In this special bonus episode of Intercepted, we take an in-depth look at one of the most consequential eras of modern history, the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989, as the Soviet Union crumbled. The Russian occupation of Afghanistan came to an end, thanks in no small part to the covert and overt involvement of the United States. Bill Clinton brought an end to 12 years of Republican rule, defeating the former CIA director George HW Bush. And with Clinton’s two terms in office came a new spin on US militarism across the world, the notion of liberal so-called humanitarian intervention. The propaganda pitch was that the United States would use its military force as a sort of global police officer whose violent actions were wrapped in the justification that US missiles and bombs and troop deployments were serving a greater good. Nowhere was this more boldly asserted than in the wars in Yugoslavia, which stretched from the early 1990s all the way through 2008 when the US officially recognized the independence of the Serbian province of Kosovo. The years that ushered in the declaration of the end of the Cold War would have a significant impact on global relations and warmaking to this day. University of Chicago scholar Daryl Li has written a meticulously documented book that seeks to understand the trends that emerged from this era, with a focus on putting into context the movement of foreign fighters from country to country. The book is called “The Universal Enemy: Jihad, Empire, and the Challenge of Solidarity.” Li highlights the parallels between transnational jihadists, UN peacekeeping missions and socialist non-alignment and he examines the relationship between jihad and US empire.
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This post was originally published on Radio Free.