23 January 2019
The world was never the same again after the September 11 attacks. Photo:
The world was never the same again after the September 11 attacks. Photo:

How international terrorism is feeding on US war on terror

September 11 is always an unforgettable and unbearable day that evokes strong emotions and memories, as it was on that day 16 years ago that the United States suffered its worst terrorist attack ever. The world was never the same again after that fateful day.

Suffice it to say that “911” has such profound and far-reaching implications for the whole world that it has changed the course of history, and its ramifications are far from over even to this day.

For example, the war on terror in Afghanistan waged by former US president George W. Bush back in 2001 is still underway in full swing today. Despite the fact that Osama bin Laden was already hunted down and killed by the US, there appears to be still no end in sight to the war.

And the recent decision made by US President Donald Trump to enhance military commitment to Afghanistan suggests that the Afghan war, which has already cost the American taxpayers US$800 billion, is going to continue at least for quite a while, if not indefinitely.

The war in Afghanistan also led to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. However, ironically, the fall of Saddam Hussein didn’t bring any lasting peace to the Middle East. Instead, it created a power vacuum in the region and eventually gave rise to the Islamic State, which in recent years has already replaced the Al-Qaeda as the major terrorist threat to the West.

As some political analysts have put it, 16 years on, the war on terror has actually created “a vicious cycle of terrorism” rather than a safer world: As the US steps up its global military efforts at uprooting terrorism, it has generated more hatred in the Islamic world, which in turn has led to the escalation of terrorist attacks against the West.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept 12

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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