Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Five Years After

I am in US now.. and landed here on the 5th anniversary of 9/11. As to be expected, there is lot of coverage but the mood is somber. Perhaps, it is the realization that we are in this for a long haul...

The question in peoples mind across US and the world is..

Five Years After 9/11, Are we any safe? Immediately after 9/11, President Bush made BIG proposals to wipe out terrorism from the face of the earth. Since then the war on terror is being fought on several fronts rising more than questions than answering.

Safety: Touchwood, US has been relatively safe and with no major strike of any kind since 9/11. This must be due to the maniacal focus in strengthening security across the board which has deterred the would-be ‘bad guys’. But then, what about the other countries? There have been numerous incidents across the world and particularly in India that makes the claim of relative safety, a shallow one. In this globalized and ‘flat’ world, no country can be really safe when the others around it aren’t.

Diplomacy: President Bush formed new and questionable partnerships with the likes of Dictator Musharaffs and has been fairly successful in denting the terror network a little bit. But these partnerships raise some basic questions about the claim to root out terror. While President Musharaff has been extremely pally pally with the West, he has been just the opposite with India. The US and UK in particular have glossed over this basic fact and are happy with Pakistan’s support to them. But, this kind of double standard is certainly not good the ‘global war on terrorism’.

War: President Bush fought two quick battles and was successful in driving Taliban and Baathists out of power. But the war is far from complete. Both Afghanistan and Iraq are fast sinking in to a quagmire and continues to drain US human & financial resources. The reasons mentioned for going to war with Iraq have proved to dubious at best and so are the tactics used in Abhu Gharib to Quantanamo.

Five Years After 9/11..

  1. Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qadea though crippled are still around and are able to strike.
  2. More Americans (and Iraqis, Afghanistanis & Indians) have lost their life after 9/11
  3. Is it really a ‘Global war on terror’? If so, why ignore India and other countries who have been victims of the same terror?
  4. Can there be a clear winner in this war?
  5. How do we prevent it from becoming a cultural war?
  6. Is terrorism going to stop globalization in its tracks? With countries retreating to their own cocoons and raising barriers?


  1. Keen observations, Ram.

    I think things become a lot easier when people realize that winning over terrorism is a long race - a marathon rather than a sprnit

    Markets, societies and other structures/systems readjust themselves in a dynamic form in response to the terror. That is the benefit of openness/flexibility - hallmarks of the American system.

    I share your concern about globalization being stopped in its tracks .. the US has shown remarkable resilience against such tendencies, however the policy establishment seems to all the time take up initiatives that create longer term problems. I wonder if the war in Iraq is worth it, or is it going to spawn a generation growing up resenting American interference. The only remaining superpower has to think and act responsibly.

  2. Venkatesh
    Yes.. in fact this war is not only marathon but could be much longer than that.. We might never be able to 'fully' contain terrorism..

    But the threat it poses to 'globalization' and flat world is really significant.. Globalization may be the train that has left the station but it could be significantly slowed down.. if not halted on its tracks..