What 9/11 taught the world

Kamal Mitra Chenoy
Kamal Mitra ChenoySep 11, 2015 | 17:39

What 9/11 taught the world

The US has long thought of the Atlantic Ocean as a barrier to enemies. Further it had never suffered a serious attack on US civilians in any major city. Therefore 9/11 was catastrophic. It hit at the heart of US capitalism - New York and consisted of three separate highjackings of civilian aircraft two of  which brought down the World Trade Centre, a symbol of US pride and entrepreneurship. Because of a heroic resistance by the US passengers in the third aircraft, the Pentagon was saved. But the brave passengers died. It was a shocking lesson for the US. And they have considerably increased their external and internal security thereafter.

But catastrophes of such a dimension in a country which is the mightiest in the world and has been so ever since World War II will ever remain a lesson not only for the Americans but for all democratic people's throughout the world. Expectedly the US went after al Qaeda. A number of their leaders and lots of their cadre were killed, weakening it compared to the Taliban and the present Islamist monster the Islamic State.

There are lessons to be drawn from this too. The US and its allies politico-military strategy in West Asia of  destabilising secular Muslim regimes from Iraq, to Somalia, to Libya and now with Syria in its sights, fuelled an Islamist upsurge which has culminated in the IS capture of large parts of Iraq and Syria. Is it possible that once again an ally will provide shelter to a major anti American terrorist leader like Pakistan did for Osama bin Laden?

The Islamist backlash which led to 9/11 appears to have heightened, fuelled by the West Asian policies of the US and its allies including Turkey, whose policies of "active neutrality" towards the IS while they on the other hand along with others have attacked the Kurdish Workers Party - PKK, who are on the ground the main fighters against the IS. Some British politicians while supporting Britain's joining the US/ led coalition to bomb IS held areas of Syria, have also stated that President Assad of Syria will be removed in six months. Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel which is known to be a nuclear weapon state, one of the best known secrets in the World, staunchly opposed the US Iran nuclear deal. However, the US and its allies do not want the formidable Iranian militia to fight the IS, because they are scared that this might exacerbate the Sunni-Shia divide which is already evident in Saudi Arabia and allies bombing of Yemen where the Shia Houthis are seen as a threat.

One lesson from 9/11 was that efforts be made to diminish if not remove lines of conflict between Arab States and Iran. Instead there was increasing great power intervention in the affairs of Muslim States. The fact that the US has not been able to get any military support from its allies to send troops to fight the IS in the Syria-Iraq region is an example of "imperial overreach" as George Kennedy has shown. The US has learnt lessons from 9/11, but in a rapidly changing world there will be more lessons to be unravelled. As the Chinese would say "may you live in interesting times". Will the US be able respond to that challenge?

Last updated: March 31, 2016 | 13:21
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