Among the recent flurry of articles on the decade of 9/11, there is this one from the Atlantic which I think merits a close reading. It has a rather omnious-sounding title of “Al-Qaeda Is Winning,” which no doubt will cause some fast dismissals relying on the undeniable fact that both guys depicted on a photo accompanying the article are by now dead. However, the article makes a good and — if you happen to be an American — uncomfortable point. When the US celebrated its winning of the Cold War it was widely pointed out that the victory did not came on a battlefield. To be sure, there were many proxy wars fought, but ultimately it was not this that brought down the USSR. Soviet Union was not defeated militarily, it finally succumbed to economic problems. By 1980s, military spending made up for almost 25 per cent of the Soviet GDP and this, combined with the additional cost of maintaining its semi-colonial empire through a widespread net of economic subsidies finally proved to be too much to bear. Of course, the current 4.6% American military spending is far cry from that, but if to consider the total cost and effect that 9/11 attacks have had on the world’s most powerful state there can be little doubt that Al-Qaeda has been astonishingly successful.
Oh, and if we are already on topic, here is an interesting take on one of the unfortunate outcomes of the global war on terror.