Sample English Essay Paper on The turning point

The turning point

Whether you are a pro U.S or an anti-U.S you will agree that the September 11 attack was as a result of a change in the governance of world affairs.  You will also agree that even if U.S acts as the superpower, other nations play critical roles in the stabilization of world politics. More importantly, in contrast to the past, individuals now play critical roles in taming world politics. The article Globalization: the Super-Story written by Thomas L. Friedman is a critical analysis of the September 11 attack as depicted through globalization. Although the date of its publication is not indicated, it is clear that the article was published shortly after the attack. This critique essay argues that the article provides a balanced and well-supported analysis of the factors that led to the attack. In spite of this fact, the essay does not agree with some views expressed by the article’s author. 


The article starts by creating a picture of a novel system that replaced the cold war system in the late 1980s. As a way of expressing the impact of this system, Friedman refers to it as the big lens that should be used to look at the world and its activities. In this regard, globalization is depicted to have transformed the world affairs than cold war system did. Consequently, it is used to evaluate the September 11 attack and the way it occurred on the basis that the attack did not happen in vacuum. Although the article does not focus on the new system, it defines globalization as the integration of inexorable transport and communication systems as well as market that enable individuals, corporations, and countries to reach out the world faster and cheaper (Friedman 392).

The article compares and contrasts the two systems and establishes that cold war system was characterized by division whereas globalization is characterized by the World Wide Web. With regard to these characteristics, Friedman argues that during the cold war system, threats and opportunities emanated from the people and countries one was separated from. On the contrary, perils and opportunities during globalization emanate from the people and countries a state is connected to. In line with the fact that the new system affects everyone in the world directly or indirectly, but not every person profits from it, the article identifies three balances upon which globalization is built on. The first balance is the power between nations and states.

The second balance is between global market and nation-states while the third balance is between states and individuals. The article argues that these balances overlap as well as affect one another. More importantly, the article states “so you have today not only a superpower, not only supermarkets, but also what I call super-empowered individuals.” (Friedman 393). These super-empowered individuals influence world politics on their own without necessarily their states supporting them. Accordingly, the overlap between Osama Bin Laden and USA resulted to the September 11 attack. The article concludes by highlighting the impact of globalization by Jody Williams’ 1997 who won the Nobel Peace Prize.


In analyzing the article, it would be important to start by acknowledging the fact that Thomas L. Friedman is a well-educated writer who studied at Brandeis University and Oxford University. Friedman holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in modern Middle Eastern studies from the above universities respectively. Besides this, Friedman is a renowned journalist, op-ed contributor, television commentator as well as an author (Friedman 391). A key aspect about Friedman is that he tries to provide unbiased viewpoints on whatever he writes or speaks about concerning modern globalization; however, this does not mean that his work cannot be critiqued.

In this article, Friedman argues that the September 11 attack can be understood through globalization. To support this claim, he starts by introducing globalization as a big lens that can be used to understand world affairs. He compares and contrasts the two systems, that is, globalization and cold war, and establishes that the two systems are different from each other. The most important aspect is that before proving his point, Friedman starts by defining the term globalization the way he understands it and uses it in the article. In this definition, he emphasizes that globalization has introduced new systems of communications that were not there before. In addition, he emphasizes that these new systems of communication enable individuals, corporations, as well as countries to communicate with one another faster and cheaper than before. After doing this, Friedman maintains that globalization is different from cold war system. He claims that the main feature of the former system is “division” (Friedman 392). This division referred as the Berlin wall separated states during the former system. Accordingly, a person’s threats and opportunities during the cold war system emanated from the people and countries a person was separated from. On the contrary, Friedman claims that the main feature of globalization is integration that comes through the World Wide Web; thus, a person’s perils and chances during globalization emanate from the people and countries one is connected to. Friedman further claims that globalization affects every person directly or indirectly. At this point, Friedman is quick to pinpoint that not every person benefits from globalization; thus, some people react negatively to globalization.   

A key aspect that is used to support the article’s thesis is that during the cold war system, people acted upon nations and states through their states and nations. However, during the new system, people act upon nations and states on their own. Three critical issues namely super-empowered individuals, superpowers, and supermarkets come out clearly in the new system. The supermarkets hereby referred to as the key global financial centers have the capacity to topple governments. As an example, they toppled the Indonesian government. The superpowers act as the power brokers and they are still important in globalization. Friedman argues that USA is the only superpower in the world today; thus, world news center on the USA. Finally, Friedman claims that super-empowered individuals are the most relevant aspects in understanding the September 11 attack. He argues that the balance between USA and Osama Bin Laden led to the September 11 attack. He maintains that globalization has given individuals more power by enabling them to obtain weapon designs, transfer money instantly, and communicate as fast as possible. Friedman concludes by highlighting Osama Bin laden as one of the individuals angered by globalization; thus, he executed the September 11 attack after he declared war on USA in the late 1990s.

I agree with the author that although USA is a dominant player in maintaining globalization game board, other players play critical roles in influencing the game board.  Indeed, I agree with the author that other factors other than states affect the destiny of the world. For this reason, USA requires the support of emerging superpowers and super-empowered individuals if it is to maintain the new system because the shift of power between USA and other nations is of great importance in globalization. I also agree with the author that globalization has enabled individuals to do whatever they wish to do on states without being mediated by their states (Friedman 393). Osama bin Laden’s case study and the current terror attacks organized by individuals are good examples.   

On the other hand, I disagree with the author that we can only understand the September 11 attack as an interaction and overlap of the three factors he has identified in his article (Friedman 394). Personally, I believe that we can understand the attack as a simple overlap between states and super-empowered individuals without necessarily incorporating the financial global market.        


In spite of the critique, Thomas Friedman’s article Globalization: the super-story is an exciting article worth reading to understand the September 11 attack as an overlap between super-empowered Osama Bin Laden and the USA. Personally, I feel that the critical analysis of the attack found in this article cannot be found elsewhere. For this reason, anyone wishing to learn more about the issue should consider reading this article. However, the title of the article is wanting because it does not give any hint of the attack. With respect to this fact, a person might not be tempted to read the article if he/she is interested in the attack.

Works Cited

Friedman, Thomas. Longitudes and Attitudes: The World in the Age of Terrorism. New York: Anchor Books, 2003. Print.