September 11, 2001— a turning point in world history. An infamous landmark for international relations and global security as well. Twelve years hence, the morning of that September 11 resonates in the mind like a recently suffered tragedy. The world still seems to writhe with the soreness of a militant travesty that shocked not only the United States but also the world, perhaps for eternity. Every year, Americans visit the 9/11 memorial in New York to remember the 2,800 victims who died when two jetliners were made to crash into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre — the ultimate symbol of heady American capitalism.
The people who died in the tragedy will always be remembered as dots on a vast maze of geopolitical strains that have come to reshape global politics of the times.
A dozen years in the aftermath of the spine-chilling incident have institutionalised the interplay of several global forces. Terrorism, never to so much feature on nations’ agenda, acquired a new meaning, goading states to invest a considerable part of their national wealths in stanching its rise. Ten years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, something appeared on the global horizon that was to consume significant parts of the energies of nations new and old. After the emergence of a unipolar world, post 9/11 international politics has seen the emergence of a firm albeit diverse institution that has brought together forces opposed to militancy.
Amid the chronic argument of what constitutes terrorism, global forces have aligned to defeat the destructive designs of terror groups, which have often presented mounting challenges to state might.
To quote the action-reaction law, actions by states against militant groups have led to the reaction of opposing forces uniting under different umbrellas with a broadly unified ideology. From Bali to Boston and Mumbai to Mindanao, the fight against terrorism has yielded mixed results. The war against terror has had a tectonic effect on the societies and politics of countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Not only has western intervention brought about untold misery to the population of these states, they have been pushed into an unending cycle of violence fuelled by sectarian interests.
It is true that the fight against terrorism has significantly reduced the traction militants could have otherwise gained. The killing of Osama bin Laden proved that nations will be able to reach the perpetrators of evil, no matter how strong their supporters. On the other hand, the apparent success of groups like Boko Haram and Al Shebab point to militancy thriving on the back of ideology than individuals. To defeat terrorism, the evil designs of the distorted mind have to be defeated. Besides going after militant groups, the global order also has to strike at the roots of militancy•