Two hours that shook the world, not broke it

two hours that shook the world cover

The trouble about reading material on 9/11 published immediately after 9/11 is the danger of encountering an uncomplicatedly over-optimistic or pessimistic picture of things to come, due to a lack of analytical and perspectival distance from the events.  An example would be some of the essays in The Age of Terror: America and the World After September 11, co-edited by Strobe Talbott and Nayan Chanda, which, in their naive expectation of a measured US response post-9/11, is almost painful to read, considering what we now know to be the case.

In light of this, it was refreshing to find that Fred Halliday is surprisingly very conscious not to fall into the oversimplification trap in his book. In his chapters discussing the post-Cold War and post-9/11 international environment, globalisation or notions of ‘Islam’ versus the ‘West’, he casts suspicion on those who would make the claim of history to support what are to him merely modernist and in fact political rather than religious concerns.  For a book written so soon after 9/11, he wisely takes issue with those who initially espoused the inevitability of Huntington’s ‘clash of civilisations’ argument. Halliday makes a persuasive case to show that 9/11 changed certain things, but in some very important ways, the world proceeds apace. Indeed, for him, it is time the world vigorously addressed calls for increasing political, economic and cultural equity around the world, to counter the dark effects of a globalised world.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: