September 11, 2001 and November 13, 2015: political reactions

Comparison of the attacks of September 11, 2001, in New York and those of November 13, 2015, in Paris and Saint-Denis. Political leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have not reacted in the same way.

George W. Bush, the day after the collapse of the Twin Towers, launched, under the leadership of the neo-conservatives, in a crusade to restore democracy in the Middle East. 

It invades Afghanistan and Iraq, the latter unjustly accused of possessing nuclear weapons. It is creating indescribable chaos in this country held with an iron fist by Saddam Hussein. Bush will take the opportunity to get re-elected in the name of the «war on terror» for which he has enlisted all Americans, including the media, in the name of patriotism. 

After the elimination in Pakistan of Osama Bin Laden, Barack Obama will give the signal to withdraw. But it will take a total of 20 years for the GI’s to leave Kabul in complete confusion. Today, the external threat is no longer a topical issue across the Atlantic, nor are external operations deemed post-colonial.

In France, the reaction of political power will be more measured

At first, because the Chirac / Villepin tandem does not want the war in Iraq for fear of destabilization of the region. French territory will therefore be spared from terrorism for ten years. 

Until 2012 when Nicolas Sarkozy and Briton David Cameron overthrew Colonel Gaddafi, creating a call for terrorism in the Sahel. Operation Serval was then decided by François Hollande in January 2013 to prevent a jihadist column from taking Bamako in Mali. 

Both events will be interpreted by Islamists as alignment with Washington. Suddenly, the terrorist attacks resume in France, considered as an auxiliary of the American coalition.

French republican secularism, opposed to Anglo-Saxo communitarianism, arouses a growing rejection of Islamist ideologists.

Moreover, targeting the ISIS headquarters in Raqqa in Syria is one too many offensives for the Islamists. Daesh launches its commandos against Paris. 

But the fight against terrorism will create a cleavage within French society, which has never been the case across the Atlantic, where identity is erased behind patriotism. 

François Hollande refusing to make it a marker of his action, and it is to his credit, will not be reelected, unlike Bush. From security, the debate has also become political.