Commentary Magazine


Contentions

The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Self-Congratulation Itself

In her remarks this morning on the killing of Osama bin Laden, Secretary of State Clinton asserted that:

History will record that bin Ladin’s death came at a time of great movements toward freedom and democracy, at a time when the people across the Middle East and North Africa are rejecting the extremist narratives and charting a path of peaceful progress based on universal rights and aspirations.

It may be a bit early to announce that people across the Middle East are rejecting extremist narratives. Dictators have been overthrown, in some cases, but it is not yet clear what will replace them. We do not know what will happen next in Egypt, Libya, and Syria, much less what History will say about it. Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and regional hegemony will continue notwithstanding the death of bin Laden.

President Obama deserves great credit for a successful mission that involved great risk. It completes the mission President Bush announced with his “dead or alive” remark. But it is too early for celebrations (this passionate post and the erudite comments under it suggest the moral hazard involved). If the killing becomes the occasion for mistaking a tactical success for victory in a war not yet won, History will have bad things to say about our self-congratulatory rhetoric of triumph.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.