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Farewell to the flip phone: How media has changed since 9/11

My Motorola flip phone wasn't working. No signal, just those three piercing tones that indicate something is wrong.

Like everyone else in 2001, I had a landline phone in my New York City apartment and a dial-up modem connected to my laptop. Both proved to be a lifeline to the outside world as I watched the events unfold from inside my apartment.

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20 years since 9/11 attacks

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody. It's the 20th anniversary of 9/11 coming up real soon, and I thought I'd give you a few thoughts about it. I was here in New York, like so many of us, when the planes flew into the towers. It was shocking. I was in our offices in Midtown at the time. At first, of course, everyone thought it was an accident. And then suddenly it became quite apparent it was not. And it was a gut punch. It was a feeling that the world had changed inextricably even if you didn't know exactly how.

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The alternative versions of 9/11

As pivotal as they were, there was certainly nothing inevitable about the September 11th attacks — or their aftermath. Here we imagine five separate scenarios for how things might have gone differently.

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When a giant sneezes: How the US response to 9/11 reshaped the world

In the narrowest sense, the 9/11 attacks were something that happened only in New York, Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania. But how the US responded — unleashing an open-ended Global War on Terror, launching wars and nation-building occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and dramatically reshaping the government's powers of surveillance at home — sent shockwaves around the world.

In many places, the effects are still felt: in the shattering of the MIddle East, in the rise of China, in the upheavals of South Asia, or in the newly complicated relationships between Washington and old allies in Europe and Turkey. And remember when the US and Russia were — for a few weeks there — seemingly the closest of friends?

We asked analysts at Eurasia Group, our parent company, to give us a quick recap of how 9/11 and its aftermath have affected the regions they cover. Enjoy.

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The Graphic Truth: The cost of America's post-9/11 wars

In the two decades since 9/11, the US government has spent an astounding $8 trillion on the resulting Global War on Terror, which included invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and more limited involvement in other conflicts around the Middle East and Asia. The human costs in affected countries are staggering: almost a million dead, and 38 million refugees or internally displaced people. Meanwhile, a select group of US-based arms companies benefited immensely — if you'd invested in them in 2001, you'd have seen a return twice as large as the average for blue-chip firms during that time frame. Here we take a look at US military spending, top US defense contractors' stock prices, death toll, and displaced people in the US-led Global War on Terror.

Editorial note: An earlier version of this graphic incorrectly listed the amount spent on US veterans' care and the breakdown of deaths in the Global War on Terror. We apologize for the errors.

9/11 and after: A personal reminiscence from inside the machine

In 2001, I was US National Intelligence Officer for Economics, and had spent much of that summer traveling in China. At the time, all signs were pointing to China becoming the predominant focus of the George W. Bush administration, and I needed to become much more conversant with the workings of the Chinese economy.

All of that changed on September 11th, just five days after I returned to Washington. For national crisis contingencies, I had an additional assignment that would turn out to be crucial that day: I was the liaison between the intelligence community and the Congressional leadership.

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Did the War on Terror make the US safer?

For former US Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), 20 years after 9/11 the War on Terror has made the US and the world safer in some ways, but less safe in others. She shares her thoughts in an interview with Ian Bremmer, during which Harman also discusses why the US currently lacks a coherent national security strategy — and in fact hasn't had one since the end of the Cold War.

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