Sunday, January 26, 2014

Not Losing the Arab Awakening. By Marwan Muasher.

Not Losing the Arab Awakening. By Marwan Muasher. Foreign Policy, January 21, 2014. Also here.

The Need for Pluralism in the Arab World. By Thomas L. Friedman. NJBR, January 8, 2014.


When a Tunisian peddler set himself on fire in December 2010, launching the Second Arab Awakening, many were taken by surprise. While I cannot claim prescience, I did have a powerful sense that we had been there before – and that if we did not learn the lessons of the past, we would fail this time as well.
Those fears proved well founded. One transition after another has struggled or failed to produce governments that can respond to citizens' longing for freedom and opportunity. The fragility of the once-promising Arab transitions clearly shows the urgency of beginning the painstaking process of constructing an Arab world defined by pluralism and tolerance. Only then can what I call The Second Arab Awakening and the Battle for Pluralism be realized.
Looking back to the “first” Arab Awakening, which began in the mid-19th century, can be illuminating. That awakening took the form of an intellectual revolution in which a wide array of Arab thinkers started questioning the control of distant Ottoman despots over their nations and criticizing their own limited contact with the outside world. Their calls for intellectual, economic, and political change laid the groundwork for a new Arab world, eventually resulting in a wave of independence struggles in the 1940s and 1950s.
Ultimately, however, the first Arab Awakening fell short of the aspirations of many of those who inspired it. In the end, colonial autocracies were replaced with domestic ones – often military-backed single-parties that took advantage of their revolutionary legitimacy to cement their grip on power. New regimes paid little attention to developing political systems whose checks and balances guaranteed access for all. They saw pluralism as a potential threat and took heavy-handed measures to prevent its realization.
That rejection of pluralism doomed the Arab region to decades of political failure. Unrealized political and economic expectations, the failure to solve the Palestinian issue, and the unwillingness to provide good governance marked the post-independence era in the Arab world. For years, the only groups that contended with the ruling elites were those whose organizing principle was religion. Political Islam emerged as the only alternative to one-party rule. Abuses by government personnel, especially the security and intelligence services, and wealth concentrated in the hands of a few kept tensions seething just beneath the surface.
While the uprisings that breathed new life into the Arab world in 2011 seemed unstoppable, achieving the protesters' goals is not. Whether they succeed in establishing pluralistic governments ultimately rests the hands of the people of the countries involved, and the new generation that demands change. Outsiders however, including powerful Western governments, can affect events. To do so in a constructive fashion requires clear thinking about events and their root causes.
But faulty Western thinking about the awakening has led to misguided, if well-intentioned, policies. In the span of three short years, the West lurched from calling this awakening an “Arab Spring” – a name that implied expectations of an immediate transition from autocratic regimes to democratic ones – to seeing it now as some kind of an Arab inferno, because of the rise of Islamic parties with their implicit or perceived threat to liberal democratic advances and their potential flirtation with jihadi violence.
Neither of these two scenarios need be permanent or inevitable. We should take seriously the common refrain that the profound transformations Arab countries are undergoing will take time. Although some eastern European countries can be said to have sped up the clock after the fall of the Soviet Union, revolutionary political transformation usually takes decades, not years. Western observers and policymakers need to have strategic patience as they follow unfolding events.
The rise of Islamist parties was also to be expected, and should neither surprise nor overly alarm anyone. They alone had the pre-existing organizational capabilities required to run nationwide campaigns, and that allowed them to score electoral victories far beyond their level of popular support. But it should also be no surprise that their success in first-ever elections did not necessarily translate into permanent control. Their promise of better governance, which helped attract support from many Arabs fed up with the status quo, was being put to the test. And as they entered the political fray, this time as decision-makers, their perceived "holiness" was confronted with reality, and their ability to deliver was what mattered most. Arab publics are beginning to judge Islamists and secular forces alike based on performance, not ideology.
It will take decades to build the foundations of political systems that actually defend democracy and preserve its basic tenets year after year. It is a process in which some countries will succeed, others will struggle, and yet others will fail. What will help determine any country’s outcome is which elements of society will lead the transformation. The Arab world has long been dominated by two forces –an entrenched, unaccountable elite on the one hand and Islamists on the other. But neither of these groups – which often achieved an uneasy modus vivendi – has ever demonstrated a genuine commitment to pluralism.
The real hope rests with a new generation, the youth who started it all in the streets and are far more committed to the principles of democracy than their elders. It is this third force that might break the cycle of oppression. So far, this revolutionary young generation has done a better job of defining what it is against than what it is for, and it will take years to establish the organizational capacity and financial wherewithal to achieve a lasting break from the past. This is where Western assistance might most usefully be offered.
If it is to succeed where the first Arab awakening failed, this Second Arab Awakening needs to be an assertion of universal values: democracy, pluralism, human rights. These are not ideals that can be imposed upon a region from outside, but they can be encouraged to grow. This requires patience and an accurate understanding of both the actual conditions and the kinds of actions that are likely to be effective. Only when societies and their elected leaders truly embrace tolerance, diversity, the peaceful rotation of power, and inclusive economic growth will the promise of a new Arab world be realized.
Given the grim news coming out of the region today, some will regard my arguments as a naïve, almost romantic view of an Arab world that does not exist –a mirage in the desert, totally detached from reality. They will point out the tumultuous state of affairs – and that regional political grievances are turning sectarian.
But do not mistake the grim early skirmishes for the outcome. The battle of ideas has finally started to unfold in the contemporary Arab world and is far from ended. The region will go through a period of turmoil in which exclusionist forces will attempt to dominate the landscape with absolute truths and new dictatorships. In the end, however, these forces will also fade, because exclusionist, authoritarian discourses cannot answer the people’s need for a better quality of life –economically, politically, culturally, and otherwise.
There are no short cuts to democracy or prosperity. The Second Arab Awakening has only just begun, and the end may not be known in this generation's lifetime. After all other alternatives to diversity have been exhausted, perhaps the people of the region will finally reject the prospect of waiting so long, and devote their energies to creating a pluralistic Arab world now. Their battle for pluralism is worth waging and winning.

Comment by musicmaster (Wim Roffel):

I don’t share the author optimistic view of the Islamists. I see them as a direct product of both propaganda (subsidized) from the Gulf States and their example. These Islamists have an ideology that is fundamentally different from democracy. While democracy assumes freedom that allows everyone what he considers best, Islamism assumes that prosperity comes from being pious and following their rules. The presence of those Islamists has blocked the arrival of democracy and when with the Arab Spring democracy seemed to arrive anyway it has sabotaged it.
The author claims that “democracy, pluralism, human rights” will bring prosperity. That is not exactly correct. What is missing is the understanding of how a modern economy works. As long as that is absent democracy is more likely to bring populists to power than leaders who will bring prosperity.
After the first revolutionary wave there was also a lot of freedom. But it brought chaos rather than prosperity. The dictatorships were the logical answer to that problem.
In my opinion the Arab Spring went wrong from the very beginning. The most likely result of removing dictators with a revolution is a new dictatorship: ask the Iranians. It would have been better if the death of Bouazizi had led to reforms that made it possible for people like him to earn their bread in a honest way. Improvement one little step at a time.
See also my article:

Marx Is Back. By Charles Kenny.

Marx Is Back. By Charles Kenny. Foreign Policy, January 21, 2014. Also here.

The global working class is starting to unite – and that’s a good thing.

The Islamic Republic of Baby-Making. By Azadeh Moaveni.

The Islamic Republic of Baby-Making. By Azadeh Moaveni. Foreign Policy, January 17, 2014. Also herehere.

How the supreme leader’s revolutionary acceptance of cutting-edge fertility treatments is changing lives in Iran – and unsettling the deeply conservative Sunni Middle East.

Goodbye to American Nation-Building. By James Traub.

Goodbye to All That. By James Traub. Foreign Policy, January 25, 2014. Also here.

If American nation-building is dead, what nation remains at home?

Waiting for Davos Woman. By David Rothkopf.

Waiting for Davos Woman. By David Rothkopf. Foreign Policy, January 24, 2014. Also here.

Why culture is not a virtue.

Should Israel Unilaterally Withdraw from the West Bank. By Frida Ghitis.

Should Israel unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank. By Frida Ghitis. Fareed Zakaria GPS. CNN, January 24, 2014.

The 1967 Lines Are “Auschwitz Borders.” By Frank Dimant. The Algemeiner, January 20, 2014.

State Dept. Spokeswoman Marie Harf Mischaracterizes Al Qaeda. By Thomas Joscelyn and Bill Roggio.

State Department deputy spokesperson mischaracterizes al Qaeda. By Thomas Joscelyn and Bill Roggio. Threat Matrix. The Long War Journal, January 24, 2014.

State Department Daily Press Briefing. By Marie Harf., January 23, 2014. Video. Go to 42:40 in the video for Al Qaeda question and answer.

State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf responds to LWJ. By Thomas Joscelyn and Bill Roggio. Threat Matrix. The Long War Journal, January 26, 2014.

The Long War Journal’s reply to Marie Harf. By Thomas Joscelyn and Bill Roggio. Threat Matrix. The Long War Journal, January 26, 2014.

Are Adjunct Professors the Fast-Food Workers of Academia? By Jame Hoff.

Are adjunct professors the fast-food workers of the academic world? By James Hoff. The Guardian, January 24, 2014.

Crowded Out of Ivory Tower, Adjuncts See a Life Less Lofty. By Rachel L. Swarns. New York Times, January 19, 2014.

PhDs Getting Hammered in Adjunct Jobs. By Walter Russell Mead and Staff. The American Interest, January 21, 2014.

More Imperfect Unions. By Ross Douthat.

More Imperfect Unions. By Ross Douthat. New York Times, January 25, 2014.

Why Is the American Dream Dead in the South? By Matthew O’Brien. The Atlantic, January 26, 2014.

Why Canada Should Support Ukraine’s Democratic Protesters. By Chrystia Freeland.

Why Canada should support Ukraine’s democratic protesters. By Chrystia Freeland. The Globe and Mail, January 26, 2014.


Ukraine is a country used to tough times. You can figure that out just by listening to the national anthem, whose first line makes the grave assertion: “Ukraine has not yet died.” In a history of national near-death experiences, this week’s protests and the brutal efforts to suppress them mark a turning point.
Ukraine today is poised between the establishment of a deeply rooted, hard-earned democracy and a return to bare-knuckle authoritarianism. The outcome is critical for Ukraine, of course, and the Ukrainian diaspora around the world, but it will also have a powerful demonstration effect in Russia, other former Soviet republics, and everywhere in the world where civil society is struggling against dictatorship. What happens in Ukraine matters to the prospects for democracy around the world. The good news is that we can make a difference.
In Ukraine, we are seeing the struggle for human dignity, for the rule of law, for freedom of expression and association in its clearest form. The protesters have renamed the square in downtown Kiev which is their epicentre the Euromaidan, or Euro-square, and their vigil was provoked by President Viktor Yanukovych’s eleventh-hour rejection of a European Association agreement – which would bring the country closer to the European Union – he had promised to sign and which the country supported.
But the demonstrators are fighting for more than a deal with Brussels. For the people of Ukraine, embracing Europe means embracing Western values: democracy, the rule of law, individual rights, accountable government. They believed that their president, in rejecting Europe, was rejecting this entire worldview.
The tragic events of the past week have been a bloody confirmation of the protesters’ fears. Last week, the Yanukovych government illegitimately rammed through parliament a package of laws restricting the rights of protest, assembly, association and expression. That cruel legislation foreshadowed even greater brutality on the streets -- over the past week, several demonstrators have been killed, hundreds have been seriously injured and hundreds more have been arrested. Even ambulances and hospitals aren’t safe for defenders of Ukrainian civil society, who have been dragged out of these havens to be further beaten and intimidated.
Astonishingly, that hasn’t cowed the demonstrators. Instead, the protest, whose self-organised leaders are digitally savvy millennials, has gone viral, spreading to more than a dozen “start-up” cities across Ukraine. In some towns and cities, protesters have occupied government buildings, with the complicity of local authorities. Some members of the security forces are leaving their jobs; others refuse to fight the demonstrators. Some journalists are resigning from state television.
That is why the stakes in Ukraine are so high. The struggle is now openly a battle about democratic values: it will end only with severe repression or a total climbdown by the regime. The outcome matters and will have powerful ripple effects across the region and the world.
In much of the former Soviet Union and even in the former Warsaw Pact, civil society is fragile and the temptation for some rulers to resurrect authoritarianism is strong. That’s true, too, in other parts of the world where democracy and its supporters are weak but hopeful. For people around the world hoping to become freer, and for the leaders who may wish that they don’t, the risky rebellion of the people of Ukraine will be closely watched.
We have both a moral and a geopolitical interest in the victory of Ukraine’s democrats. Fortunately, Canada can act to support them – and we must.
Ukrainian opposition leaders have already called on the west to moderate talks between the protesters and the Yanukovych administration. Canada should play a leading role in that effort. Whatever the outcome of talks, the presence of Western leaders makes a further government crackdown more visible, more costly, and therefore less likely. Canada should also immediately send official observers. Sunlight is the best disinfectant and our eyes at the Euromaidan can help prevent further abuse.
Our moral support for the demonstrators is powerful. We can help them further by offering a safe haven in Canada. Democracy activists who have been injured or fear persecution because of their political opposition should be offered special, expedited visas to Canada.
The West has another, powerful form of leverage. The Yanukovych government appears willing, even eager, to reject Western democratic values to secure its hold on power in Ukraine. But the regime’s leaders, and its business backers, are also keen to enjoy the perks of twenty-first century global capitalist democracy. They and their families like to travel, shop, study and bank in the west.
We must tell them they can’t have it both ways. Leaders who kill their people and revoke their civil rights should not be able to take luxury weekend breaks from the dark world to which they have consigned their people, nor should they be able to safely hold in the west the wealth they have looted at home. Canada should impose personal sanctions against Yanukovych and his political backers and freeze their assets. And we must energetically encourage the United States and our European allies to do so as well.
Democratic values are rarely challenged as directly as they are being today in Ukraine. Their victory will be a victory for us all; their defeat will weaken democracy far from the Euromaidan. We are all Ukrainians now. Let’s do what we can – which is a lot – to support them.

Planet Hillary. By Amy Chozik.

Planet Hillary. By Amy Chozik. New York Times Magazine, January 24, 2014. From the January 26 issue. Also here.

How Our Hillary Clinton Cover Came About. By Arem Duplessis. New York Times, January 23, 2014.

Planet Hillary! How The NYT Magazine’s Crazy Cover Came to Be. By Megan Garber. The Atlantic, January 23, 2014.

“Planet Hillary” magazine cover gets some buzz, criticized. By Paul Steinhauser. CNN, January 24, 2014.

All the “Planet Hillary” Memes You Need to See. By Alyssa Newcomb. ABC News, January 24, 2014.

Why the “Planet Hillary” New York Times Magazine Cover Is a Legitimate Dadaist Masterpiece. By Juli Weiner. Vanity Fair, January 23, 2014.

Your Guide to the Planet Hillary Galaxy (As It Stands Today). By Philip Bump. The Wire, January 24, 2014.

What Has the Times Done to Mrs. Clinton? By Rush Limbaugh., January 24, 2014.

Hillary’s Hit List. By Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. NJBR, January 19, 2014.

Hillary Clinton on Benghazi: “What Difference Does It Make?” Video. newsninja2012, January 23, 2013. YouTube. Full interchange between Hillary Clinton and Senator Ron Johnson at Benghazi hearings. YouTube.

Putin’s Olympic Fever Dream. By Steven Lee Myers.

Putin’s Olympic Fever Dream. By Steven Lee Myers. New York Times Magazine, January 22, 2014. From the January 26 issue.

Religion, Not Ideology, Will Fuel This Century’s Epic Battles. By Tony Blair.

Religious difference, not ideology, will fuel this century’s epic battles. By Tony Blair. The Observer, January 25, 2014.

Tony Blair’s Education Won’t End Terrorism. By Tom Wilson. Commentary, November 27, 2014.


We must encourage education and tolerance if we are to bring about peace in the Middle East and the rest of the world.

The last weeks have seen a ghastly roll call of terror attacks in the obvious places: Syria, Libya, Iraq and Lebanon, as well as Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and Pakistan. Also suffering are places where we have only in recent years seen such violence: Nigeria, and in many parts of central Africa, in Russia and across central Asia, and in Burma, Thailand and the Philippines. We can either see all of these acts of killing as separate – produced by various political contexts – or we can start to see the clear common theme and start to produce a genuine global strategy to deal with it.
The fact is that, though of course there are individual grievances or reasons for the violence in each country, there is one thing self-evidently in common: the acts of terrorism are perpetrated by people motivated by an abuse of religion. It is a perversion of faith. But there is no doubt that those who commit the violence often do so by reference to their faith and the sectarian nature of the conflict is a sectarianism based on religion. There is no doubt either that this phenomenon is growing, not abating.
We have to be prepared to take the security measures necessary for our immediate protection. Since 9/11, the cost of those measures, and their burden, has been huge. However, security action alone, even military action, will not deal with the root cause. This extremism comes from a source. It is not innate. It is taught. It is taught sometimes in the formal education system; sometimes in the informal religious schools; sometimes in places of worship and it is promoted by a vast network of internet communications.
Technology, so much the harbinger of opportunity, can also be used by those who want to disseminate lessons of hate and division. Today’s world is connected as never before. This has seen enormous advances. It means there is a kind of global conversation being conducted. This is exciting and often liberating. But it comes with the inevitable ability for those who want to get across a message that is extreme to do so. This has to be countered.
At present, our screens are dominated by the hideous slaughter in Syria. We have to hope that the peace negotiations succeed. But with more than 130,000 dead – and, on some accounts, the total is nearer 200,000 – millions displaced and the country in a state of disintegration, it is hard to see how there can be a lasting agreement for peace unless it is based on a clear recognition that the Syria arising from this has to be one in which all people are treated equally, regardless of which faith they practise or which part within a faith they belong to. That will never work while either a minority religious group rules the country whose majority has a different adherence, or where those fighting the regime have powerful elements that also want to rule on the basis of religious difference – and are prepared to use terrorism to get their way.
This is not just a matter of what any new constitution says. Democracy is not only a way of voting. It is a way of thinking. People have to feel equal, not just be regarded by the law as such. Such religious tolerance has to be taught and argued for. Those who oppose it have to be taken on and defeated not only by arms but by ideas.
All over the region, and including in Iraq, where exactly the same sectarianism threatens the right of the people to a democratic future, such a campaign has to be actively waged. It is one reason why the Middle East matters so much and why any attempt to disengage is so wrong and short-sighted. It is here in the centre of Islam that so many of the issues around how religion and politics coexist peacefully will be determined.
But this issue of extremism is not limited to Islam. There are also many examples the world over where Muslims are the victims of religiously motivated violence from those of other religious faiths.
So the challenge is clear. And it is one that could define the nature of peace and conflict in the first half of the 21st century. The battles of this century are less likely to be the product of extreme political ideology – like those of the 20th century – but they could easily be fought around the questions of cultural or religious difference.
The answer is to promote views that are open-minded and tolerant towards those who are different, and to fight the formal, informal and internet propagation of closed-minded intolerance. In the 21st century, education is a security issue.
For that reason, when I left office, and in part based on my experience post-9/11 of how countries whose people were freed from dictatorship have then had democratic aspirations thwarted by religious extremism, I established a foundation whose aim is to promote greater knowledge and understanding between people of different faiths. This is not a call to faith – it is a call to respect those of all faiths and not to allow faith to divide us but instead to embody the true values of compassion and humanity common to all faiths.
The foundation is now active in more than 20 countries, including some of those most affected by sectarianism, with a multimillion-pound budget, full-time and part-time staff, and expanding rapidly. We focus on practical programmes. The schools programme, accredited to the international GCSE and recognised by the international baccalaureate, uses video conferencing and online interaction to link classes of students from different countries across the world to learn about each other and to learn to live with each other.
There is a university programme, which we are building into a minor degree course, that began at Yale but is now in more than 20 universities, including in China and Latin America, where students study faith and globalisation – essentially the place of religion in modern society. And an action programme, pioneered in Sierra Leone but now being extended, where we help deliver the anti-malaria campaign of the UN by using the faith infrastructure of the churches and the mosques.
Later this year, in collaboration with Harvard Divinity School, we will launch a new website that will provide up-to-date analysis of what is happening in the field of religion and conflict; in-depth analysis of religion and its impact on countries where this is a major challenge; and basic facts about the religious make-up and trends in every country worldwide.
Evidently, we can reach only parts of the world and be a small part of fighting a huge problem. But the purpose is to change the policy of governments: to start to treat this issue of religious extremism as an issue that is about religion as well as politics, to go to the roots of where a false view of religion is being promulgated, and to make it a major item on the agenda of world leaders to combine effectively to combat it. This is a struggle that is only just beginning.


Writing this weekend in the British newspaper the Observer, former Prime Minister Tony Blair turned once again to address the ongoing threat from terrorism. Blair identifies religious extremism as being fundamentally at the root cause of terrorism–a far cry from the delusions of Secretary of State John Kerry who recently claimed terrorism is caused by poverty. Blair quite rightly observed that just as extreme political ideologies marred the twentieth century, so the terror that emerges from religious extremism threatens to plague the twenty-first. Yet, troublingly, much of Blair’s article is devoted to a rather superficial discussion about the prospects of confronting extremism through “education.” No doubt much of the war for the West’s values will be waged on the battlefield of the mind, but Blair is straying into territory almost as naïve as that inhabited by the likes of John Kerry if he thinks we can simply abandon the military option and reason the societies that support terrorism out of extremism.
Of course, nowhere does Blair directly advocate dropping the military option; this isn’t some latter day about-turn on the policies of military intervention that he himself once employed. Yet, there can be little doubt from his tone as to where Blair thinks the emphasis now needs to be placed: on promoting education and interfaith outreach. Indeed, to that effect Blair is sure to note that he does not consider this a uniquely Islamic problem. It seems that the former prime minister is genuinely under the impression that education and good intentions are going to essentially win the war on terror for us. Like Kerry’s ideas about poverty being at the root of terrorism, the notion that providing education will win over our enemies is a far more palatable strategy than the military option. And like the thought of defeating terror by defeating poverty, it is not only attractive, but also much too good to be true.
That is not to say that there is no common sense to be found in this article. There is plenty, and that is what makes its mistaken conclusions all the more jarring. One of Blair’s most important points is that solving the growing crisis in the Middle East is not simply a matter of establishing new improved constitutional arrangements. As Blair writes, “Democracy is not only a way of voting. It is a way of thinking.” This is an important point, absent from many discussions about democracy and its meaning. Functioning democracy is not simply a question of a procedure for determining who administers government, it is an entire attitude with a whole corresponding system of values upon which that procedure depends.
Tony Blair speaks glowingly in his article of his efforts for interfaith outreach and education thus far. He tells his readers of the work of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, with its soon-to-be launched database on religion and conflict created in collaboration with Harvard Divinity School, interfaith programs and degree courses, first pioneered at Yale, now available in universities from China to Latin America. No doubt this is all good work, but are we really to believe that degree courses in religious toleration, taking place in China and Latin America, are going to heal such intractable conflicts as the fracture between Sunni and Shia that dates to Islam’s founding? Even if Blair’s foundation were to hit upon the magic formula for de-radicalization, they are hardly going to be setting the curriculum in Saudi or Iranian schools any time soon.
While religious toleration may be in short supply throughout many parts of the world, and particularly the Islamic Middle East, we should not forget that in our own countries it was the obsession with tolerance that caused many Western governments to turn a blind eye to this very religious extremism in the first place. It has been the continuing obsession with tolerance that is exploited by those who essentially wish to neuter the West’s capabilities and willingness to defend itself in the face of the threat from hardline Islam.
People in the Islamic world have noticed these weaknesses emerging in our sense of civilizational self-confidence. As Joshua Mitchell has observed from his interactions with young Muslims in the Gulf, one of their greatest fears, found even among highly educated people, is that their own societies might succumb to becoming like the West, which they see as being beset by a valueless individualism.
We can hope for a change in the Islamic world, hope for an Islamic reformation that is liberalizing rather than radicalizing, although current trends should dissuade excessive optimism. But we need to be realistic about just how limited our ability to bring about drastic changes in that culture really is. In his book The Suicide of Reason Lee Harris puts forward the contention that one of the greatest conceits of Western strategy has been the belief that since our system is the natural and inevitable end point in which all societies are progressing, people from other traditions will only be too ready to adopt our values. The last decade of turmoil in the Middle East suggests they are far from ready.
Blair is quite mistaken if he thinks that the West can simply educate our enemies into abandoning the extremism that drives their terror war against us, and indeed one another. Changing “them” may not be feasible, changing “us” is far more within reach, however. Our efforts should be toward reaffirming our sense of commitment to our own values and way of life and doubling up on our readiness to proactively defend those basic principles that we most value.