osama bin laden
Osama bin Laden was a powerful man, although he used it for vicious ends. He had hard power, the power of explosives and kamikaze strikes, but he also had soft power, the ability to turn young people into ruthless suicide bombers. The most fearful part of Bin Laden's strength is not his unpredictable way to launch terrorist attack, but the charisma that united anti-US forces from all over the world.
"It was the soft power of Ghoneim and his associates, not bin Laden's crude power, that led to regime change" in Egypt says Khalil el-Anani, referring to the former Google executive who became the face of the youth-driven protests in January.
Opinion: The killing of Osama bin Laden marks a unique melding of American hard and soft power, and a boost (with legs) for President Obama
“Seen from Europe, this is part of the return of America. The story a few years ago was America’s relative decline, but this shows a return,” argues Dominique Moisi, a leading intellectual at the French Institute of International Relations. “We see that democracy prevails as an aspiration and democracy prevails as a force."
When she was appointed as Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy in 2005, Hughes was put in charge of trying to improve the perception of America abroad. "One of the things that we worked in public diplomacy to highlight around the world was the fact that a lot of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda's victims were, in fact, innocent Muslims."
After digesting the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed by a U.S. Navy Seals team, my first thought was about how his death, and the manner in which it happened, highlights the tension between the visible and the invisible in terms of terrorism and counterterrorism.
In recent years, the tendency has been to dismiss Guantanamo as nothing more than a public diplomacy disaster. But it appears, and this is not information that suits the Obama administration’s political purposes, that the vital tip that started this whole process came from someone detained at Guantanamo.
In a dramatic, yet sober, Sunday night address to the American people, President Obama announced the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden. He reminded us of the horror, the grief, the tragedy and senseless slaughter of September 11, 2001.