As the world’s sole remaining superpower, tragedy and terror in the states tend to create a kind of rubberneck effect around the globe. Much in the way St. Jerome sobbed over the sacking of Rome, the world tends to slow down, rightly or wrongly, when bad things happen to the United States.
Geography, as Aaron David Miller explains, plays a role as well. Americans have a somewhat schizophrenic view of the world, formed in part by their relative geographic isolation. The U.S. controls its hemisphere and is bordered by typically friendly and — if you’ll permit me to gloss over the U.S. immigration debate — malleable allies…
So if Americans, as Zakaria suggests, seem entitled to a kind of utopian peace — and free from the chaos and death witnessed daily around the globe — that’s because the bomb blasts in Boston snapped Americans awake — if only momentarily, in the grand scheme — from a security most of them believe themselves to be entitled to. It’s a “near-perfect security” most feel they paid for with blood on soil both foreign and domestic.
But nothing is perfect, and Americans appear to be waking up to the world in which they now reside. If the 9/11 attacks taught the country to fear the many organized Jihadists from far off places, last week’s carnage has taught Americans to fear the few in their own backyards. Indeed, a Pew Research Center survey released this week indicates that Americans now expect occasional acts of terrorism to be a part of life in America moving forward.