The political symbiosis of governance and resistance is no better revealed than in the challenge of defeating terrorism while maintaining civility, both in the sense of a civilized world society and in the more particular sense of civil rights. Here the coping strategy of conformity is strained, as the maintenance of order may be both controversial (which order?; whose order?) and self-defeating if conformity involves imposition rather than acquiescence, and the value of conformity is diminished when it simply displaces the need for coping to a different venue. Plainly, a simple military response to acts of suicide terrorism will not be successful, as it neither deters individual terrorists nor addresses the grievances that motivate them. More typically, such blunt instruments of policy aggravate the situation when innocents suffer, with or without the guilty, and sympathy and recruits for terrorist activity are enhanced. The accompanying strategy of ‘winning hearts and minds’ is diminished in the absence of civility (or indeed ‘civil’ society) to underwrite political relations. If the notion that war is an extension of politics has lost its meaning since Clausewitz’s time, violence is not absent from the world stage. War, as a feature of international relations that supported the maintenance of order, can no longer meet the demand for stability. Even where the ‘international community’ resorts to violent means with some claim to legitimacy, this act of global governance not surprisingly meets with resistance from different quarters – not just those subject to violence. Yet the aspiration to have security is more or less universal, depending on the price to be paid, and who pays it. Here, as elsewhere, the difficulty lies in embedded assumptions about the shape of society and politics that underwrite views of the world in which world politics is played out, notwithstanding the possibility of other worlds as coexisting or future alternatives. Consider observations from Levinas and Baudrillard, the first pre-dating and the second post-dating the advent of the ‘war on terror’:

The true problem for us Westerners is not so much to refuse violence as to question ourselves about a struggle against violence which without blanching in nonresistance to evil, could avoid the institution of violence out of this very struggle. Does not the war against war perpetuate that which it is called to make disappear, and consecrate war and its virile virtues in good consciousness?