“20 years after 9/11 have become a symbol of wasted effort”

The trial of those suspected of preparing the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks will begin at least a year later. There will be five people in the dock, Judge Matthew McCall, presiding judge, said. Last week, America celebrated a day of remembrance for those killed in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers. After these events, the American government sent troops to Afghanistan. Now, 20 years later, they have left the country. Kommersant observer Maxim Yusin wondered what lessons the Americans themselves and the rest of the world learned from the worst tragedy in US history.

The past week passed in the United States under the sign of a sad anniversary – 20 years since the most monstrous terrorist attacks in American history, the symbol of which was the collapse of two Twin Towers in New York. However, in recent years, those events have acquired another symbol – Afghanistan, the arrival of the Taliban (banned in Russia) to power in Kabul, the inglorious result of the twenty-year stay of US troops and their allies there. An example of how hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of American soldiers’ lives can be wasted and how things are going back to normal. Only the situation today is worse and more dangerous than it was 20 years ago.

No matter how much the US officials say at the ceremonies about the completed mission, the Kabul fiasco convinces of the opposite. Mission failed. And this is not good even for those opponents of America who today rejoice at its humiliation. After the Taliban takes over in Kabul, the world will become more dangerous for everyone, including Moscow and Beijing. But the main losers are Western allies. Their 20-year mission in Afghanistan has become synonymous with failure. After all, what is the bottom line? 20 years ago, the Taliban regime was much weaker than it is now. Then he had powerful opponents, did not control the entire territory of the country, was not so well armed thanks to the captured American arsenals. And most importantly, I did not feel like a winner, a triumphant, who can do everything and who can not reckon with anyone.

It is unlikely that President George W. Bush, when issuing the order to send troops into Afghanistan 20 years ago in hot pursuit of September 11, foresaw such a deplorable ending. And the matter, alas, was not limited to Afghanistan. More ridiculous and senseless from the heights of the past years is another military action undertaken by the same Bush administration – the war with Iraq, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Under an absolutely far-fetched pretext. And what did you get in the end? By eliminating Saddam, representing the Sunni minority, the Americans personally surrendered power in Baghdad to the Shiites, thereby increasing the influence of their main enemy in the region, Shiite Iran. And besides, they created all the conditions for the emergence of an “Islamic State” (banned in the Russian Federation): under Saddam, Muslim radicals were kept in tight hands, few people in Iraq had ever heard of them. But after the appearance of the Americans, they not only raised their heads, but also proclaimed their “caliphate”, with which the international coalition had to fight for several years and which was never completely destroyed.

Moscow has learned its lesson from the aftermath of September 11, too.

Immediately after the terrorist attacks, an unprecedented emotional and political rapprochement between Russia and the United States took place. Its symbol was Vladimir Putin’s telephone call to George W. Bush.

The Russian president was the first world leader to offer the United States assistance. She was unthinkable in modern times. Contrary to the objections of some of the military, Putin insisted that the Americans be allowed to use Ulyanovsk as a stronghold, a kind of jump airfield, when delivering military supplies to Afghanistan. In addition, Moscow gave the green light to the deployment of US bases in the republics of Central Asia.

Unfortunately, this rapprochement did not receive a logical continuation. The Kremlin is convinced that America did not appreciate the gestures of goodwill on its part, continued to view Russia as an opponent, put pressure on it and oust it from the post-Soviet space. It was then that the ideological foundations were laid for both Putin’s famous Munich speech and the sharp cooling in relations between Moscow and Washington, the consequences of which we are still seeing.

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