After decades of global integration, Dan Steinbock sees imperial presidential policies based on “national security interests” producing majestic mistakes.
How Carl Schmitt Took Over the White House
By Dan Steinbock
Special to Consortium News
As the controversial German jurist Carl Schmitt saw it in the interwar Third Reich, legal order ultimately rests upon the decisions of the sovereign, who alone can meet the needs of an “exceptional” time, transcending the law so that order can then be reestablished. “Sovereign is he who decides on the exception,” he wrote. “All law is situational law.”
In post-Weimar Germany, such ideas contributed to the eclipse of liberal democracy. Following Sept. 11, 2001, similar arguments renewed neoconservative interest in Schmitt and the “state of exception.” In this world the status quo is in a permanent state of exception, as enemies — “adversaries, others and strangers” — will unite “us” against “them.”
In this view, the U.S. response to 9/11 was not unusual because liberal wars are “exceptional.” Rather, it was a manifestation of ever-more violent types of war within the…