'Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island; Who rules the World-Island commands the World'.
(Halford Mackinder, Democratic Ideals and Reality, 1919) 1
The attacks on 11 September and following American operations in Afghanistan have raised a host of questions, and touched a broad array of ongoing structural and conflictual developments about world politics. There is a fairly widespread consensus that 'everything changed' on the day four airliners were hijacked and nearly 3,000 people murdered. It has been claimed that 'the attacks on the United States (have incalculable consequences for domestic politics and world affairs' with 'profound effects on the US economy as well as the world'. 2 It was described as 'a wake-up call against the background of a period of indolence and self-satisfaction' . 3 The new world order', we were told, 'is at war and everything is changed utterly-borders, cultures, powers, America, Middle East, Asia, China, Australia'. 4 'The events of 11 September' were 'a terrible reminder that freedom demands eternal vigilance'. 5 But, there is much less agreement about how to define the main features of this change. One conclusion drawn by Robert Keohane is 'an understanding that new threats create new alliances', and that the US 'has greater need for commitments from other states now than it had before 11 September'. 6 A similar trend has been pointed out by Steve Smith:
The 11 September terrorist bombings will be to usher in an era where US foreign policy is more multilateral than before, an era that