Gilbert Achcar is Professor of Development Studies and International Relations in the SOAS Department of Development Studies. His most recent books are Marxism, Orientalism, Cosmopolitanism and The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising.
The discourse of war is already upon us. But it must be resisted.
French President François Hollande’s reaction to the terrorist outrage that struck again at the heart of Paris has been to declare war — just as George W. Bush did in the face of “the mother of all terrorist attacks” that struck the heart of New York.
By doing this, the French president has chosen to ignore the many criticisms of the Bush administration’s choice, even though these expressed the prevailing opinion in France itself at that time. And he did so despite the fact that the disastrous balance sheet of the Bush administration’s “war on terror” well justified its critics. Sigmar Gabriel himself, the German vice-chancellor and head of the Social Democratic Party, brother party of the French Socialists, has declared that talk of war only plays into the hands of ISIS.