- ---- by Richard G. SmithIn the 1990s, Baudrillard became especially well known outside of academic circles because of his analysis of the Gulf War (GW), which was published as a series of articles in the French daily newspaper Libération, not retrospectively, but as the war was still unfolding 'live' on the world's television screens. His reputation as a high-profile public intellectual and insightful commentator on world affairs was further enhanced by his analysis of terrorism and the events of 9/11 (ST). However, it is perhaps less well known that Baudrillard also wrote on numerous other geopolitical issues and events: the Cold War, state terrorism, the Algerian War, the 'end of history', Chechnya, Chernobyl, Islam, the Bosnian conﬂict, the Vietnam War, the Rushdie fatwa, Holocaust revisionism, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the defrosting of Eastern Europe, the New World Order and western military impotence, to name but a few.A short but prescient essay concerning the revolutions across Eastern EuropeastheeventoftheendofthetwentiethcenturytypifiesBaudrillard's approach to interpreting geopolitical events. In 1989 Francis Fukuyama famously proposed that with the fall of the Berlin Wall history as a contest of ideologies was effectively over, that liberal democracy would now be triumphant and universalised as the model of choice. However, also writing during the events of 1989, Baudrillard (SC) presented an 'end of history' thesis quite different to Fukuyama's. Baudrillard's thesis was one of reversibility, history in reverse, not the triumph of a linear and unidirectional history. Baudrillard's thesis is not a celebration, but rather a compelling critique of the West's desire to whitewash history:We are in the process of wiping out the entire twentieth century, effacing all the signs of the Cold War one by one, perhaps even all trace of the Second World War and of all the political or ideological revolutions of the twentieth century. The reunification of Germany is inevitable, as are many other things, not in the sense of a leap forward in history, but in the sense of a re-writing in reverse of the whole of the twentieth century, a rewriting which is going to take up a large part of the last ten years of the century. (SC, 43)The task of the 1990s will not be in making history, but in undoing history, in commemorating history, in purging history. All the geopolitical events of the 1990s fall into this cathartic logic: 'we are into a gigantic process of revisionism - not an ideological revisionism but a revisionism of history itself' (SC, 44).On the whole, Baudrillard's geopolitical writings are a critique of both globalisation and universality. In other words, more often than not, Baudrillard writes about wars, conﬂicts or other geopolitical events in order to highlight the hypocrisy of the West's interventions in the affairs of others whereby, while promoting the right to difference and singularity, the West simultaneously and tirelessly works toward the exact opposite: 'a bloodless, undifferentiated world' (SC, 65). For example, in 1993 Baudrillard argued in a discussion of the Bosnian conﬂict that the ethnic cleansing of the Serbs marked a 'new frontier' in the construction of Europe. That is to say that while, on the one hand, Europe condemns the Serbs, on the other hand, the foundation of a white Europe (the New European Order) is reliant upon the success of the Serbs: 'For it is being constructed, the "real" Europe: a white Europe, a white-washed Europe, integrated and purified morally as much as economically or ethnically' (SC, 49).Passwords§ Gulf War
The Baudrillard dictionary. Richard G. Smith. 2015.