Political Science Professor Speaks About Future of U.S. National Security

Professor Analyzes Future of Terrorism


Published: May 4, 2011

After confirmation from a press conference with President Obama on May 1, the U.S. learned that army troops entered Pakistan and assassinated Osama bin Laden. Mixed reactions of celebration and solemn reflection flooded the streets of New York City and Washington, D.C., with images on newscasts of people chanting in the street or paying respect to lost loved ones. Although some say that bin Laden’s death represents American justice, there are much broader implications for U.S. national security and the future of terrorism than scratches the surface. The Observer sat down with Thomas DeLuca, director of political science and international studies at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, to discuss the future of the U.S.’s national security.

The Observer: Do you think that Osama bin Laden’s death helps the U.S.’ current national security?

DeLUCA:Whenever you eliminate a formidable leader of an enemy that helps your national security. It doesn’t solve the problem of defeating that enemy by itself, though.

Observer: What are the problems the U.S. is still facing even after his death?

DeLUCA: The real military and security issues are to what degree does this degrade the threat Al-Qaeda presents to America and American allies. Analysts have been saying the hope is that you’ve decapitated the leader, and demoralized followers by showing that bin Laden is mortal. The hope is also that you will discourage others who are disaffected from their governments from choosing the path of terrorism charted by bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.

The Observer:Even though bin Laden is eliminated from Al-Qaeda, do you still think the U.S. is at risk for another attack?

DeLuca:Clearly he had very loyal followers. It may make some angry and mobilize them to retaliate. That’s why there are heightened alerts; security people are paying even more attention right now. Moreover, most of us are not in a position to evaluate how effective a leader bin Laden was at this point. For all these reasons it’s not easy to know the long range operational impact of his killing in terms of stopping terrorism.

Nevertheless, all things considered, my view is that eliminating bin Laden is likely to be an enormous help to U.S. National Security. And it was right and just to prevent him from doing even more harm to others than the egregiously cruel harms he has already done.

The Observer: What do you think this says about the current Obama administration?

DeLuca: This action also boosts the self-confidence of and support for the Obama administration on national security issues, an area which has been criticized. It shows that our military was able to be effectively mobilized to successfully complete a very difficult task, and that President Obama was willing to risk embarrassment and other serious difficulties to make a hard decision fraught with considerable chance of failure.