Introduction
THE “NEW” NORMAL
In the fall of 2001, the United States inaugurated a new project
to secure the American future, and did so in the name, and
language, of counterterror. Th e very real terrorist violence of
September 2001 was quickly harnessed by U.S. offi cials to a
conceptual project that mobilizes aff ects (fear, terror, anger) via
imaginary pro cesses (worry, precarity, threat) to constitute an
unlimited space and time horizon for military state action. By
amplifying offi cial terror and public anxiety, the U.S. security ap-
paratus powerfully remade itself in the early twenty- fi rst century,
proliferating experts, technological infrastructures, and global
capacities in the name of existential defense. Counterterror
constitutes itself today as endless, boundless, and defensive— a
necessary means of protecting American interests in a world of
emergent and violent dangers. Th e resulting security state ap-
paratus no longer recognizes national boundaries or citizenship
as the defi ning coordinates of its governance; rather, it con-
stitutes a dangerous future as its object of concern. Th e moti-
vating force behind this radical renewal and expansion of the
national security state in the twenty- fi rst century is a vision of
a world without borders, generating threats without limit. Th e
goal of the counterterror state is to produce and administer a
U.S.- centric world, one in which American interests can never
be surprised by external events, let alone shocked by them (see
U.S. White House 2002a). Always already in crisis and failing,
this aspirational image of American power has nonetheless been
Previous Page Next Page