The killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan by Navy SEALs was a victory not just for America. It comes as Muslims in the Arab Spring are killing off visions like Al Qaeda's that deny individual rights in the name of authoritarian rule.
The killing of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALs has many immediate repercussions – for the Afghanistan war, US-Pakistan ties, even American politics. But history will probably note the opportune timing of this final triumph over the leader of Al Qaeda and of the 9/11 attacks.
It came just months after the Arab Spring began to plant the seeds of democracy and equality in the Middle East.
These popular uprisings were already killing off the false promise of Al Qaeda – that Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula to the Mediterranean Sea must be forced to accept unelected Islamic clerics ruling over them in one grand caliphate – and that only the use of terror can achieve that single theological state.
Since December, Arabs have begun to shake off authoritarian rule of any stripe, whether it be religious, secular, even tribal. They are embracing the powerful idea about the sovereignty of the individual. They want a society organized around that powerful idea, one that is only achieved by the peaceful consent of the governed.