The crisis of universalism: America and radical Islam after 9/11
“In a trenchant analysis of the post-9/11 world, Fred Halliday documents the two-sided assault both by the United States and its fundamentalist enemies on universal principles. Can citizens of the world retrieve a confident, humane politics from beneath the rubble?”
The crisis of universalism, the weakness of the traditional nation-states, and the militarised character of world politics today, together mean that the major issues already confronting the world before 9/11, none of which have become easier since then, are being increasingly neglected. The existence of specific transnational problems like the spread of HIV/Aids and narco-trafficking is sufficient evidence of this. Moreover, none of the interethnic conflicts that fuel public support for Osama bin Laden have been resolved, most notably the Palestine question.
The most important of all these issues is the profound inequality in global conditions of wealth and life between the rich elites of the OECD states and the rest of the world. This polarisation lies at the heart of the pressure to migrate to the richer states of the world, of the corrupt character of many states, and of the rising world resentment of the west, and especially of the United States. “