From the Wall Street Journal www.opinionjournal.com
Was Osama Right?
Islamists always believed the U.S. was weak. Recent political trends won’t change their view.
BY BERNARD LEWIS
Wednesday, May 16, 2007 12:01 a.m.
During the Cold War, two things came to be known and generally recognized in the Middle East concerning the two rival superpowers. If you did anything to annoy the Russians, punishment would be swift and dire. If you said or did anything against the Americans, not only would there be no punishment; there might even be some possibility of reward, as the usual anxious procession of diplomats and politicians, journalists and scholars and miscellaneous others came with their usual pleading inquiries: “What have we done to offend you? What can we do to put it right?”
A few examples may suffice. During the troubles in Lebanon in the 1970s and ’80s, there were many attacks on American installations and individuals–notably the attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, followed by a prompt withdrawal, and a whole series of kidnappings of Americans, both official and private, as well as of Europeans. There was only one attack on Soviet citizens, when one diplomat was killed and several others kidnapped. The Soviet response through their local agents was swift, and directed against the family of the leader of the kidnappers. The kidnapped Russians were promptly released, and after that there were no attacks on Soviet citizens or installations throughout the period of the Lebanese troubles.
from hko – Bernard Lewis is a noted scholar on the Mideast. For the rest of his insight:
It clarifies Osama’s motivation, strategy and ambition. bin Laden may be one of the most effective and shrewd players on the stage of global power. America, it seems, may be one of the worst.