The Incongruities of Asymmetric War

Assessing asymmetric wars in the abstract is a problematic task, even though most are “small wars” fought by “big nations.” Armed conflicts with these characteristics brim with persistent, undeclared, and low-intensity violence. It rarely is extinguished, and the lingering injuries sustain even more violence on the same scale. Many of these small wars began in Asia, Africa, Latin America, or the Middle East during, or not long after, World War II. Armed resistance there never completely ended; instead it intensified with decolonization and/or postcolonial state failure. Now virtually institutionalized in many violent wild zones around the world, low-intensity wars also flare up as asymmetric conflicts between rich countries and poor peoples, Westernized nations and anti-Western movements, liberal democratic states and illiberal theocratic insurgents after 1989.

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Telos 172 (Fall 2015): Political Critiques of the Anthropocene

Telos 172 (Fall 2015) is now available for purchase in our store.

Rapid climate change today is attributed to the profligate use of fossil fuels, and this consumption of hydrocarbon energy has worldwide, albeit uneven and discontinuous, cultural and economic patterns to it. Nonetheless, it is more than plausible to spin up the frameworks for a universal history of humanity based upon modern society’s increasing combustion of the planet’s biotic prehistory as fossil fuel energy. As the carbon of antediluvian plant matter is burned to light homes, run factories, and propel vehicles, the history of the present becomes materially universalized as the exhausted energy of the distant past released along with its soot, smog, and smoke.

Thus, noxious by-products of production and consumption ironically become the crown of commodified creation at the end of history, whose ultimate historical ends, as Fukuyama reaffirms, are tied to the “endless accumulation” of wealth. Little did he know, this outcome also would entail nonstop increases in greenhouse gases and rapid climate change; but, environmentalists, historians, sociologists, and technologists are more than willing now to seize upon this curious outcome for the crisis narratives of a universal history framed by the concept of “the Anthropocene.”

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New from Telos Press: Carl Schmitt’s Hamlet or Hebuca: The Intrusion of the Time into the Play

Telos Press Publishing is proud to announce the newest addition to our book list: Hamlet or Hebuca: The Intrusion of the Time into the Play by Carl Schmitt, available for the first time in English translation.

Though Carl Schmitt is best known for his legal and political theory, his 1956 Hamlet or Hecuba provides an innovative and insightful analysis of Shakespeare’s tragedy in terms of the historical situation of its creation. Arguing that the construction of the figure of Hamlet was shaped by the politics of James I succession to the throne, Schmitt uses this interpretation to develop a theory of myth and politics that serves as a cultural foundation for his concept of political representation. More than literary criticism or historical analysis, Schmitt’s book lays out a comprehensive theory of the relationship between aesthetics and politics that responds to alternative ideas laid out by Walter Benjamin and Theodor W. Adorno. Jennifer R. Rust’s and Julia Reinhard Lupton’s introduction places Schmitt’s work in the context of contemporary Renaissance studies, and David Pan’s afterword analyzes the links to Schmitt’s political theory. Presented in its entirety in an authorized translation, Hamlet or Hecuba is essential reading for scholars of Shakespeare and of Schmitt alike.

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Coming Soon in Paperback: Matthias Küntzel’s Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11

Coming on November 1, Matthias Küntzel’s Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 will be available in paperback format. Pre-order your copy now and save 20% off the cover price.

“In this short, powerful, passionate and thoughtful book, Matthias Küntzel explores how and why radical Islam emerged as the most important political and ideological movement in world politics to place hatred of the Jews at the center of its ideology and policy following the defeat of the Nazi regime . . . Kuentzel’s reconstruction impels us to rethink the issue of continuity and break before and after 1945 and expand our horizons beyond Europe to encompass the trans-national diffusion and impact of Nazism and fascism on the Arab and Islamic world.” (From the foreword by Jeffrey Herf, Professor of History, University of Maryland).

For anyone interested in exploring the mindset of hatred that led to the crimes in New York and Washington on September 11th, 2001, this book is a must-read. For readers interested in the history of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, this book is a challenge to think outside of a narrowly European context. For everyone, this book provides crucial insight into the roots of terror that continue to threaten all of us.

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New from Telos Press: Class Cleansing: The Massacre at Katyn by Victor Zaslavsky

Telos Press Publishing is proud to announce the newest addition to our book list: Class Cleansing: The Massacre at Katyn by Victor Zaslavsky. Available for the first time in English translation, this shocking analysis of the mass murder of thousands of Polish officers and civilians in 1940 is a significant contribution to our understanding of European history.

Revisiting the events of the 1940 Katyn Massacre, in which some 25,000 Polish prisoners of war were shot by the Soviet secret police on Stalin’s orders, Zaslavsky explores a paradigmatic and terrifying example of the policy of class cleansing practiced in the Soviet Union and its occupied territories during World War II. By blaming the Katyn Massacre on the Nazis, the Soviets constructed one of the greatest historiographical falsifications of the twentieth century.

Based on secret documents that only became available after the collapse of the Soviet regime, Zaslavsky unearths the methods used to create and maintain the “official version” of what happened at Katyn, a process involving the complicity of Western governments and left-leaning historians, which resulted in the upholding of this falsification until the fall of the Soviet Union.

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New from Telos Press: Ernst Jünger’s On Pain

Telos Press Publishing is proud to announce the newest addition to our book list: Ernst Jünger’s On Pain, translated and introduced by David C. Durst and prefaced by Russell A. Berman.

Originally published in 1934, this remarkable essay provides valuable insights into the cult of courage and death in Nazi Germany, but also throws light on the ideology of terrorism today.

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