The Politics of the OBL Killing
What has been underappreciated about Obama's decision to kill bin Laden was that he had planned it out in his mind years before. During the 2008 campaign he made news--e.g., this commentary
--by declaring he would not hesitate to violate Pakistan's sovereignty if necessary. Obama must have asked himself what he could do to project foreign policy strengths while maintaining internationalist credentials. The most politically popular goal was to get Osama, and he reverse-engineered how this might happen: increased drone strikes, for one. When intelligence connected enough dots, he made his move, and he won. This victory of course does not excuse a multitude of other sins, all intended to force America into multilateral agreements, even in a good cause (e.g., Libya). If anything, the killing of bin Laden is the exception that proves the rule about Obama's often feckless foreign policy.
12:32 PM / April 30, 2012