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9/11 Never Happened: The World that Wasn’t August 8, 2006

Posted by earthlingconcerned in United Nations, Western Culture, What if....
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The fifth anniversary of the tragic events that took place on September 11th, 2001 is fast approaching. We will once again be reminded exactly what a group of radicals is capable of. It is important to be reminded for reasons that should be transparent to all. We were recently reminded of the bombings of Hiroshima so that humanity knows the destructive power it wields. This understanding may have allowed the Cold War that followed to remain just that, cold. America is reminded of Pearl Harbor and much of Europe is reminded of the invasion of Poland so to understand why the largest war in human history took place and why it is imperative that it never does again. Most individual nations are reminded of their moment of independence, and what that means to them. All of this occurs for a reason, we remember yearly because it is simply too dangerous to forget. But sometimes it is important to look back, and focus instead on what could have been. To remember the direction the world was heading before these events transpired. Thus, my efforts to do this will focus on a world before 9/11, of one where that date means very little, instead of it all.

At the dawn of the 21st century, the western world was still recovering from the success of the 90’s. The stock market was facing an steady decline after the boom as the century was ending. The number of internet millionaires that were created before the dot-com bubble burst was a faulty indicator of things to come. The unnecessary Y2K scare prompted countless businesses to upgrade their equipment, thus driving the world economy ever further. Yet after this prediction proved to be only that, the world went on, albeit, in a thrifty sort of way (everyone had already done their spending). Corporate America was seeing the seemingly invincible powers of Enron, Arthur Anderson, Adelphia, Tyco and WorldCom (to name a few) come crashing down after a series of scandals broke loose. A controversial elections result in the United States caused some tremors of uncertainty throughout the world, yet even so, the world should have been ready to handle these events. Just like it overcame Black Monday in 1987. In the same manner that Bre-X, the Guiness affair, or even the Ford Pinto scandal were blemishes that were overcome rather than days of infamy that will forever be etched into our psyche. These were events that took place, events that caused harm, but in no way handicapped the world at large. There were still global goals that were being addressed with great attention.

The United Nations was in the process of reorganizing itself from the bureaucratic behemoth it had become into something else. It was slowly overcoming conflicting reform demands from its member states. Demands which were felt necessary after the disastrous three strikes the UN suffered after Somalia, Rwanda-Burundi and Bosnia of the mid 90s. Kofi Annan, who had only been appointed Secretary-General a few years prior was shifting gears. In being more realistic about how thin the UN could be stretched at any given time, and by seeing a few minor peace keeping successes (I.e. The relatively (until this year) stable step to independence in East Timor in 1999). The challenges that the UN has faced hadn’t disappeared, but a huge shift in direction was beginning to take place is something that should not be forgotten:

Despite the other distractions, Annan seemed to be increasingly successful in steering attention to Africa, the continent facing the greatest concatenation of challenges, and in getting public opinion to recognize that efforts to help African societies must involve not only substantial resources, but above all cleverly shared work by all parts of the UN as well as by the NGOs, the churches, and international business. In this larger, holistic view of things, the Security Council is but one of the actors—a vital one, to be sure, for every community needs its night watchmen and policemen—but much else is also needed to make the world community content and prosperous. – The Parliament of Man, Paul Kennedy

To put things in perspective, it should be remembered that on September 10th 2001, ten thousand Africans died needlessly and tragically. Just as has happened every day since then due to the ravages of AIDS, TB, and Malaria. With all this said, it should not be believed that the actual events of 9/11 prevented this hopeful course from taking place.

The Doha Declaration in November 2001, and the Monterrey conference the following year were both instances in which the international community got together in an attempt to alleviate the poorest of the world had to face. Yet much of these suggestions have been put on hold or have not been adequately dealt with, like it looked like they would have prior to 9/11 when the U.S. government persuaded the Congress to resume full funding of its share of the UNs expenses. Without the United States giving full support, the UN can only be a shadow of an ideal as they are accountable for about 25% of the entire budget of the world body (and owes a considerable amount of this as every year passes). Other countries like Japan (20%), Germany (10%), France (6.5%), UK (5.6%) and Italy (5%) are all responsible for a large chunk of the pie as well. But the country whose military budget is more than the next 20 biggest spenders combined, and increasing every year. It seems like September 11th did indeed shift a few priorities here and there. Had there been no war on terror, would there be such an increase in military spending? It seems rather unlikely. Would Kofi Annan focus the world body on Africa like originally planned? Would the recent Doha round in Geneva have produced different results if the post 9/11 economy hadn’t suffered the way it has? Would the price of oil be as high as it did 9/11 make a difference to any of this? China’s high demand would definitely still have raised the price, Hurricane Katrina would still have happened, and the BP Pipeline in Alaska would still have needed to be shut down. All of these events cause instability in the worlds oil markets. All independently of the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

But to answer these questions is not why this article has been written. The reality is that we do live in a world in which has been shaken by the aftermath of 9/11. We live in a world where we must be reminded of this, and several other catalysts in historical change of similar magnitude. This is just a prescription to everyone who reads this that it is essential to remember the path of the world before the World Trade Center came crashing down. Before the outright War on Terror. The fate of Africa and much else that was of great focus only five years ago has definitely not been forgotten. Our world is too complicated to let such ideals die by the wayside. This is simply a reminder to anyone who may be forgetting. Because there has never been an anniversary to the way things were supposed to have gone.

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