Osama Bin Laden became a mythical figure in the past decade. Everyone thought he was in possession of the remote control to do all the evil things in the world. As the news broke out in late Sunday that U.S. Special Forces killed the most wanted man in the 21st century – news media, internet, Facebook, Twitter, etc. burst into a frenzied exchange of info and opinions. It looks like Bin Laden was securely settled in a nice city called Abbottabad, only 60 miles north of Islamabad, capital of Pakistan. All the evidence so far suggests he was having a pretty good life with his wives and children considering the fact that the whole world was chasing him for more than a decade.
It is just simply not believable that no one in Pakistani state machine did not know the whereabouts of Bin Laden. It is quite well known, Pakistani military intelligence agency ISI always discretely supported the terrorist hunts without jeopardizing the India Card. Pakistan used the radical elements – many of whom are in the terrorism business- to check arch enemy India. So it’s not surprising that Bin Laden got a safe haven for almost a decade with Pakistan’s ISI cooperation.
With all emotionalism going on in the United Sates and the West on the elimination of the No. 1 enemy, we must keep in mind: the heroes and villains of the world are not automatically created, however hard we like to believe. Bin Laden, like everyone else is the creation of the world we live in. Hitler and Stalin were not created because they wanted to become Hitler or Stalin. The sociocultural and political conditions were substantially responsible for the emergence of despots around the world.
When I was a graduate student, one of my professors told me, events in the world have two projections – one on the surface, the other in the bottom. It’s the events in the bottom that determine the events on the surface – like a river. Yes, we are proud of our intelligence agencies and military, who have been diligently working for the defense of America and the world – we should look at the facts as they are – not as we like to see them.
Eliminating Bin Laden is a great moral victory and may boost our President’s poll number, but we still need to focus on the issues which lead the development of radical elements around the world.
Let’s take the Middle East as a case in point, which is very relevant – since that region has produced all the 9/11 perpetrators and its leadership. One needs to keep in mind the Middle East is the only region in the world which has not seen the flavor of freedom and democracy that swept the whole world since World War II.
Of course the ongoing Arab spring protests are the most charming and desirable events happening over there. On the same tone, the Western countries, particularly the United Sates, should stop the double standard in pursuing the foreign policy for that part of the world. It should be people driven not establishment driven. We should make sure of the political participation of their citizens and development of democratic institutions.
If a political system is autocratic in nature, it generates autocratic mindset among its people – hence it creates not only the autocrats in power, but it also creates autocratic opponents.
The best defense against terrorism is to nourish a political system based on liberal democracy, which does not generate a culture where radicalism has high value.
The rise of Bin Laden indicated emergence of radicalism, and his fall, may hopefully create basis for the emergence of democratic values. We in the West should provide a hand – not a handout to the struggling Arab countries – who are fighting for freedom, democracy and basic human rights. Only then we can ensure the fall of Bin Laden and his radicalism.