On September 11, 2001, planes captured by terrorists rammed the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York. It was a beginning of the new era.
It is the era when terrorism is no longer considered the destiny of loners and fanatics embraced by a destructive super-idea. It is not at all ideological, although it carefully imitates the existence of beliefs. Instead, it is high-tech, staged and focused on becoming a media event. Terrorism was reformatted and began to line up according to the laws of business.
At the same time, the struggle with it in the new era for a long time looked, to put it mildly, contradictory: it rather contributed to its spread than to eradication. Indeed, it is difficult to fight terrorism, because, unlike the state, it is not subjective, often invisible and not necessarily tied to the territory. Attacks on countries committed by the United States, including under the pretext of combating terrorism, only gave a powerful impetus to the development and strengthening of extremist organizations.
The US invasion of Afghanistan pushed the Taliban away from power, but, as it turns out, not forever. Without an agreement with them, a full withdrawal of American troops from there is impossible, and the United States is now trying to conclude a deal with yesterday’s enemies. And the invasion of Iraq even led to the emergence and expansion of ISIS (an organization banned in Russia), thereby predetermining the impending upheavals of the entire Middle East.
However, this state of affairs was predicted at a theoretical level. Thus, the deideologization of modernity due to the devaluation of ideologies was predicted by Fukuyama in 1992 in his “End of History”. But two years before him, the rules relevant to the new coordinate system were outlined by Joseph Nye in his book “Doomed to Leadership,” devoted to the role of the United States as the only superpower that remained after leaving the USSR stage. There, he is known to have predicted that “soft power” will dominate in the new reality, which can largely displace, or even cancel, the more traditional “hard” one.
The importance of this prediction becomes understandable if you pay attention to the subject who has this or that power. So, the state is characterized by just “hard power”, that is, law enforcement and armed structures. But “soft power” doesn’t need him: for the state it’s pointless to seek the love of not its taxpayers. Unlike corporations: for them it is about consumers, it doesn’t matter where they pay taxes, and their love is quantified in profit. “Soft power” is just about them.
In other words, Nye predicted that in the new monopolar reality, world space and its rules would be shaped by corporations rather than states. Those as more archaic forms will fade into the background.
And in fact, in relation to 1990, Nye was right. Those years were a period of global expansion of transnational corporations – mainly American companies. Fukuyama was also right, because corporations, unlike the state, are outside ideology.
Unlike states, corporations cannot be subjects of international law already for the reason that they can go bankrupt and disappear. Theoretically, such companies could use any methods in the international space, while bearing zero responsibility.
Any imbalance, however, gives rise to a counter trend. It is logical that the decade of expansion of American corporations, which sought love and loyalty of the global consumer, ended with the shock of September 11, 2001, giving rise to a response in the form of a revolution of the whole order of things.
Indeed, now terrorism is nothing but the gloomy downside of “soft power”, where “consumers”, instead of love and devotion, require horror and a willingness to be afraid. In this regard, the organization of terrorism as a corporate activity was actually only a matter of time.
Actually, this explains the phenomenon of modern terrorism, which produces fake religiosity and imitation fanaticism. Extremists must at least somehow mask the main goal – profit. So, for example, Somali pirates, voiced all over the world by their activity, prompted many shipping companies to change their routes: the Panama Canal was preferable to the Suez Canal that became dangerous.
It is clear that terrorism as a business has the most destructive effect on international legal reality. And it is logical that Russia began an uncompromising struggle with it, where the state retained its central role with respect to corporations. The fight against all its inherent craving for legitimacy and international legal purity. It is much easier and more natural for the government to call bandits bandits and, without waiting until they turn into an immediate threat to the country’s security, proceed to their destruction.
What is interesting, as Donald Trump consolidates power , the balance in his competition in the USA, with the same corporations is slowly but surely changing in favor of state. In any case, under Trump, the States have not yet gotten involved in new wars, and Washington is trying to minimize the scale of their presence in the current places of deployment of American troops. It is quite possible that at some point it will lead to the restoration of the former order of things when the state determines the interests of the country first and only then corporations, and “soft power” remains an essential, but still not a central policy tool.
Kirill Koktysh, Izvestia newspaper