Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Friday, September 13, 2002

A Year after 'September 11' Attack

Editor's Notes: On September 11 a year ago, the indicative building of the World Trade Center collapsed, and the myth of the Americans' psychological "absolute security of the native land" exploded. The ensuing American war against Afghanistan raised the curtain of a "globe-wide" attack on terrorism. The gradual international political situation after the Cold War began to undergo radical evolution.


Security Tightened in New York
Editor's Notes: On September 11 a year ago, the indicative building of the World Trade Center collapsed, and the myth of the Americans' psychological "absolute security of the native land" exploded. The ensuing American war against Afghanistan raised the curtain of a "globe-wide" attack on terrorism. The gradual international political situation after the Cold War began to undergo radical evolution.

On the one hand, the new imperial empire concept of value has gained a new market in the superpower, the United States, Bush-ism experiences constant expansion in the anti-terrorist war. On the other hand, Europe, Russia and other world political forces have made their respective response, the quiet Central Asia has become a new hot spot, Middle East contradiction among the hot spots has further intensified.

On the occasion of the first anniversary of the "September 11" incident, to answer the question concerning how to clearly see this complicated and confusing change, we specially invited some experts to straighten out some main problems.

The Gains and Losses of America in the Anti-Terrorist Struggle
Diplomatic Gains after "September 11": Taking advantage of the unprecedented moral support extended to the United States by the international community, America has successfully organized an international counter-terrorist alliance, and has gained political dominant power; it has strengthened its relations with its allies, at the same time it has pushed forward its ties with other big powers, particularly US-Russian relations; US troops have entered Central Asia, gone deep into South Asia and returned to Southeast Asia, and further enhanced the superiority of its global strategy. In the anti-terrorist war, it has put into practice its theory of military revolution, and displayed and consolidated its military superiority. Generally speaking, the US status as the superpower has become more prominent after "September 11".

Walk for Healing And Peace Held in US
Post-September 11 Hidden Diplomatic Troubles: It is over-confident of its military strength and is inclined to adopting a relatively oversimplified method of dealing with terrorism, it gives priority to the military; unilateralism rears up its head, its hegemonist tendency becomes more conspicuous, it has unilaterally terminated the ABM (Anti-ballistic missile) treaty and forced through the NMD (national missile defense) system, it has withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol and the CTBT (comprehensive [nuclear] test ban treaty), it rejects the International Criminal Court's restraint on the United States, it extends more unequivocal support to Israel in the Arab-Israeli conflicts and threatens to attack Iraq in defiance of everything; economically, it wages an iron and steel trade war, while asking other countries to cut down subsidies to agricultural products, it has decided to provide American farmers with financial aid of US$13 billion.

The Bush administration's new concept of security: also called "offensive realism"

Supremacy to security of native land;

Object of precaution is not a specific category of countries, but rather it is countries, groups and even individuals with attacking "abilities";

Security Measures Taken in US
Combating terrorism has become a long-term component part and near-term main task of US strategy, US ties with other countries, to some extent, depends on other countries' cooperation with the United States in the fight against terrorism;

The focus of counter-terrorism is preemptive strike at the source of threat abroad, or called "preventive intervention", the present object of its preemptive strategy is the so-called "axis of evil" countries, especially Iraq;

Proceeding from the need of countering threats, it may employ any means, particularly lowering the nuclear threshold;

The Asia-Pacific region becomes the focus in its regional military strategy;

While guarding against non-traditional security threat, it maintains vigilance on the question of traditional security, particularly preventing the emergence of a leading power on the Eurasian continent.

The Current Situation: the color of unilateralism is conspicuous, its strategic offensive has strengthened, leading to the weakening of international community's support for US anti-terrorist struggle; trading disputes between the EU and the US is extremely serious, on the issue of attack on Iraq, the stand of principal European countries is far apart from that of the United States; US-Russian relations have improved somewhat, but there still exist some unbridgeable contradictions, precisely at the time when America is actively making preparation for attack on Iraq, Russia's relations with Iran, Iraq and Korea have developed somewhat; rift appears in US relationship with Saudi Arabia, the Islamic world's dissatisfaction with the United States will come to light more clearly.

EU: Wants to Become a Real Pole in the World
The Power of EU: On the New Year's Day of 2002, Euro was formally in circulation on the market, 12 countries in the Euro zone completely abolished the original currencies after February, realizing a single currency and a unified economy-currency alliance; the eastward expansion of EU has entered a decisive, final stage, EU has planned to conclude negotiations with the 10 applicants one after another by the end of this year, and will sign treaties on their EU membership in 2003, the EU will expand to cover 25 countries in 2004; a contingent of 60,000-strong European quick reaction force is stepping up its formation, independent defense of the EU will formally take shape in 2003, in the meantime, substantive preparation is being made for the meeting on the formulation of a constitution in 2004, then an epoch-making EU Constitution will be born, political alliance will be consolidated and strengthened accordingly.

Diplomacy of EU: EU is actively pushing global, all-directional diplomacy, and through a series of diplomatic and economy-trade strategies, such as eastward expansion, going south to the Middle East, North Africa, improving relations with Russia, consolidating traditional ties with Africa, Canada and the Pacific, establishing the globe's largest free trade zone with Latin America across the ocean, as well as institutionalizing the Asia-Europe Conference, giving a prominent display of the existence and influence of EU in the world's important regions, attempting to put the EU strategic positioning in an advantageous position in the reestablishment of pattern.

EU and US: Contradictions and frictions between the EU and the US have been on the increase in recent years, the cohesive force of Europe-America alliance is loosening, the rift in the EU-American relationship is expanding and deepening. Contradiction and difference between the two sides have expanded from the economic-trading field to the political, diplomatic and security fields, from the shallow-level field of specific policies, measures and interest disputes further rising to deep-level differences in strategy, concept of value and ideology, Europeans talks more and more about "European characteristics", "European model" and "European concept of value and of ethics", expressing their disgust at US hegemonism and an anti-American sentiment.

The Current Situation: The EU-US-Russian relations and their struggle for the leading authority over Europe has all along been the basic situation in Europe's strategic pattern, EU poses a challenge to America's leading position, and the situation is developing in the direction favorable to EU; NATO's Europe-American security bond tends to be loosening, Europe and Russia jointly seek integration, Putin's declaration that "Russia and EU are of one family" indicates the repeated breaking of the balance of the triangular relationship, which tilts toward the Europe-Russian side. EU-Russian cooperation excels US-Russian cooperation in terms of scale, efficiency and mutual support. Under the situation wherein the world pattern is forcibly blocked by the sole superpower-the United States in the process of its advance toward multi-polarity, the rising vigorous force of EU plays an important part of significant influence, capable of exerting the role in containing, resisting, restricting and confronting the United States which is domineering and insisting on going its own way, and holds a unique position in promoting the tendency of world multi-polarization.

Russia: Gives Consideration to Both East and West as It Hides its Capacity and Time
Russia & the US: The "September 11" incident provided an opportunity for improvement of Russia-US relations. Russia published TV speech to express sympathy with and support for the United States, allowing US troops to enter and be stationed in Central Asia, signing seven documents including the Russia-US treaty on reducing nuclear strategic weapons and Russia-US joint declaration on new strategic relations, as well as the joint statement on anti-terrorism, dialogs on energy, development of economic and trade ties and personnel contact as well as the Middle East situation, thus pushing forward bilateral relations and multi-field cooperation. However, there still exist major differences between the two countries on many issues. Russia so far does not agree on American use of force against Iraq, it is on the alert of the United States stationed long term in Central Asia, it is very angry with US military personnel's entry into Georgia, it ignores US restraint on Russia-Iranian military and energy cooperation. At the same time, Russia steps up its technical preparation, so as to cope with the US act of categorical rejection of actual destruction of nuclear warheads and US continuing NMD (national missile defense) tests. On the part of the United States, besides symbolically declaring on June 8 its acknowledgement of Russia's status as a market economic country, it did not abolish the Jackson-Vanik amendment and did not give up its harsh terms on Russia's application for WTO membership.

Russia & EU: It regards EU countries as most important to the development of foreign economic and trade relations, it devotes its efforts to expanding Russia's oil/gas exports to the EU, it signed the agreement on Russia-NATO "20-nation mechanism", decided to enter into mutual consultation on nine areas including anti-terrorism, anti-proliferation, peace-keeping, and theatre missile defense and military cooperation, and joint formulation and implementation of related resolutions. Nevertheless, Russia's role is still subjected to certain restriction. The agreement explicitly stipulates that any NATO member can exercise veto power if it thinks that a certain topic discussed with Russia is harmful to its country, the new council cannot discuss this topic. Currently it is still impossible for Russia to participate in NATO's decision made on policy and strategic issues.

Russia & China: The Sino-Russian Good Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed in July 2001 has produced positive influence on the government and public and the higher and lower levels of Russia, various factions all advocate vigorous development of cooperation with China. In the economic and trade field, the total trade volume of the two countries had reached US$10.6 billion by September 2001, the two countries have clearly declared that as of 2005, 20 million tons of crude oil would be transferred from Siberia to China annually, and the figure is expected to reach 30 million tons in the future. Russia pays special attention to strengthening regional security cooperation and economic and trade cooperation within the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) framework, In June 2002, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Charter was approved by the Summit Conference held in St. Petersburg, China and Russia are, together with relevant countries, actively exploring suitable forms for intensifying fight against the three forces of terrorism, extremism and separatism and strengthening economic cooperation.

Central Asia: Reclaiming the Geographical-Political "Virgin Land"
C. Asia & the US: Through economic aid to and bilateral military cooperation with Central Asian countries and NATO peace partnership, the United States plans to enlarge input in the region. After the "September 11" incident, America thought it right and proper to directly enter and station itself in Central Asia under the excuse of anti-terrorism. Out of the consideration of their own interests, Central Asian countries have provided the United States with military bases and pursue more pragmatic and diversified foreign policies than before, therefore, the United States has skillfully placed a chessman on the Eurasian chessboard, thus taking an offensive move and achieving many things at one stroke. Russia's traditional influence is put under check and the pattern of the region's original strength was loosened, presenting a situation of diversity.

C. Asia & Russia: After the "September 11" attacks, Russia's status in the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) and related policies met with further challenges and faced mounting thorny problems. As a result, between early 2000 and before the occurrence of the "September 11" incident, the strengthened tendency to the process of the CIS integration was somewhat weakened. The pressing problem facing Russia in this region is how to enable the CIS collective security treaty organization established in Moscow on May 14, 2002 to play its actual functions and how to help it properly handle with relevant countries the question relating to the division of the Caspian Sea as well as to gain initiative on the petroleum pipelining problem.

The current situation:

If US troops perpetuate their stationing in Central Asia, it would produce influence on the pattern of the existing strengths and the strategic balance of the region and would be hard for Russia to accept the reality of dominating Central Asian security jointly with the United States, interest conflict between the two sides is unavoidable, and the situation in the Central Asian region will become complicated;

The frequent occurrence of incidents of terrorist violence in the Central Asian region has posed great threat to the security and stability of the region, terrorists will for ever be hidden troubles;

The Caspian Sea area, rich in petroleum reserves, is another large oil depot following the Persian Gulf. Contention for energy is unavoidable;

The Middle East: Standing on the verge of "collapse"
The Palestine-Israeli Situation: After the occurrence of the "September 11" incident, the Sharon administration boarded the "anti-terrorist" chariot, and determined the nature of the Palestinian power organ as "an entity supporting terrorist activities", and so intensified military attacks on Palestine, besieged Yasser Arafat; while Palestinian radical forces intensified their surprise attacks on Israelis and incidents of suicidal blasts happened repeatedly. To prevent the situation from going out of control, the international community stepped up its mediation efforts, the Bush administration gradually abandoned its policy of "unintervention" pursued toward Palestine-Israel conflicts shortly after it came to power, instead, it has obviously intensified its involvement efforts; EU, Russia and others also sent personnel in succession to the Middle East for mediation. The "quadripartite conference on the Middle East issue" they held jointly with the United Nations and the United States is now becoming a new international mediation mechanism for a settlement of the Palestine-Israel conflicts, the Arab countries have issued a "peace proposal", promising that on the premise of Israel's complete withdrawal from the Arab territories it occupied since the 1967 war, all Arab countries would recognize Israel's right of subsistence and would establish normal relations with it.

The Iraq issue: For many years, the Saddam Hussein regime of Iraq has all along been a "heart disease" of the United States, an American "down with Saddam" war is impending. Politically, the United States determines the nature of Iraq as "axis of evil" country and "a most dangerous regime in the world", diplomatically, the Bush administration is exerting itself in search of support from the international community; militarily, the United States is stepping up its research and formulation of a plan for combating Iraq and has begun to adjust and strengthen its military deployment along the Gulf Sea areas. Although President Bush has repeatedly stressed he would overthrow the Saddam regime "at all costs", however, the United States obviously needs to surmount three major obstacles before it starts war against Iraq: first, divergent views within the American decision-making level; second, the universal anti-war voice of the international community; third, complexity of arrangement after the Iraq War.

The Current Situation:

There is relaxation in the Palestine-Israel situation, both sides have recently reached the agreement on "Bethlehem-Gaza advance troop withdrawal". But US stance of giving support to Israel and putting pressure on Palestine has not changed fundamentally. Particularly because the United States takes the replacement of Arafat and democratic reform as the prerequisite for the establishment of a Palestine state, the prospect for Palestine-Israel peace is full of uncertainties;

Regional anti-US sentiment is high, America's relations with its Arab allies have obviously become estranged, the two sides are seriously divided and constantly dissenting on a series of questions including the Afghanistan war, Palestine-Israel conflict and Iraq;

In the face of common pressure and predicament, the Moslem countries in the Middle East, taking the Arab Union, Islamic Conference Organization and other regional cooperation mechanisms as the carrier, have strengthened unity and collaboration. However, due to different interests of various countries, it is by no means easy for them to completely eliminate contradictions and disputes between them, the task is heavy and the road ahead is long for the Arab countries or the Moslem countries to get united for self-improvement.

By People's Daily Online

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