OPINION

Commentary

Time will gradually reveal the far-reaching repercussions that the inconceivable terrorist assault on the US will have on the global order, and on all aspects of political, economic and social life. The global system is already in crisis; the international environment is volatile. There are widespread fears of a new terrorist attack which further fuels the climate of insecurity – which often assumes the characteristics of hysteria as accidents are immediately labeled as terrorist acts. And all this is developing even before we have seen a US reaction, and before the world has attempted to implement measures to fight terrorism. Uncertainty has become the rule, worsening any forecasts about the future. This confusion tends to undermine the previous basis on which states, firms and individuals formed their predictions. First of all, the effort to build the broadest possible anti-terrorist coalition may bring friends and enemies closer together, but at the same time the bargaining that stems from this effort shapes new geopolitical equilibria whose consequences remain uncertain. Furthermore, the loss of a sense of security – primarily among the citizens of the West – suspends travel and decisions, restrains economic activity, decreases consumption, and discourages investment, hence intensifying the existing climate of recession in the global economy. Air carriers are already under strain, and we could possibly be awaiting the collapse of the airline industry which could affect numerous employees in key international businesses. This could have a negative knock-on impact on related industries and add a further, dismal note to the already shaky economic situation. The current turmoil has upset the system of principles that have shaped economic policymaking in the majority of advanced countries, forcing concerned officials to set new priorities and meet new demands. The social sphere, including individual rights and liberties, will also come under intense pressure from the need to fill the security vacuum. This has already been pointed out by international human rights organizations, raising serious concerns among the citizens of developed states. New circumstances will inevitably arise from this deep crisis. These circumstances have just begun to emerge, without anyone knowing their final form.