Significance Of 9-11 In International Relations

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Significance of 9-11 in International Relations

Significance of 9-11 in International Relations


This paper adresses the significance of 9-11 attacks on international relations.

Occasionally, the word terrorism is applied to any act of violence whether the intended target is a government entity or not. “Eco-terrorism” is not terrorism per se, because it consists of criminal acts (arson, assault, battery, or even in extreme cases, murder) perpetrated by ecological fanatics against some corporate entity or a representation of the same (Morgan, 2008, 224). Attacks by such “terrorists,” for example, against corporate research and development labs in which experimental mice or rats are released; the setting free of mink or other fur-bearing animals from pelt farms; or the burning of seafood wholesalers, are criminal acts but not necessarily terrorist attacks. Although their intent is to alter people's ways of life by interjecting notions of fear and apprehension, such attacks have proven to have far less significance and effect than politically motivated nationalist movements (Redfield, 2009, 148).

Another element that often figures into the definition of terrorism is the nature of those who commit the violence. According to many definitions of terrorism, only groups that are not part of the official apparatus of the state can commit terrorism. A distinguishing characteristic of what many people regard as terrorism—and the characteristic that makes it so difficult to punish—is its shadowy nature. Most acts of terrorism are difficult to pin on nation-states. Instead, unofficial groups, which have no standing army and no permanent location where preventive or retaliatory actions can be focused, commit them (National Commission on Terror Attacks, 2004, 568).

A New Phenomenon

The relatively new phenomenon of terrorist groups—organizations not themselves states but nonetheless waging war and seeking access to weapons of mass destruction—challenges that paradigm for the first time (Chernick, 2005, 352). The new paradigm—terrorist groups capable of wreaking havoc of the kind that only states could previously inflict, but without the accountability of states—requires civil libertarians to rethink an exclusive focus on state action. To be sure, the most dangerous forms of global terrorism are still state sponsored, but identifying the sponsoring states is often difficult and subject to plausible deniability. Such denials are more often implausible, but opportunistic governments conveniently believe them (Foner, 2005, 374).

The nature of terrorism will continuously change in the future as it has in the past. Yesterday, we worried about retail acts of terror—assassinations, bombings, and hijackings. Among the most difficult dilemmas was whether to give in to specific demands of the terrorists—usually the freeing of other terrorists (Precin, 2003, 188). Today, we fear wholesale acts of terror—such as the use of passenger planes as airborne missiles directed against densely populated targets. Specific demands rarely accompany these acts. They are not contingent or conditional threats, or if they are, the conditions are deliberately set so high as to be unrealistic. Instead, their object is massive destruction and mass murder of hundreds, even thousands, of civilians (Bono, 2006, 294).

Terror Attacks in the Most Powerful Country

September 11, 2001, ...
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