9/11, China, the Internet

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), December 31, 2009 | Go to article overview

9/11, China, the Internet


Byline: The Register-Guard

At the close of the first decade of the 21st century, the forces that shaped it are so pervasive and powerful as to be plainly visible. The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, set the United States' domestic politics and foreign affairs on their current course. The rise of China has global economic, political and environmental consequences. The steadily increasing reach and power of the Internet has transformed commerce and communications. These forces can be traced farther back, but the decade now ending will be marked as the time in which they gathered world-changing momentum.

Terrorism is an ancient tactic, but the Sept. 11 attacks were of a new order of magnitude. They awakened the United States and other nations to their vulnerability to a new kind of enemy, one that exploits the openness of the West for its own violent purposes. Throughout the decade, the United States has struggled to devise an effective response to this threat. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq both flowed from Sept. 11. The nation's commitment to the principles of the rule of law, personal privacy and humane treatment of prisoners were subjected to severe tests. Even if the United States can regain its moral equilibrium and achieve its military objectives abroad, the conditions that existed before Sept. 11 can't be restored.

China's emergence as an economic power has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, the largest and most rapid advance of its kind in history. …

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