Why is Turkey's possible incursion into northern Iraq so unsettling for the West? For Slavoj Zizek, writing in the Guardian today, it's not just that it might upset Iraqi stability—things are pretty bad already—but that it disturbs our notion of who is allowed to make war to prevent "terrorist activities." In short, "we" are.
The philosopher contends the West believes it is not making war, but rather defending universal human rights, when it invades sovereign nations. But to see another country do the same is unbearable. "It is as if an intruder has gate-crashed the closed circle of 'we'," Zizek writes. If anything, the Turkish threat can help us to understand just how closed and circumscribed that "we" truly is.