People around the world are now reacting to the news of the death of Osama bin Laden, which is being seen as a significant world historical event.
The military intelligence and special forces operations that led to bin Laden’s death are only beginning to be understood at this point, yet the search for the meaning of a post-Osama world has already begun. Historians, political scientists, and journalists are attempting to gauge reactions and interpret the broader significance of bin Laden’s death.
One of the most impressive assessments of the possibilities of a post-Osama world that I have seen is Roger Cohen’s op-ed in the New York Times.
Historians can play an important role in contexualizing bin Laden’s death and understanding the broader historical patterns shaping this historical moment. As historians weigh in on bin Laden’s death, I will update this post.
For my part, I hope that Osama bin Laden’s death provides closure for victims of the September 11 Attacks and offers opportunities to reevaluate the United States military’s role in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. Bin Laden’s death certainly does not eliminate Al Qaeda, religious violence, or global terrorism, but it does present possibilities to re-think how the United States responds to such threats.