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Former top US official regrets Iraq becoming 'magnet' for terrorism

If Michael Chertoff has one regret from his tenure as US secretary of Homeland Security (2005-2009), it's Iraq. He says the US-led war there not only distracted from Afghanistan, but the unclear mission and lack of post-war planning ultimately turned Iraq into "a magnet for all kinds of attacks on Americans, that absorbed more resources, more attention, and more patients." Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on this episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Is America Safer Since 9/11?

Is America safer since 9/11?

20 years have passed since 9/11, but is the US any safer? As the Taliban regains control in Afghanistan, was the War on Terror a failure or has it kept America safe from harm? And how did US allies feel as the last American planes left Kabul? On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer speaks to two people who have had a hand in crafting global policy since the towers fell: Michael Chertoff, who served as Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security under President George Bush; and Rory Stewart, who worked extensively in Afghanistan in his role as UK Secretary of State for International Development and beyond.

9/11 in America

The great Spalding Gray once wrote that he had fled his native New England for Manhattan because he wanted to live on an "island off the coast of America," where human nature was king, and everyone exuded character and had big attitude." I've now lived in New York City for 35 years, and I know what he meant. Manhattanites are Americans, without doubt, but they're suspicious of patriotic displays, and they like to keep the rest of their country at arm's length.

But 9/11 was different. All of us in the city on September 11, 2001, remember that day's clear blue sky, the time it took to understand and absorb the shock of what was happening at the World Trade Center that morning, and then the horror unfolding around us. But the response of ordinary New Yorkers was unlike anything seen in this city since the end of World War II.

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Political transformation 20 years after 9/11

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares insights on US politics:

Two decades later, in what ways has 9/11 shaped US politics?

Well, I think if you can go back in time from today to late 2001 and early 2002, people then would be surprised to learn three things. The first is that the Taliban were back in charge of Afghanistan. The second is that Iraq can transition to a relatively stable democracy. And the third is that after 9/11, there were no future foreign-planned major terrorist attacks against the United States. This last piece of information will particularly surprise people, and they'd also be surprised to learn that the major threats facing the US were largely domestic political instability and a rising geopolitical conflict with China, which had just become an open trading partner of the US just before the 9/11 attacks happened.

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Enter China, exit policeman: How the world has changed since 9/11

The world has changed dramatically since the terrorist attacks on New York And Washington on September 11, 2001. Pop culture has evolved — significantly — as have the ways we eat, communicate, work, and get our information about the world.

Geopolitically, the past two decades have been transformative, and these developments have impacted how many observers reflect on the post-9/11 era.

Here are three examples of big geopolitical shifts over the past two decades, and how they may influence our understanding of global events today.

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Is the US safer from terrorism 20 years after 9/11?

For Michael Chertoff, former US secretary of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009, the fact that America has not experienced a single attack by foreign terrorists since 9/11 proves that the US was "successful" in its strategy to prevent terrorism. That "was not an accident and there was a deterrent effect to be honest — had we been lax, more would have tried." Chertoff pushes back against the notion that the US government wasn't transparent enough about the intelligence it was collecting, and credits those efforts with foiling the plot to blow up airplanes mid-air from Heathrow to the US in 2006. Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on this episode of GZERO World.

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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