March 19, 2020

9/11 swallowed U.S. foreign policy. Don’t let the coronavirus do the same thing.

By Ilan Goldenberg

For two decades, American foreign policy has been shaped by the 9/11 attacks. The catastrophic wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our failure to see the full threat posed by Russian President Vladimir Putin until the 2016 election and our lack of focus on China’s rise — the most important geopolitical development of the early 21st century — are all partly a function of our obsession with counterterrorism and Middle East conflict in the aftermath of 9/11.

The coronavirus pandemic might finally change that, because the sheer magnitude of the crisis can — should — force an overdue rethinking of our foreign policy priorities that’s long overdue.

The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks became the filter for the foreign policy community, the media and American public to view events around the world, many times putting disproportionate emphasis on Middle East conflict, shaping how policymakers and the military implement and prioritize U.S. objectives.

Read the full article in The Washington Post.

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