Anglo-American relations in the
This chapter will begin by tracing developing patterns of divergence and
convergence in the perceived interests dominant in each country’s leadership.
The international system which permitted the emergence of a predominantly
Anglo-American ‘war on terror’ was a security environment in transition.
Former adversaries now competed in the marketplace of capitalism, with China
a rising economic competitor to the US. The period was also characterised by
the emerging international position
Few social and political phenomena have been debated as frequently or fervidly as neoliberalism and neo-jihadism. Yet, while discourse on these phenomena has been wide-ranging, they are rarely examined in relation to one another. In response, Neoliberalism and neo-jihadism examines political-economic characteristics of twentieth and early twenty-first-century neo-jihadism. Drawing on Bourdieusian and neo-Marxist ideas, it investigates how the neo-jihadist organisations, Al Qaeda and Islamic State, engage with the late modern capitalist paradigm of neoliberalism in their anti-capitalist propaganda and quasi-capitalist financial practices. An investigation of documents and discourses reveals interactions between neoliberalism and neo-jihadism characterised by surface-level contradiction, and structural connections that are dialectical and mutually reinforcing. Neoliberalism here is argued to constitute an underlying ‘status quo’, while neo-jihadism, as an evolving form of political organisation, is perpetuated as part of this situation. Representing differentiated, unique, and exclusive examples of the (r)evolutionary phenomenon of neo-jihadism, AQ and IS are demonstrated in Neoliberalism and neo-jihadism to be characteristic of the mutually constitutive nature of ‘power and resistance’. Just as resistance movements throughout modern history have ended up resembling the forms of power they sought to overthrow, so too have AQ and IS ended up resembling and reconstituting the dominant political-economic paradigm of neoliberalism they mobilised in response to.
This book analyses the evolving Anglo-American counter-terror propaganda strategies that spanned the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as reconstruction, between 2001 and 2008. It offers insights into the transformation beyond this period, tracking many key developments as much as possible up to the time of writing (2013) and providing a retrospective on the 'war on terror'. Using empirical data located within multiple spheres, the book draws on sociology, political science and international relations, developing an interdisciplinary analysis of political communication in the international system. It shows how media technologies presented legal, structural and cultural problems for what were seen as rigid propaganda systems defined by their emergence in an old media system of sovereign states with stable target audiences. Propaganda successes and advances were an inconsistent by-product both of malfunction and of relationships, cultures and rivalries, both domestically and between the partners. The differing social relations of planners and propagandists to wider society create tensions within the 'machine', however leaders may want it to function. The book demonstrates that the 'messy' nature of bureaucracy and international systems as well as the increasingly fluid media environment are all important in shaping what actually happens. In a context of initial failures in formal coordination, the book stresses the importance of informal relationships to planners in the propaganda war. This situated Britain in an important yet precarious position within the Anglo-American propaganda effort, particularly in Iraq.
’ about actors and outcomes as we
understand them is elucidated through history, and that history is made by the
powerful and successful. He highlights a conflict between the principles of
democracy and the need for and processes of propaganda (Ellul, 1973: 232–
238). Taylor stressed the importance of remaining within the boundaries of
certain ‘democratic’ principles, which he argued evolved during the events of
the twentieth century. This led him, after 9/11, to argue for an enhanced US
Propaganda and counter-terrorismpropaganda effort during peacetime to attempt
came to be seen as obstructive within institutional cultures.
These changes will be shown in later chapters to have differed somewhat in the
US and UK, but for both countries were driven by informal in-agency, interagency and inter-country relationships that shaped the entire propaganda
Propaganda and counter-terrorismPropaganda audiences
Historically, there are two reasons why both Britain and America have divided
their propaganda capabilities according to audience. The first relates to ethics
and legitimacy. As explained in the introduction, a