To Be Sure…
May 03, 2011

Always listen for the “to be sure” line, the caveat that reveals we may be getting things backward, or at least getting ahead of the curve. In announcing the death of Osama bin Laden, President Obama wisely put the to-be-sure front and center: “The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda. But his death does not mark the end of our effort.” Good. “We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad.” Also good. But the point, so obvious as to be redundant the first time around, needs to be made to Americans in particular.

The Immortal Terrorist
May 02, 2011

Jonathan Kay on conspiracy theories surrounding high profile “deaths.”

Above and Beyond
May 02, 2011

Sean Wilentz wonders if bin Laden’s death will bring a close to the era of paranoid politics in America.

Deep Impact
May 02, 2011

Paul Berman on understanding the symbolism of Osama bin Laden's death in the history of American democracy.

After Osama bin Laden
May 02, 2011

Louis Klarevas explores Al Qaeda’s fate post-bin Laden.

Bin Laden
May 02, 2011

Monday morning update: Elsewhere at TNR Paul Berman, Jonathan Chait, and David Greenberg have more to say. Also well worth reading are the National Journal's Marc Ambinder and the New Yorker's Lawrence Wright. By now, you have heard the news: Osama bin Laden is dead, President Obama announced in a nationally televised speech on Sunday night.  According to the president and senior administration officials, bin Laden was killed in a "targeted raid" that U.S.

The End
May 02, 2011

David Greenberg on the conclusion of the bin Laden narrative.

What Osama bin Laden's Death Means
May 02, 2011

A first cut. Sorry if it's nothing earth-shattering. In descending order of importance: 1. For the world, the death of bin Laden provides important momentum for the United States and a brake on the prestige of al Qaeda. People around the world knew that bin Laden had defied the might of the American military and intelligence services, and this fact made the United States look impotent. That has been corrected, better late than never. Opposing the United States will seem like a slightly worse idea than it did before tonight. 2.

Liberalism's Bumper Sticker Problem
April 28, 2011

Ryan Lizza's latest must-read New Yorker piece is framed as the story of President Obama's abandonment of the doctrine of foreign policy realism and adoption of "consequentialism." It's filled with a lot of reporting that doesn't really advance that narrative but is really interesting anyway.

Inside the Intervention
April 01, 2011

Strategy is a strange beast. Up close—as it is unfolding—even a good strategy can appear muddled, confused, and indecisive. Its logic only becomes clear over time. President Obama’s Libya strategy demonstrates this. It has drawn howls of criticism from across the political spectrum, most of the “muddled, confused, and indecisive” variant.