America Embattled: September 11, Anti-Americanism, and the Global Order

By Richard Crockatt | Go to book overview

4

The limits of governance

Globalization, terrorism, and the transformation of international politics since 1989

Order within the modern state is the consequence, among other things, of government; order among states cannot be, for international society is an anarchical society, a society without government.

Hedley Bull (1977) 1


The shock of the new

Nothing was more astonishing or disturbing about the events of September 11 than the apparent ease with which a few individuals armed with some flight training and knowledge of airline procedures and schedules and in combination with highly focused fanaticism could penetrate to the heart of a great nation and challenge its entire sense of itself and its place in the world. The actions of the terrorists subsequently dictated the policy agendas of the United States government across the board and affected the lives of ordinary Americans in countless ways. Even the Soviet Union, with its mighty arsenal of weapons, its alien and hostile ideology, and its influence over anti-American and anti-Western movements around the world during the period of the Cold War, had never contemplated such a blatant and direct assault on America or, if it did, did so only at the level of contingency planning for an imagined catastrophic breakdown in relations. Even the most hardened American Cold Warriors had not realistically expected a Soviet strike on American soil out of the blue, even if they were required to act as if such an attack might conceivably take place. For all the dangers and crises of the Cold War-and there were many-there were counterbalancing elements of restraint in East-West relations that can be broadly defined in terms of deterrence. The knowledge that the other side might be capable of delivering a retaliatory blow even in the face of its own imminent destruction was a serious check on a pre-emptive first strike by any of the nuclear superpowers. “Mutually Assured Destruction”

-108-

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America Embattled: September 11, Anti-Americanism, and the Global Order
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • September 11, 2001 1
  • 1 - How America Sees the World 7
  • 2 - How the World Sees America 39
  • 3 - The Roots of Terror 72
  • 4 - The Limits of Governance 108
  • 5 - Responding to Terror 136
  • Conclusion 162
  • Notes 167
  • Bibliography 186
  • Index 195
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