Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said that the terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001 forced the United States to confront the growing problem of global terrorism.

Mr. Giuliani, who was mayor of New York when the devastating World Trade Center attacks occurred, said that before September 11 2001, the United States viewed terrorism as a foreign problem.

"All these terrorist acts were going on except we weren't viewing them in the way that we should because we like to see the world the way we would like it to be rather than see it the way it really is,? he said. ?Then the horrible events of September 11, 2001 awakened us to the difference."

Mr. Giuliani currently heads his own international security consulting firm and spoke in New York on Thursday to the Council on Foreign Relations, a non-governmental research organization.

He said that after 9/11 the United States was forced to rethink it's global approach to terrorism and in doing so found out how lax many nations were. He criticized some European governments in particular, for failing to arrest leaders of terrorist groups in their countries and in some cases released those arrested too quickly.

If these governments had dealt with terrorists more severely, Mr. Giuliani said, some terrorist acts could have been prevented. "It was a basic mistake of not viewing the world realistically for a long, long time and a basic lesson that you're going to save more lives confronting horrible, horrific human beings at an earlier stage rather than at a later stage,? he added.

The former Mayor of New York city said that the United States has made significant progress on destabilizing and reducing the power of global terrorists, but warned there is still much more to do. "I think it's very important that if, in fact, we are going to continue to make things safer in the United States and the world that we continue on the course that we have set and not do another thing that there is a tendency in the American personality to do, which is kind of get halfway to our goal and then declare victory and then do something else,? he said.

Mr. Giuliani added the United States must remain focused and committed to eliminating terrorism.