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The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

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Worlds in Collision: Terror and the Future of Global Order
Ken Booth & Tim Dunne (eds.)

New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2002
Hb: 40; ISBN 0-333-99804-9. Pb: 14.99; ISBN 0-333-99805-7



September 11, 2001 is a date that will remain etched in the minds of countless individuals. Worlds in Collision: Terror and the Future of Global Order is a compilation of articles written by some of the world?s leading analysts of contemporary foreign policy including Francis Fukuyama, Kenneth Waltz, Noam Chomsky, and Sissela Bok. The image displayed on the cover depicts the clouds of debris at the site of the World Trade Center. This picture sheds light on the contents of the book itself ? the terrorist attacks against the United States and its impact on the international system.

The book?s editors, Ken Booth and Tim Dunne, contend that 9/11?s demonstration of vulnerability and asymmetry thrust terrorism to the forefront of the international agenda and will ensure that it will remain the defining paradigm of the global order for years to come.

The book is divided into three sections: ?Terror?, ?Order?, and ?Worlds?. Topics covered include the impact that the events have had on Asia and the Middle East, the intelligence community, the financing system utilized by terrorist organizations, as well as the reasons, significance, and implications of the events of 9/11.

Each of the thirty-one chapters focuses on separate components of the events that both precipitated and followed the attacks. A few examples may prove helpful. In ?Terror and the Future of International Law?, Michael Byers employs history to argue that powerful nations have and will continue to try and shape the international system in accordance with their beliefs. Examples include Spain in the sixteenth century, a nation which redefined the concepts of justice and universality to justify conquering the Americas, and nineteenth century Great Britain which introduced new rules on piracy, colonialism, and neutrality in an effort to further its ambitions of empire. The chapter by Michael Cox suggests that the terrorist attacks shattered the widespread belief that globalization would inevitably lead to the forging of a more peaceful world. He depicts international terrorists as enemies of modernity and alludes to a war within civilizations rather than between them as suggested by Samuel Huntington.

These examples place the current conflict in perspective and provoke questions in the mind of the reader. They encourage one to reflect upon fundamental aspects of our society that have been brought to the forefront in the aftermath of 9/11. Unfortunately, more questions are posed than answers given. As Ben Barber states in his chapter ?Democracy and Terror in the Era of Jihad vs. McWorld?, ?What can enemies of the modern world do but seek to recover the dead past by annihilating the living present?? (p. 247).

Whether one?s perspective is that of a conflict between West vs. East, religious beliefs, ethnicities, democracy vs. totalitarianism, or the struggles of modernity, this collection of essays provides the reader with a series of lenses through which to view the ripple effects that such a cataclysmic event has already had on the international system.


Brett Freedman, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy



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