by d way d links u posted above r broken......most of them..
Three cheers to outstanding performers and reformershttp://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1980574.cms
Central Ideal : the whole passage taking about the winner of different awrds of The ET Awards for Corporate Excellence,
First para is talking about comparision of industry current ly exist and five years before and they have given reason for that i.e. 8% growth
Rest of the article speaks about the work done by various bussinessman or Companuy like mukesh ambani, TCS, Wipro foundation , FM Minister etc
Plz Comment:grab: :grab: :grab: :grab:
I've received many requests to comment on the article by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (henceforth M-W), published in the London Review of Books, which has been circulating extensively on the internet and has elicited a storm of controversy. A few thoughts on the matter follow.
It was, as noted, published in the London Review of Books, which is far more open to discussion on these issues than US journals -- a matter of relevance (to which I'll return) to the alleged influence of what M-W call "the Lobby." An article in the Jewish journal Forward quotes M as saying that the article was commissioned by a US journal, but rejected, and that "the pro-Israel lobby is so powerful that he and co-author Stephen Walt would never have been able to place their report in a American-based scientific publication." But despite the fact that it appeared in England, the M-W article aroused the anticipated hysterical reaction from the usual supporters of state violence here, from the Wall St Journal to Alan Dershowitz, sometimes in ways that would instantly expose the authors to ridicule if they were not lining up (as usual) with power.
M-W deserve credit for taking a position that is sure to elicit tantrums and fanatical lies and denunciations, but it's worth noting that there is nothing unusual about that. Take any topic that has risen to the level of Holy Writ among "the herd of independent minds" (to borrow Harold Rosenberg's famous description of intellectuals): for example, anything having to do with the Balkan wars, which played a huge role in the extraordinary campaigns of self-adulation that disfigured intellectual discourse towards the end of the millennium, going well beyond even historical precedents, which are ugly enough. Naturally, it is of extraordinary importance to the herd to protect that self-image, much of it based on deceit and fabrication. Therefore, any attempt even to bring up plain (undisputed, surely relevant) facts is either ignored (M-W can't be ignored), or sets off most impressive tantrums, slanders, fabrications and deceit, and the other standard reactions. Very easy to demonstrate, and by no means limited to these cases. Those without experience in critical analysis of conventional doctrine can be very seriously misled by the particular case of the Middle East(ME).
But recognizing that M-W took a courageous stand, which merits praise, we still have to ask how convincing their thesis is. Not very, in my opinion. I've reviewed elsewhere what the record (historical and documentary) seems to me to show about the main sources of US ME policy, in books and articles for the past 40 years, and can't try to repeat here. M-W make as good a case as one can, I suppose, for the power of the Lobby, but I don't think it provides any reason to modify what has always seemed to me a more plausible interpretation. Notice incidentally that what is at stake is a rather subtle matter: weighing the impact of several factors which (all agree) interact in determining state policy: in particular, (A) strategic-economic interests of concentrations of domestic power in the tight state-corporate linkage, and (B) the Lobby.
The M-W thesis is that (B) overwhelmingly predominates. To evaluate the thesis, we have to distinguish between two quite different matters, which they tend to conflate: (1) the alleged failures of US ME policy; (2) the role of The Lobby in bringing about these consequences. Insofar as the stands of the Lobby conform to (A), the two factors are very difficult to disentagle. And there is plenty of conformity.
Let's look at (1), and ask the obvious question: for whom has policy been a failure for the past 60 years? The energy corporations? Hardly. They have made "profits beyond the dreams of avarice" (quoting John Blair, who directed the most important government inquiries into the industry, in the '70s), and still do, and the ME is their leading cash cow. Has it been a failure for US grand strategy based on control of what the State Department described 60 years ago as the "stupendous source of strategic power" of ME oil and the immense wealth from this unparalleled "material prize"? Hardly. The US has substantially maintained control -- and the significant reverses, such as the overthrow of the Shah, were not the result of the initiatives of the Lobby. And as noted, the energy corporations prospered. Furthermore, those extraordinary successes had to overcome plenty of barriers: primarily, as elsewhere in the world, what internal documents call "radical nationalism," meaning independent nationalism. As elsewhere in the world, it's been convenient to phrase these concerns in terms of "defense against the USSR," but the pretext usually collapses quickly on inquiry, in the ME as elsewhere. And in fact the claim was conceded to be false, officially, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when Bush's National Security Strategy (1990) called for maintaining the forces aimed at the ME, where the serious "threats to our interests... could not be laid at the Kremlin's door" -- now lost as a pretext for pursuing about the same policies as before. And the same was true pretty much throughout the world.
That at once raises another question about the M-W thesis. What were "the Lobbies" that led to pursuing very similar policies throughout the world? Consider the year 1958, a very critical year in world affairs. In 1958, the Eisenhower administration identified the three leading challenges to the US as the ME, North Africa, and Indonesia -- all oil producers, all Islamic. North Africa was taken care of by Algerian (formal) independence. Indonesia and the ME were taken care of by Suharto's murderous slaughter (1965) and Israel's destruction of Arab secular nationalism (Nasser, 1967). In the ME, that established the close US-Israeli alliance and confirmed the judgment of US intelligence in 1958 that a "logical corollary" of opposition to "radical nationalism" (meaning, secular independent nationalism) is "support for Israel" as the one reliable US base in the region (along with Turkey, which entered into close relations with Israel in the same year). Suharto's coup aroused virtual euphoria, and he remained "our kind of guy" (as the Clinton administration called him) until he could no longer keep control in 1998, through a hideous record that compares well with Saddam Hussein -- who was also "our kind of guy" until he disobeyed orders in 1990. What was the Indonesia Lobby? The Saddam Lobby? And the question generalizes around the world. Unless these questions are faced, the issue (1) cannot be seriously addressed.
When we do investigate (1), we find that US policies in the ME are quite similar to those pursued elsewhere in the world, and have been a remarkable success, in the face of many difficulties: 60 years is a long time for planning success. It's true that Bush II has weakened the US position, not only in the ME, but that's an entirely separate matter.
That leads to (2). As noted, the US-Israeli alliance was firmed up precisely when Israel performed a huge service to the US-Saudis-Energy corporations by smashing secular Arab nationalism, which threatened to divert resources to domestic needs. That's also when the Lobby takes off (apart from the Christian evangelical component, by far the most numerous and arguably the most influential part, but that's mostly the 90s). And it's also when the intellectual-political class began their love affair with Israel, previously of little interest to them. They are a very influential part of the Lobby because of their role in media, scholarship, etc. From that point on it's hard to distinguish "national interest" (in the usual perverse sense of the phrase) from the effects of the Lobby. I've run through the record of Israeli services to the US, to the present, elsewhere, and won't review it again here.
M-W focus on AIPAC and the evangelicals, but they recognize that the Lobby includes most of the political-intellectual class -- at which point the thesis loses much of its content. They also have a highly selective use of evidence (and much of the evidence is assertion). Take, as one example, arms sales to China, which they bring up as undercutting US interests. But they fail to mention that when the US objected, Israel was compelled to back down: under Clinton in 2000, and again in 2005, in this case with the Washington neocon regime going out of its way to humiliate Israel. Without a peep from The Lobby, in either case, though it was a serious blow to Israel. There's a lot more like that. Take the worst crime in Israel's history, its invasion of Lebanon in 1982 with the goal of destroying the secular nationalist PLO and ending its embarrassing calls for political settlement, and imposing a client Maronite regime. The Reagan administration strongly supported the invasion through its worst atrocities, but a few months later (August), when the atrocities were becoming so severe that even NYT Beirut correspondent Thomas Friedman was complaining about them, and they were beginning to harm the US "national interest," Reagan ordered Israel to call off the invasion, then entered to complete the removal of the PLO from Lebanon, an outcome very welcome to both Israel and the US (and consistent with general US opposition to independent nationalism). The outcome was not entirely what the US-Israel wanted, but the relevant observation here is that the Reaganites supported the aggression and atrocities when that stand was conducive to the "national interest," and terminated them when it no longer was (then entering to finish the main job). That's pretty normal.
Another problem that M-W do not address is the role of the energy corporations. They are hardly marginal in US political life -- transparently in the Bush administration, but in fact always. How can they be so impotent in the face of the Lobby? As ME scholar Stephen Zunes has rightly pointed out, "there are far more powerful interests that have a stake in what happens in the Persian Gulf region than does AIPAC , such as the oil companies, the arms industry and other special interests whose lobbying influence and campaign contributions far surpass that of the much-vaunted Zionist lobby and its allied donors to congressional races."
Do the energy corporations fail to understand their interests, or are they part of the Lobby too? By now, what's the distinction between (1) and (2), apart from the margins?
Also to be explained, again, is why US ME policy is so similar to its policies elsewhere -- to which, incidentally, Israel has made important contributions, e.g., in helping the executive branch to evade congressional barriers to carrying out massive terror in Central America, to evade embargoes against South Africa and Rhodesia, and much else. All of which again makes it even more difficult to separate (2) from (1) -- the latter, pretty much uniform, in essentials, throughout the world.
I won't run through the other arguments, but I don't feel that they have much force, on examination.
The thesis M-W propose does however have plenty of appeal. The reason, I think, is that it leaves the US government untouched on its high pinnacle of nobility, "Wilsonian idealism," etc., merely in the grip of an all-powerful force that it cannot escape. It's rather like attributing the crimes of the past 60 years to "exaggerated Cold War illusions," etc. Convenient, but not too convincing. In either case.
Attributing this unusual behaviour to some neoconservative or evangelical ideology is not enough to explain it, given the propensity of the Bush administration and its ideological predecessors to deal with the most incongruous partners.
Instead its war on terror is a manifestation of the way in which American power has gradually been fragmenting the very definition of political rationality and interest that had marked the Cold War order.
The global war on terror provides more than just a background for the fighting in Israel and Lebanon, by permitting certain actions and forbidding others in quite novel ways.
And this is as true for the Islamists as it is of the US or Israel. However insignificant their numbers, militants of the Al-Qaida variety have pushed Islamists of the old school from the cutting edge of Muslim radicalism.
Products of the Cold War who are organised along traditional lines, the Islamists have by and large denounced these jehadi interlopers.
Like other Islamist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah have accommodated themselves to the new situation by forsaking a communist model of the party as vanguard and participating in electoral politics.
Without renouncing violence, both have become increasingly moderate as political actors, concerned with using force in the short term to secure long-term advantages in the ceasefires and negotiations they routinely call for.
While Hamas and Hezbollah both serve as bulwarks against militancy of an Al-Qaida sort, the latter is also part of the so-called Shiite crescent that stretches from Lebanon through Iraq to Iran.
Together with the fall of Baathist Iraq and Iran's nuclear brinkmanship, the current crisis in Lebanon represents the second great moment of Shiite resurgence in the Muslim world, the first being Khomeini's revolution in 1979.
Having for the moment snatched the torch of radicalism from the largely Sunni advocates of global jehad, these Shiite groups have instated another kind of politics at the heart of Muslim militancy.
Unlike the ferociously sectarian battles of militants in Iraq or Pakistan, Hezbollah and its allies fight an explicitly ecumenical war, ostentatiously supporting the Palestinians among other mostly Sunni populations.
In this they have been so successful as to receive the unwanted imprimatur of Al-Qaida, whose leaders were not so long ago reluctantly bending in the direction of Zarqawi's sectarianism. There are two wars being fought in the Levant today.
One is the compulsive reiteration of an exhausted politics that involves Israel, Hezbollah and Hamas, with Syria, Iran and the US as indirect participants.
This regional war, waged by states, their proxies and militias in the most traditional of ways, is made possible by the very different kind of battles being fought at the global level in the war on terror.
The second war is that being waged within the Muslim world between jehadi networks and their opponents, who comprise increasingly moderate Islamists as well as sections of the traditional clerical class.
This is essentially a war to protect inherited forms of authority from sectarian and jehadi networks. What is extraordinary is that it has taken a minority form like resurgent Shiism to give force to this politics in the world of Sunni Islam.
However the first war plays out, it is the second that will have the most important consequences.
The writer teaches history at The New School, New York, and is the author of a book on jehad.
A small contribution from my side.
This is a very good article.. Most of you might have read it yesterday in TIMES OF INDIA.
For all their horror at its brutality, commentators have approached the war in Israel and Lebanon with sighs of relief. Whatever their political inclinations, observers and analysts around the world recognise in this war the return of traditional politics to the Middle East.
Unlike the violence that marks large portions of the insurgency in Iraq, or the acts of Al-Qaida style suicide bombers elsewhere, all the parties to this conflict are political actors of an almost classical kind.
Whether states or militant groups, these parties are organised along traditional political lines, each possessing a centralised and hierarchical command structure. This is why we can talk about negotiations, ceasefires and deployment of peacekeeping forces between them.
None of these interventions are possible when dealing with the decentralised, non-hierarchical and highly individualistic networks of today's jehad movements.
But the spectacular return of traditional politics to the Middle East is in fact a compulsive repetition of the past. Hasn't all this happened before?
Didn't Israel invade Lebanon to deal with the Palestinian militants who were Hezbollah's predecessors? What did that attempt to stamp out terrorist attacks on Israel and change the political geography of the region result in, but more of the same despite enormous costs on all sides?
After the transformations wrought by Al-Qaida and the global war on terror, the latest Middle Eastern battles seem dated, like the actions of people who have run out of ideas.
If the war in Israel and Lebanon is not a repeat performance, this is because it is occurring in the wake of the global war on terror. The latter has transformed conceptions of rationality and interest that had characterised international politics until the end of the Cold War.
The United States, for instance, cannot play its traditional role as interlocutor, mediator or even party to the current conflict because it is unable to communicate with Hezbollah or Hamas, Iran or Syria.
America's position is unprecedented, its role in maintaining a global security regime having forced it to abdicate regional obligations.
thanks for the tip annelle. will keep it in time. And i am a lil bit busy with my semester work as of now... so will try to post my analysis of some the articles sometime, though m not gud at it. cya
Among the major challenges vendors now face is that the skills needed to sell, say, replacement printers to a large customers IT organization are very different from those required to get buy-in from a customers senior managers on a long-term strategic alliance. So how can vendors anticipate and meet enterprise customers diverse needs? First and foremost, they should enter accounts at several management and administrative levels with resources that are tailored to each sales opportunity. By matching capabilities to specific opportunities and providing carefully considered support, vendors can optimize their return on their sales efforts.
The companies that do this best, weve found, are those that take a portfolio approach to managing sales. In 2000, we described in a Harvard Business School case study how Hewlett-Packard reorganized its sales functions around defined sales opportunity portfolios. Since then, we have studied variants of this practice at dozens of companies in industries ranging from financial services to pharmaceuticals. Teams using portfolio tools have new-business growth rates that are on average three times those of their peers.
The portfolio approach divides potential sales opportunities into four categoriesrepurchase, replacement, expansion, and innovationand then supports sales reps in ways that maximize their performance for each type of sale. The skill sets required to manage each type of opportunity may overlap, but they are substantially different. Therefore, vendors can benefit by reorganizing their sales forces and redefining the roles of reps to best service the portfolio customers represent. This means giving salespeople more autonomy and allowing them to function more like account managers.
Repurchase occurs when customers buy more of a product from a given vendor. To win repurchase orders, a rep needs to remain front and center in customers minds, have their full confidence, anticipate their needs, and be there when those needs arise (an absent rep invites competitors to steal away business). The rep must also, of course, be able to meet customers specifications for features, delivery, and price.
Because ongoing service typically adds great value to product purchases, it is usually the vendors service organization, rather than the sales rep, that is critical in securing repurchases. Yet firms rarely leverage service to support sales. As a result, sales reps waste time and effort juggling service-oriented tasks related to their customers previous purchases when they should be nurturing the relationship and selling.
In addition to increasing the service organizations overall involvement in selling efforts, a shrewd vendor will establish a dedicated in-house sales support team to serve as the contact point for customers in repurchase relationships. This group keeps abreast of customers repurchasing needs by performing such tasks as responding to requests for quotations (RFQ) and customer inquiries on pending RFQs. It also heads off rejections by defending quotes that might marginally deviate from customers specified needs and monitors customers future purchase requirements to help sales reps forecast demand. These support activities free reps to focus on higher-level sales efforts that can help secure repurchases.
Replacement occurs when customers with repurchase opportunities substitute a new vendor for an existing one. To successfully seize replacement opportunities, vendors need to be good at monitoring competitors sales activities at both the customer and the market levels. Vendors that keep close watch on rivals are best positioned to replace them when they slip up in product or service performance. Several companies we studied support their sales reps in this arena by assigning competitive intelligence groups within their market research function to track industry trends, competitors product and services failures, and impending product or technology changes that could benefit or harm the vendor.
Expansion occurs when a vendor identifies and fulfills customer needs that are not currently being serviced. Expansion opportunities demand that reps develop a more strategic view of both the customers business and their own.
A common way companies support sales in expansion efforts is by creating business development organizations. These cross-functional groups, which may include people from marketing, R&D;, and finance, generate detailed expansion project proposals that reps can utilize to engage product users and managers in the customer company. Freed from much of the distracting proposal development work, reps can focus on building the trust in their own firms technical and project management skills that is essential to securing expansion accounts. This also allows reps to devote more energy to influencing customers specifications and budgets.
Innovation occurs when vendors engage with existing customers to identify needs they didnt realize they hadand (often jointly) develop new solutions. These opportunities are almost always supported by senior executives in the customer company, are little influenced by mid-level managers there, and usually require a sizable budget.
Gaining access to customers top executives isnt easy, but it is essential in developing innovation possibilities. Often, those executives expect to meet with their counterparts in the vendor firm to discuss long-term vision and strategy. One company we studied was a telecom vendor whose software could spot potentially catastrophic service problems before failures occurred. The vendor initially created a dedicated sales force to build relationships with mid-level executives in prospective accounts and used these to sell up. Though the team made progress, the sales message was slow to climb through the customers hierarchy, and it took 22 months to make the first major ($110 million) sale.
Then the sales team tried a new strategy: It identified the customers whose business was most vulnerable to a service failure and therefore could benefit most from the vendors software. The team then used existing mid-level contacts in the business to arrange a meeting between the CEOs of both firms. About 30 minutes into the meeting, the customer CEO asked his management team to evaluate the financial impact of a service failure and determine a timeline and costs for implementing the vendors solution. A few weeks later, the vendor made the sale; over time, it became a trusted ally in the customers business development strategy.
Vendors that manage innovation opportunities well, weve found, explicitly empower sales reps to serve as emissaries between senior management at their own companies and at customer firms, fostering the formation of strategic partnerships.
Companies that free their sales reps to manage opportunities, rather than simply sell products, will find not only that they can steal business from competitors but also that they can create new business their competitors hadnt even conceived of.
Hi Prateek! Great article by Chomsky there.. I had heard about this intellectual before somewhere, but had never read an article by him. Definitely worth the hype..
But please try to separate each paragraph of any passage you post with a blank line, so that it becomes more easy for a person to read them. And keep them coming! 😃
The Bush administration perceives the new phase of the "war on terror" (which in many ways replicates the "war on terror" declared by the Reagan administration 20 years earlier) as an opportunity to expand its already overwhelming military advantages over the rest of the world, and to move on to other methods to ensure global dominance. Government thinking was articulated clearly by high officials when Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia visited the US in April to urge the administration to pay more attention to the reaction in the Arab world to its strong support for Israeli terror and repression. He was told, in effect, that the US did not care what he or other Arabs think. As the New York Times reported, a high official explained that "if he thought we were strong in Desert Storm, we're 10 times as strong today. This was to give him some idea what Afghanistan demonstrated about our capabilities". A senior defence analyst gave a simple gloss: others will "respect us for our toughness and won't mess with us". That stand too has many historical precedents, but in the post-9/11 world it gains new force.
We do not have internal documents, but it is reasonable to speculate that such consequences were one primary goal of the bombing of Afghanistan: to warn the world of what the US can do if someone steps out of line. The bombing of Serbia was undertaken for similar reasons. Its primary goal was to "ensure NATO's credibility", as Blair and Clinton explained -- not referring to the credibility of Norway or Italy, but of the US and its prime military client. That is a common theme of statecraft and the literature of international relations; and with some reason, as history amply reveals.
The basic issues of international society seem to me to remain much as they were, but 9/11 surely has induced changes, in some cases, with significant and not very attractive implications.
The author is chomsky so you could expect this :).
Nice thread guys.... small contribution from me.
Here it goes....
It is widely argued that the September 11 terrorist attacks have changed the world dramatically, that nothing will be the same as the world enters into an "age of terror" -- the title of a collection of academic essays by Yale University scholars and others, which regards the anthrax attack as even more ominous. There is no doubt that the 9/11 atrocities were an event of historic importance, not -- regrettably -- because of their scale, but because of the choice of innocent victims. It had been recognised for some time that with new technology, the industrial powers would probably lose their virtual monopoly of violence, retaining only an enormous preponderance.
No one could have anticipated the specific way in which the expectations were fulfilled, but they were. For the first time in modern history, Europe and its offshoots were subjected, on home soil, to the kind of atrocity that they routinely have carried out elsewhere. The history should be too familiar to review, and though the West may choose to disregard it, the victims do not. The sharp break in the traditional pattern surely qualifies 9/11 as a historic event, and the repercussions are sure to be significant.
Several crucial questions arose at once: who is responsible? What are the reasons? What is the proper reaction? What are the longer-term consequences?
To begin with, it was assumed, plausibly, that the guilty parties were Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network. No one knows more about them than the CIA , which, together with its counterparts among US allies, recruited radical Islamists from many countries and organised them into a military and terrorist force, not to help Afghans resist Russian aggression, which would have been a legitimate objective, but for normal reasons of state, with grim consequences for Afghans after the mujahideen took control. US intelligence has surely been following the other exploits of these networks closely ever since they assassinated President Anwar Sadat of Egypt 20 years ago, and more intensively since the attempt to blow up the World Trade Center and many other targets in a highly ambitious terrorist operation in 1993.
Nevertheless, despite what must be the most intensive international intelligence investigation in history, evidence about the perpetrators of 9/11 has been hard to find. Eight months after the bombing, FBI director Robert Mueller, testifying to Congress, could say only that US intelligence now "believes" the plot was hatched in Afghanistan, though planned and implemented elsewhere. And long after the source of the anthrax attack was localised to US government weapons laboratories, it has still not been identified. These are indications of how hard it may be to counter acts of terror targeting the rich and powerful in the future. Nevertheless, despite the thin evidence, the initial conclusion about 9/11 is presumably correct.
Next, the question: what are the reasons? On this, scholarship is virtually unanimous in taking the terrorists at their word, which matches their deeds for the past 20 years: their goal, in their terms, is to drive the infidels from Muslim lands, to overthrow the corrupt governments they impose and sustain, and to institute an extremist version of Islam.
More significant, at least for those who hope to reduce the likelihood of further crimes of a similar nature, are the background conditions from which the terrorist organisations arose, and that provide a mass reservoir of sympathetic understanding for at least parts of their message, even among those who despise and fear them.
In George Bush's plaintive words, "Why do they hate us?" The question is not new, and answers are not hard to find. Forty-five years ago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his staff discussed what he called the "campaign of hatred against us" in the Arab world, "not by the governments but by the people". The basic reason, the National Security Council advised, is the recognition that the US supports corrupt and brutal governments that block democracy and development, and does so because of its concern "to protect its interest in Near East oil". The Wall Street Journal found much the same when it investigated attitudes of wealthy westernised Muslims after 9/11, feelings now exacerbated by specific US policies with regard to Israel-Palestine and Iraq.
Commentators generally prefer a more comforting answer: their anger is rooted in resentment of our freedom and love of democracy, their cultural failings tracing back many centuries, their inability to take part in the form of "globalisation" (in which they happily participate), and other such deficiencies. More comforting, perhaps, but not wise.
What about proper reaction? The answers are doubtless contentious, but at least the reaction should meet the most elementary moral standards: specifically, if an action is right for us, it is right for others; and if wrong for others, it is wrong for us. Those who reject that standard simply declare that acts are justified by power. One might ask what remains of the flood of commentary on this question (debates about "just war", etc.) if this simple criterion is adopted.
To illustrate with a few uncontroversial cases, 40 years have passed since President John F. Kennedy ordered that "the terrors of the earth" must be visited upon Cuba until their leadership is eliminated, having violated good form by successful resistance to US-run invasion. The terrors were extremely serious, continuing into the 1990s. Twenty years have passed since President Reagan launched a terrorist war against Nicaragua, conducted with barbaric atrocities and vast destruction, leaving tens of thousands dead and the country ruined perhaps beyond recovery -- and also leading to condemnation of the US for international terrorism by the World Court and the UN Security Council (in a resolution the US vetoed). But no one believes that Cuba or Nicaragua had the right to set off bombs in Washington or New York or to assassinate US political leaders. And it is all too easy to add many far more severe cases, up to the present.
Accordingly, those who accept elementary moral standards have some work to do to show that the US and Britain were justified in bombing Afghans in order to compel them to turn over people who the US suspected of criminal atrocities, the official war aim, announced by the president as the bombing began; or to overthrow their rulers, the war aim announced several weeks later.
The same moral standard holds of more nuanced proposals about an appropriate response to terrorist atrocities. The respected Anglo-American military historian Michael Howard proposed "a police operation conducted under the auspices of the United Nations... against a criminal conspiracy whose members should be hunted down and brought before an international court, where they would receive a fair trial and, if found guilty, be awarded an appropriate sentence" (Guardian, Foreign Affairs). That seems reasonable, though we may ask what the reaction would be to the suggestion that the proposal should be applied universally. That is unthinkable, and if the suggestion were to be made, it would arouse outrage and horror.
Similar questions arise with regard to the "Bush doctrine" of "pre-emptive strike" against suspected threats. It should be noted that the doctrine is not new. High-level planners are mostly holdovers from the Reagan administration, which argued that the bombing of Libya was justified under the UN Charter as "self-defence against future attack". Clinton planners advised "pre-emptive response" (including nuclear first strike). And the doctrine has earlier precedents. Nevertheless, the bold assertion of such a right is novel, and there is no secret as to whom the threat is addressed. The government and commentators are stressing loud and clear that they intend to apply the doctrine to Iraq. The elementary standard of universality, therefore, would appear to justify Iraqi pre-emptive terror against the US. Of course, no one accepts this conclusion.
Again, if we are willing to adopt elementary moral principles, obvious questions arise, and must be faced by those who advocate or tolerate the selective version of the doctrine of "pre-emptive response" that grants the right to those powerful enough to exercise it with little concern for what the world may think. And the burden of proof is not light, as is always true when the threat or use of violence is advocated or tolerated.
There is, of course, an easy counter to such simple arguments: WE are good, and THEY are evil. That useful principle trumps virtually any argument. Analysis of commentary and much of scholarship reveals that its roots commonly lie in that crucial principle, which is not argued but asserted. Occasionally, but rarely, some irritating creatures attempt to confront the core principle with the record of recent and contemporary history. We learn more about prevailing cultural norms by observing the reaction, and the interesting array of barriers erected to deter any lapse into this heresy. None of this, of course, is an invention of contemporary power centres and the dominant intellectual culture. Nonetheless, it merits attention, at least among those who have some interest in understanding where we stand and what may lie ahead.
Let us turn briefly to the question: what are the long-term consequences? In the longer term, I suspect that the crimes of 9/11 will accelerate tendencies that were already under way: the Bush doctrine is an illustration. As was predicted at once, governments throughout the world seized upon 9/11 as a window of opportunity to institute or escalate harsh and repressive programmes. Russia eagerly joined the "coalition against terror" expecting to receive authorisation for its terrible atrocities in Chechnya, and was not disappointed. China happily joined for similar reasons. Turkey was the first country to offer troops for the new phase of the US "war on terror", in gratitude, as the prime minister explained, for the US contribution to Turkey's campaign against its miserably-repressed Kurdish population, waged with extreme savagery and relying crucially on a huge flow of US arms. Turkey is highly praised for its achievements in these campaigns of state terror, including some of the worst atrocities of the grisly 1990s, and was rewarded by grant of authority to protect Kabul from terror, funded by the same superpower that provided the military means, and the diplomatic and ideological support, for its recent atrocities. Israel recognised that it would be able to crush Palestinians even more brutally, with even firmer US support. And so on throughout much of the world.
More democratic societies, including the US, instituted measures to impose discipline on the domestic population and to institute unpopular measures under the guise of "combating terror", exploiting the atmosphere of fear and the demand for "patriotism" -- which in practice means: "You shut up and I'll pursue my own agenda relentlessly." The Bush administration used the opportunity to advance its assault against most of the population, and future generations, in service to the narrow corporate interests that dominate the administration to an extent even beyond the norm.
In brief, initial predictions were amply confirmed.
One major outcome is that the US, for the first time, has major military bases in Central Asia. These are important to position US multinationals favourably in the current "great game" to control the considerable resources of the region, but also to complete the encirclement of the world's major energy resources, in the Gulf region. The US base system targeting the Gulf extends from the Pacific to the Azores, but the closest reliable base before the Afghan war was Diego Garcia. Now that situation is much improved, and forceful intervention, if deemed appropriate, will be greatly facilitated.