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Living in a Post 9/11 World


Our world is dynamic, comprising of ever changing events, and adapting to complex issues of various types. September 11th 2001, a sad day recorded in the history of the United States of America, and the world, may soon be fully recognized or pinpointed as the time at which our world changed. What are some of the challenges that lay ahead?

Undoubtedly, the changes to which we will have to adopt, whether or not they will be for the better or for the worst, are solely dependant on the visionary, the philosophy he chooses to view, and the available solutions with which he decides to align or realign.{{more}}

Human interaction and socialization often gives way to the expose of differences of opinion and struggles for power, all of which can lead to conflict. To avoid such conflicts, compromises must be had. In so doing, protocols of behavior mirroring high levels of respect for differences in opinion, in this case for ones religion, among other social embodiments are necessary to govern relationships. It is in this context that the 9/11 terror attacks may be properly placed, plainly speaking a conflict of extreme philosophies.

By now it is clear that when the Twin Towers were struck, that this moment did not mark final revenge and the end of an era, but it was the beginning of a long period of turmoil. As a result of the 9/11 terror attacks, legislations regarding global security, travel and immigration have been introduced, passed and reformed in the shortest possible time, all in an effort to embrace an already rapidly changing world.

As a result, other changes have ensued with social, political and economical overtones and backlashes felt by developed and developing countries alike. Now, what is the global headline?

The global headline is clear “War on Terror, War in the Middle East, Weapons of Mass Destruction” as well as its many derivatives. The Twentieth century has marked the inability of the Muslim world to effectively resist the spread of Western culture, and has so led to the reform movement, which seeks to restore Islam to its original purity and strength. These “reform movements” are entrenched in countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, not omitting Iran and Iraq to mention a few. In countries where Islam is the heart of the land, we see the United States of America spending so far, $65 billion in Iraq and $30 billion in Afghanistan on the Global War on Terror. Congress has appropriated a total of about $437 billion and climbing for military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the three operations initiated since the 9/11 attacks, including Operation Enduring Freedom covering Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq.

The human cost cannot be measured in US currency. A total of 2682 American soldiers have been killed, in addition to 220 soldiers of coalition countries. Iraqi civilian deaths are estimated to reach 60,000.

On the other hand, indirect costs of these operations include less air travel, oil costs that are steadily rising and an unprecedented surge in terrorist attacks than ever, as we have seen in Russia, Indonesia, London, Spain, and India, among others. One major economic hit from the war on terror continues to damage the airline and tourist industries. What that translates into is loss of jobs for workers globally. The buck does not stop there, the tourism sectors continue to take beatings as well.

At a time of unprecedented global change there has never been a more appropriate time for us to concentrate on an inward look. How then does the advancements of our plans for the CSME fit into the scheme of things? Since we are on the topic of Caribbean integration what is the latest news from the CCJ?

On a more serious note however, we must begin to embrace the changes that have taken place since 9/11. This effort must be reflected from an individual to national level. Although the 9/11 shock has traumatized many, it is not for us to be despondent, or to look at what was, but to keep abreast and to see what is and embrace it. What is certain is that, Bin Laden remains at large and poses a threat to the United States of America and its allies. If President Bush’s address is any indication of the strength of the American people, their “confidence, strength and courage” will see them through. In the meanwhile, the changes continue to take place in the world in which we live, and as a Vincentian people we must change with the tide.