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Cosmopolitanism after 9/11

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Thinking about the future of humankind and the basis of political association in the early years of the twenty-first century does not give grounds for optimism. In particular, 9/11 has become a moment associated with a return to empire, geopolitics, political violence and the primacy of sovereignty. Yet, it is easy to overstate the meaning of 9/11 and exaggerate from one set of historical experiences. This article explores the ways in which the twentieth century set down key political and legal `cosmopolitian steps' toward a transformation of the global order. These steps are explored and defended, and it is shown how they created the grounds for a very different response to 9/11 to the one persued by President Bush and Prime Minister Blair. Although clearly this opportunity has been temporarily lost, the failure of the Blair-Bush War on Terror reaffirms strong reasons for further developing a cosmopolitian global order.

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