The world has changed dramatically since the terrorist attacks on new york And Washington on 9/11, 2001. pop culture has evolved — significantly — as have the ways we eat, communicate, work, and obtain our information about the planet.
Geopolitically, the past 20 years are transformative, and these developments have impacted what percentage observers reflect on the post-9/11 era.
Here are three samples of big geopolitical shifts over the past 20 years, and the way they’ll influence our understanding of worldwide events today.
China got big. In 2001, China wasn’t even a member of the planet Trade Organization, and it had been still considered a developing country that was largely closed faraway from the worldwide economy. In 2001, China recorded a GDP per capita of $1,053 compared to $10,500 in 2020.
Today, China’s leaders speak of “a new era” during which China will move “closer to center stage” in international affairs. President Xi Jinping now involves a “Chinese solution” for the world’s problems.
In 2001, China’s geopolitical interests weren’t strictly defined con to the US (and vice versa). within the aftermath of 9/11, the previous leader of China’s Communist Party, President Jiang Zemin, expressed some sympathy with the US and supported an involved action at the United Nations Security Council. He also backed an anti-terrorism resolution calling for the ousting of the Taliban that had provided shelter for al-Qaeda.
That spirit of cooperation may be a far cry from what we have seen in recent years, when Beijing, a veto-wielding member of the UNSC, has used its power to thwart US-driven resolutions. When it involves Afghanistan, China says it’s hospitable recognizing the Taliban and is now working against US strategic interests within the region.
The US is not any longer willing to be the world’s policeman. In September 2001, us was at the peak of its post-Cold office. America was the unrivaled global hegemon, and despite arguments over how and whether to intervene in African conflicts and therefore the former Yugoslavia, there was more domestic consensus across the political spectrum about how and when the US should deploy that power, particularly after the 9/11 attacks. only one member of Congress, California Democrat Barbara Lee, voted against the war in Afghanistan.
American politics have always been acrimonious, yet within the immediate post-9/11 era, there was more bipartisan consensus about what the US mission in Afghanistan should be — and fewer opposition to the thought that America had a broader “responsibility to lead” to advance American political values. That’s not the case. As Ian Bremmer recently acknowledged, if there’s anything that Democrats and Republicans agree on today — and there’s not much — it’s that the US should withdraw from Afghanistan. a part of the rationale for that, Bremmer explains, is that lawmakers — and American voters — do not want to be “the promoter of common values.”
In October 2001, 80 percent of USA citizens supported a ground invasion in Afghanistan to urge the bad guys who wreaked havoc on NY City. Today, against this, there’s little or no appetite to send American troops to far-flung conflict zones while Americans’ reception grapples with COVID recovery, crime, and other domestic political priorities. The recent killing of 13 US service members amid the hasty US withdrawal from Afghanistan is probably going to strengthen that stance. That’s to not say that the US is pursuing an isolationist policy — far away from it. But American assumptions about the role the US should play within the world have certainly changed.
What is a war anyway? Twenty years ago, a military offensive — a boots-on-the-ground intervention — was the first way for the US to exert maximum pressure on an adversary. But the character of war and combat has evolved dramatically over the past 20 years. State-of-the-art pilotless aircraft and “killer drones” are often utilized in surveillance missions and war, and form an army’s perspective, can provide a more precise and fewer costly alternative to traditional aerial missions. Most militaries, including NATO, are watching the way to use technology to avoid casualties without compromising the mission’s objectives.
Us has been developing its drone tech for a few times, but in recent years, China to has been increasingly focused on upping its drone game: China’s state-run Aviation Industry Corps has sold advanced drone tech to a minimum of 16 countries over the past decade and is additionally building a drone factory in Saudi Arabia, the primary within the region.
China, for its part, has pushed back on accusations that its drone production is fueling a replacement race, but the Pentagon is certainly jittery because more countries are developing drone technologies that are getting used in war-like scenarios, sometimes by bad actors. (Azerbaijan used Turkish-supplied drones against Armenia in last year’s conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, while the Kremlin has agreed to send drones to Myanmar’s oppressive junta .)
And future wars are more likely to be fought mainly with cyber weapons than with aviation projected by aircraft carriers. In fact, cyberspace is an increasingly dangerous arena for conflict. That’s true not just for war, except for acts of terrorism.