Former Rep. Tom Perriello has a superb piece at the Atlantic entitled, “Osama bin Laden’s Fall and the Arab Spring.” The intriguing subtitle is “The true bullet through the eye of al Qaeda will be our courage to stand on the side of reformers in the seasons that follow.” Here’s a short excerpt (bolding added by me for emphasis), but definitely read the entire thing — it’s well worth your time!
Killing bin Laden is a massive operational victory but its lasting effect depends on a sustained strategy to render al Qaeda irrelevant, cutting the network off from new recruits and popular support. As we might say on Facebook, we need this generation to “Like” the United States, and maybe even “Friend” us over time. This struggle will not be as politically popular as killing America’s Most Wanted Terrorist. It will require a major investment in the democratic transition in Egypt, which has already lost significant ground; redoubled efforts at a Middle East peace deal, whose prospects were both improved and deeply complicated by the recent reconciliation of rival Palestinian factions; and commercial engagement that provides the ultimate political currency — jobs. And back here at home, the ongoing budget negotiations should not take the politically convenient but strategically foolish step of balancing the budget on the backs of an already anemic soft-power budget at the very time that we are handed a once-in-a-century opportunity to reshape one of the most strategically vital regions of the world.
By the way, just think about whether Tom’s replacement in Congress, Robert Hurt, could even string 10 words together coherently, let alone write something as thoughtful, well-informed, and perceptive as what Tom Perriello wrote here. Once again, I challenge anyone to come up with a bigger downgrade in representation for a Congressional district than Virginia’s 5th CD experienced when it went from the brilliant Tom Perriello to the stuffed shirt Robert Hurt. Nope, didn’t think so.