Yesterday I appeared on the Marc Steiner Show, a Baltimore NPR talk show to discuss OBL’s demise. I guess it was my second appearance there since about 15 years ago when I was living in Baltimore and going to St. John’s I called in to the Marc Steiner Show – it was on WJHU then.
It was fun, doing radio usually is because you only have to worry about what comes out of your mouth and not whether you look funny. (Of course doing TV is fun too, because you are on TV!)
We covered a number of points, familiar to readers of this blog. Pakistan’s complicated politics, the future of al-Qaeda etc. In particular, I think that revenge attacks are not likely. Al-Qaeda’s capabilities have diminished substantially and the treasure trovve of documents captured with OBL will shed tremendous light into their workings. The ideology will continue, but al-Qaeda prime is in trouble. The podcast is here.
My parents listened and said I was really good!
So why the picture of famed New Yorker journalist A.J. Liebling?
The co-host asked me about world perceptions that Americans were rejoicing at OBL’s demise and it looked bad. I quoted Liebling who, reviewing a Graham Greene novel, noted that since the dawn of civilization older declining cultures have questioned the maturity of the powerful rising nations. The Greeks did it to the Romans, the Italians to the French, the French to the Brits, and the Brits to us. Other countries love to see us as this immoderate cowboy culture unprepared for our power. But nearly every country in the world finds times and places for shows of national unity and jubilation.
Later, my wife observed that the crowds around the White House and in Times Square weren’t shooting guns into the air or burning effigies or flags. Wish I had thought of that!