Monday, 2 May 2011

The world feels better for Osama bin Laden's death

The news started coming in around 2:30 GMT. However, of the - admittedly small number of - blogs that I track, only the grumpy John Redwood has commented. No doubt a huge thread will have started on CIX, though.

Two thoughts occurred to me as I heard President Obama's well-crafted speech via the World Service. First, that it could complicate the United States' (and our, by association) relationship with Pakistan.

Secondly, that this could be the dramatic event which turned the western world's mood of gloom. Sure enough, Bloomberg reports that the prices of oil and precious metals are down, and stock markets (where there is no public holiday) are up. There will no doubt be a correction later in the week, but it is hard to see the gold price continuing to rise now that this major cause of uncertainty has been removed.

It will be argued that, because of its cell structure, and the dissociation of its leader - through illness, or his need for security - from the day-to-day running of al-Qa'ida, that the assassination will have no practical effect on the terrorist organisation. But the symbolic effect is mighty.

Finally, some grubby political considerations. This sort of news generally helps the incumbent administrations: think of the Falklands victory and the otherwise unpopular Thatcher regime. It has come too early to be decisive in next year's US presidential election, but - barring another major terrorist atrocity - it will surely be a major factor in 2012. In this week's UK local elections, it will help to check the Conservatives' slide. It may even work for both Labour (the ruling party in Cardiff) and the Conservatives in the Welsh Assembly election.

No comments: