One year after marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the US finds itself struggling to hold on to its position as the world’s sole superpower
The 21st anniversary marks the 2001 September 11 terrorist attack against the United States. 20 years isn’t a very prominent day for remembrance. Many people mark the passage of years by focusing on the beauty of the calendar rather than the real relevance of each moment. One-year anniversaries can be important, but two-year ones are less. It’s important to celebrate the tenth, not just the eleventh.
This year marked 20 years since the attacks on 9/11. What made this date more important than the simple passage of time was that it was relevant – the 2021 event marking America’s entry into what was to become known as the “Global War on Terrorism” occurred less than a month after America’s ignominious retreat from Afghanistan. The Kabul evacuation of August 2021 was the final act in a two-decade-long drama which saw the vision of a “new American century” espoused by an American neoconservative elite, who looked to exploit the horror of 9/11 by turning it into a catalyst for world domination, run aground on the shoals of geopolitical reality, capsizing, and ultimately sinking in a self-created storm of national hubris.
The America that emerged from the 20-year policy disaster that was the “War on Terrorism” (comprised of several distinct conflicts, including Afghanistan and, perhaps most notably, Iraq) was chastened and humiliated, but not defeated or humbled. There is a dichotomy between the geopolitical reality the United States found itself in after 20 years of global neglect while squandering the nation’s blood, treasure, and reputation in the deserts and mountains of the Middle East, and the narcissistic arrogance of an American leadership elite unable and/or unwilling to recognize the damage they had done to the American enterprise, and as such nullify their collective utility in crafting appropriate diplomatic, economic, and security strategies for recovery.
September 11, 2001 at Twenty-plus One is the anniversary of this new reality.
Unlike a wedding anniversary, where the bride and groom are cognizant of the initiating date and subsequent results being celebrated, the inability on the part of the American collective – the people, their leadership, and the mainstream media – to engage in fact-based, unemotional reflection on where they were at the 20th anniversary of 9/11, how they got there, and where they were headed means that they fail to grasp the fact that they are marking a one-year anniversary of a post-9/11 reality, which they seem largely ignorant of.
After 20 years of wandering in the geopolitical wilderness of the Middle East and Central Asia, America emerged a much weaker nation – militarily, economically, and diplomatically. The fact that America had been engaged in self-immolation for two decades was further compounded. But the rest of the world wasn’t treading water. They were moving ahead and building capabilities which, although not intended to compete with the United States in the future, would put them in far better stead.
China, Russia and Iran watched America’s recklessness in chasing after ghosts. They took the lesson America was teaching them about its diplomatic and military weaknesses, its financial vulnerabilities and its diplomatic failures. This was magnified by America’s chaotic democracy classroom, which saw the whole world witness the wild and erratic decisions of policy-making that resulted from a system in conflict with itself. Eight years after George W. Bush’s Neoconservative Aggression, eight more years of Obama-style neoliberal fraud followed. Now the Trump administration is slipping into two years misguided and incompetent revanchism under Biden. This administration believes that it can repair the damage caused by American policy failures over decades.
American democracy, the ostensible “shining city on the hill” that was supposed to inspire the rest of the world to want to be like us and as such follow our lead, had been exposed as a Potemkin village, little more than a ghetto disguised as an upscale suburb. While the entire world could see the transformation unfold before their eyes, Americans were blissfully unaware. They were coerced into a life of inconstrained consumerism and obedient submission.
However, all debts have to be paid. At 20-plus one, 9/11 reflects many of these domestic and international bills coming due.
On the twenty-plus-oneth anniversary of 9/11, the United States finds itself in an ongoing political civil war. This could lead to partisan-driven violence that is unprecedented since the American Civil War. The dominance of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency is very much in doubt as global markets, fed up with American interference in their sovereign economic decisions, are dropping the dollar in favor of regional currency “baskets.” After chiding Russia as being little more than a “gas station disguised as a nation,” the United States and its allies find themselves in the position of motorists stranded on a highway in the middle of a wilderness, their fuel tanks empty, and no gas station in sight – mainly because they closed all the stations before undertaking their journey. With Europe and America struggling to recover, the economic sanctioning of Russia has become self-harm.
American leadership relied on the assumption that American democratic governance produced the strength of the US to face the evil forces in the world.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks have made this model obsolete. This is due in part to the behavior of America in the 20 first years.
9/11 at 20-plus-one finds the United States coming face to face with the reality of what it has wrought, in Ukraine, in the Pacific, in the Middle East, Africa, Asia … and at home. According to the Bible, you can reap the wind by sowing the wind.
These opinions, statements and thoughts are the sole opinion of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of RT.