For want of a better title: 911

For want of a better title

Tall and Tan and oh so Sexy, the boy *not* from Ipanema goes walking by...

Sunday, September 11, 2005


So it's September 11, 2005, 4 years ago some bad people decided to drive two planes into the World Trade Center towers 1 and 2. Everyone remembers those moments. I was up for breakfast getting ready to go to class. No one knew what was going on, everyone thought it was an accident. Horrible, but an accident. Then the second one hit and that was it. The world fundamentally changed. The world's only superpower found purpose again. It had a world to make safe after the failures of Somlia and Rawanda and the near mistake of the former Yugoslavia.

4 years have passed and not a day goes by where people critcise the US government for being overbearing and domineering. (Kind of like my criticism of my mum) [hi mom. I understand]
But being here in the US for four years now, and not being a US citizen, I've gained a greater appreciation for what the US is doing.

It's too easy for the first world Europeans, tucked safely away in their comfy homes with stereos and TVs to point fingers at the Americans and say they're stupid and evil. But who patrols the oceans to make it safe for international trade? So that you can sip your coffee in Vienna or wear your made-in-China designer colthings? Who upholds the international systems of commerce and capitalism? Who sacrifices the most men and women to keep Danone and BMW worldwide brands?

Invading Afghanistan and Iraq are seen as mistakes and aggressive acts, and of course frowned upon by international law. Yet, if the US had let those two nations fester, what would it do for regional security? Or even international security. I don't know if the world is safer now, but I do now that regional stability in Central Asia has increased. Iraq is still unstable so it leaves much to be told about regional stability in the Middle East.

It's too easy to just pound away at the US, calling them arrogant and bullies, but let's see the rest of the world put money where its mouth is. The Bretton-Woods system of the IMF and World Bank doled out alot of money to help various nations stay afloat. The US military is often used by the UN to enforce the rules of international behaviour. Take Somalia for example, when the US pulled out, UN forces collapsed. When the US was hesitant about Bosnia, the mission didn't go well. Take even WWI and WWII, without the US military, we'd be a very different world. Maybe WWII would not have started, or we'd all be Japanese or German subjects, who knows the course of history.

Today the US garrisons Germany and Japan to prevent an arms buildup in Europe and East Asia. Even in the cosy EU, a US pull out, would cause Germany to rearm itself and alot of nervousness around the table. Japan rearming itself could lead to an East Asian war.

I would also like to remember the good people at the Pentagon and those who downed a plane in Pennsylvania. Even more so than the people in the twin towers, these men and women were defending what they believed in. The soldiers in the Pentagon were defending the world, keeping it free so you and I could get our Sony playstation and our Renault cars. Those folks on the plane decided that they would stop the hijackers before they could crash the plane into anything. They lost their lives preventing more lives from being lost.

Is that the American spirit or the Human spirit? I don't know. The world has not known a superpower with this kind of global reach in forever. Not even the British Empire or the Roman Empire had such altruistic intentions.

The grouses against the US are but a handful. I bet you cannot name more than 10 incidents in the last 20 years where the US did not follow international norms and morales. Which means that most of the time the US plays by the rules and actually enforces the rules. No other nation puts in so much effort to making the system work. Not even the EU. For all its hyped up power, it remain militarily ineffective, poltically weak, and only has the economy going for it. And guess who props up the global system of trade and capitalism? Not the French or Spanish, they hardly have soldiers around the world.

So before you decide to bitch about the US, or not care at all about the people who suffer from Katrina, take a moment and wonder if the US wasn't here and it was a free-for-all if you'd even have an internet to bitch on.

My thoughts goes out to the folks who died on 9/11 and to the Katrina disaster victims.


  • At 9/12/2005 10:39 AM, Blogger MyOrangeSweater said…

    I totally agree. I've lived here for almost 6 years, definitely don't have the urge to become a citizen, but I can appreciate things that the country has done.

  • At 9/12/2005 2:19 PM, Anonymous Slimey said…

    dude....u watch too much cnn, too much fox news network.

    try getting your news from elsewhere.

    i don't deny america has done some good, but america is not some friggin' saviour of the world and 'altruistic' as you put it. horrible atrocities they've done, at the behest of the people in power. any kind of extreme stance makes me puke. honestly.

    objectivity and truth...lay the cold hard facts out and stop opining.

  • At 9/13/2005 8:05 AM, Anonymous w said…

    slimey: It's near impossible to predict the what might have been's, supposing America had not done all that it has been criticized for. It's a lot harder to do something when you're in a position of power (and, while you're at it, responsibility), than when you're sitting on a couch pointing fingers at all the slip ups they may or may not have made. Besides, why berate opining when you've obviously chosen your side of the fence?

    Postmaster-General: I really liked this article. While there may be much that the US has done to warrant criticism, I think the (smaller?) successes they've achieved - and some of those by way of the disputable actions - have gone ignored. Well said.

  • At 9/13/2005 8:41 PM, Blogger Postmaster-General said…

    Lynne: I would never stop being a Singaporean, for better or for worst that is home.

    W: Thanks for the kind words. This is based on what I've observed

    Slimey: I don't watch CNN or Fox. I read alot. I read both US, European, Arab, Southeast Asian and East Asian newspapers. I am also a student of history. And historically the US has made, played and kept the rules. More so than any other great power I've known. It's shooting for Hegemony now, which unlike Empire is one where you create, and maintain a system even though you know sometimes you lose, like when the US had to go to war in Iraq with half the world against it. It broke the rules and it deals with it, but it enforces those rules as well.

    But for arguments sake, let's say you take the US out of the equation. What would the world be like? If suddenly the US became insular and shut down the entire global economy. I mean if the US quit the global economy 20% of the world economy disappears. Even if its only the government, the UN, WTO and other international organisations will be badly affected. Also Germany and Japan will have to rearm. Guess who's going to be jumpy, the French, the Chinese and both Koreas. A good old fashion arms race right north of my home. That's just the beginning. Who's going to patrol the oceans? So you can be assured of your Giordano jeans and Starbucks coffee. The Olympics will be one big boring China wins all event.

    I'd like to hear what you think the senario would be if the US quit the world so to speak.

  • At 9/14/2005 9:38 AM, Blogger brendywendy said…

    wah! so deep man this post.

    i totally get what you mean.

    it is true. from my point of view anyway. other countires are only good for pointing fingers at the states, no one had stepped up to the plate more than America and yet they get slammed for it.

    talk about caught between a rock and a hard place.

  • At 9/14/2005 9:38 AM, Blogger brendywendy said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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