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Monday, May 02, 2011

After OBL

I was interviewed Monday afternoon by the producer of the local cn2 TV show "Pure Politics." They have a story here. Much of the interview was about the future of US relations with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

I argued that the latest news might pave the way out of Afghanistan. From this point forward, the US has much less incentive to stay.

Obviously, the US killed the messenger, Osama bin Laden, this past weekend. However, his organizational infrastructure and message have been falling apart for a longer time. The al Qaeda of 2011 is not like the al Qaeda of 2001 -- no training camps and friendly government host, for example. As Peter Bergen says frequently on CNN, there's really no one wibh OBL's profile to replace him. He was rich, connected, symbolically important, etc. His history and position was unique and he's gone.

OBL's message is dying in large part because the events in Egypt and elsewhere this year demonstrate that ordinary Muslims don't require a jihadist terrorist to transform their lives. The US willingness to allow longtime partner Hosni Mubarek to fall without attempting to save him also demonstrates that many grievances about US interference and backing of tyrants are now out-dated.

A video excerpt from the interview is here.

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