September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Story:It's a Small World After All
Citizens of the United States listened, mum, throughout the hedonistic
decade of the 1990s as the rhetoric of globalization poured forth from every media outlet; hailing new technologies and ideas that would erase national boundaries, indeed, that would shrink the very world itself. Many people took all this in with a sense of complacence, never bothering to question the deeper meanings of the first revolution of the new millennium so long as the evening news displayed the Dow in green type.
This relative sense of confidence and calm was shattered along with
thousands of lives on the morning of September 11th, 2001. America suffered a painful epiphany that two oceans and a powerful military could no longer isolate it from the troubles of the world. In the days of the Cold War, the consequences of superpower conflict may have been grave, but there was always a safety net of diplomacy and professional, governing officials. Now, the United States faces terrorism, a disunited, almost invisible enemy with whom there can be no negotiation, and which can only with great difficulty, if ever, be defeated on the battlefield.
A new paradigm in the fabric of global society has been set, and if the
United States is to succeed within it, it must do more than simply look
after itself and seek to bludgeon all who oppose it. It must cooperate with all nations, wealthy and poor alike, to bring greater peace, lasting
prosperity, and the light of learning to everyone, not just political
allies. The United States has not only gained much from the world around it, it is fundamentally a part of that world. The most important lesson we must learn from 9/11 is that to support ourselves, Americans must support the community of nations.