So, Osama Bin Laden has finally been brought to US justice and Americans are dancing in streets outside the White House and in New York City’s Times Square. It’s always a bit surreal to witness people expressing joy at another man’s death, but we recognize that this has been hanging over the US psyche for almost a decade now, so a little venting is understandable.
Yes, Osama Bin Laden was a mass murderer, but history – especially the history that emerges over time from the Middle East and South Asia – may ultimately take a more nuanced view. The “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter” cliché is a cliché because it contains a kernel of truth. Bin Laden’s willingness to go toe-to-toe with the world’s sole remaining superpower may ultimately be credited with the ‘Arab Spring’ that is sweeping away many of the Western-backed strongmen (many of whom have a lot more blood on their hands than Bin Laden). Recall that Bin Laden’s stated goal was to achieve the awakening of what he viewed as a complacent Islamic populace across the Middle East. Seen through that prism, the man actually won.
Let’s be absolutely clear – we’re not suggesting that Bin Laden’s death is a bad thing or that his means were in any way acceptable. But his death is only a footnote in an ongoing conflict that may end up being generational. Bin Laden’s ability to wield operational control of his jihad had long since been stymied, so his death won’t change much. And in the end, he gets another thing he really wanted: martyrdom. So, uh… win-win?
But enough about the Middle East… What’s the bearded one’s death mean for us, the online gambling industry? We suspect it means a hardening of the status quo in the US. Seriously, outside of election day 2008, this may have been Barack Obama’s best week ever. Not only does he get Bin Laden, he made quick work of the entire birther movement by releasing his long-form birth certificate, essentially removing the lone plank on which Donald Trump appeared to be campaigning (and publicly mocked him on it to boot). The positive momentum could well ensure Obama’s 2012 reelection hopes. Then again, the UK booted out Winston Churchill less than a month after the surrender of Germany in World War II, so who the fuck knows? The electorate is a fickle bunch. But assuming the US economy can limp on for another 18 months without completely collapsing, Obama must be feeling pretty confident about his chances. (Or, as we like to say, his odds.) And if he does get in again and the House stays Republican… We are looking at 6 more years (counting the period until the election) of things staying as they are now. We are on the record as saying things are going to be staying as they are now for a decade, so this seems to fit with our predictions so far.