U-WIRE International Desk: Europe shaken by attacks on U.S.

By Alex Kingsbury
U-WIRE Washington Bureau

Posted 4:55 p.m. Sept. 12 MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – The day after the World Trade Center was reduced to a smoldering pile of rubble by hijacked passenger jets, England and the European Union struggle to both respond to the tragedy and assess what this means for the future of the world politics.

The United Kingdom and the E.U. have offered the diplomatic support expected in the wake of such disasters, but there is marked apprehension about the expected response by the United States when a response comes.

Public response to the tragedy has been mixed horror and outrage. French President Jacques Chirac called the attacks monstrous and expressed his support for Americans in their trying hours. British Prime Minister Tony Blair also condemned the attacks and has been in a series of high-level emergency meetings to deal with the crisis.

Officials in Europe and the U.K. have called for Friday as a day of mourning and will witness a moment of silence 11 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time.

The British government has also restricted air space around the center of
London further congesting what has become an air traffic nightmare.

Armed guards patrolled the corridors of Heathrow and Gatwick airports
serving London, and all civilian and military is on high alert. With all
flights into the United States cancelled, airports across the world are
experiencing serious problems. Travelers are stranded, runways and storage areas are filled with planes and airport security is heightened.

As the rubble in cleared away and the search for survivors continues, the
debate in the European media has centered on two pressing issues. What will the U.S. response be? And what is the future of the United States as a world player?

President Bush, in an address to the nation, called the attacks an “act of
war,” unnerving many who see him as hawkish and bellicose. Many question whether Bush will withdraw to a more isolationist mentality or continue to draw closer with the rest of the world. Another issue of international and political intrigue is the muddy future of U.S. national missile defense.

For the time being, however, Europe waits as the flames are fought back in lower Manhattan, N.Y., and Virginia, survivors are found and the process of healing begins. There is no doubt from any camp that these events have irrevocably changed the face of the world, and that there is no safe haven from global conflict.

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