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9/11 attacks – 20 years on

Today marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11 terror attacks on the United States. The incident drastically changed global politics and the world we live in today. Many countries and communities are still reeling from the consequences on the so-called global war on terror.

The four coordinated attacks on American soil killed nearly three thousand people. In response, the US started the ongoing war on terror, launched international wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, spend trillions of dollars on military expeditions, and thousands of people, mostly Muslims, lost their lives. Two decades later, Americans are assessing new threats, such as cyber-terrorism and domestic extremism, while reflecting on the hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan which has brought the Taliban back to power.

The 9/11 attacks changed the world in several ways. It enforced the clash of civilizations between Islam and the West. Political scientist Samuel Huntington’s theory that cultural and religious identifies will be the primary source of conflict was seen at work, leading towards a new global order. After the incidents, Muslims were stereotyped, discriminated against while work and travel restrictions were imposed against them. Muslims living in the West paid the biggest price for the 9/11 attacks.

Even Americans are assessing the fallout of 9/11 attacks. A recent survey found out that 64% of Americans said 9/11 permanently changed the way they live their lives. Many are less willing to take flights, enter skyscrapers, attend mass events, or travel overseas. It also changed their perception of Muslims and Islam, which was capitalized on by Donald Trump and his supporters. After two decades, the US eventually decided to stop ‘endless wars’ due to public discontent.  

On the 20th anniversary of these attacks, countries should contemplate the negative consequences of the war of terror and how it changed the world for the worst. The world is not a safer place but rather more disorganized in the aftermath. The US is now less willing to deploy ground forces in length combat abroad and will end its intervention in other countries. Muslim countries have suffered tremendously and should develop their economic and military strength. It is certain that the fateful day of 9/11 will remain etched in our memories for several years to come.