The United States and the World 20 Years After 9/11

September 11, 2001 saw one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in history. On that morning, al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four American commercial flights and crashed them into World Trade Centre twin towers and the Pentagon thus killing almost 3000 people.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, U.S. President George W. Bush declared the global «War on Terror» whose consequences were felt worldwide. The following years were marked by American interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the U.S. the «Patriot Act» was passed significantly expanding national security surveillance powers. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, where prisoners were systematically tortured, became notorious.

RISS experts, Americanists Ilya Kravchenko and Sergei Mikhailov discuss how 9/11 changed the U.S. and the world.


  • 9/11 changed nearly all aspects of American life. The attacks fuelled racism and islamophobia in the U.S. and at the same time made the American society more progressive. The division between the Two Americas, therefore, became sharper thus making the United States more polarized.

  • The approval of the «Patriot Act» marked the beginning of tightening the screws on American security measures. Today the American public expresses worry about various aspects of their digital privacy as many ordinary Americans are feeling lack of control over their personal information. It, therefore, fuels distrust of government. The current anti-vaccination hysteria in the United States is a direct result of declining trust in the government.

  • The U.S. War on Terror after 9/11 produced very mixed results at best. It undermined America's credibility abroad and at home. A doctrinaire attitude of the U.S. governing elite caused serious strategic mistakes leading to overreach and unintended consequences. American armed nation-building in Afghanistan collapsed angering many American allies and inflicting considerable reputational damage. Besides, the U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Pakistan have cost American taxpayers trillions of dollars.
terrorism Sergei Mikhailov discussion Ilya Kravchenko USA