Are We Five Years Wiser?

As the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States by al-Qaeda approaches, we should take the opportunity to assess the results of the response by the US and the international community. The attacks and the response to them have obviously brought about a sea change in international relations, but it would be difficult to argue that further atrocities have become less likely as a result. Why are we no more secure than we were five years ago?

Within a week of the attacks, President George W. Bush declared a “war on terrorism.” The metaphor of war has the singular advantage that it clearly and strongly evokes the intensity of the counterattack that was called for. Moreover, the metaphor of war constitutes an implicit appeal to intense mobilization, not only by a country that comes under attack, but also by its friends and allies.

Naturally, no one questions America’s right to defend itself. The legitimacy of a violent counterattack has never been in doubt. But the war metaphor also carries inevitable connotations that, when applied to terrorism, are misleading and counterproductive.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/nYsJZNo;
  1. China corruption Isaac Lawrence/Getty Images

    The Next Battle in China’s War on Corruption

    • Chinese President Xi Jinping knows well the threat that corruption poses to the authority of the Communist Party of China and the state it controls. 
    • But moving beyond Xi's anti-corruption purge to build robust and lasting anti-graft institutions will not be easy, owing to enduring opportunities for bureaucratic capture.
  2. Italy unemployed demonstration SalvatoreEsposito/Barcroftimages / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

    Putting Europe’s Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work

    Across the European Union, millions of people who are willing and able to work have been unemployed for a year or longer, at great cost to social cohesion and political stability. If the EU is serious about stopping the rise of populism, it will need to do more to ensure that labor markets are working for everyone.

  3. Latin America market Federico Parra/Getty Images

    A Belt and Road for the Americas?

    In a time of global uncertainty, a vision of “made in the Americas” prosperity provides a unifying agenda for the continent. If implemented, the US could reassert its historical leadership among a group of countries that share its fundamental values, as well as an interest in inclusive economic growth and rising living standards.

  4. Startup office Mladlen Antonov/Getty Images

    How Best to Promote Research and Development

    Clearly, there is something appealing about a start-up-based innovation strategy: it feels democratic, accessible, and so California. But it is definitely not the only way to boost research and development, or even the main way, and it is certainly not the way most major innovations in the US came about during the twentieth century.

  5. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.