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David Calling

The David Pryce-Jones blog.

The Death of a Disastrous Fantasy



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The death of Osama bin Laden is many things, for instance a reckoning with an enemy, an enforcement of justice, a feat of arms, evidence that the United States is after all prepared to defend its interests, also evidence that its old relationship of giving way to Pakistan is over. But there is more. The Arab and Muslim world spent the twentieth century lamenting that the West had overtaken it in terms of power, creativity, political stability, and so on. What was to be done? In mid-century, Arab and Muslim intellectuals came to London and Paris and there they studied the ideologies of the day. The likes of Michel Aflaq and Sami al-Jundi were hypnotized by nationalism, and army officers such as Gamal Abdul Nasser and Anwar Sadat imitated them. The Arab one-party dictatorship followed. This failed utterly. Osama bin Laden tried something else, the installation of a Muslim caliphate. This is a disastrous fantasy. The death of bin Laden ends it.



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