chapter  1
Pages 16

When two passenger planes crashed into the World Trade Center and another flew into the Pentagon building in Washington on 11 September, 2001 the word ‘globalisation’ quickly became a buzzword in nearly every expert commentary on the background for the attacks. While globalisation had long been touted as mostly a force for good, at least for the Western world, the horrifying onslaught of death and destruction in the world’s greatest metropolis of power and capital highlighted the ‘dark side of globalisation’. Analysts warned about a rapidly changing world coming apart, unhinged by sinister forces not properly understood or anticipated. In the shadow of a remarkably long period of economic growth and the spread of the market democracies in the post-Cold War world, religious fanaticism had returned with a vengeance, shattering the Western sense of tranquillity and insulation from the ills and maladies affecting distant zones of conflict. The new evil was said to be feeding itself on abject poverty, glaring inequalities, remnants of Western colonial domination and a visceral hatred of the West’s wealth and success. It thrived in a growing number of Third World failed states, from where it could attack a Western metropolis, the traditional barriers of distance and geography had fallen thanks to the revolution in communication and transportation. These factors, it was argued, provided the ideological and material basis for a new professional warrior class of determined martyrdom-seeking terrorists, seeking to dethrone the world’s remaining superpower, punishing it for its political arrogance, its hypocritical foreign policy and its infidel values of individual freedom and liberal democracy. To many observers, the 9/11 attacks were the culmination of previously observed trends where terrorism was becoming increasingly more irrational in its logic, fanatical in its ideological manifestation, global in its reach, and mass-casualty-causing in its modus operandi. Nearly all previously held assumptions about terrorism as a political phenomenon were dismissed as anachronistic and outdated, and all but the most alarmist and hawkish predictions about terrorism were considered naïve and irrelevant.