osama bin laden

Our diplomatic and development programs can prevent crises before they occur, so we do not need to send our greatest treasure - our brave soldiers - into harm’s way. As Mr. Gates has said, “Development is a lot cheaper than sending soldiers.”

May 8, 2011

Since Osama bin Laden’s killing, US lawmakers have been engaged in a feisty debate over whether to cut aid to Pakistan. They ask why American taxpayers should give over $3bn annually to a country that would harbour the world’s most-wanted terrorist.

A little over a month ago, Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister, made one of the warmest gestures of bonhomie towards his Pakistani counterpart in years."Cricket diplomacy” raised hopes of a revival of bilateral peace talks, stalled since the devastating 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, widely blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

The slaying of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden is expected to prompt the United States and China to review strategies to shore up their influence in Asia.

My title for this piece is intentionally ambiguous, because the relationship between the United States and Pakistan is utterly ambiguous. It could refer to Washington leaders saying, “Sorry that we violated your sovereignty to kill Osama bin Laden, but we still want to be friends.” Or it could refer to Americans saying, “We know some of your conservatives are sad to lose Osama, but we still want want to be friends.”

Over the past ten years since 9/11, event after event in and outside Afghanistan has overshadowed the need to connect with the Afghan people and to deliver on their basic expectations for peace, justice, and prosperity. Even though NATO member-states increasingly appreciate the importance of public diplomacy at home and abroad, they have largely faltered to engage and listen to the Afghan people on how to secure Afghanistan.

Life after Osama bin Laden, whatever cold comfort it brings to Americans, comes with the stifling stench of betrayal for the world’s most dysfunctional allies.

The assassination of bin Laden was a watershed moment; Obama decided to realize the international role of authority that the US has assumed since World War II.