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This week’s front page editor

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The period since 9/11 has renewed global debate about the nature of United States power and influence in a world being transformed by globalisation. openDemocracy writers - American and non-American - bring fresh perspectives to bear on the Iraq war, the question of empire, unilateralism, the "end of history", neo-conservatism, and foreign policy under and after George W Bush

America against the tide

The United States's capacity to build alliances and extend influence was once founded on confidence that history was on its side. No longer, says Godfrey Hodgson.

The two 9/11s: Chile and the United States

The coup of 1973 and the attacks of 2001 were very different in character. But the contrast in the responses of Chile and America to their respective national traumas is instructive, says Patricio Navia.

9/11: more security, less secure

The world has been changed by the securitisation of everyday life and the Islamisation of security. The accompanying threat-complex has shifted American sensibilities, says Cas Mudde. 

9/11: a perfect pretext, a terrible legacy

The tragedy of 11 September 2001 was used by authoritarian forces in the United States as a political opportunity. The ensuing damage to liberty, legality and democracy has been deep, says Mariano Aguirre

America after 9/11: the wrong target

A flawed response to terrorism on its soil brought the United States low. The lessons are also for the rest of the world to learn, says Rein Müllerson.

9/11, and the lost decade

What are the principal lessons of the ten years of war since the 11 September 2001 attacks? Paul Rogers, whose first openDemocracy column was published a few days after 9/11, responds to three questions.

The mutilated world: 9/11 in Poland

The intense Polish empathy with America of the days after 11 September 2001 drew on an enduring connection. But there are signs of change, says Adam Szostkiewicz.

9/11: the identity-politics trap

The reaction to the attacks of 11 September 2001 included an instinctive veneration of their chief architect. Its deeper foundation is a regressive and widespread ethno-religious view of the world, says Sami Zubaida.

9/11, ten years on: reflections

A terror-filled day of mass murder in the eastern United States imprinted itself on the world's consciousness - and became the prelude to a decade of further violence. openDemocracy writers reflect on the impact and legacy of the events of 11 September 2001.

After 9/11: a painful lesson

The inspiring Arab protesters of 2011 bring hope that the tragic cycle of animosity opened by 9/11 can end, says Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi.

After 9/11: the ripples of global violence

The postmodern terror of 11 September 2001 unleashed a decade of catastrophic war. A decade's accounting includes both numberless victims and some unlikely beneficiaries, says Arshin Adib-Moghaddam.

9/11: the memory of violence

The atrocity of 11 September 2001 entrenched an imaginary polarisation between “the west and the rest” - and buried a deeper reality that is only now emerging to light, says Madawi al-Rasheed.

A new American reality

A half-decade after 9/11, the United States appeared to Andrew Stroehlein to be locked in a “conflict mentality”. Now, he says, a new set of economic concerns - and even the rise of carnivalesque politics - signal the return of a kind of normality.

Ronald Reagan and America: the real legacy

The posthumous inflation of Ronald Reagan’s political achievement is also a covert critique of George W Bush’s foreign-policy failures. But there are deep continuities between the two administrations, says Godfrey Hodgson.

(This article was first published on 9 June 2004)

Pakistan: the hard reality

Pakistan is too often portrayed in flawed and reductive ways that flatten its complexity and offer misleading guidance to policy-makers. This makes it all the more important to acknowledge some difficult truths about the country, says Anatol Lieven.

America’s presidential politics

Barack Obama’s hopes of a second term are still bright. But twin policy crises and Republican stirrings are clouds on his re-election horizon, says Godfrey Hodgson.

China: the next military rival

The death of Osama bin Laden is a crucial military-political opportunity for Barack Obama. But the United States defence complex has Beijing and budgets on its mind.

America's political suspense

The manoeuvring over the United States presidential election in 2012 is underway. But the nature of a contest defined by issues of ideology and economy rather than personality is also beginning to emerge, says Godfrey Hodgson.

Vietnam to Iraq and AfPak: traps of history

The United States's prolonged counterinsurgency wars in Afghanistan and Iraq raise strong echoes of Vietnam. But new studies suggest that the lessons of this half-century military arc need to be carefully drawn, says Mariano Aguirre.

Libya, Arab democracy, and western policy

The United States and European intervention in Libya leaves open key questions about the future of western power in the wider region, says Godfrey Hodgson.

China’s military: threat or twist

Beijing’s promotion of a new strike aircraft may be less a powerful addition to its military arsenal than a sophisticated part of a deeper strategy.

American tragedy, political response

A murderous assault on a public meeting in Arizona has further exposed the United States’s deep political divisions. President Obama’s reaction, for all the praise it received, failed to meet the moment, says Godfrey Hodgson. Now, with the state-of-the-union address, he has another chance.

Tunisia, or democracy’s future in jasmine

The homegrown insurrection of a friendless people in Tunisia carries a profound lesson in the understanding of democracy-solidarity in the world as it is becoming, says Goran Fejic.

A world in movement: prospects for 2011

The influence of rising states amid the infirmity of the United States and other established powers will make 2011 a transition year towards a new global order, says Mariano Aguirre.

Haiti beyond failure: ingredients of change

A year after the earthquake in Haiti, the tasks of reconstruction remain vast. A shadowy election and blocked political process reinforce the sense of drift. Yet a coherent international effort can still make a real difference, says Johanna Mendelson Forman.

A nation against Islam: America's new crusade

An accumulating network of ignorance and prejudice is being mobilised in the United States against hyperbolised versions of the religion of Islam and its adherents. What are the core elements and ideological underpinnings of this powerful campaign? In a forensic essay first published in, Max Blumenthal investigates.

America’s fiscal-political trap

The systemic flaws in United States governance make long-term policy to address its cavernous deficits impossible, says Godfrey Hodgson.

Thanksgiving and the Tea Party

The new populist right is filtering America’s most inclusive tradition through a political lens. In doing so it feeds an alarmingly reductive view of national history, says Godfrey Hodgson.

The global 1989

The political transformation and social drama of the 1989 revolutions in east-central Europe promised a decisive rupture with the past. But the perspective of two decades and of a global frame offers a more complex picture of this historic moment, says George Lawson.

America’s world: salesman and missionary

The United States in the early 21st century is caught in the gap between a potent domestic sense of manifest destiny and a shifting global political reality. President Barack Obama embodies the ensuing dilemma, says Godfrey Hodgson.

America’s mad-hatter politics

The rise of the populist Tea Party movement is dominating the United States's mid-term election campaign. Yet its significance escapes the country's political and media class, says Godfrey Hodgson.

The middle east: the question of freedom

The much-recycled image of a region inhospitable to peace, human dignity and freedom has damaging effects in practice, say Foulath Hadid & Mishana Hosseinioun. 

Days of rage: the Tea Party & America's right

The rise of the Tea Party movement in the United States in the first twenty months of Barack Obama’s presidency is shaking the political establishment, an effect reinforced by the victories of its candidates in Republican Party primaries. But where has the movement come from, and what is its inner life? Max Blumenthal, author of “Republican Gomorrah”, enters the heady world of the Tea Party to unravel the mix of driven personalities, feverish rhetoric, toxic hatreds, and flirtation with violence that fuel its sub-culture’s insurgent activism.

Pakistan and America: costs of militarism

Pakistan’s immense problems can begin to be solved only when powerful interests in Islamabad and Washington end their commitment to armed solutions, says Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed.

America’s emotional-political moment

The result of the mid-term elections in the United States will reflect less the political calculations of many voters than their profound sense of disinheritance, says Godfrey Hodgson.
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