chapter  13
14 Pages

Edward Said, American International Policy and the War on Terror


In this chapter, I deal with four themes that I consider to be pivotal in Edward Said’s engagement with U.S. foreign policy and “the war on terror”: 1. The continuities between U.S. current engagement with the outside world and orientalist repressive practice of the past; 2. The deployment of the discourse of just war by some intellectuals in the service of U.S. foreign policy; 3. The way in which U.S. foreign policy is underpinned by sadism, arrogance and amnesia; and fi nally; 4. The need to deconstruct abstractions such as Islam and the West to come to terms with the variegated world we inhabit. Said’s perspective on these ideas is informed by a mode of thinking and an ethical stance: ‘critical humanism’.