Location: U.S. regions pulled together Attacks took place on East Coast, we did not experience them directly in our backyard. Yet empathy and fear spread throughout the U.S. No more New York jokes. More identification with government workers (firefighters, police, mail carriers, etc.)
Russians flatten capital of Chechnya Use of Islamist terrorism to justify crackdowns
Israelis in West Bank and Gaza Indians in Kashmir Chinese in Xinjiang Conflicts intensify in Muslim regions (though not necessarily centered on religion)
Al-Qaeda as a product of globalization (Bin Laden exploiting and manipulating Muslims’ alienation) Poverty Corruption Foreign domination
Al-Qaeda as an example of globalization (Bin Laden the multinational CEO) Translated U.S. military leaflet dropped on Afghanistan Internet cafe Saudi bank
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend”? U.S. aided Islamic fundamentalists to fight Soviet Union in Afghanistan: "What was more important in the worldview of history? The Taliban or the fall of the Soviet Empire? A few stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?” (President Carter’s national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1996). Who are our new friends against Al-Qaeda? Are we now risking the same backfire effect (or “blowback”) again?
War in Afghanistan Bin Laden provoked U.S. to launch ground invasion? Bin Laden thought he would “fight the last war” that the Afghans had won against the Russians. Taliban were easy to defeat in war, but the “peace” can become more difficult.
Complex Afghan ethnic geography No matter which ethnic“warlord” we support, someone else feels we are taking sides
Caspian Basin oil and gas pipelines Plans for route across Afghanistan
New U.S. military bases 1.Gulf War, 1991 2. Yugoslav Wars, 1995-99 3. Afghan War, 2001 4. Iraq War, 2003 New U.S. “Sphere of Influence” in region. Bases built to wage the wars, or the wars waged to build the bases?
Current debates Does the “War on Terror” justify a permanent role for U.S. military bases and oil companies? Carries the risk of “overstaying our welcome” and causing a new “blowback”? Iraq War justified by linking Bin Laden, Saddam (though they hate each other)? Resentment/recruitment increasing since occupation of Iraq (Self-fulfilling prophecy?)
Confronting hatred at the roots “There has been a remarkable reluctance in America to confront the more complex historical dimensions of this hatred. The inclination instead has been to rely on abstract assertions like terrorists ‘hate freedom’ or that their religious background makes them despise Western culture. To win the war on terrorism…. begin a political effort that focuses on the conditions that brought about their emergence.” (President Carter’s national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, 2001).
Geographies of September 11 Boundaries violated in attack on “homeland.” U.S. regions have a common grievance & experience of war. “Sense of place” of 9/11 attack sites. New phase of anti- immigrant sentiment DOMESTIC Islam vs. West geopolitical simplifications. Al-Qaeda as a product & example of globalization. Ethnic complexities of Middle East/Central Asia Natural resources (oil). New U.S. military bases Shifting international alliances FOREIGN
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