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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 17:19, September 12, 2006
What has changed and what remains unchanged in the post-9/11 era
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People's Daily on Monday carries a commentary entitled "What has changed and what remains unchanged in the post-9/11 era". Its excerpts are as follows:

Media around the world are making a big issue of the theme "what the September 11 attack has changed" at the fifth anniversary of the historic incident. After the outbreak of September 11 attack, the New Yorkers used the "landmark" most frequently to depict the collapsed twin high-rises. They are of course the "landmark" not merely for New Yorkers but one engrained in the minds of all Americans. When the landmark is no longer around, the world has also changed for Americans. An opinion poll then showed that most of the Americans held that 9/11 incident would never change their perspectives on the world.

With changes around the world projected in the minds of Americans, there will surely be changes in the trend of the world as the United States is the most powerful nation. All the five continents have been impacted by the U.S. war on terror over the past five years. Some regions have been bombed by American war planes, some are occupied by American troops, and some others have dispatched soldiers to join US servicemen for besieges in other countries, and people in some regions live in fear of terrorist attacks night and day. A couple of my peers have set forth their following views in an opinion poll:

First, people's view has changed on the United States, which was thought to be very powerful before 9/11 attack and, after the incident, the nation revealed both its unprecedented weakness and its most unprecedented might. If the most powerful nation is frail, the world is frail too. The most of those surveyed hold this view, which is also similar to the perceptions of Americans. The US homeland, which has never been encroached upon since 1812, has always been a safe haven despite two world wars and the Korea and Vietnam wars, whereas the 9/11 attack shattered the myth of eternal security in Mainland U.S., noted some American scholars after the 9/11 incident,

Secondly, people's view on the image of the U.S. has also changed, and they come to regard the United States as too hegemonic permeated with a peremptory air. And from numerous opinion polls over the past two years, the US image has continuously been dropping the minds of the people around the globe.

Thirdly, people have truly come to know about terrorism. To people in China, terrorism was only a word found in international news and merely a concept of the limited scale fighting in "hot spot" areas before 9/11 but, after the attack, they come to know that terrorism can maul the most powerful nation heavily but also menace themselves. A colleague of mine attribute this to one of the reasons ordinary Chinese now attach more importance to world news.

Fourthly, people have felt differences between the Sino-US ties before and after 9/11. The United States took China as its opponent before September 11 attack and, after the planes crashed into the World Trade Center twin towers on Sept. 11 of 2001, it found its main foes in terrorists. In order to wage war on terror, the U.S. had to cooperate with China, and steady progress has been made in Sino-US relations.

Fifth, people have changed their ideas on air travel and overseas trips. When people now take plane, they often have to go to airport a few hours in advance and spend scores of minutes to go through customs, and the people with these feelings are usually those who are on business trips.

It seems that 9/11 incident has indeed changed a lot of things, and tactics should be worked out to compy with these changes. But there are also things that remained unchanged in the post-9/11 days.

Then, what are things that remained unchanged? People still live and work in the same way there used to. This reminds me of a platitude for New Yorkers: "Life will continue." This is true to all people around the globe who are victimized by the 9/11 incident, including people in China.

The world has changed in the eyes of Americans after 9/11 attack. Some Americans deem that their opportunities have come, and it is now up to them to change the world in accordance with their objectives. They go all out to promote their freedom and democracy with a conviction that the United States will have an absolute security only when freedom and democracy fall to the ground and blossom. Consequently, these Americans integrate the transformation of the Middle East with the war on terror and staged a major play in Iraq. US President George W. Bush recently said: "The anti-terror war represents the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century."

Nevertheless, there are things that can hardly changed or cannot be changed at all in this world and, because the existence of these things, the world is rich and varied, luxuriant and colorful.

By People's Daily Online


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