The execution of Osama bin Laden is much more than a timely reminder of the dangers of killing Americans. It goes a long way to filling a gap exploited by terrorists in U.S. national-security policy, to debunking the terrorist option, and to demystifying the jihadists. American security policy was essentially outlined by Franklin D. Roosevelt in two speeches to the Congress at the beginning and end of 1941. In his State of the Union message in January, he enunciated the goal of the Four Freedoms (of speech and expression, and worship; and from fear and want), and said: “We must always be wary of those who with sounding brass and tinkling cymbal would preach the ism of appeasement.” And in his war message in December, referring to the attacks at Pearl Harbor and elsewhere, he said: “We will make very certain that this form of treachery never again endanger us.” The United States would not be an appeasement power, would promote democratic values and generalized prosperity, and would maintain a deterrent force adequate to dissuade any nation from attacking it.
In general, those goals have been successfully pursued. The U.S. has not appeased its adversaries, and conducted the Cold War as a contest between the “Free World” and the Communists, although the Free World included a number of undemocratic regimes. But democracy triumphed, including in most formerly undemocratic allies, such as Spain, Portugal, Taiwan, South Korea, and most of Latin America. And Am… >>>