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Professors Hopkins and Hopkins review the impact of 9/11 as a symbol in American politics. Following the terrorist attacks, "9/11" became a simple reference condensing wide-ranging events and emotions. Various interpretations emerged about what caused "9/11" and enabled the attacks. The authors claim that 9/11 allowed US leaders to pursue certain policy prescriptions that otherwise would have been blocked. Among four possible prescriptions for responding to the attacks, the Bush administration chose a "praetorian" policy of preventive war, with Iraq as its first example. In the authors’ view, by pursuing an expansive but highly militarized response, the US has overlooked the need to alleviate the conditions that made 9/11 possible. The authors recommend that the US, as part of a multilateral effort, allocate major resources to expanding "global public goods," including measures that strengthen barriers to proliferation, enhance fighting of global crime, and reduce incentives for terrorism, especially ones arising in failing states where distorted education and weak protection of human rights encourage organized terrorism.


This work is freely available courtesy of De Gruyter.