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9-11 and Mass Commumications
Three years after the tragedy of 9-11, the city of new York has cleared the rubbish our of the footprint of the two towers, but they are still a long way from clearing the wreckage out of their collective, and individual hearts. Never before has the nation been struck in an act of war as was seen on national television on 9-11-2001. Even when the Japanese planes swarmed into Pearl Harbor, American's saw only the pictures which were released in print, and the events of the day had time to settle before the images of war were digested. But even the attack on Pearl Harbor was fundamentally different than what occurred in New York. Military forces struck a military target. This does not reduce the shock of the event, but it was easier to digest as the nation ramped up for war in the European theater as well.
Historical archives have already chronicled huge amounts of data regarding 9-11. The burning buildings were seen on global television for weeks before the images began to fade. Around the globe, as well as in the U.S., commentators have already identifies the ways in which these attacks were different than acts of war which had occurred in earlier years. As printed in the London Mirror, "You look around the building site they call Ground Zero - now a patriotic shrine to American resilience, part Alamo, part Pearl Harbor - and other unconscious reminders of that apocalyptic day tear at your heart. A pounds 1.1billion building (was) reduced to 1.6 million tonnes of rubble in one hour and 42 minutes by a handful of disillusioned rich kids carrying crude $5 knives... The citizens of this unique city were violated, like no other citizens in peace time had been violated before. Left feeling paralyzed, humiliated, vulnerable, small, weak and dirty..." (Reade, 2002)
America's neighbor to the North, Canada, also felt the aftershock as a global Richter scale measured the waves of public response. In a nation which has remained predominantly inner focused, the events of 9-11, just a few thousand miles away, or a few hours by jet liner, forced a shift in their national consciousness as well. "Toronto Star Ottawa Two years ago, the events of 9/11 moved the political goalposts on all the federal parties. From a country often consumed with internal arrangements to the point of obsession, Canada abruptly had to shift its sights on its relationship with the outside world in a way it had not done since the last world war. Not all parties have risen to the occasion equally... Still, the events of 9/11 may well have planted the seeds of a return to a less fragmented, less introverted Parliament." (Hebert, 2003)
No other event in history has shaken the collective consciousness of seemingly indomitable political forces like 9-11. The nation which led the world thorough two world worlds, and survived the political debacle of two failed, limited politically gerrymandered wars, the nation with the strongest national standing army, and most resolute populace regarding its commitment to independence and freedom - this nation was brutally attacked. The weapons were not atomic bombs, but its own airliners. The peoples which were targeted were not a military force, but civilians who spawned from countries across the world and worked toward global economic advancement. Never before had there been a more senseless demonstration of blind hatred, and the world was forever changed.
The ripples on the surface of the global political pond began in the U.S., but quickly spread across the surface of the waters. In Canada, France, and other countries which take a political stance which is more reserved than the U.S., many accused the country of using the events of 9-11 to build a new imperialist empire. Canadian Reporter James Petras insisted that 9-11 was being used by the junior Bush to continue his father's plans for 'global domination.' He article tried to connect dots between failures of the first gulf war to establish a dominant foothold in the Middle East, and the new approach which Bush junior was taking. Bush senior tried to build an international coalition, and in doing so could not get a mandate. Therefore, according to Petras, Bush Jr. was paying lip service to a global coalition, but was fully prepared to pull on his cowboy boots, and finish matters on his own if needed. Petras (2002) put it this way:
Washington's clear imperialist agenda has led to the re-emergence of anti-imperialist politics. The military-security definition of reality does not eliminate class and national conflicts; rather, it intensifies them. While the military-security empire builders consolidate the position of the far Right in the Bush regime (Rumsfeld, Cheney, Reich, Bolton, Wolfowitz, Clark, Perle), they further polarize the European public and most of the Third World against their imperial pre-tensions."
Petras may have felt differently if it were 3000 Canadians who were killed in Toronto, or Montreal, but his own political agenda was shared by French, and others who refused to give publish support to the war efforts after 9-11. In light of the discord among previously cohesive NATO and UN allies the events of 9-11 will be considered unique.
Someone once said that the definition of a terrorist is someone who will take your life for his own cause. The definition of a revolutionary, or zealot is someone who will give their own life for their cause, but the definition of an American is someone who will give his own life for someone else's cause. The French opposition to the war highlighted just how true this platitude rings across the decades. During time when the French soil was trampled by military engagements, they welcomed the help of the U.S. The cooperation formed a global coalition which benefits all of the western civilized nations. However, the changed in global government relationships will forever alter the understanding nations have of cooperation between these former allies.
The French publicly opposed the war effort, taking the opportunity to build on its earlier, quiet criticism of the U.S. As the imperial power of the 20th century. According to Litwak (2002) the U.S. foreign-policy debate which ensued after 9-11 typically stretched the discussion across a broad range of issues "as the choice between unilateralism ("going it alone") and multilateralism (working in concert with others states)-is a reflection, not the source, of this confusion. The roots of the confusion lie rather in the persisting tension between America's twin identities, a duality aptly characterized by French political theorist Raymond Aron in The Imperial Republic (1973). The United States is an "imperial" power dominating and maintaining an international order whose key institutions and governing norms bear an indelibly American stamp. At the same time, it's a republic"
Thus, for the first time, in the event of the U.S. defending itself against an act of war, the U.S. is no longer the helper of the free world against peoples with ideas of global dominance, but an imperial aggressor, only pursuing selfish nation building interests. The global political diplomatic community will spend many years sorting out the disrupted relationships which have been created as a result of these misplaced accusations. For the first time, an act of war has worked to separate allies rather than draw them together.
The events of 9-11 have also forever changed the politics of the turbulent Middle East by giving the U.S. A reason to become involved. In a collection of papers presented by members of the Middle East Working Group on a program of panels at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association in Boston, MA, August 31, 2002, various authors cited changes in the dynamics of the Middle East which will be forever altered as a result of 9-11.
Mustapha Kamel Al-Sayyid, of Cairo University, Egypt pointed out that the events of September 11 changed some dimensions of the close relationship between Egypt and the United States. Over the past few decades, even as the United States became a more polarizing influence in the Middle East, Egyptian officials were reluctant to air their differences with the United States. They wanted to move toward increased cooperation, and therefore were more willing to get along with Washington on some issues over which the countries had differed in the past. However, immediately after September 11, when the United States called for an international coalition to support a military campaign against the Taliban, President Hosni Mubarak went public to argue that a successful fight against terrorism requires no large-scale military campaign, but rather limited security operations following skillful intelligence gathering. He was also critical of the proposal to establish a worldwide coalition, saying that such an idea would be extremely divisive. Clearly, the possibility of a large U.S. contingent in the Middle East would upset the delicate, and self serving equilibrium between the U.S. And various Arab peoples.
Bahman Baktiari, of the University of Maine, focused his attention on how the events of 9/11 inside Iran, sharpening the already…[continue]
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