Embodied schemas and metaphors are pervasive in talk about politics and political ideas. One analysis of the debates in the United States in 1990 over the Gulf War showed that several image schemas enabled people to reason about international politics (Beer, 2001). Balance is central term in international relations. "Balance of power" expresses the shared wisdom of foreign policy. The terms "balance" and its cognates occur in the debate a total of 107 times. In the case of "balance," we come to understand more clearly an entire complex of related application. Rep. Peter Fazio (D-Oregon) uses "balance" to lay out the national pieces of the Gulf region and attempts to structure the forces of that region on a very complex board: "If we think about what is the long-term effect here, we have embraced Iraq to counter Iran. Now we are embracing Syria to counter Iraq. After we decapitated Iraq in this war, if that is what happens, what then is next in the region? How do we instill a new government in Iraq? How do we balance the forces in the region? Will we have to occupy Iraq? Will we have to defend Iraq against Syria or Turkey or Iran in the near future in order to gain so-called or restore so-called balance in the region?" (CR, H-132).
Blockage includes many cognates such as "block, blockage, blockaded, blockading, blockages, blocked, blocking," and "blocks." Related words are "embargo, force, intervention, penetration," and "sanctions." "Blockage" itself appears relatively infrequently, but "blockade" is used 69 times. In the case of the Gulf War, blockage is the form of an economic embargo was the major alternative strategic option. "Embargo" and its cognates appear 260 times. Opposite terms, such as "unblockage" or its distant cognates "liberation" and "free" appear 167 times. "Penetration" is the opposite of blockage in another dimension. When liberation relieves or dissolves the blockage, penetration pierces it. "Penetration" was used infrequently, but the notion of "intervene" was used 374 times. "Intervention," like "blockage" is a standard means of foreign policy and is densely connected in the theory and practice of international relations.
Center-periphery has wide play in international political economy. "Center" emerges as the key term in this dyad, appearing 37 times compared with "periphery's" three. "Center" evokes a very clear circular spatial grid. Indeed, as Sen. Steven Symms (R-Idaho) used "center," he conjured up an image of a spider - Saddam Hussein - sitting at the center of a web of domestic power" "The Iraqi dictator sits at the center of a web of state, party, military, and secret police organizations" (CR, S-380). When the web spreads outward beyond the national boundaries of Iraq, it entangles an ever-growing number of participants including the international world of terrorism. However, as in a real web, control always remains at the center. Indeed, as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) suggested: "We all know that the world's most vicious terrorists have taken up residence in
Baghdad____Terrorists are on the move, and weapons and equipment are being put into place. Iraq stands at the center of three actions, providing the crucial support - false passports, sophisticated equipment, vast sums of money - that only a state sponsor of terror has available" (CR, S-385).
"Periphery" is an opposite of "center" and its textual uses illustrates another important dimension of bodily orientation. For example, Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Maryland) distinguishes between vital (or central) and peripheral components of the national interest: "Of course, we have interests in the Gulf. But it is essential to distinguish between peripheral interests and vital interests. Vital interests exist when our national security is truly a risk. Vital interests are those you kill and die for" (CR, S-154). In same way, peripheral elements of the human body - such as skin or even limbs -may be sacrificed in order to maintain the "center" of the body - the life essence, or "soul."
"Compulsion" is used as a frame to distinguish between free and slave societies, the free American Self and the enslaved Other. One of the marks distinguishing the oppressive regime of Saddam Hussein is the use of compulsory labor. The theme of compulsion also enters the democratic debate in Congress. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Connecticut) made it clear that he did not wish to create an unseemly compulsion of the president to go to war. Rather, he wanted Congress to share the collective responsibility for the actions that must be taken: "I make my choice today to support the President of the United States, to give him not a compulsion to go to war, but an authorization to commit our troops to battle should he determine it necessary to protect our national security" (CR, S-376).
"Container" obviously translates into "containment," one of the major orienting terms of postwar international relations. As Sen. Kerry (D-Massachusetts) pointed out: "We sustained our fight against the Soviets for 40 years after Stalin took over Eastern Europe. We contained Stalinism, and in time, an isolated and decaying Soviet Union has been going through a process of caving in" (CR, S-249). The proposed strategy of containment took on a more economic flavor. As Sen. Sarbanes spoke of the Iraqi case, the assumption of those who supported a sanctions policy was, that over time, "the bite of these economic sanctions were felt and the punitive containment - the embargo, the blockage, the use of force to make the sanctions effective through the blockade - as that bite (became) stronger and stronger with the passage of time, it would over time lead to his departure from Kuwait" (CR, S-151). Finally, the New York Times talked of the wider political and military containment when mentioning what happens if economic containment was not effective: "the conflict would then become regionally destabilizing, on a scale that is difficult precisely to define but that could become also impossible to contain" (CR, S-155).
This discussion demonstrates how many key political concepts can be traced back to bodily referents. Balance is connected to the balance of power, physical blockage to blockade, center-periphery to core and marginal interests, compulsion to the use of force and coercion, contact to diplomatic discourse and military friction, and container to containment.
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