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Whose Version of the War on Terror Won? [EN]

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Su War On The Rocks Joseph Stieb discute di come sia mutata tra gli schieramenti politici statunitensi la percezione dell’interventismo e del nation building degli anni zero, cercando di sviluppare anche qualche riflessione sul futuro.

In short, the constituency for post-9/11 dreams of global transformation has collapsed. In response, the Obama, Trump, and Biden administrations have all sought to limit U.S. interventions. Now, as President Biden seeks to rally political support for his policy in Ukraine, it remains to be seen just how much the Global War on Terror and its backlash have transformed debates over U.S. foreign policy.

Subito dopo l’attacco dell’11 settembre liberali e conservatori si sono trovati uniti nel proporre una risposta altamente interventista: l’idea era di poter trasformare i Paesi da cui stava emergendo il terrorismo modificandone la società stessa. L’esito della guerra in Iraq ha ridato voce a quelle narrazioni secondo le quali non sia possibile (né auspicabile) trasformare le società straniere.

Nationalist criticism of the Global War on Terrorism stemmed from the traditionalist, paleo-conservative right. It was led by politicians and thinkers like Patrick Buchanan, Samuel Huntington, and writers at The American Conservative, which was founded in 2002 largely to oppose the pending war with Iraq. The nationalists focused on securing the homeland rather than changing the world. Like the neoconservatives and liberals, nationalists exhorted the United States to hunt down terrorists and instill fear in foes. Unlike the interventionists, however, they rejected nation-building efforts post-regime change. […]

From entirely different starting points, leftist anti-interventionist criticism of the Global War on Terror became prominent in academia, activist circles, and the Democratic Party’s progressive wing. In this interpretation, 9/11 was not an unprovoked attack on an innocent nation. Rather, as Susan Sontag argued, it was “an attack on the world’s self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions.” The United States had bombed various peoples, fomented coups, backed autocrats, and spread inequality. Now it faced predictable if regrettable “blowback.”


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