Rudy Giuliani, more than anyone else, evokes the national trauma of September 11, 2001. If the trauma 9/11 has been a poster for increased federal powers, an excuse for violating civil rights, and a remaking of the New World Order, it is striking how much recent resurgent if hoary myths of the national values of 9/11 contributed significant spin to the careers of members of the Trump administration. Indeed, the trauma of 9/11 has been recycled in ways that have affirmed nationalist credentials and pride.
It is especially striking how the former New York mayor, and and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, was able to successfully pivot from being a figure of local fame and prestige–indeed, a defender of the hope of returning New York to a lost time he seemed to embody as the locally schooled tough-talking upright son of a family composed of cops and firefighters, who seemed to tap a tradition of legal-minded public service of which he posed as champion. But 9/11 provided the optic by which Giuliani acquired a resonance and career that became wierdly global–and hardly local–as if by the alchemy of the global need for security. The miracle of the alchemical transformation of Giuliani from a local figure–imbued in a sense of neighborhood that was incarnated in the tavern his father ran in Brooklyn–became not a guarantor of a local past, which may not have ever existed, but was transmuted into a global career of posing as a strongman.
In many ways, the position that Giuliani occupied after 9/11 allowed him to claim the almost fantasy position of a warrior for good on a global stage. The transformation of the former public attorney and lawman who seemed to stand as a stalwart defendant of local values as a global figure was not quick, but endured over decades, in ways that have not been fully traced, as Giuliani converted his prestige in the global media after 9/11, as he seemed to carry the nation through trauma, into a global mercenary of something like the New World Order. For after the terrifying punctuating event of 9/11, and after he left office, the former New York Mayor rode the surface of the global media to promote his brand as a means of guaranteeing security, desalination projects, police reform, judicial reform, and even unrelated areas as investment banking.
Giuliani toured the world with an expense account, speaking for broad Neo-nationalist audiences across the world that manufactured greater credibility for a ridiculously globally broadened sense of his license, capacities, and legal expertise, in ways that his actual career as mayor or attorney would hardly have predicted or confirmed. After years of being rooted in the defense of a local moral economy, and tough-guy persona rooted in Brooklyn as well as New York City, and the NYPD, the vey mediatization of 9/11 improbably shot Giuliani to the global in ways that we are still coming to terms with in our national trajectory: emboldening Giuliani to hoc his newfound fame on a global marketplace in truly mercenary fashion, coasting on the publicity that global media platforms had generated, and surrounding Giuliani with more wealth than he had ever enjoyed–its dark backdrop catapulting the mayor to the global stage as a “tower of strength” that replaced the global status the Twin Towers had once occupied. Over the devastated New York skyline, Giuliani towered, proclaimed a true “tower of Strength” no longer a Mayor, but an advocate for global calm before menacing darkened nocturnal skies.
The New York poet Michael Brownstein–no relation!–conjured a vision of a gypsy that the very hijackers who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, men who had famously fashioned themselves as martyrs, accompanied the souls of many men, women, and children who died as a result of their actions into the afterlife, somehow acting as agents of peace as much as visiting a traumatic vision of mortality. The diabolical vision Brownstein described in the years after 9/11 must have shocked his readers, but presented what he wanted to be a healing poetic image of devastation. The Angel of Death himself must have accompanied Giuliani, a former altar boy himself who had recast himself in global media as selected to fulfill his role as a defender of the city, expanding his narcissism as he promoted himself as a symbol of security on a global stage, able to advise on crime rates, manage security, and maintain peace on a global stage that had not ever existed before with any comparable concreteness.
The searing image of a redemption after the destruction visited on New York became a means for Giuliani to be turned to as a figure of trust, a center of stability, that the world seemed to need–but on which his own. Rudy Giluiani’s huge sense of himself saw magnified on a global stage, and able to cast in global terms, a a spokesperson, lobbyist, agitator, instigator and legitimizer who could hector, yell, and barge his way onto any global stage, and command total attention for any agenda that would pay his way. Did the unweildly narcissism that Giuliani promoted in America and on such a global stage prepare the way for Trump?
When we ponder how Giuliani emerged–indeed remade himself–as an unregistered agent of other governments, allied with a law office (Greenberg Traurig, most recently, or a partner at Bracewell & Harrison, in Houston, then transformed to capitalize on his name as Bracewell & Giuliani), he skirted the law while capitalizing on his image as a hardened lawman; the contradictions were not contradictions for a man whose media image was so impressive and had gained such global currency to be hard to question. The bonds of trust that seemed forge in the years after 9/11, and the sense of cathecting with Giuliani as “America’s Mayor” truly seemed exploited, as his own historical narcissism led to a thirst for further attention, and to remove all limits from his own propriety. He extended this credibility in a failed bid for the Presidency in 2008 and after it folded sought to keep alive his image of himself as a global fix-it man.
In this post, I want to sketch the map of the bizarre global travels of Giuliani as a man who promised to accommodate any interest, promote a vision of global security who parlayed his status to a talking head on any media. He should have been far less assuring than we were willing to accord: but Giuliani’s skill at exploiting an endless reserve of symbolic capital seemed endless, allowing him to stake Presidential campaigns, and earn massive retaining fees, without much attention to what credibility the ex-Mayor ever merited. The very transnationality of the commemoration of 9/11 transformed it into a global event, and not a local one, offered a means for Rudy to travel through the looking glass, and for Giuliani to gain a global credibility that was eerily universal. We didn’t pay much attention. We discounted Giuliani’s neediness for attention as self-generated, and not itself of global impact, but it increasingly exercised influence that mirrored the very trans-nationality of the commemoration of 9/11. Their trans-nationality Rudy a truly unprecedented global carte blanche of unprecedented character.
This credibitliy was a carte blanche appealing to foreign strongmen, to be sure, who sought to fashion themselves as comparable “good guys” in a global stage demanding a way to map security in the face of terrorists, and seek a figure of calm in the swirling fears of insecurity, even if that very figure would continue to do his best to provoke our deepest fears.
The new world order to which Giuliani eagerly catered was a landscape of fears–the very landscape that prepared for the anti-globalism of Donald J. Trump as he, too, sought political office in the wake of Giuliani’s ill-fated candidacies for President. But the nitty gritty of its unfolding demands attention. Giuliani felt no qualms in posing as an apostle of resolving global fears, claiming the role onto which the terrible events projected him to varied unsavory audiences, whose attention he lapped up and benefitted from as a symbol of hardened security, promoting powers of global resolution of problems by Giluiani Security and Safety. Giuliani’s name promoted, in a truly mercenary manner, not local moral values, but the grit needs to confront a new global, merging his own life to meld with the global fears of the post-9/11 era wherever planes would take him, from Poland to Barhain to Mexico to Qatar to Ukraine. Was the very role that he occupied as a protector of the status quo against fear a means of diffusing the very deep-set fears of global terrorism, unease, and disorders that have been conjured by the terrorist attacks of that day, and that have been identified with the very concept of globalization?
The same trauma that led to increased state authority to stop, incarcerate, and indeed deport seems embodied by the personal authority Giuliani assumed, as if a counter-weight to the lack of clear national response to the tragically unfolding events of 9/11, that suddenly led us all to question the relation of the United States to the World. Indeed, if the same man who was previously credited mostly with the “cleaning up” of Times Square and elimination of unwanted windshield cleaning by men wielding squeegees and asking for change for their work was not particular a leader, he catapulted to the global stage in peculiar ways through the mediatization of the trauma visited upon the nation with the destruction of the Twin Towers, as if the repristinization of the former entertainment nexus of New York that had become the “sleaziest block in America”–junkies, johns, crack dealers, drug users, homeless encampments, and prostitution or pornography but which Giuliani claimed to be able to return to a city of mythic law and order.
The image of the endemic corruption of public space was familiar from Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver’–an image predating Rudy Giuliani would sanitize the city as Mayor, to be sure, but an Italian American fantasy that he set his own mayoral prospects against, tilting against an image of widespread corruption, rooted in squeegee men and unsavory personalities, and promoting his own integrity as a messenger of good, able to restore integrity in the face of the sinfulness of the street Giuliani set his ire against without any real groundplan or strategy, but aiming to win the credibility of New Yorkers by promising an amped up New York Poice Department, and celebrating the possible roles of the NYPD.
into an area of clean commercialization that was friendly for tourists, more than residents–a transformed, it can be argued, that shifted the sense of public space out of New York City, or at least Manhattan. (Giluiani was also rumored to have assisted Donald Trump’s planned commission of another New York statue of Christopher Columbus of over $40 million of bronze in Hudson Yards, as if to rival that of Columbus Square, and link Trump’s developments to the nation; the monument made by Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, was rejected for unknown reasons when presented to the United States, as well as Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Columbus OH, and Baltimore, and even Puerto Rico, give local opposition, but rumored to have been given the head of Peter the Great–in Moscow–which as the eight tallest statue in the world was voted after its 2008 appearance as among the world’s ugliest buildings.). The cleaning up of New York’s former public space as the site of global entertainment seemed designed to attract global capital and tourism.
The possibility of a heroic response to the tragic events of 9/11 have provided patriotic capital for few others to a similar degree, if many have tried. The junior member of SCOTUS, Brett Kavagnaugh, who seemed eager to use 9/11 in quite canny ways in his own confirmation hearing to promote his image, as his nomination seemed endangered, and destined to fail. For Kavanaugh pulled a Giuliani, in many ways, by linking himself to the drama of 9/11, in a bid to suggest his own ability to restore justice and vanquish fears, and indeed identify himself with the nation and drape himself in its flag.
The national trauma of 9/11 reared its head to haunt the nation during the hideous dramatics of the confirmation hearings of Judge Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court, as he sought ballast from the accusations of impropriety and serial abuse that hardly merited nomination to the highest court in the land. To move the other direction, he characteried the events of 9/11 as an occasion of personal heroism, as well as having changed American jurisprudence and the orientation of America to the world. For a weird tragedy of the Kavanaugh hearing was the theater of involuntarily transporting his audience back to his presence in the Bush White House that fateful day of an attack on the United States–as a new precedent for protecting the United States from future attacks that necessitated increased Presidential power–whose testimony tried to transport us back to the very day, as if to prepare us for the commemoration of its soon-approaching anniversary.
And so when tragedy became recycled as farce during the recent 2019 Impeachment Hearings, when the spent figure of Giuliani emerged as a mysterious global power broker, the name of Rudy–Rudolph Giuliani, mayor of New York City who rose to national if not national prominence in global media during the 9/11 tragedy, gained an eery prominence for his suspicious trafficking of the Trump brand in Ukraine, the unimpeachibility of the figure of Giuliani, who GOP Counsel Steve Castor attempt to remind the nation was still indeed “America’s Mayor,” led many to wonder how America’s Mayor, if he ever was that, had reappeared as a sleazy power-broker in Ukraine, who rather than claiming to dismantle a crime empire or to clean up NeYork City, had lent his remaining credibility to the political career of the hotelier Donald Trump. (During the interrogation of New Yorker Lt. Cl. Vindman, he only smirked at the mock-patriotism of the association of the former New York mayor with America.)
Giuliani, who has travelled across the globe accumulating more frequent flyer miles that one could imagine on the capital of 9/11, before capitalizing “in the capacity as a private lawyer to President Trump”–and as Trump was forced to lawyer up–was already a veritable globe-trotter, readily to lever the global currency of 9/11 leadership onto a stage of world policing. But his personal pedaling of global influence suddenly became turbo-charged, as his global ambitions grew even beyond his previous expansive reach, and seemed slated to gain something like a second or third wind, from Ukraine to Yeravan to Jerusalem, to Paris, meeting Iranians, Russians, and all who would listen to his plans for shifting global alliances, orchestrating overthrows, or as a representative of his old law firm, imagining himself as a one-man CIA.
Brett Kavanaugh, who then served as President George W. Bush’s staff secretary and legal counsel, described in great detail his own surprise at learning in the West Wing how hijackers flew a plane into the Twin Towers, as if to transport us back to this moment; Kavanaugh remembered how he had been urgently instructed to “get out, run out,” and claimed to stand “bewildered” among colleagues in nearby Lafayette Park, trying to make sense of the new constitution of the United States in the world, as if to make sure we understood his reactive stance to the terrorist attack. Kavanaugh sought to appeal to most Americans’ fears and illustrate his own integrity, hiding his agency in affirming the President’s right to authorize torture in the name of protecting the nation.
In short, the day changed his life as it did ours. The many sites of 9/11 commemoration nationwide may have indeed made reflection on the terrorist attacks a common shared experience for Americans–indeed a more recent common point of reference in our landscape not only in over seven hundred memorials across the nation, many naming names of former local residents, others including steel remnants from a tower or welded steel debris.
Monuments extend across the nation to the tragedies of September 11, from Shanksville, PA to Phoenix AZ, Bayonne NJ, Beverly Hills–where a twisted column of the WTC facade rests atop a base shaped as the Pentagon, atop a foundation housing copies of the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence, and Gettysburg Address, as if a time capsule preserving foundational documents of the nation, Indianapolis, Laguna Beach, Boston, Grapevine TX, Palm Beach FL, Naperville IL, Cashmere WA, Valhalla NY, and sites far closer to the former World Trade Center, like Staten Island, Jersey City, where so many memorials are clustered.
The growth in recent years of a considerable number of “transnational memorials” that lie outside of the United States’ sovereign bounds, moreover, suggests the global context and profile that commemoration of 9/11 has assumed. The proliferation of transnational memorials that are recently counted at as exceeding a thousand, that try to place the event in perspective by often offering and incorporating fragments of the WTC original steel as relics of the lost building. The clustering bears witness in a sense to the impact of the event on the United States, they suggest the regularity with which population centers–predominantly in the northeastern cities, to be sure stretching from Washington DC to New England, but reaching broadly to the midwest–responded to the traumatic impact of the attacks through sites where citizens engaged in commemoration of the terrible and still terrifying event.
The efflorescence of over seven hundred 9/11 monuments across the nation respond to the broad need for sites of mourning and remembrance, so often mobilized in national discourse and so often unable to be sufficiently monumentalized in ways that might be able to encompass the single tragedy: one is even able to unite the memorialization of sites on a hike along the September 11 Memorial Trail, in a sort of religious itinerary of introspection, linking the memorial of Flight 93 in Shanksville, former site of the World Trade Center in New York, and the Pentagon, as if in a new road of sorrows or via Dolorosa of one hundred and eighty-four miles, and connect three sites where terrorist attacks struck the United States.
In such a national landscape, so deeply saturated with sites of commemoration, the evocation of the reactions to the events as they occurred within the White House could not but be especially compelling. During extended confirmation hearings, his confirmation marked by multiple vocal protests, Kavanaugh explained carefully and apparently reassuringly how after the events of 9/11 he had “thought very deeply” about the need for expanding executive powers in order to help protect America from further ” 9/11-style” terrorist attacks. If the terrorist attack truly “changed America, changed the world, changed the presidency, changed Congress, changed the courts,” as Kavanaugh assured viewers, leading President George W. Bush to act as if every day were September 12 in their wake, and forcing the nation to do its best prepare for the eventuality of a future deliberate attacks of terror–
–as if to illustrate he met the needed deliberateness sought in a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Was the reference truly reassuring?
Kavanaugh’s quite conscious decision to transport the nation to the days of the Bush Presidency were more than a weird time-warp than a trip down memory lane, occasioning his evocation of Bush’s vigilance to prevent any future attack–which hasn’t yet occurred in over fifteen years, although the specter loomed large as it was resuscitated in the 2016 Presidential election to great effect. The night before the attack, as it happened, Kavanaugh had gone on a date with the fellow staffer who he would later marry, Ashley Estes, and the nominee was persuasive in describing how 9/11 had defined his career and sense of self, as well as how the confirmation hearing was reported to the Alt Right, as if to normalize Kavanaugh’s advocacy of potential racial profiling as a reasonable response to terror. The canned nature of the recollection during U.S. Senate confirmation hearings broadcast on national television suggested a clearly planned strategy of performing for public audience by evoking the terrorist attacks of 9/11 as if they formed part of a glorious national past in which he played a prominent part: the myth of personal heroism picked up in Alt Right media seemed plan to illustrate his character to Trump’s constituency.
The Patriot Brief (September 11, 2018)
Whether or not September 11 constituted a watershed in American jurisprudence, or seemed such in the eye of the hurricane, the attack on the World Trade Center propelled New York City’s mayor, Rudy Giuliani, to the global stage where he quickly became a global protagonist–and the act of global terror had the side-effect of bequeathing him to the world. For the globalized event elevated Giuliani, then at the end of his mayoral tenure, into a global hero. New York’s Mayor Giuliani was not only famously trapped in the towers for fifteen minutes, years after he made the third tower–against the advice of his own Director of Emergency Management–into a Command Center, preferring the prominent place of such a site to the suggestion of Brooklyn, but creating an improvised executive response center to the terrorist attack at the site, preferring the stagecraft of coordinating city departments with state and federal authorities from the World Trade Center to draft and announce citywide anti-terrorist measures, and defined the public face of the city on radio and television profiles over the course of the day, as the nation sought to get clear bearings and orientation on what had happened and what that meant.
Proud of the newfound prominence guaranteed by quick taking up a secure place at the World Trade Center ruins, Giuliani became America’s mayor as he proudly announced as if from a brotherhood, “I was at Ground Zero as often, if not more, than most workers…. I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I’m one of them,” and revealed in his appearance on the cover of Time as Person of the Year in 2001, explaining that as soon as he had word of the attack, he left the midtown hotel where he was lunching for the site where he remained for sixteen hours since the Twin Towers crumbled and fell, and Rudy stayed tall–even replacing the monument of the World Trade Center as aller than the Empire State and embodying a needed “tower of strength” whose black-suited figure seemed to similarly dominate the global skyline as a new form of superhero.
The magnification of the status of Rudy Giuliani into something of a global superhero was a bit of a major casualty of 9/11. Mayor Giuliani had indeed arrived quite quickly, before the second plane hit, moving as most were mesmerically transfixed to television screens replaying the first collision for hours over that morning, to watch men and women fall a tower, in time to see the south tower implode, and be nearly trapped inside the makeshift command for ten minutes in the nearby center he established as a temporary site of government that seemed a site of resistance to terror, in ways that were broadcast to the world. As time froze for most of us, he was a man of action. Inhabiting the site and granting repeated interviews, as the nation and world tried to process the terrible event, Giuliani worked to comfort families of the missing and visited the scene of attack to try to contain its apocalyptic proportions, turning to read Winston Churchill the night after the attack, after taking off his mud-stained shoes, taking comfort in the stoicism of the British leader whose sentence–“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat“–evoking London of the Blitz, as if to draw some comfort as well as to inflate his own heroism.
And although September 11 was also the day of the primary to chose his successor, Giuliani almost consciously used it to pole-vault to the global stage, becoming not only the comforter of the nation, mourner-in-chief (“the number of casualties will be more than any of us can bear“), and a global emblem of hope–if not a public politician–who no doubt gave the comparison to his biographer to Churchill during the Blitz– “What Giuliani succeeded in doing is what Churchill succeeded in doing in the dreadful summer of 1940: he managed to create an illusion that we were bound to win“–in the hopes to enshrine his improbable ascension to the role of “Greatest Mayor Ever” in posterity, and indeed to presidential material. Meanwhile, Donald Trump boasted that the destruction of the Twin Towers made one of his buildings at 40 Wall Street the tallest in the city, securing funds intended for small businesses affected by the disastrous attack, and receive $150,000. (Trump himself a bit less hastily followed Rudy in granting interviews at the site of the destroyed towers, hoping to burnish his own status against the terrible tragedy.) But Giuliani cited Trump’s support for New York City–as given “often anonymously”–in his endorsement for the Republican nominee.
Global Giuliani emerged in the following years, leading up to his improbable and ill-fated Presidential run of 2008, as if in a planned roll out of Giuliani’s new career that profited from the global news of the attacks, which both mirrored a recent globalization of news media and a globalization that promoted news to global attention and continuous news coverage, in which Giuliani had so prominently starred. Giuliani Partners used the charisma gained after the terror attacks to rebrand “America’s Mayor” on a global stage, promising to transform any cities willing to hire him on contract to promote them to global cities, from Central America to the Middle East and pedaling promises of a release from fear. The new millennium offered one of the oddest episodes of the aftermath of globalization and as a traveling salesman whose snake oil was the promise of global prominence.
The questionable role Giuliani adopted from Mexico City to Belgrade to Sao Paolo to Kiev, posing as crime crusader able to transform any city that approached him with a plan to transform to a “global city” to meet intangible demands of economic development desired in the new millennium. And, indeed, the recent revelation of mystery trips that the “world’s mayor” took to Russia from 2004 and former Soviet states in the Caucasus, as guests of businessmen and powerful politicians, which have speeded up and expanded in the Trump Era, sponsored by the Russian-American TriGlobal Strategic Adventures, have led him to be defined a courier to the United States President, suggests a parleying of his self-forged public identity into an ability to cross borders, national frontiers, and become an odd figure in globalism, as an advisor on issues from cybersecurity and technologic breakthroughs to law and order, at the same time as he departed from the Greenberg Traurig firm. The ties that Giuliani built to Peru, Belgrade, Iran, Russia, Ukraine (Kiev), as a global diplomat, often through people with high ties to Russia’s government–and claims to have visited eighty countries in one hundred and fifty state trips..
For Giuliani convinced much of the world that he was particularly suited to confer useful “advice” through a new firm that traded in duplicity, Giuliani Partners and its subsidiary, Giuliani Security and Safety (“GSS”), who claimed to promise the ability to guarantee “a comprehensive range of security and crisis management services” in a globalized world. Rudy paradoxically promised the ability to transform cities to “world-class cities,” using the lingo of globalism and transformation as if the baptism by fire lent him skills and requisite expert a promising transformative abilities to achieve the inherently utopic promises of becoming a global city; he became something of an agent of globalization, based on his centrality of the global event of 9/11 that had once affectingly and movingly crossed all national borders, as he promised he resolution to resolve fears of crime, revitalize markets, or offer immediate transformations of civic space for elites.
Working in cities from Puerto Rico to Colombia to the Middle East, Giuliani moved close to power, freely trading his own claims to end fear and lending his newfound prestige on global media. He toured with Peruvian law-and-order presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori in 2011, helping her to project a crime-fighting image on the campaign trail, and accepted the task to convert Rio de Janeiro into a “global city” in time for the Olympics in 2016. Giuliani sold himself on a global market as a crime-fighter able to reduce crime in its favelas, serving as a “security consultant” able to promote “zero tolerance” policies he allegedly pioneered, despite utter lack of familiarity with the scene on the ground in Peru or Brazil, let alone Belgrade. The promises remind recall how globalization is tied to the denial of personal liberties or freedoms, from the false narrative of “zero tolerance” Giuliani championed as of his own creation in New York to the removal of individual liberties that he made a selling point of the crime-fighting plans, irrespective of any knowledge on the ground; his firm pedaled the same rebranding of the mayor from Mexico City to the prepare Rio de Janeiro to become a global city in time for the 2016 Olympics, as Giuliani the person moved among police forces surrounded by armed security and armored convoys while showing little local familiarity with a location’s specific social dynamics–the Giuliani brand sufficed and was indeed all that was needed for the policy recommendations, guarantees and policy assurances he would provide. (Giuliani’s considerable global ties may well have led to fears about potential conflicts that his own Senate confirmation hearing would reveal–undoubtedly prompting numerous red flags for Reince Preibus or Don McGahn–even before questions have surfaced about his violation of existing federal foreign lobbying laws.)
Giuliani arrives in Mexico City to meet with local police (20013) Victor Caivino/AP
For over fifteen years, Global Giuliani has branded himself as an itinerant savior, drawing liberally from an accumulated media bank of 9/11 in his continued television appearances for a huge range of constituencies. Giuliani brokered ties across the globe, irrespective of local dynamics of power. He preached to the government of Qatar’s emir and police force to corporation behind the Keystone XL, TransCanada, and in Iran with opposition group (briefly cited by the Dept. of State as a terrorist organization) Mujahedeen Khalq (M.E.K.) or to TriGlobal Strategic Ventures, a group promoting development in former states of the Soviet Union, where he consulted with many Russian oligarchs to promise”business solutions . . . in global markets,” and a company tied to Russian’s state-owned petroleum pipeline firm Transneft. (Giuliani met with none other than Russia’s foreign minister Sergey V. Lavrov back in 2004, as well as the chairman of Magnitogorsk Steel Works). He has worked widely in Latin America in the Dominican Republic in 2012, the same year he worked in both Ecuador and for Raul Molina in Panama in 2013, Tijuana,Mexico in 2014, Guatemala in 2014, and Puerto Rico, before his work in Brazil, promising global status by trafficking in consulting deals tied to his reputation of being “tough of crime” and “experience with terrorism”–in the new parlance of globalism.
The many lies of protecting individual freedoms seem seamless with globalization, which talk tough while failing to protect and even to render individuals more vulnerable, and criminalizing others. This is the vulnerability of globalization, the decline of individual liberties, the absence of security, criminalizing outsiders to the global city, and the peddling of assurance against the range of unprecise fears in which he has so broadly trafficked and promoted, responding to worries of globalism by provoking them, and by assuring audiences of their reality with false reassurances of his abilities to lead us out of their mess.
Since September 11, 2001, indeed, the spread of memorials to the events of 9/11 has grown to the hundreds both in the United States and the rest of the world, as the event has become a site of morning and marked a sort of entry into a new globalized world, where the relation of one place to the dynamics of the rest of the world has changed, and done so on a global scale in ways that have inaugurated a widespread transnational commemoration of the events of 9/11 in many other nations worldwide–especially in Europe and Japan, where they echoed the alliances forged after World War II–
–but also among American allies in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Israel.
The appearance of the global impact of 9/11 could not be clearly mapped to sites of Giuliani’s physical presence, or America’s allies, but suggest an intersection among them, including most prominently military allies–Japan; Australia; Kuwait; Afghanistan; NATO countries and member-states; Canada; Mexico–in a very partial map of the world, but one that suggests a new and important spatiality of 9/11, shaped by the limits and perhaps also the declining extent of American hegemony.
Memorial Mapping Project, interactive map of global 9/11 memorials
But the memory of 9/11 has continued to act as a fulcrum able to leverage Giuliani’s stature to superhuman size, as in the Time magazine cover, so that he appears to tower over the problems faced on the ground, and it was no doubt with this status in mind that Donald J. Trump, showing as parochial view as ever, assumed him in his legal defense team and as something of a spokesperson, so that he left his most recent perch at Greenberg Traurig with the assurances that he, Rudy, he would lead the Mueller investigation to wrap up but in a matter of weeks–a claim that few must have bought, save perhaps the Donald, and as events proceeded Giuliani transformed the leave of absence from the esteemed for what was announced as a “limited role” expanded to regular presence on daily talk shows to a “resignation” the firm accepted eagerly, even as Greenberg Traurig chairman Richard Rosenbaum allowed “a great deal of respect for the Mayor’s incredible career and what he has done for New York City and our country for many years.” The acceptance of Giuliani’s resignation “in light of the pressing demands of the Mueller investigation” was ascribed by the former mayor to the “all-consuming” nature of his role with the current President, but the large law firm was also perhaps ready to distance themselves from “America’s mayor” after his statements on cable news defending under-the-radar hush money payments was standard for a lawyer ran against firm policy, and the fame of in 9/11 had worn thin and become ever so tarnished in the light of his open courting of fairly questionable professional codes of ethics.
The powerful optic of 9/11 in public memory offers, after all, an optic by which to investigate the mechanics and lopsided dynamics of globalization, and the new spatiality of the new millennium. So does the retrograde nature of the prominence of the events of 9/11 in Kavanaugh’s testimony to U.S. Senators and to the nation: and it is oddly fitting, if also disturbing, that while Kavanaugh assured the nation of his competence in assessing the new nature of national threats as a result of 9/11, and seemed to promise continued readiness to measure the new sort of challenges that the United States would face in the future, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford–who would accuse Kavanaugh of aggressive sexual assault–in her professional work as a psychologist applied herself to investigating signs of post-traumatic stress disorder among children caused by the same attacks of 9/11–as well as depression among young adults, abilities of emotional recognition, and child abuse–while Kavanaugh worked hard to change the American legal system to face what he saw as the imperatives posed by future terrorist attacks.
Personal ethics, however, seem to have been swept under the table, in the light of the broad mandate for defending the nation against a global threat, as if needs for national safety sanctioned the absence of any ethics in a state of exception. The terrorist strikes on 9/11 are evoked again as the basis for a state of exception, and sufficient grounds for extra-legal standards and behavior–even by a candidate for the United States Supreme Court. It was striking that Giuliani was himself quick to promote the anti-globalist message, echoing fascist rhetoric, that identified none other than George Soros as the primary funder of anti-Kavanaugh protests that have beset the United States Capital in the days of the extended consideration of his elevation to the Supreme Court by the U.S. Senate, endorsing the anti-semitic message that none other than the Jewish-American hedge fund manager Soros was both the “anti-Christ” and funder of protests calling into question Kavanaugh’s suitability for the highest court to his 1753K followers–“Freeze his assets & I bet the protests stop,” tweeted one @genesis35711, in a response to the spokesperson of Judicial Watch who sought to assure the world that he would not be intimidated by unruly mobs of leftist protestors opposing the Kavanaugh nomination.
The claim of Soros’ involvement in the anti-American activities of leftists prompted assertions made by octogenarian Judiciary Committee Chair, Senator Charles Grassley, to “tend to believe” Soros was funding the protests, by funding the protestors who contested the nomination of Kavanaugh, later floated in Trump’s alliterative vision of “payed professional protestors who are handed expensive signs” who mask the real populism of his own candidacy, when Trump dismissed anti-Kavanaugh protests on October 5, 2018, as run by #Troublemakers carrying “identical signs” that were “paid for by Soros and others,” and which were in fact “not signs made in the basement from love!” The essentially “anti-American” nature of such protests were the latest in a recurrence of the “paranoid style in American politics” traced by the late historian Richard Hofstadter as rooted in suspicions that are framed in a deeply religious politics, set at a remove from secular discourse, that spreads fear by claiming to map otherwise hidden subversive threats.
The recent, and particularly terrifying, pronouncement from the President’s lawyer taps into a global paranoia and that map “leftist efforts to destroy Kavanaugh” on a bogeyman of such Central European strongmen as Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban. For the tweet gave currency to assertions protests about Kavanaugh were seditious movements meriting federal charges, as if criticizing Kavanaugh’s politics and obfuscations were in fact attacks on American values, if not on American government. Giuliani’s angry retweeting of a viscously antisemitic attack on Soros as a nefarious agent seemed Giuliani’s attempt to assume his role to defend against a globalist conspiracy theory that has been recently nourished in right-wing politics that paints a disturbing image of Soros as a sort of puppet master of unthinking masses, with deep ties to the political propaganda of a staple of paranoia politics casting Jewish financiers as malevolent external influences. This image, long nourished by the image of Soros as a pernicious outside funder and donor to the democratic party of Obama and Hillary Clinton, and a foreign manipulator of domestic politics and of free choice, was extended to “leftist attacks on Kavanaugh” as if to unmask the interests at stake in actual objections. The demonization of philanthropy within this vision of the modern evils of international banking almost echoes the image of an external attack on the nation–nourishing a paranoid vision of dangers that lurk beneath the surface of American politics, or as offshore risks, and claiming to unmask the rigged nature of our national politics with disturbing echoes to the propaganda of nationalist fascist regimes. Caricaturing Soros as a puppet master in Alt Right media, in relation to Hillary Clinton or Obama, echoes the image of deep anti-semitic nature in the photoshopped images in Hungarian politics.
Indeed, the figure of Soros, his face juxtaposed beside a five-color map of the globe, focussed on central Europe and the Ukraine, unduly magnifies his power over a geopolitical map as if it can only be deciphered that the specter of Soros casts–
–recalling the oft-tweeted image claiming to unmask Soros as the hidden master of the American presidential candidate of the Democratic party, Hillary Clinton.
Giuliani was an apt figure to endorse this global remapping of such “seditious conspiracy against the United States”–terms evoked by how the right-wing radio presences who label Soros an external threat to the nation and charged “outside agitators” and “special interest groups” are engaged in trying to wrest democratic processes. Senator Susan Collins adopted the sam terms in lamenting the ability to “whip their followers into a frenzy by spreading misrepresentations and outright falsehoods” undermining American political practices.
The expansion of this pernicious paranoid strand in American politics returned in Susan Collins’ readiness to blame the arrival of “an unprecedented amount of dark money” to motivate anti-Kavanaugh protests, as if oppositional protests constitute nothing less than another foreign attack on American values, only waiting to be unmasked and mapped as a corruption and distortion of American values. Such repeated insinuations of external influences suggest the widespread currency of the eerily revived a paranoid style of American politics that remains rooted in fear and distrust, during the Trump era, to underscore the need for perpetual vigilance to defend the nation that the presence of none other than Giuliani aptly embodies and incarnates, as he drapes himself in the backdrop of the American flag at even two decades of distance, and the image of a secure global politics that Giuliani has continued to assume.
The deep resonance the specter of 9//11 during the initial confirmation hearings, and within the ways Trump has sought to revive national fears of imminent terrorist attacks as a candidate and as President, attacking the poorly conducted nature of post-9/11 wars, focussing on undetected threats of terror. From calling NATO “obsolete” for real terrorist threats, and raising the specter of “Radical Islam,” and “radical Islamic terrorism,” as actual threats to the nation, words have served to proliferate a gamut of dangers, perhaps coordinated with memes Russia’s Internet Research Agency put out on social media to “Stop Islamicization,” using the memory and trauma of 9/11 to shift attention from the geopolitics of Russian aggression. Indeed, the most recent time that Giuliani graced the front cover of Time was not only less flattering, but looks a bit like a monster who had been given something like life, linking himself to roles of personal financial opportunism, reprioritizing foreign policy, or working outside established channels of state with a particular relish.
And when Trump summoned rhetorical greatness, to evoke memories of the men and women who “boarded that plane as strangers, and entered eternity forever as heroes” at Shanksville, PA, he assumed his greatest rhetorical heights as a national spokesman, able to shift attention from increasingly ingrown divisions of our union; in enshrining 9/11 as a formative moment for the nation, however his words oddly frozen in time was that claim, as he accepted the thanks of his Interior Secretary for “protecting our borders” as if to transcend divisions in the nation, even as he evoked the continuity of ongoing threats in ways that had clear implications for the importance of political divisions.