18 June, 2021

Wax Americana

Americans lost their innocence on September 11, and joined the rest of the world in realising that they were vulnerable at home as a result of policies abroad by their government.

Wax Americana
Given the nature of their trade, journalists and commentators are strongly inclined to single out a day or event which, in their view, changed the world dramatically and permanently for everybody: the day the Japanese attacked the US at Pearl Harbor or the Germans the Soviet Union—or even the day US President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Does September 11, when flying bombs destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and damaged the Pentagon in Washington, fall into that category? Yes, for the Americans; No, for the rest of the globe.

Americans will no longer be able to board their passenger aircraft on domestic flights as if they were local buses plying the arteries of a city. The security standards even on internal flights will remain high, at least by the traditional American yardstick.

The recession in the US that was expected before September 11 will be deeper and will last longer. The gloom has spread from airlines, travel and tourism to car sales, house building, high-tech and departmental stores. The chief reason is a sharp drop in...

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