"New epoch has begun"

After the Manhattan and Pentagon attacks, nothing in the world can be the same again. This is the conclusion of several Finnish newspaper editorials about the US catastrophe. The Swedish-language newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet (12 September 2001) says that a new epoch has begun.

"A new and terrible chapter has started to be written in world history. This is not the way the Third World War was supposed to begin. It was supposed to come in the form of an atom bomb falling from the skies."

Hufvudstadsbladet points out that all the heavy military expenditure of the past decades, as well as international negotiation systems, have been based on the assumption that the number one defence weapon is the intercontinental missile. Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, people have found it difficult to adjust to the new world.

"Yesterday's catastrophe, which threw the whole USA into panic and chaos, signalled the end of an epoch and the beginning of a new one which unfortunately promises to be equally sombre."

Hufvudstadsbladet reminds readers of critics who have labelled Bush's Star Wars programme pointless.

"Yesterday's catastrophe shows that high technology and regular armed forces are not much help against determined terrorists. The whole world will be a gloomier place as a consequence of these attacks."

One consequence the newspaper anticipates is that intelligence services will receive more resources and legal powers.

"We will all be made to go through more inspections and control than before. Citizens' rights are in danger."

Hufvudstadsbladet is also worried about an increase of racism amongst ordinary people.

The regional newspaper Turun Sanomat (12 September 2001) sees irony in the fact that the worst terrorist attack in modern history co-incides with Bush's presidency. Bush, in the view of the newspaper, has been more determined than perhaps any of his predecessors to protect the United States against such attacks.

"Could it be that in certain circles Bush's actions might have created a will to show that, whatever the United States might do, it does not make it impossible to strike at even the best-guarded targets in the country. The attack could have as well been aimed at the White House during a governmental meeting."

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