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This week's editor

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Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Can America go modest?

The United States's self-understanding is underpinned by three core elements: immigration, the frontier and exceptionalism. Now, says Godfrey Hodgson, a more complex and diverse world makes a reorientation essential.

9/11: What should we do now?

A group of key thinkers on matters of war, fear, human and international relations discuss the possible outcome of post-9/11 policies at an event held by openDemocracy and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London in October, 2001. Here are some excerpts…

Militant moderation - rethinking 'peace'

Is military action in Afghanistan justified? The dilemma is ethical as well as strategic, especially for a veteran of the Greenham Common campaign with family memories of the struggle against Nazism. But history is not enough: as the contours of ‘peace’ and ‘war’ change, so must our thinking.

The ordinariness of American feelings

The reaction to 9/11 outside the United States has mixed sympathy with intense political criticism that denies the human normality of Americans’ post-disaster emotional cycle. The result is to stifle what is urgently needed, says Todd Gitlin: a global conversation between equals.

Being open to surprise

The common, consoling wisdoms are already encrusting around 11 September and its aftermath. We need to return imaginatively to the surprise we felt that day, and learn its lessons.

The war begins

The first night of aerial assault on the Taliban indicates an extended US campaign. But is this what bin Laden wants?

The attack on 11th September and the new world order

Reforms in the functioning of the UN are needed in order to try to create a fairer world in which the threat of international terrorism can start to disappear.

A way out of the (televised) endgame?

The acts of 11 September had a symbolic as well as political meaning, and can be seen as a violent challenge to a world where symbolic inequality parallels and reinforces other kinds of inequality. Widening the media landscape to create a real global dialogue is now essential.

Hooligans of the Absolute: Black Pluto's door after 11 September

The impulse of the attacks was not confidence but despair – the strike of a miserable old world against the unsettling but promising new.

On the eve

What will be the effects of a United States-led attack on Afghanistan? The informed analysis of the aftermath of 11 September 2001 continues.

Towards a partnership of equals: European-US relations

The long-term trends in transatlantic relations are towards equality. After 11 September, will they be set back by an intensification of the unilateralism of Bush’s first year? Or will current, necessary coalition-building become the harbinger of a progressive renewal?

Radical Islam and 9/11: inside the fundamentalist mind

The abstract universalism that produces extremist violence is rooted in the modern intellectual and psychological complexes of the Islamic world, says Murat Belge.

The Media strand: 11 September and beyond

Between the debates on public service broadcasting and on the power of media corporations, fell the awful shadow of 11 September. How will the media strand of openDemocracy respond?

What now for the anti-globalisers?

The US-led advocates of borderless trade want to press on with their mission in the wake of the WTC assaults. From the perspective of a Bolivian conference of grassroots campaigners, such moral blindness may be the prelude to intensified revolt.

Afghanistan: the problem with military action

An armed attack by the United States on the Kabul regime would create more problems than it solved.

Europe united?

Can the EU rise to the challenge of 11 September and respond to this crisis with a unity it failed to deliver on the Balkans?

The two 11 Septembers

On the same date twenty-eight years apart, the two American cities which shaped Ariel Dorfman’s life - Santiago and New York - have now suffered catastrophe. Their terrible fate, he reflects, also offers the chance to repair damaged humanity.

New war, new justice

The response to the attacks on the United States must be the creation of a new global covenant for justice and peace, say David Held and Mary Kaldor.

The Real Third Way: Britain's lesson

One aftershock of the attacks on America was the postponement of ‘normal’ politics. As they cautiously return in Britain with the party conference season, a reflection on the British experience since 1997 reveals the contrast between New Labour’s large ambitions and its want of the democratic radicalism needed to realise them.

The Afghan dimension

openDemocracy readers discussed the possible effects of a probable war on Afghanistan.

An appeal to International Law

An international criminal court, so far opposed by the US, could try what can be described as an international war crime.

War & Law

On the eve of 9/11 openDemocracy readers discuss the legality and usefulness of conducting a ‘war on terrorism’.

Semper Fidel

The reaction of people in Cuba was heartfelt and human. For Fidel and the TV schedulers, the line was less straightforward.

Grasping ruins

The fourth in Todd Gitlin’s series of reflections hears the echoes of Auden and feels the aftershocks of hatred around Manhattan.

For Alan Beaven

Alan Beaven was a passenger on UA Flight 93. A friend pays tribute to a man who died the way he lived.

US, EU, Russia: a new order?

In the aftermath of 11 September, the world has focused on America’s diplomatic and military response. Before, other security issues – missile defence, the Balkans and the future of NATO – dominated the headlines. How will this agenda appear when it re-emerges from the smoke of battle?

What happened, and what may follow

We don’t yet know what happened on 11 September, or what it will lead to. A respected sociologist braves a series of clear predictions.

The American Jihad

The disturbing reaction to the attacks of 11 September by would-be warmongers betrays an urge to seize and politicise them in ways that resonate with untruth, says Paul Gilroy.

Militant liberalism

Islamic fundamentalism isn't the real problem. The trouble arises from the existential clash of liberal and authoritarian political cultures. So now is the time for a militant liberal culture.

A time to rethink

With the current temptation to give in to the idea of a “clash of civilisations”, a complete ideological re-think becomes ever more urgent.

How are we?

Imagination is a precious weapon against the tyranny of terrorism. It reveals our connectedness to reality, and to one another. It’s a way of being free.

The right to rights

No-one has claimed responsibility for the atrocities of 11 September. In itself, this reveals a great deal. One way forward is to insist on normality.

Bizarre new world

Muslim leaders have condemned the attacks. But from Palestine to Islamabad, many people sing a different tune. As this Pakistani physicist says, there is no known “terrorist gene”. What will it take for the US and Muslim societies to engage anew, as pluralists not combatants?

Taking it slowly

Everyday heroism prompts us to re-think our notions of “heartland.” This is our Americas Editor’s third piece from New York in the aftermath. Now it’s clear: there’s more than one America.

Bloody Tuesday

At this stage in globalising history “America” has come to be seen by many as a stand-in for the “cosmopolitanism” that was once associated with Jews. “America” represents some kind of soulless, materialistic, rootless way of life that they detest.
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