“Watching violent images of war and strife elsewhere in the world always invoked a sense of pride and invulnerability in me. ‘Thank God,’ I would say, ‘I am the citizen of this country; it could never happen here.’” This is how an American recounted his reactions in the pre-9/11 days to the war and violence he was exposed to only through the television images and newspaper reports. However, September 11, 2001, brought a paradigm shift in his and that of hundreds of thousands of other Americans’ thinking. The illusion of invulnerability was shattered. Life underwent a big change. It will never be same for the thousands of families and friends of those who were killed when America’s symbols of power and wealth came under attack. If such a catastrophe can catch the world’s sole super power unawares, strike terror and inflict damage of such a mammoth magnitude on a country guarded by the technologically invincible missile defense systems and undoubtedly the peerless military might, world is surely not a very safe place to live in.
The militant attacks on various major western capitals and cities that have followed since have yet again proved that advanced technology and military and financial might too have their limitations when pitted against those who are motivated to die in a bid to inflict damage on an ‘adversary’. Like the September 11, 2001, all these attacks have relegated the traditional means of statecraft and diplomacy as well as the military superiority to look seemingly obsolete - unable to secure the safety and security in (of) the world. Needless to say that the weapon systems that are touted as the ultimate saviors of the people and a guarantee for peace and security by the powerful West, have been rendered to what must be seen as a “visible manifestation of political, military and corporate parasitism of the body politic.”
Although the 9/11 tragedy fundamentally altered the US thinking about the global security with “preemptive war” moving to the centre of the US security doctrine, the much trumpeted “war on terror” that followed have made not only the America but the entire world less secure and more dangerous place. Whatever is happening in West Asia, or for that matter in Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere bear a testimony to the failure of both preemptive war doctrine as well as the so-called war on terror.
Recall President George W Bush at the beginning of his ‘war on terror’ and the way he tried to justify his unilateral militarism argued: “We go forward to defend the freedom and everything that is just in the world.” However, as the time has proved, no freedom can be defended by putting curbs on other peoples’ freedoms; no good and just order can be fortified through the evil and unjust means of war. This is the hindsight today after a decade-and-half of US and its allies including France having bombed Afghanistan to ‘stone age’ or after their biased involvement in scores of other places in the Muslim world including their brazen and unremitting support to the Israeli militarism in the occupied Palestinian territories. Indeed much of the troubles faced by the world today are in some or the other way manifestation of anger against the West which has only been growing steadily in the Muslim world. Now that the powerful West has virtually been on rampage in Afghanistan, in West Asia and elsewhere under different guises, and is still moving ahead apparently unhindered in its “neo-imperial grand strategy”, the entire world appears to be sitting on a powdered keg, waiting to explode. If the growing resentment against this US and West’s power hegemony furthered through what Richard Falk calls “geopolitics of exclusion” , is any indication, we are heading for an imminent disaster unless global policies and structures are rethought and reoriented toward cooperative engagement, multilateral disarmament, political and economic democracy and the strengthening of international institutions.