Monday, May 02, 2011

More on Osama bin Laden and Latin America

Two more thoughts on Osama bin Laden and Latin America:

First, lots of people talking about how much this matters for Barack Obama in 2012.  Maybe, but go back to this oldie but goodie from January 1989:  the New York Times proclaimed "Approval of Bush, Bolstered by Panama, Soars in Poll."  Bush Sr. was bigger than Elvis for a while.  Yes, invading a small Central American country is not as exciting as killing OBL, but there is still a long way to go until the next presidential election.  Long enough that it is very premature to say with much confidence how a big foreign policy boost will affect voters' feelings that far ahead.

Second, killing a highly symbolic leader is certainly important, but we should be careful not to overstate how it changes everything. In Colombia, the government has killed such FARC leaders as Mono Jojoy, but that does not end the insurrection.  The FARC, like Al Qaeda, is being weakened not only by military strikes but also--and this is critical--by domestic and international condemnation.  Killing their leaders, however, does not suddenly end the battle.


ConsDemo 9:30 PM  

The Venezuelan foreign ministry is condemning the killing of bin Laden, however, they say it is justification for an end to what they say is "violence from the US" in Central Asia.

It contains the some of the ideological convenient conspiracy theories, such as "bin Laden was armed and trained by the US in the 1980s." While it is technically true that bin Laden and the US were both opposed to the Soviet presence in Afghanistan, the Chavistas basically make up the rest.

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