chapter  4
17 Pages

The new frontiers of the national security state: The US global governmentality of contingency


Ever since the beginning of the Cold War, the US has promoted a ‘liberal order’ and has acted as the self-proclaimed ‘leader’ of the ‘free world’ (Fousek 2000). If one sees the pursuit of global engagement of the US as the prime motivation for asserting an enhanced role in international affairs as early as the mid-1890s (Walker 2009; Zakaria 1998), one must inquire further what prompted the US to decide, in such an emerging global liberal order (global in intent, otherwise checked by the other ideological worldview animated by the Soviet Union), to globally project its sovereign power in acting as global manager of world order. Overarching this order formation process was national security, both as a demand and necessity. As is well established by now in critical security studies literature, the processes of security and the desire for enhanced security inevitably lead to the production of more insecurity, given the aporetic nature of security (Weldes 1999; Burke 2002). This strong demand for security has nevertheless taken hold of American life since the rise of the Cold War with the creation of the ‘national security state’, when US state leaders faced an uncertain future and hoped to build a stable and peaceful world order.