Will New York terror attack prompt US strategists to adjust?

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/1 13:33:39

A deadly truck attack in Lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon killed eight people and injured 11. The suspect was identified as a 29-year-old truck driver who came to the US in 2010 from Uzbekistan. He yelled religious slogans as he exited the truck and was wounded by police before being arrested.

New York City authorities have defined the attack as a lone-wolf terror attack. US President Donald Trump tweeted that this is "another attack by a very sick and deranged person" and such incidents must not happen in the US.

US authorities are always cautious in using the term "terror attack." As it took place in the busiest street in New York and close to the location of the September 11 attacks, it will inevitably deal a heavy blow to US society.

But setting aside public shock, the US government perhaps will not make a strategic adjustment. The immigration policy may be further tightened and Trump's ban on the entry of the citizens from some countries will garner more support. No more than that.

The US is faced with a spectrum of serious problems and its national governance is haphazard and scattershot. Social contradictions are a feature of this period, as certain ethnic groups become more united, while different groups are totally incompatible. Such a national condition brews a hotbed for all kinds of extreme incidents. Terrorism on US soil and vicious mass shooting incidents occur more frequently.

What happened in Europe shows that using vehicles to commit terror attacks has more spillover effect. After this latest New York attack, the US government should pay close attention to the impact it will generate across the country and resolve grass-roots contradictions so as to prevent potential extremist sentiment from being activated and causing a domino effect.

After Trump assumed office, the US prioritized reviving the economy and strengthening military power as a national governance strategy, while it overlooked the problems brought about by social contradictions and vulnerable groups. The White House proposed to increase military spending by $50 billion. If this sum of money was used to ease the conflict between minority groups and mainstream society, the US would not have become what it is now.

The national sensibility of the American elite is still based on international geopolitics and this Cold War mind-set seems to have frozen their way of thinking. They do not give enough consideration to the changes in international competition and continue to indulge in the myth of military might. They do not have a down-to-earth understanding of the main dangers and contradictions in their society.

Undoubtedly, the US does not face a threat from external military challenges. The hegemony Washington is eyeing cannot be achieved no matter how it strengthens its military. Even big powers like Russia and China do not have the ambition to attack the US, let alone North Korea and Iran. However, as the US continues to increase its nuclear arsenal and aircraft carrier fleet, which already ranks No.1 in the world, can the US make the whole world bow and realize absolute security? The answer is no. 

The terror attack in New York and the deadly mass shootings in Orlando and Las Vegas are realistic threats to the US. In years to come, such domestic chaos, instead of disputes in the South China Sea or Beijing and Moscow's opposition against certain US proposals, are the ones that will severely impact the country.

The spread of terrorism and "lone wolf" terror attacks are a major challenge to all human society as well as its freedom and prosperity. The US has always been the top target of global terrorism, and this destructive activity is now disrupting the nation, consuming substantial quantities of US resources. In normal times, terrorist can only launch small-scale wars, yet they have never given up the dream of perpetrating an assault like the terror attack on September 11, 2001.

The principal contradiction facing Chinese society in the new era has changed, and it has too for US society. However, Washington has failed not only to discern this, but also is unable to build a national consensus about it. It is hoped that American strategists can draw some lessons from the latest tragedy in New York.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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