Economic policy works with lags that are long and variable. Foreign policy works with lags that are long and unpredictable. Reagan championing 'freedom fighters' opposed to Soviet tyranny in Afghanistan suffered under the truly unforgiving tyranny of Alzheimer's by the time the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks occurred. Would his belligerently naive and Manichean world view have changed in hindsight of the terrorists his foreign policy spawned?
For the full text of Robert Fisk's article on Osama Bin Laden go here.