During the months following the 9/11 attacks, we all feared anything could come next. Fast forward to nearly 13 years later and the lack of another major attack has returned us into thinking we're invincible - despite the recent creation of an Islamic terrorist base in Iraq that will rival the Afghanistan training ground of the 9/11 perpetrators.
This sense of comfort contributes to Americans' disinterest in international affairs. But, as this column has explained before, we live in a world of glocalization. Everything is connected - even when we wish it weren't. The most serious current glocal issue is the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Many say we shouldn't get involved and should leave the fighting to the locals. But the problem with this argument is ISIS has stated in their mission that once they establish their base they will attack Western targets.
Relative to the rest of America, West Virginia seems like it may be one of the safest places to live. We have no large cities or symbols of the West to target. And any attack on Washington, D.C. shouldn't reach us. But are we being naive? Consider the following glocal mindset:
After the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union meant the proliferation of their weapons. There's no way of knowing if any nuclear materials escaped. In the years since, other countries, including rogue states, have gone nuclear. With the addition of non-state radical Islamic groups - sometimes sponsored by states such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Syria and Iran - the threat could be worse.
Now factor in our non-existent border with Mexico. What the media doesn't often report is how many non-Latin Americans are seeping in. It's even been confirmed that Islamic terrorist groups are working with drug cartels to enter the country. And now with the border patrol distracted with babysitting, it's even easier for a terrorist to haul a suitcase nuke across the Rio Grande.
After crossing the river, let's say a terrorist's goal is to get as close to Washington, D.C. as possible. Since many terrorists come from mountainous regions, a terrorist might head from Texas to the mountains in Alabama and continue northeast. On his way to D.C., he could wind his way through West Virginia, finding it comfortable to hide out in our lightly populated hills. What if something goes wrong on his journey? Not able to make it to D.C., imagine a terrorist forced to settle with detonating his bomb in West Virginia. No matter how improbable this scenario may sound, we should all remember how improbable the events of 9/11 were to us on the previous day.
The point of this hypothetical exercise can be summed up by FDR's famous quote: "the only thing we have to fearis fear itself." We should only fear living in a world where our leaders have created a scenario of fear. President Obama and the Republican opposition have thrust this fear upon us by leading with an ignorance of the glocal nature of the world.
We the people must make sure we can be as educated as possible from a glocal perspective. Only then can we place pressure on our leaders and take definitive action through our votes.