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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Bring Me Back the Berlin Wall: Globalization and the Roots of Rage in the Aftermath of the Cold War

Frank Louis Rusciano.

The rage behind the attacks on September 11, 2001 lie in the international status dislocations and loss of identity experienced by certain peoples following the end of the Cold War. This rage has its roots in a twofold dislocation that occurred internationally when the Soviet Union imploded-a power vacuum and an ideological collapse. The old classification of countries into first, second, and third world nations disappeared when the Marxist ideology that defined the second world fell into disrepute; nations that had believed they were more advanced "historically" if not economically simply became less developed nations absent the Marxist interpretation of history. The old classification of nations into Western, Communist, and non-aligned disappeared in a similar manner. Western nations, for the most part, occupied the top of the strategic and economic hierarchy internationally; Communist nations occupied the middle and bottom rungs; and the formerly non-aligned nations like India and Pakistan were often simply ignored.

This paper begins with an in-depth analysis of world opinion in ten international newspapers following the attacks of September 11, 2001. It shows how world opinion was not hostile towards the United States, but rather fluctuated with events after the attacks. It also examines opinion polls within nine Muslim nations to show that citizens in these countries view the United States with a mixture of admiration and resentment. The admiration follows from our technological and economic achievements; the resentment follows from the perception that Americans lack respect for Muslim nations, and for Islam in general. This combination of admiration and perceived disrespect provides a fertile ground for rage.


Frank Louis Rusciano  (United States)
Professor and Chair
Department of Political Science
Rider University

Frank Louis Rusciano (Ph.D. University of Chicago, 1983) is Professor and Chair of Political
Science at Rider University. He is a three-time Alexander von Humboldt Fellow and a former Guest
Professor at the University of Mainz. His books include Isolation and Paradox: Defining "the
Public" in Modern Political Analysis (Greenwood, 1989), and World Opinion and the
Emerging International Order (Praeger, 1998), which one critic described as "the best book yet
on the impact of the global flow of information on people's perceptions, beliefs, and values." He has
also contributed several chapters to books and his articles have appeared in such journals as the
International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Comparative Politics, Current World
Leaders: International Issues, Western Political Quarterly, The Southeastern Political Review,
and The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics.

  • Globalization
  • World opinion
  • Terrorism

(30 min Conference Paper, English)