Here, Derrida deconstructs the notions of sovereignty, democracy, reason, terrorism, and rogue states. In his typically rigorous fashion, Derrida examines in detail the ways that language constructs and deconstructs our political ideas. Thus, “Pure sovereignty does not exist; it is always in the process of positing itself by refuting itself of betraying itself by betraying the democracy that nonetheless can never do without it.” While democratic sovereign states, those capable of ruling within the bounds of international laws, ostensibly act with reason and justice, they often act outside of those boundaries, thus becoming rogue states. He points to the United States’s flouting of the UN Security Council’s lack of support for a war in Iraq as a perfect example of a sovereign turning into a rogue. With his deft prose, amazing philosophical erudition, and exacting method, he deconstructs the phrase “rogue state” while tracing the legacy of sovereignty from Bacon and Hobbes to the oft-neglected 20th-century political philosopher Carl Schmitt.
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