Impact of 9/11 on Globalization

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8th Feb 2020 History Reference this

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 On September 11, 2001, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks were carried out on the United States by Al-Qaeda, a terrorist group, that changed the landscape of the international community. These tragic events took the lives of nearly 3000 innocent people that day. The repercussions reverberated on a global scale, destabilizing economies worldwide and lead to immediate changes in foreign policies of countries around the globe. However, the impacts that these devastating actions have had on globalization continues to be felt to this day. There have been economic, political, religious and environmental impacts on the globe since the terrorist attacks of September 11.

On September 11, Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda, facilitated the terrorist attacks that would by the end of the day leave around 3000 innocent people dead and many more injured. On the morning of September 11, 19 terrorists hijacked four planes from Boston’s Logan airport. They chose the planes that were headed for the west coast since they were loaded with fuel. They planned to cripple the U.S. economy by destroying three centres of power: The White House, The Pentagon and Wall Street. The first two planes hit their targets. The American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into Tower One of the World Trade Centre and minutes later United Airlines flight 175 crashed into Tower Two. Half an hour after flight 175 had crashed, American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. United Airlines flight 93 which was headed to crash into the White House never made it to its target. By the time the hijackers got into the cockpit of the aeroplane, at least 10 passengers had received a call or text from their loved ones informing them about the World Trade Centre attacks at which point, the brave passengers attacked the terrorists causing the plane to crash in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. All 30 passengers on board were killed in the crash.

Economic Impact

 The attacks of September 11 had an immense economic impact on many countries. These attacks produced both short term and long-term economic consequences that proved quite costly for those countries. While it costed Al-Qaeda around $500,000 to plan and carry out the attacks on the WTO and the Pentagon, it costed the U.S. $3.3 trillion or $7 million for every dollar that Al-Qaeda spent. The New York Comptroller’s Office estimated the cost of 9/11 damage at $55 billion. Which includes, $24 billion in expected income of the lost loved ones. The value of the World Trade buildings was $8 billion. Computers, cars and furniture costed $6 billion. The damage to the subway system and other utilities were $6 billion and the damages to other buildings costed $5 billion. The city of New York spent $5 Billion to treat injuries, including the first responders who inhaled the toxic gases. The city also spent around $1 billion to clean up the area. Moreover, the initial shock of these attacks also panicked investors worldwide causing the global stock market to plummet. The Dow fell 7.13 percent, closing at 8,920.70. The 617.78-point loss was the Dow’s worst one-day drop at that time. The Federal Reserve dropped the fed funds rate half a point to 3.0 percent. The prices of Oil fell from $23.77 a barrel in August 2001 to $15.95 in October and the Airline Industry lost $5 billion dollars since passengers were afraid of flying for at least a year.

The long-term costs of these attacks have been devastating to the U.S. economy, as well as to other countries that have participated in the War on Terror.  On September 20, 2001, President Bush declared a War on Terror. He said, “Americans should not expect one battle but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen.” As of 2012, it was estimated that the cost of involvement in the war in Afghanistan was roughly around $440 billion, while the Iraq war costed nearly $790 billion. Since then President Obama spent $807 billion during his two terms and President Trump has budgeted $156 billion which brings the cost of the War on Terror to $2.126 trillion which the US has invested alone. Additionally, the United Kingdom spent nearly $30 billion in Afghanistan alone, as of 2012. In 2002, the United States created an entire new cabinet department, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to prevent any further terrorist attacks. The DHS has wasted $15 billion so far in failed contracts. In addition, in 2005 the United Nations formed the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force to “enhance coordination and coherence of counter terrorism efforts of the United Nations system.” While initially the task force operated under a budget of voluntary contributions, in 2009, member states suggested operational costs should be secured through the regular UN budget which led to further strain on an already tight UN budget.

Political Impacts

 The terrorist attacks caused a sequence of reactions and unintended consequences that reverberate to this day. These consequential effects included very expensive and never-ending war on terror, heightened suspicion on government and the media in many democratic countries, increasing islamophobia in the West, and the decline of US power alongside rising international disorder.

Just weeks after the 9/11 attacks, the administration of President Bush invaded Afghanistan with the aim of destroying Al-Qaeda. With the support of dozens of allies, the invasions quickly dismantled the Taliban Government and demolished Al-Qaeda. However, it was not until 2011, that the US forces found and killed Al Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. There have been efforts to end the formal combat operations in Afghanistan since then, but the war has continued. It is the longest war the United States has fought and is far from being over since the Talibans are still active in most of the country. More consequential than the war in Afghanistan, has been the second major armed conflict triggered by 9/11, the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Although Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was not linked to the 9/11 terror attacks, officials in the administration of President Bush were convinced his brutal regime was a major threat to world order. This was mainly due to Saddam Hussein’s past aggression, his willingness to defy the United States, and his aspirations to build nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs, making it seem likely that he would help groups planning terrorist attacks on the West. The invading forces quickly ousted Saddam and did not find any weapons of mass destruction, but the poorly executed, error-ridden occupation destabilised the entire region. In Iraq, it triggered a massive, long-running insurgency. In the Middle East more broadly, it boosted Iran’s regional influence, caused the rise of the Islamic State and created lasting disorder that has led to civil wars, countless terrorist attacks, and radicalisation causing the multiple middle eastern countries to become destabilized.

Religious Impacts

 The Terrorist attacks of September 11 had an immense impact on the lives of Muslim population in the United States and around the world. The rise of Islamophobia was caused due to the 9/11 attacks. Islamophobia is defined as an extreme fear, hatred, and hostility towards Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting prejudice, discrimination, the marginalization, and exclusion of Muslims from social, political and civil life.

After 9/11, many American Muslims had suffered from physical attacks, verbal threats, casual comments to workplace annoyance and burning mosques and Quran. In the seven days following the terrorist attacks, South Asians and Arabs reported 645 bias incidents and hate crimes against them. Many of these hate crimes were against Muslim women who wear headscarf because their clothes were related with terrorism. According to the council of American-Islamic Relations, post 9/11 anti-Muslim backlash has been characterised by a high degree of violence than in prior years and contains a number of murders. For example, in Chicago, there were more than 100 hate crimes reported against Arabs and Muslims, the largest mosque in the Chicago metropolitan area was circled by hundreds of any whites screaming “Kill the Arabs.” In addition, under the name of National security, Muslims were pressed legally, politically, and socially. In addition to the domestic policies and aggressive foreign policy that was framed as the war on terror, concentrated on infestation and occupation of Muslim territories without keeping the limit of international law and moral principles; there were actually two main wars happening, the US conquest of Iraq and Afghanistan, and an offensive policy towards the Middle East; it had made a tentative sense between American Muslims which led to severe aversion among Muslims and Americans, nationally and globally. In Western countries, Muslims are still treated as the most significant public enemy. Europeans politicians have risen to power by denouncing Muslim refugees from countries like Syria.

Environmental Impact

 Finally, the 9/11 attacks have also had an environmental impact on the world. The war on terror has caused years of fighting between the Talibans and the military. In October 2001, the United States attacked Afghanistan as the start of the ‘War on terror’, which still continues to this day. The ultimate goal was to replace the Taliban government, and to find the 9/11 mastermind and Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. Many European countries assisted the US in what was called “Operation Enduring Freedom”. The weapons used in wars have impacted the environment greatly. As a result of almost 18 years of war, natural habitat in Afghanistan has suffered a lot and the war on terror has only escalated the destruction. Afghanistan’s National Environmental Protection Agency has listed a total of 33 species on its Endangered list. By the end of 2019, the list may grow to over 80 species of plants and animals. In 2003, the United Nations Environment Program report claimed that war and long-standing drought “have caused serious and widespread land and resource degradation, including lowered water tables, desiccation of wetlands, deforestation and widespread loss of vegetative cover, erosion, and loss of wildlife populations.” For example, many birds are killed and sent off their migratory course. Tens of thousands of birds leave Siberia and Central Asia every year to migrate to the south. Many of these birds have traditionally flown through Afghanistan to the southeastern wetlands of Kazakhstan, but their numbers have drastically declined in recent years.

The wars have also affected the natural environment of Iraq and Afghanistan. Military vehicles use petrol-based fuels at a very high rate, with the vehicles used in the war zones having produced many hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and sulfur dioxide in addition to CO2. Air pollution from military vehicles and weapons used has affected public health among civilians in the war zones and US military members.

During the war, extensive damage was also done to the environment, and many people suffered health effects from weapons used against the Talibans. It is estimated that ten thousand villages, and their surrounding environments were destroyed. Villagers are unable to access safe drinking water due to the destruction of water infrastructure resulting in leaks, bacterial contamination and water theft. Rivers and groundwater were contaminated by poorly constructed landfills located near the sources.

 In conclusion, the impact of the 9/11 terror attacks on Globalization can still be seen today after almost 20 years. The attacks had a big economic impact on many countries around the world, especially the United States. Billions of dollars had to be spent to rebuild what the terrorist had destroyed and the panic among global market had caused the stock market to plummet drastically causing companies to lose money. The political impact caused by 9/11 attacks have caused a sequence of reactions and unintended consequences that reverberate to this day. These reactions and the increasing hate against the Muslim community has caused politicians like Donald Trump to rise to power by denouncing Muslims. The terror attacks have also caused environmental damage. The war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq has affected the climate of the area and also the wildlife that lives there. All these factors have impacted globalization in one way or the other throughout the years and are still impacting globalization in a negative way.

Work Cited

  • Globalization101.org.(2011). “Ten Years Later: The Global Impact of the 9/11 Attacks.” (Accessed November 6, 2018).
  • Hughes, C. (n.d.). “Reflection on Globalisation, Security and 9/11.” (Accessed November 8, 2018.)
  • Kellner, D. (n.d.). “Globalization, Terrorism, and Democracy: 9/11 and its Aftermath.” (Accessed November 6, 2018).
  • Khan, A. and Estrada, M. (2016). “Globalization and terrorism: An Overview.” Springer (Accessed November 8, 2018.)
  • Murphy, J. (2002). “The Impact of Terrorism on Globalization and Vice-Versa.” The International Lawyer, 36(1), 77-89. (Accessed November 6, 2018).
  • Real-Time Interactive Earthquake Map: Get to Know Your Local Faults. (2018, May 15). (Accessed December 3, 2018) from https://www.kqed.org/lowdown/13923/interactive-earthquake-map-get-to-know-your-neighborhood-fault-lines
  • Siham, A and Karima, B. (2015). “The impact of 9/11 on Islam in the USA” (Accessed December 4, 2018). 
  • Terrorisms Impact on International Relations. (n.d.). Retrieved December 3, 2018, from https://www.irmi.com/articles/expert-commentary/terrorisms-impact-on-international-relations

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