Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"The End of the War on Terror and a new New World Order?"

by Ali Abunimah

In the shocking aftermath of September 11, the U.S. was still acknowledged as the sole superpower, and the president could get away with telling the World “either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.”6 This was in effect a demand that all other countries subordinate their own priorities to fighting America’s enemies as it alone defined them.

In 2008, the United States has come up against the limitations of this posture—a further built-in contradiction is that it has demanded absolute loyalty to its agenda from countries that increasingly felt much more victimized by American actions than by terrorism. This often put client governments on a collision course with their publics. A case in point is Pakistan where the only criterion for evaluating former President and military dictator General Pervez Musharraf was how much he served narrowly-defined U.S. interests. Unsurprisingly— except perhaps to Washington policymakers—he faced increasing domestic opposition from constituencies that felt their fundamental interests were being trampled, eventually forcing him from office. Similar dynamics are at play to a greater or lesser extent in countries across South Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül recently observed that the era when the United States alone could set the world agenda had ended. “I don’t think you can control all the world from one center. There are big nations. There are huge populations. There is unbelievable economic development in some parts of the world,” Gül said and, returning to a familiar theme, he argued, “What we have to do is, instead of unilateral actions, act all together, make common decisions and have consultations with the world. A new world order, if I can say it, should emerge.”7

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