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This project explores the persistence of the “rogue state” designation and other similar designations in United States foreign policy discourse over the last forty years. The author argues that to understand the persistence of the “rogue state" designation both as an element of US foreign policy discourse and as a something around which US foreign policy is organized over the last forty years, we must resist the temptation of examining varying definitions and inconsistencies in application. Rather than trying to make this idea make strategic sense by fixating on a category in such a way that assumes the category has any objective relationship to the state it is used to name, we have to look towards the speaking subject: the United States. Using a Lacanian framework, the author shows that US foreign policy elites use what she has termed the lexicon of social menace to construct a narrative that blames the other (whether that be the rogue state, outlaw nation, axis of evil, etc.) for America’s fundamental lack and uses the other to differentiate America from the rest of the world. As a result of this process of representing the self, an affective investment in the state is also an affective investment in the other, as the state cannot have a fantasy to pursue without the other, and therefore an affective investment in the means through which the boundary between the two is delineated.
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Zacharias, Lily, "A Rogue of Our Own: Rogue States in the American Imaginary" (2019). Senior Projects Spring 2019. 62.
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