I agree that the events of 9/11/2001 changed everyone's perception. The situation is really the same it's been since the 1970's oil crisis, let alone since the first attempt to bomb the WTC almost ten years prior.
Had real leadership been able to step up at that time to acknowledge that true security depended on energy independence from oil *and* nuclear sources, we'd have had a thirty year head start toward avoiding this mess we're finally perceiving first hand.
I was a teenager back then, but it was clear to me from the popular culture that the problem was at hand, yet in reality Carter was getting laughed at for establishing solar energy tax credits. In fact his response was pretty weak, but a start. Blinded by greed and lack of will, we are. Putting a man on the moon was trivial. Planning a truly decentralized democracy seems near impossible.
My favorite pop culture quote, from "Three Days of the Condor", 1975...
TURNER: Do we have plans to invade the Middle East?
HIGGINS: We have games, that's all. We play games. "What if...?" "How many men...?" "What would it take...?" "Is there a cheaper way to destabilize a regime?" That's what we're paid to do.
TURNER: So Atwood just took the games too seriously. He was really going to do it, wasn't he? Supposing I hadn't stumbled on the plan? Say nobody had?
HIGGINS: Different ball game. The fact is, there was nothing wrong with the plan. Oh, the plan was alright. The plan woulda worked.
TURNER: Boy, what is it with you people? You think not getting caught in a lie is the same thing as telling the truth?
HIGGINS: No. It's simple economics. Today, it's oil, right? In ten or fifteen years... food. Plutonium. And maybe even sooner. Now, what do you think the people are gonna want us to do then?
TURNER: Ask them.
HIGGINS: Not now. Then. Ask them when they're running out. Ask them when there's no heat in their homes and they're cold. Ask them when their engines stop. Ask them when people who've never known hunger start going hungry. You wanna know something? They won't want us to ask them. They'll just want us to get it for them.