Public Talk by Fawaz A Gerges

The U.S. War on Terror: Lessons Learned Twenty Years After 9/11

Public Talk by Fawaz A. Gerges
Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics

When: Wednesday September 8, 2021 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM(Edmonton time)
Where: Online Zoom Webinar. For registration please CLICK HERE.

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11 attacks, it is worth asking what if America had acted radically and imaginatively eschewing imperial overreach? Instead of launching a War on Terror, the greatest strategic disaster in America’s modern history, US leaders could have used 9/11 as a catalyst to bring about a more tolerant, peaceful and prosperous world, the anti-thesis of Al-Qaeda’s worldview? Imagine if America’s leaders had invested a small fraction of $5.9 trillion cost of the Global War on Terror in helping to promote transformative change, including eradicating abject poverty and supporting a Marshall Plan for the Muslim world. As the United States abruptly ends its war in Afghanistan, the Taliban has returned with a vengeance, and Afghans feel betrayed. America promised security and freedom, but the Afghanistan it leaves behind is broken, on the brink of civil war and state collapse. The War on Terror has fuelled the very groups it was designed to destroy. It was a war of choice, not necessity, and it has been costly in blood and treasure. While we cannot turn back the clock, as we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, part of America’s national conversation should be to reflect on what went wrong. There is a need to hold the “terrorism industry” that emerged in the wake of the attacks accountable for peddling fear and distorting reality.

Fawaz A. Gerges is Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and holder of the Emirates Professorship in Contemporary Middle East Studies. He was also the inaugural Director of the LSE Middle East Centre from 2010 until 2013. Professor Gerges’ most recent books are Making the Arab World: Nasser, Qutb, and the Clash that Shaped the Middle East (Princeton University Press, 2018), ISIS: A History (Princeton University Press, 2016) and The New Middle East: Protest and Revolution in the Arab World (Cambridge University Press, November 2013). He is also the author of several acclaimed books: Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy (Harcourt Press, 2007), and The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global (Cambridge University Press, 2005). His forthcoming book is The Hundred Years’ War for Control of the Middle East: From Sykes-Picot to the Deal of the Century (Princeton University Press, 2021).