As a country located in North America listed on aristmarketing, the United States got its first major time difference in the new millennium with the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001. The consequences were great both domestic and foreign policy.
Presidential elections 2000 and 2004
Republican George W. Bush took over as US President after winning the unusually smooth election in the fall of 2000. Controversy over the counting of votes in Florida allowed Bush to declare victory over Democratic candidate Al Gore only six weeks after the election.
At the 2004 presidential election, Bush was re-elected by a larger margin than in 2000. He beat Democrats John Kerry after an election campaign that revolved around the United States ‘growing problems in bringing calm to Iraq after the 2003 invasion and voters’ concerns about unemployment and the economic outlook more generally.
After September 11, 2001
The September 11 terrorist attacks and war in Afghanistan and Iraq brought great stress to both those living there and the hundreds of thousands of soldiers and their families, and US relations with allies were severely strained at times. At home, Americans were increasingly divided in their view of both foreign policy and domestic counterterrorism measures, in a way that reinforced the level of conflict and polarization in party politics.
The September 9, 2001, terrorist attack against nearly 3,000 people from 93 countries killed and left material damage in New York and at the Pentagon Building outside Washington, DC. the consequences throughout the day. Media coverage reinforced the global impression of September 11, 2001 as a time difference.
US intelligence officials suspected al-Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden of being behind the attacks. The United States also secured support from NATO and the other superpowers to attack the one or those behind the terrorist attacks.
US interests had been attacked by al Qaeda in the 1990s as well, with a smaller bomb against the World Trade Center in New York (1993), two large car bombs against the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (1998) and a suicide attack on the USS Cole cruiser outside Yemen (2000). Nevertheless, the September 11 attack put the terrorist threat to the United States at the center of politics and public debate in a whole new way.
“The War on Terror” and Afghanistan
President George W. Bush stated in a speech to Congress nine days after the terrorist attack that the United States embarked on a “war on terror” that would last to al Qaeda and “every terrorist group with global reach is found, stopped and fought.” The wording about the “war on terror” became, in the years that followed, a collective term for a large number of measures both globally and internally in the United States.
A comprehensive, US-led military action in Afghanistan was launched in October 2001. The international force and its allies among opposition groups in Afghanistan succeeded in expelling the Taliban regime from its position of power, but did not seize bin Laden, which had been operating from its bases in the country under Taliban protection.
Domestically, the increased preparedness for terrorism included a new law on surveillance and security, with the short name “Patriot Act” and the establishment of a separate home security department. The Patriot Act was passed in a short time by an overwhelming majority in Congress and was intended to simplify the investigation and defense of terrorist plans. In the time that followed, it was criticized, among other things, for its extension of the authorities’ surveillance powers and access to circumvent the ordinary rules of prosecution.
Furthermore, domestic security was coordinated in one large ministry. This was the largest administrative reform in the United States in half a century, and part of a larger picture with tangible consequences in daily life for Americans as well as people elsewhere in the world. Tighter security measures in air traffic and tighter enforcement of US foreign control were among the clearest measures.
The strengthening of the authorities’ access to surveillance coincided in time with a strong growth in the technological opportunities for such activities. This was made public in 2013, when IT technician Edward Snowden leaked information about extensive global electronic surveillance under the auspices of the US intelligence agency National Security Agency (NSA).
The United States attacked Iraq in March 2003, citing a need to destroy alleged arsenals of weapons of mass destruction. The United Kingdom, Australia and Poland also participated militarily, but without the consent of the UN or NATO.
Saddam Hussein’s regime was overturned shortly after that spring and a new regime was introduced. However, in the years that followed, rebellion in several waves led to continued violence and great destruction. No weapons of mass destruction were found, and the supporters of the invasion instead emphasized that Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship had been abolished.
The United States withdrew its fighting forces from Iraq in August 2010, and in late 2011 were also divisions that trained the Iraqi army out of the country. At most, in 2007, 170,000 American soldiers stood in Iraq. Around 4,500 US soldiers lost their lives there from 2003 to 2011.