The following article by Prof. Paul Goble was published in the Spring 2014 edition of The Ambassador's Review. The full article may be found here.
In 1991, with the end of the Cold War, the disappearance of the Soviet bloc, and the disintegration of the USSR, many Americans-policymakers among them-believed that we had reached the end of history. They believed that we had entered a new period in which cooperation among countries on the basis of shared commitment to democratic values and free market economics would not only be possible but would become the central feature of the international system.
Ten years later, the Islamist terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11th dispelled much of that optimism but did not dislodge one of the key assumptions of 1991. The 9/11 attacks were the work of sub-state actors not only against the United States but against the international community. Americans and American policymakers continued to assume that the governments of the countries of the world, whatever their differences on a wide variety of issues, had a common interest in working together to defeat such challenges and that the counter-terrorist coalition provided a reliable basis for expanding ties.