Much has changed in the world over the two decades since Stratfor was founded. As we mark the company’s 20th anniversary, we’ll be looking back at key developments and trends that have shaped the world in that time. One of those developments is the global spread of jihadist terrorism.
While terrorism certainly did not begin on Sept. 11, 2001, for many it was a wakeup call that marked a dramatic shift in both the reach of jihadism and how the world responds. This narrative continues to unfold each day, and Stratfor Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton recently sat down for the Stratfor Talks podcast to share his thoughts on five ways the 9/11 attacks changed the world.
#1 A Permanent Change in Global Consciousness: The attacks themselves created a permanent change in global consciousness and a shift in U.S. policies and attitudes.
#2 The Rise of New Surveillance Platforms: The nature of the war against terrorism drove the rise of “Big Brother” surveillance platforms, including the proliferation of closed-circuit cameras and biometric recognition software.
#3 The Relentless Use of Drones: The relentless use of drones as both surveillance platforms and weapons of war evolved significantly as coalition military forces went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
#4 Enhanced Triage and Trauma Medicine: Years of battlefield experience have greatly enhanced triage and trauma medicine practices for both civilians and the military. Certainly one of the unintended consequences of al Qaeda’s attack has involved dramatic improvements in medicine, including advances in prosthetics and burn care that followed the use of improvised explosive devices and other wounds common on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq.
#5 Commercial Air Travel Is Now Safer: Commercial air travel is now safer, despite terrorist threats. Spectacular hijackings and bombings of commercial aircraft in the 1970s and 1980s forced the first wave of global counterterrorism cooperation. The 9/11 attacks forced another shift to more holistic security, explosives-screening technology and the international exchange of intelligence about threats and passengers aboard commercial airlines.
You can listen to the full conversation with Fred Burton and podcast co-hosts Ben Sheen and Marla Moore above. We’d also like to hear your ideas on how the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have changed the world. Please share your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to follow the Stratfor Blog as we continue to explore the theme “20 Ways the World Has Changed in 20 Years” throughout the year ahead.