Neo-Gramsci and the War in Afghanistan

Topics: United States, Hegemony, Taliban Pages: 14 (4752 words) Published: November 2, 2012
Theories of International Relations
INSTRUCTER: Yrd. Doc. Dr. Balkan Devlen
SUBJECT: Neo-Gramsci and the War in Afghanistan

Sıla BOZ
Aydın Ersin YILMAZ

The 2001 invasion of Afghanistan has been seen as a ‘just war’ by the world opinion across the globe which represented a war targeting the terrorism and responsible terrorist organizations which are Taliban and Al-Qaida. In order to eliminate the ‘Islamic Terrorism’ by a Western-style democracy, international organizations which are under the dominancy of US have mobilized in order to justify the ‘war on terrorism’ with the help of the media campaigns.

In this paper, it is going to be analyzed the US Afghanistan invasion according to the perspectives of neo-gramscianism. Neo-gramscianism finds both ‘neo-realism’ and ‘liberalism’ not sufficient to analyze the international politics since as R. W. Cox states that the every theory serves to somewhere and to an ideology as well as to a purpose and differs problem-solving theories which assume that states are not subject to fundamental changes but limited or incremental changes and all actions take place in a limited framework and critical theories that go beyond them to identify the origins and its developmental potential and historical phenomena. Thus, in this paper, the concept of hegemony, historic bloc and war and terror in the world order will be examined according to the Afghanistan occupation. Neo-Realist concept of hegemony includes one powerful state that dominates other with its military and economic capabilities. However, neo-gramscian approach is much wider than this definition which includes it is more than a state dominance, based on a consensual order that has dominance but dominance by a powerful state may be a necessary but not sufficient condition. In the historic bloc part, the historic bloc concept of Gramsci including international organizations will be examined at the international level. In the last part, the legitimacy problem and the reasons of US’ expansion beyond its shores will be concluded.

Hegemony is the supremacy of one major power (state) over others and likely acceptance of that transcendency by others in international relations as it is well-known. The concept of hegemony was extended by Robert W. Cox at international level although it was first defined by Gramsci at national level. According to Marxism, the hegemony is always understood as domination, especially within a capitalist society and according to neorealist theorists, it is necessary to have a hegemonic power based on its material and economic capabilities which is sole and dominating over other states. Both of them assume that the wealth and power cannot exist without each other. However, neo-gramscian theory that transcends these definitions, stresses that the hegemony as the ability of a social group to direct society both politically and morally. The hegemonic group obtains authority through the intellectual, moral, and cultural persuasion or assent of the population, who are governed, without using violence, political or economic coercion. In spite of that coercion is always disguisedly used in support of its hegemony. If a group wants to become a hegemon, it must unite the features of coercion and consent through the notion of a “dual perspective”. In the Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks he describes it with those words: “The dual perspective can present itself on various levels from the most elementary to the most complex: But these can all theoretically be reduced to two fundamental levels, corresponding to the dual nature of Machiavelli’s Centaur – half-animal and half-human. They are the levels of force and of consent, authority and hegemony, violence and civilization, or the individual moment and the universal moment (“Church” and “State”), of agitation and propaganda, of tactics and of strategy, etc.” (1933-34: 1st version...

References: Ahmed, Nafeez, M, 2009, Our Terrorists, New Internationalist Magazine, Issue 426:
Cox, Robert, 2004, Beyond Empire and Terror: Critical Reflections on the Political Economy of World Order, New Political Economy, Vol 9. No.3
Gramsci, Antonio, Selection from the Prison Notebooks, ed
Nowell Smith. London: Lawrence & Wishart (1971): 169-170
Iseri, Emre, Neo-Gramscian Analysis of US Hegemony Today, 2007:
Özçelik, Sezai, Neo-realist and Neo-Gramscian hegemony in international relations and conflict resolution during the 1990 's, Ekonomik ve Sosyal Arastırmalar Dergisi, Güz 2005, 1:88-114
Strange, Susan, State and Markets, 1988, London: Printer Publishers
Ufomba, Henry U., 2007, Collective Security of Hegemonic Security? A Neo-Gramscian Examination of American Role in Two Gulf Wars, Selected Works
Afghan civil society calls for just peace by Lisa Schirch, Common Ground News Service December 20th, 2011:
Afghan pipeline given go-ahead, BBC News, 30 May, 2002:
[ 1 ]. Op Cit, Moolakkattu, John S. (2009) ‘Robert W. Cox and Critical Theory of International Relations, International Studies, Sage Publications, Vol: 46:439, p. 440
[ 2 ]
London: Lawrence & Wishart (1971): 169-170.
[ 3 ]. Op Cit. Susan Strange, State and Markets. (1988) London: Printer Publishers: 25.
[ 4 ]. Op Cit.Iseri, Emre, Neo-Gramscian Analysis of US Hegemony Today, 2007, p.3..
[ 6 ]. Op. Cit. U.S. Interests in the Central Asian Republics Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the Comittee of International Relations, House of Representatives, 1998, Second Session.
[ 7 ]. Afghan pipeline given go-ahead, BBC News, 30 May, 2002
[ 8 ]
[ 11 ]. Op Cit . A Concise History of U.S Foreign Policy, Joyce P. Kaufman, 2006, Rowman&Littlefield Publishers, Inc. P.34
[ 12 ]
[ 13 ]. Iseri, Emre, Neo-Gramscian Analysis of US Hegemony Today, 2007, p. 3
[ 14 ]
[ 16 ]. Op Cit. Cox, Robert (2004), Beyond Empire and Terror: Critical Reflections on the Political Economy of World Order, New Political Economy, Vol 9. No.3. p. 309.
[ 17 ]. Afghan civil society calls for just peace by Lisa Schirch, Common Ground News Service December 20th, 2011
[ 18 ]
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