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Education, English, Global Politics

The Foreign Policy After 9/11

Nine days after the attack of September 11, on September 20, 2001, President George W. Bush, in his speech before a joint session of Congress, changed the direction of American foreign policy from creating a missile shield over several countries of Europe and focused on ending terrorism with all her might.

In his speech, George W. Bush declared that the United States would go after the nations that aid and provide safe haven to the terrorist organizations. The American foreign policy after the 9/11 attacks not only had domestic effects but also on the other nations in the world as Mr. President made it clear in his speech that every nation has to be either against or with terrorists. The 9/11 attacks marked an epoch in history. The world before 9/11 was a lot different from the world after 9/11, as the American foreign policy after 9/11 affected many nations around the globe.

The event had a huge impact on the nation’s behavior and concerns about safety. The change in the foreign policy also had a huge domestic impact. The foreign policy called for new laws such as the USA Patriot Act, according to the national defense, and security is the first priority, even if it comes at the cost of public freedom. After the 9/11 attacks, America’s defense budget skyrocketed. In 2011, the budget for national security soared from sixteen billion dollars to forty-five billion dollars. The billions of dollars that were spent on the war mostly came from borrowing, which destabilized the world economy. Moreover, about three million American citizens joined military forces from 2001 to 2011. In the wars, approximately six thousand soldiers lost their lives, and about forty-four thousand were wounded. More than eighteen percent of the returned soldiers have post-traumatic stress disorder, they suffer from fits of depression, and almost twenty percent are reported to be suffering from traumatic brain injury. These soldiers make a large group of depressed and mentally unstable people, which affects an even greater number because they also affect their families and the people related to them.

The foreign policy after 9/11 was based on a distinctly American internationalism that reflected their national interests. The change in foreign policy had a ripple effect across the globe, especially in the Middle East. After the attacks of 9/11, the entire world came out in sympathy with the United States, including the whole Muslim world. It was a brief moment of American moral supremacy, but it squandered this gain wholly by launching armed aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq. Within the month after the 9/11 event, America sent its army to invade Afghanistan to dismantle the Taliban government and pull al-Qaeda to pieces. Two years later, the United States attacked Iraq and overthrew President Saddam Hussein because he was suspected of producing nuclear weapons. The Iraq invasion was an important part of America’s War on Terror. America’s belligerence caused a surge of anti-Americanism and support for radical Islamism in the Muslim world. The war affected millions of people, took the lives of thousands of people, and caused huge damage to the infrastructure in several countries. The chaos of war sprouted the Islamic State extremism, which is one of the largest problems of the present world and has affected many countries around the globe.

Media played a substantive role in the shaping of the United States’ foreign policy after the 9/11 event. Media offers a constant flow of news and information all day long. This constant flow affects public opinion, which influences governmental decision-making. The attacks exaggerated the connection between media spectacles of terror and the strategy of the terrorists. The authorities make use of violent events to support their agenda through the media. The US government employed spectacles of terrorism to support the US military operation and its geopolitical results in the war on terror. In his research named “9/11, spectacles of terror, and media manipulation: A critique of Jihadist and Bush media politics,” Douglas Kellner criticizes the role of broadcasting media of the US that presents the attacks as terror spectacle which subsequently calls for multilateral global responses to terrorism and other enemies. The mainstream US commercial media, specifically broadcasting, became a means of publicity for the Bush government and Pentagon to promote their policy of the War on Terror. Kellner concludes his research by suggesting limitations on the politics of the media. He argues that, in recent years, the record of the scenes of the War on Terror has extremely unpredictable, negative, and ambiguous political effects.

The foreign policy of the United States reflects its objectives in the world and nation’s interests. It is also the expression of the means by which it achieves these goals and interacts with other countries. The complexity of foreign policymaking has increased due to global interdependence and the collapse of traditional barriers. The constitution of America has been described as an “invitation to struggle” between the President and Congress in the fabrication of foreign policy. The process of making foreign policy in the US is cumbersome compared to other liberal democracies. The Constitution has many safeguards that prevent tyranny. Even then, they frequently undermine Congress against the executive, which makes the development and implementation of a cohesive foreign policy difficult and creates ambiguity regarding the actual foreign policy. This gives different interest groups an opportunity to pressurize the government branches, therefore, the foreign policy actors in the US are often difficult to discern. A thin line divides domestic and foreign issues, and the global economic crisis after 9/11 proved that local decisions also have international effects.



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