War on Terror and Transformation of World Order

Conference paper

Tunander, Ola (2004) War on Terror and Transformation of World Order, presented at Change and Adaptation – Contemporary Security Challenges and NATO, 14-16 May.


US ‘neoconservatives’ used the catastrophic events of 9-11 to launch a war on terrorism that had already been declared as a policy objective in the 1990s. While Europe was preoccupied with economic-political integration, the USA replaced the Cold War with the War on Terror. To the Europeans, however, the US war is directed not just against terrorism but also against a multipolar economic-political world order that would grant Europe a significant position in the world. Threats of terrorism and war force countries to seek US protection, and the US War on Terror transforms a potential multipolar world order into a unipolar Pax Americana. To some extent, psychological differences between Europe and the USA can be explained by the gap in their military capabilities. Significantly, though, the instrumentalization of this power gap is being translated into a major political collision between Europe and the USA.

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