A critical discourse analysis of Mahathir Mohamad’s speeches on the “war on terror”


  • Azimah Shurfa Mohammed Shukry University Sultan Zainal Abidin


9/11, ideology, language and power, political speeches, war on terror


This article is a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) of the discursive strategies employed by Mahathir Mohamed, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, in 10 of his speeches that express resistance and challenge to the former U.S. President, George W. Bush’s military ideology of “war on terror” post September 11, 2001. The study is guided by CDA’s focus on power relations and power struggle that are manifested in language. On speaking against terrorism, Mahathir’s dislike for the Bush administration’s handling of the issue is viewed as a platform to further his own ideology. The analysis reveals how Mahathir’s arguments fall within the human rights rhetoric that calls on general norms, freedom, human rights, and justice, supported with biases towards the plight of Muslims and the Middle East. Mahathir’s resistance to Bush reveals repetitive use of national rhetoric, self-glorification, comparison moves, and references to shared history and shared presuppositions, and his criticisms towards the “others” fall within the ideological construction of a positive self-presentation of himself as Prime Minister of Malaysia and a Muslim leader to be emulated.


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How to Cite

Mohammed Shukry, A. S. (2013). A critical discourse analysis of Mahathir Mohamad’s speeches on the “war on terror”. Intellectual Discourse, 21(2). Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/intdiscourse/index.php/id/article/view/552