The Pragmatic Fanaticism of al Qaeda: An Anatomy of Extremism in Middle Eastern Politics
Michael Doran analyzes Osama bin Laden as a rational actor, arguing that his extremist religious beliefs did not dictate his short-term political behavior, which is actually based on the principle of realpolitik. Al Qaeda's defeat in Afghanistan resulted not because its strategic thinking was clouded by religious dogmas, but rather because the balance of power in the Middle East is inherently difficult to read.
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