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Unformatted text preview: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.3, Fall 2002 1 September 11th 2001 One Year On: A New Era in World Politics? Andrew Cottey* In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC, it was commonplace to say that 11th September 2001 would be remembered as a day that changed the world. One year later, it is an appropriate time to take stock of the events of 11th September and developments since then and assess their impact on world politics. In this paper I undertake such a review, advancing a number of arguments. First, not withstanding the shock of 11th September 2001, many important aspects of world politics have not changed. The basic political structure of international politics, built on the concept of the sovereign nation-state, and the dilemmas of global governance in an anarchic world arising from the state system, have not changed. Many global problems - globalisation, global warming, north-south economic divisions - have not been significantly affected by the events of September 2001. Nevertheless, the international politics did change in two very important ways on 11th September 2001. First, the terrorist attacks on the US confirm the emergence of a new type of threat: a truly global terrorist group, engaged in an all-embracing conflict with the US and its allies and unconstrained in the violence which it is willing to use. The challenge posed by al-Qaida (and allied groups) is therefore likely to be a key feature of international politics for years to come. Second, the US response to 11th September 2001 has resulted in a new assertiveness in US foreign policy. The war on terrorism and the related struggle against the proliferation of Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.3, Fall 2002 2 nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction (WMD) have become the central elements of US foreign policy. This is backed-up by a new willingness to assert US power, unilaterally if necessary. These two developments - the new threat posed by global terrorism and the assertive US response to that threat - are creating a new strategic context for the foreign policy choices of other states, which will face difficult dilemmas about whether and how to support, oppose or stand aside from the US-led war on terror. Despite President Bush’s claim that ‘Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists’, most states are likely to be agnostic about US power in general and the conduct of the war on terrorism in particular, viewing US global engagement as both inevitable and necessary but wary of the nature and costs of that engagement. These dynamics - the new terrorist threat, the new US international assertiveness and international ambiguity about America’s global role - are likely to shape world politics for years to come....
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course POLS 494 taught by Professor Garymoncrief during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.
- Fall '11
- Media, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order