11 September 2001: War, Terror and Judgement

By Bulent Gokay; R. B.J.Walker | Go to book overview
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Afghanistan and the Global Environment: Turning Local Language into Global Grammar


'“You know your government, he says, “all the Americans I meet are good people, but your government's foreign policy is so bad. It's not good, you know, for a country to be hated by so many people”'.

(Ahdaf Soueif, The Map of Love) 1

On the 12 September 2001, the day after the attack on the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in New York, the School of Politics, International Relations and the Environment at Keele University, UK (where I then worked), began a two-week summer school for European doctoral students of environmental politics and policy. As we gathered, the atmosphere was sombre, and I opened the session by reflecting my immediate reaction to the previous day's events: that the world felt different on the 12 September to how it had felt the day before. This was a view shared by most of us present-and it could not have been more wrong. Now it is clear that the paths and patterns of power set weeks, months and even years ago have not changed direction but have, rather, been marked more clearly and more crudely than ever before. For a brief few weeks after 11 September a few of us clung to the belief that the attacks on New York and Washington would occasion a fundamental review of American (read United States of America) foreign policy that would seek to deal with the fundamental causes of resistance to American style globalisation. The more days that went by without the expected massive retaliation, and the more frantic European diplomacy, in the shape of British Prime Minister Tony Blair became, the more the naïve amongst us (myself included) really thought that a turning point might have been reached. Bad memories of American intransigence over the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty, biological weapons agreements, American deter-


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