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Monday 21 Aug 2017 | 12:55 | SYDNEY
Monday 21 Aug 2017 | 12:55 | SYDNEY

9/11 retrospectives

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10 September 2010 10:08

With the anniversary approaching once again, James Fallows has collected some excellent essays on the legacy of the event. I'll add two more that I have come across recently. The first is this devastating piece of understatement in Hugh White's Quarterly Essay, 'Power shift: Australia's future between Washington and Beijing':

For almost a decade, America's political leaders have convinced themselves that a small group of fugitives on the run in Pakistan poses a bigger challenge to America's place in the world than the economic transformation of the world's most populous nation. Future historians will find that hard to explain.

And along similar lines, here's Fareed Zakaria in Newsweek:

I do not minimize Al Qaeda’s intentions, which are barbaric. I question its capabilities. In every recent conflict, the United States has been right about the evil intentions of its adversaries but massively exaggerated their strength. In the 1980s, we thought the Soviet Union was expanding its power and influence when it was on the verge of economic and political bankruptcy. In the 1990s, we were certain that Saddam Hussein had a nuclear arsenal. In fact, his factories could barely make soap.

Australia probably didn't over-react to the terrorist threat to quite the degree that America did, and we have perhaps been better at correcting course since. But our national security complex is in rude health, thanks to al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya. And we're still at war in Afghanistan.

It's going to take some brave and wise political leaders to find the language in which to assure Australians (and Americans) that it is safe and actually beneficial to slowly back away from our state of high alert.

Photo by Flickr user steveleenow, used under a Creative Commons license.