Wow. Apparently the Germans who write for Der Spiegel don’t think much of our little 10-year anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, filing these two reports to mark the occasion:
• Bush’s Tragic Legacy: How 9/11 Triggered America’s Decline
• Opinion: Ten Lost Years
Some highlights from the first:
“American exceptionalism” was always the US’s trump card. The new candidates for the White House still refer to it in the election campaign, but it sounds like a hollow mantra — one of those election promises that shouldn’t be examined too closely.
Because if it was, then people might realize that many things in America are only exceptional because they are exceptionally bad. The country has lousy health statistics despite having one of the most expensive health care systems in the world. Then there are the billions wasted in education, not to mention the armaments madness — the US spends almost as much on defense as the rest of the world put together.
And then there is the fixation on a financial system that rewards gamblers, where the country’s most talented young people no longer work on developing new patents, but devote themselves to financial wizardry. Meanwhile, China and other emerging economies can happily concentrate on their own ascent.
And from the second:
The policy of the United States after 9/11 wasn’t merely immoral. It actually damaged the country. The roughly 3,000 people who died on Sept. 11 were followed by more than 6,000 dead American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, countless civilian victims, 5 million refugees and costs currently estimated at more than $3 trillion (€2.13 trillion).
What should the West have done after the attacks on America? The “War on Terror” should have ended when al-Qaida was driven out of Afghanistan. Instead, the United States turned it into an ideological world war.
It expended so many of it resources in this struggle, beyond all reasonable measure, that it led to shifts in the global tectonics of power. The rise of China, which may have been unstoppable already, was accelerated. The United States overestimated its abilities, and the neocons’ fantasies of omnipotence failed as a result.
Yikes! Maybe they’re just mad about the whole Greek default thing…