Insane in Parenthesis (From 9/11 to COVID)
In a new essay, PeaceQuest Cape Breton’s Sean Howard wonders whether the blood-stained twenty years following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 might have been avoided if the world had truly transformed following the end of the fearful Cold War in 1989.
“As I have oft-lamented, the 1990s was a decade of tragically lost opportunity, the criminal squandering of the post-Cold War ‘peace dividend,’ the briefly realistic prospect of a far less violent – and far more equal – world. Had such a sane global order – radically demilitarized, completely denuclearized – emerged by September 11, 2001, it would still have faced daunting challenges, most urgently the risk of chronic climate breakdown and the related perils of unsustainable development, e.g. pandemics spawned by the collapse of biodiversity,” writes Howard.
“And it would still have been rocked to its core by 9/11 – though I strongly suspect, in the context of a peaceful revolution in international affairs, that the sky would not have fallen that morning. But even if it had, surely such a new world would have been brave enough not to respond to terror with terror, depravity with torture, lawlessness with illegality, non-state violence with war, war, war…”
As Howard documents, “In September 2020, the Costs of War project ‘conservatively’ estimated “that at least 37 million people have fled their homes in the eight most violent wars the US military has launched or participated in since 2001.”
“But surely no development since 9/11 has more thoroughly exposed the folly of seeking national security through military superiority than the Coronavirus pandemic. What authentic, human security would $6.4 trillion have purchased America, a Superpower without a national health service and gravely disfigured by poverty, bigotry and inequity? Post-pandemic, President Biden has a chance to close the sordid parenthesis that opened on that halcyon morning, and ‘raise the starting gun’ on a new American revolution: from a war-addicted menace to an anti-war state,” concludes Howard.
Sean Howard is adjunct professor of political science at Cape Breton University and member of Peace Quest Cape Breton and the Canadian Pugwash Group.
- Read “Insane in Parenthesis (From 9/11 to COVID)” by Sean Howard, published by the Cape Breton Spectator on September 8, 2021.