION In all of these discursive strategies. evil is affirmed to be actual and extant. . those who are behind these evil acts’.

. as our forces fight. 2002d) Second. 1991a) Such examples demonstrate how the God(ly) connection is made through interdiscursivity. The appeal is elaborated especially fully in the speeches of President Bush. 2002a) we fight to protect the innocent so that the lawless and the merciless will not inherit the Earth (Bush. as Billig (1995) has noted. however. 2001a). the link between ‘us’ and God is made through the constant invocation of blessings on the nation and all those on ‘our’ side. and the darkness will not overcome it (Bush. 1990) in which scriptural borrowings are modified to fit the contemporary political situation: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists (Bush. and may He watch over the United States of America (Bush. the invocations are more substantial and encode specific kinds of requests or prayers for specific groups of people: on this national day of prayer and remembrance. and love have no end. and all who mourn (Bush. may God grant us wisdom. at other times. raised this lamp of liberty to every captive land. These values can then be seen as divinely sanctioned: this world He created is of moral design. . 2002c) this nation has . . remembrance. we ask almighty God to watch over our nation and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come (Bush. Sometimes these closings are very brief and general (‘Good night and God bless America’. May God bless each and every one of them and the coalition forces at our side in the Gulf. And our prayer tonight is that God will see us through and keep us worthy (Bush. 2002d) . they and their families are in our prayers. 2001d) our deepest national conviction is that every life is precious. in which either references or allusions to biblical scriptures are incorporated into otherwise secular political talk. Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time. 1992). Goodness. and may he continue to bless our nation (Bush Senior. because every life is the gift of a creator who intended us to live in liberty and equality (Bush. Bush. And the light shines in the darkness. may be read as inviting God to serve the national (and the international) order. 2001b) in all that lies before us. That hope still lights our way. . Connectedness with God – the epitome of all that is good – is expressed in a number of ways. In the following set are examples of intertextuality. 2001d) we are prepared for this journey. First. God is appropriated to validate the expressed values of the NWO: morality/freedom/liberty/equality/sanctity of life. Entreating God for blessings is a characteristic closing in the presidents’ speeches which. 2002d) tonight. Intertextuality involves a process of recontextualization (Bernstein.Lazar and Lazar: Discourse of the New World Order 237 worked into it by means of ‘interdiscursivity’ (incorporation of a religious discourse) and ‘manifest intertexuality’ (the appeal to specific scriptural expressions) (see Fairclough. And the Lord of Life holds all who die.

of the Muslim community at large. evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil. including the United States (Clinton. an attempt to avoid antagonizing Muslim allies. The first of these is through the portrayal of the ‘other’s’ religion in clearly positive terms: Islam really is good. 2001e) [they] blaspheme the name of Allah. [they] profane a great religion (Bush. I want the world to understand that our actions [are] . Milbank. 2003): I want you to understand. to hijack Islam itself (Bush. This is out-casting done not merely from the position of an ‘outsider’. peace-loving people all around the world. Further. The positive presentation of Islam also serves to depict America as gracious. Porter. . such a strategy of positive self-presentation is essential in a society in which ethnocentrism or prejudice is officially denounced as immoral and illegal. too. 1998a) a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam (Bush. The terrorists are traitors to their own faith.’ (see later). Islam is peace (Bush. In this way. 2001c) let the skeptics look to Islam’s own rich history – with its centuries of learning. The enemy’s call to religion is discredited as impious. Thus. 1998a) We respect your faith [Islam]. for that they rejected the signs of Allah and held them up to ridicule’ (Bush. disowned and cast as evil from within the faith: the terrorists practise a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics (Bush. 2001d) ‘Their’ illegitimate appropriation of religion is further shown up through two strategic discursive moves. ‘In the long run. Clinton. tolerant and progressive. . (Bush. respectful. 1983). 1992. they have expressly invoked Allah and Islam in justifying their actions as jihad (holy war). While certain orientalist imagery is strategically used in NWO discourse (as we have seen). 2001e. 2001c) . another necessary aspect of the (e)vilification strategy has been to disassociate the enemy from such claims to righteousness. a positive portrayal of Islam demonstrates the mindfulness of not ‘orientalizing’ the ‘other’ in blanket terms (see the criticisms of Said in Ahmad. and tolerance. but also from an ‘insider’s’. whereas the enemy’s actions are not. 1993. That’s not what Islam is all about. peaceful. . indeed as evil. This is a politically shrewd stance. 2002a) The enemy’s appropriation of religion is thwarted in the discourse by purportedly speaking from the point of view. and progress (Bush. trying. the enemy is alienated from the in-group of Muslim ‘brotherhood’. . and broad-minded – ‘We respect your faith’. in effect. it is equally clear that America’s leaders avoid framing a war of civilization ‘between the Judeo-Christian West and a resentful and impoverished Muslim world’ (Huntington. 2001e) let me quote from the Koran itself. and on behalf. the faith of hundreds of millions of good.238 Discourse & Society 15(2–3) Establishing Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein as evil is the basis of (e)vilification. 2001e) the face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. not aimed against Islam. Yet. ‘I want the world to understand . As noted by van Dijk (1992).

Concomitantly. the broad strokes with which the Bush administration has painted its enemies as ‘terrorists’ are now used by anti-war protesters in their descriptions of America and President Bush. Ironically. The French stance is a case in point here. In its ability to simplify very complex issues. it is worth asking the question. The over-determination of meanings. the 11 September attacks in themselves may be viewed as a massive act of opposition against American hegemony and duplicity. simple and unidimensional lines. . Speaking out against the war in Iraq. that the hegemonic American discourse is not without global resistance. binarism is a useful hegemonic device. we suggest. the Pope. the complex causes of the others’ actions are left unsaid and unheard. it establishes as a political fact the existence of clear and specific threats. President Bush put this plainly in his 2002 State of the Union address. This is established vis-à-vis ‘threat’. America seems to be gravitating. it has wider implications for the NWO discourse. ‘what is new about the discourse of the NWO?’ The identity of the enemy has changed and. Although the dissent here was prompted specifically by the war in Iraq. although the discourse is not couched in terms of a ‘clash of civilizations’. The dualism. through strategic silences. accommodates the fudging between these different kinds and degrees of threat. Finally. America’s foreign-policy duplicity is strategically unmentioned. but also relevant are the massive outcries from protesters worldwide. The broadening of the ‘war on terror’ to include Saddam Hussein. when he said to the world ‘either you are with America or you are with the terrorists. however. America is implicitly set up as the hyper-signifier of all that is good and virtuous. in fact. in its self-election to goodness and morality. In setting up the enemies as hyper-signifiers of all that is bad and immoral. leaders of the Church of England and other religious figures have explicitly rejected this claim. in this case represented by Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Moreover. following the deep-seated logic of binarism. First. Second.’ No middle ground or negotiated space is allowed in this scenario. which is premised upon a supposedly universal and divinely sanctioned morality. Third. to constitute a largely undifferentiated enemy – an easy slippage from ‘they are different from us’ to ‘they are all the same’. each of which contributes a different layer of signification. the insistence of marked polarities in the NWO discourse serves American purposes in demanding simple and unequivocal allegiances from the international community.Lazar and Lazar: Discourse of the New World Order 239 Conclusion We have examined here one of the elements constitutive of the discourse of the NWO – the definition of the moral order. Also damning for American hegemony is the direct challenge posed to its claim to moral legitimacy. anti-war petitions and demonstrations. binarism allows the representation of ‘them’ and ‘us’ to be sketched in clear. By contrast. makes the ‘others’ hyper-signifiers of all that is bad and aberrant. has received mixed international reaction. It is noteworthy. enunciated through four micro-strategies of ‘out-casting’. for example.

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