- By Blake Hounshell
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.
U.S. President Barack Obama has just announced that Osama bin Laden, the world’s most wanted terrorist, is dead.
This is obviously a huge deal symbolically — Bin Laden was the face of global terror, and an inspiration to thousands of wanna-be jihadis worldwide.
But many terrorism analysts have been saying for some time that Bin Laden had lost his central importance to al Qaeda, or that he was no longer its operational leader. Al Qaeda had morphed from a cohesive terrorist group into a global franchise, this argument went. It was at once more dangerous because it was spread out, and less lethal because local operatives had neither the expertise nor the ambition to launch truly devastating strategic attacks.
These arguments were always based on limited information — people connecting the dots between sparse data points. I don’t think anyone really knows to what extent Bin Laden was still in control, or else we would have gotten him years ago. But I imagine we’ll find out more soon.