The appalling 9/11 attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon came as a devastating shock to the United States and will have an impact that is likely to be felt for decades. This paper seeks to identify and draw out the contrasting worldviews that form the backdrop to these tragic events. It traces the emergence of views that have shaped current US international security policy, military posture and convictions concerning the globalised free market. It then explores how the majority world – 80% of the world's population that is not part of the North Atlantic system – views the global environment, economic justice and the US-led western consensus that we live in an era of pervasive global progress.
9/11 brought this clash of paradigms into sharp focus. The paper explores how the cycle of violence epitomised by the atrocities may be broken in ways that relate both to the immediate situation and the longer term. The conclusion focuses on the potential role of Europe, especially the UK, in offering prospects for positive change.