The violent death of Osama bin Laden ends the life of a terrorist who had blazed a terrifying trail of murder and other atrocities. His notorious life provides a cautionary tale. It highlights not only what can happen when nations let down their security guard, but when they ignore the worst violations of a fundamental human right – the right to freedom of religion or belief.
Much has been written about how, prior to the September 11 attacks, the United States failed to take seriously the security threats posed by bin Laden and like-minded extremists and the bloody trail of attacks that began with the first assault on the World Trade Center in 1993.
Yet there was another trail that was being carved at that time – the trail of nations harboring bin Laden and other violent religious radicals. Each of these nations was a serial abuser of the human rights, and particularly the religious freedom, of its people.
Think of developing countries in the post Soviet sphere and corruption immediately comes to mind. But there should be one exception: the Republic of Kazakhstan, which won its independence from the Soviet Union 20 years ago.
Transparency International widely publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index and Kazakhstan has been getting better grades for years. In 2010, Kazakhstan moved 15 places in the rankings to 105 out of the 178 countries rated. In 2009, it sat at 120.
The improvement is part of a purposeful trend. Fighting corruption is and has been an important priority in Kazakhstan.
After the success of a targeted, special forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Chief Deputy Whip Peter Welch and Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) are leading a bipartisan effort in the House urging President Obama to recalibrate America’s anti-terrorism policy and end the war in Afghanistan.
In a letter to President Obama sent Monday, Welch, Chaffetz and a group of three Democrats and three Republicans are calling for a shift from the expensive nation building strategy currently underway in Afghanistan to one modeled after the successful mission that located and killed Osama bin Laden.
Last week marked an important milestone in the war on terrorism for our country. Osama bin Laden applauded the 9/11 attacks. Such deliberate killing of innocent lives deserved retaliation. It is good that bin Laden is dead and justice is served.
The way in which he was finally captured and killed shows that targeted retribution is far superior to wars of aggression and nation-building. In 2001 I supported giving the president the authority to pursue those responsible for the vicious 9/11 attacks. However, misusing that authority to pursue nation-building and remaking the Middle East was cynical and dangerous, as the past ten years have proven.
The following are excerpts of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's remarks at the opening session of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue at the Department of the Interior.
...The Strategic and Economic Dialogue is the premier forum in a bilateral relationship that is as important and complex as any in the world. Since we first gathered in Washington back in 2009, the depth and breadth of our discussions and the participation across our two governments have grown significantly.
Through these meetings and the conversations that take place within them, both the informal conversations like the ones we had last night over dinner at the Blair House and the formal meetings, we seek to build a stronger foundation of mutual trust and respect. This is an opportunity for each of us to form habits of cooperation that will help us work together more effectively to meet our shared regional and global challenges and also to weather disagreements when they arise. It is a chance to expand the areas where we cooperate and to narrow the areas where we diverge, while both of us holding firm to our values and interests.