Politology (Unit 1)

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Unit I Terrorism


Школа — под охраной

Школа под охраной

Новый учебный год начался в школах Беслана с опозданием на две недели. У входа в среднюю школу 6 в Беслане. Эта школа находится ближе всего к школе № 1, в которой произошли трагические события.


Ex. 1. Look at the picture and answer the questions:

1.      What event did you associate with this photo?

2.      How did you respond to the news on the first of September in Beslan?

3.      How did the images of this tragedy affect you?

4.      What emotions have you experienced?

5.      Do you feel safe?

6.      What do you think the adults should do to promote a feeling of safe?


Ex. 2. Describe President Putin’s reaction to this tragedy in Beslan. How would you describe this tone, his words and his demeanor? What steps was he taking to address the situation?


Ex. 3. Translate from Russian into English:

Владимир Путин:

Чечня - не Ирак. Она важная часть нашей территории.

В своей подмосковной резиденции в Ново-Огарево президент России Владимир Путин провел первую встречу с иностранными журналистами и учеными после трагических событий в североосетинском Беслане.


В ходе беседы, длившейся больше трех часов, Путин, как пишет английская «Гардиан», заявил, что принял решение о проведении внутреннего, а не публичного расследования. По его мнению, открытое расследование может превратиться в «политическое шоу». По словам президента, он «хочет восстановить последовательность событий и выяснить, кто несет ответственность».

Президент также особенно подчеркнул, что никто не имеет права «советовать нам говорить с убийцами детей». «Почему бы вам не встретиться с Усамой бен Ладеном?..»

По заявлению Путина, он рассматривает террор чеченских исламистов, опирающихся на иностранных фундаменталистов, основным моментом стратегии, направленной на подрыв ситуации на всем юге России и дестабилизацию среди мусульманского населения в других регионах страны.

Президент также подчеркнул, что «мусульмане живут на Волге, в Татарстане и Башкортостане. Чечня — не Ирак. Она находится совсем рядом. Чечня — важная часть нашей территории, и в данный момент речь идет о территориальной целостности России».


Ex. 4. Addressing the nation in the time tragedy is something that many presidents have had to do. What do you think goes through the chief executive’s mind as he prepares to comfort the citizens of his country and assert a sense of control?


Ex. 5. Read the text and translate it. Define the following underlined words and memorize the definition.

Has Russia been attacked by terrorists?

Yes. During the last decade, Russia has been the target of far more terrorist attacks than the United States has. Most of these have stemmed from the conflict in Chechnya-including the hijacking of a Russian airliner in Saudi Arabia in March 2001 and the hijacking of a commercial bus with 40 passengers in July 2001. Perhaps the most dramatic attacks were four apartment bombings in Moscow and other Russian cities during August and September 1999, which killed nearly 300 civilians. Putin, then Russia's prime minister under the ailing President Boris Yeltsin, blamed these bombings on Chechen rebels and reinvaded the breakaway republic. At least 41 people, including 17 children, were also killed in May 2002 when terrorists bombed a military parade in the southwestern town of Kaspiisk — an attack that the Russian government also blamed on Chechen extremists. In October 2002, Chechen terrorists seized some 700 hostages in a Moscow theater. Russian special forces launched a commando raid, pumping an aerosol form of the powerful narcotic Fentanyl into the theater to disable the hostage-takers. The drug killed more than 110 hostages, as well as many of their captors.


Ex. 6. Questions for discussion:

1.      Why do you think some groups of people feel that they can only achieve their political objectives through violent acts?

2.      Do you think the use of violence is ever justified in achieving a particular “political objective”? Why or why not?

3.      How do you think acts of terrorism might be prevented or discouraged by the publics or governments against whom they are perpetrated?


Ex. 7. Read the text and put questions to it:


News In Brief


Exactly one week before the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush has declared that dark day in US history "Patriot Day," in honour of those killed.

The more than 3,000 people who died in the attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and outside Washington "will forever hold a cherished place in our hearts and in the history of our nation," Bush declared in a statement yesterday.

"We will not forget the events of that terrible morning, nor will we forget how Americans responded in New York City, at the Pentagon and in the skies over Pennsylvania -with heroism and selflessness, with compassion and courage and with prayer and hope," he said.

"As we mark the first anniversary of that tragic day, we remember their sacrifice and we commit ourselves to honouring their memory by pursuing peace and justice in the world and security at home." Bush called on US citizens to fly their flags at half-staff every September 11 and to observe a moment of silence at 8:46 am (12:46 GMT), the exact moment at which the first hijacked plane slammed into the World Trade Centre. He also urged people to participate in commemorative ceremonies, memorial services and candlelight vigils in remembrance of those killed.

“Inspired by the heroic sacrifices of our firefighters, rescue and law enforcement personnel, military service members and other citizens, our nation found unity, focus and strength” after the attacks, Bush declared. He added that “from the tragedy of September 11 emerged a stronger nation, renewed by a spirit of national pride and a true love of country.”


Ex. 8. Use the vocabulary in describing the September 11 events in New-York and Washington.

terrible incident

outrageous and vicious act

inhuman act

barbarous terrorist act

most horrifying attacks ever

nightmare scenario

deadly series of blows

plane slammed into

devastating hit

planes blasted fiery, gaping holes

jet dove into the building

horrendous number of lives lost

unknown number of fatalities

city under siege


day of horror


Ex. 9. Give the definition of the following words and memorize them:

1.   catastrophe – a sudden great disaster

2.   disaster

3.   tragedy

4.   war

5.   infamy

6.   retribution

7.   revenge

8.   retaliation

9.   response

10. terrorism


Ex. 10. a) Why did Putin agree with President Bush that terrorists are serious treat to world security and to Russia? Do you share his point if view? Why?

b) Read the text


Putin & Bush

Presidents Putin and Bush, Crawford, Texas, Nov. 2001. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)


How did Russia react to September 11?

Russian President Vladimir Putin was the first world leader to call President Bush with condolences after the attacks. Within two weeks, the United States and Russia had reached an agreement to increase intelligence-sharing about Afghanistan and al-Qaeda and, more significant, to allow U.S. troops to be based in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan-countries in Russia's Central Asian backyard. Putin has repeatedly stressed Russia's solidarity with the war effort and even declined to object to the spring 2002 arrival of U.S. Green Berets to help train Georgian troops hunting militants with suspected links to al-Qaeda. In May 2002, NATO created a new NATO-Russia Council to include Moscow from the outset in NATO deliberations on issues including counterterrorism and nonproliferation. Taken together, experts say, these developments amount to a notably supportive Russian response to 9/11.

Why is it important that Russia has cooperated with the U.S. war effort? Broadly speaking, for two reasons: military and political. Militarily, experts say, Russia's decision not to protest the stationing of U.S. forces in Central Asia—such as sending the U.S. Army's Tenth Mountain Division to Uzbekistan and special forces to Tajikistan—helped provide a critical staging area for the war in Afghanistan. Allowing U.S. troops to be based on the territory of the former Soviet Union and along Russia's southern border was a major departure for Russian policy, but Putin readily agreed—to the surprise of some Russia experts.

Politically, Russia's support eased U.S. efforts to build international coalitions against terrorism. In other recent American-led military campaigns—such as the 1999 war in Kosovo—Russia's opposition made it more difficult to keep a coalition united and to conduct the war. This time, Russian cooperation has made it much easier to isolate al-Qaeda and the Taliban and to pressure other regimes that harbor terrorists.


Vocabulary practice


Ex. 11. Give it a name:

1.      a sudden great disaster

2.      a very bad accident, that causes great damage or loss of life

3.      a terrible event that causes great sadness

4.      a state of fighting between nations or groups with a nation using a military force

5.      wickedness; morally wrong behaviour

6.      punishment that is consider to be morally right and fully deserved

7.      deliberate punishment or injury inflicted in return for what one has suffered

8.      to do harm or injury

9.      an action of feeling produced in answer to something; reaction


Ex. 12. Can you guess the meaning of these international words:

xenophobia, dogma, patriotism, racism, fanaticism, stereotype, propaganda, fact, attack.


Ex. 13. Match the words:

1.      assertion


2.      speculation


3.      assumption


4.      insinuation


5.      distortion


6.      hearsay


7.      martyr


8.      martyrdom

мученичество, мука


Ex. 14 Use the vocabulary in your own stories about the day of horror in Beslan:


detonate - to cause to explode

pandemic - a disease which is widespread

blunders - stupid, unnecessary mistakes

martyrdom - sacrificial death/suffering for one's beliefs, nation, etc.

on the run - trying to-escape or hide

predicament - a difficult/unpleasant situation

feeble - weak



1.      Should we understand the two wars in Chechnya as nationalist struggles, or as Islamist struggles?

2.      Why isn’t the U.S. doing more to help Russia against common enemies?


Ex. 15. Write down an essay on topic “Terrorism”.


Comprehension Exercises


Ex. 1. Read the text

Is there a definition of terrorism?

Even though most people can recognize terrorism when they see it, experts have had difficulty coming up with an ironclad definition. The State Department defines terrorism as "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience." In another useful attempt to produce a definition, Paul Pillar, a former deputy chief of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, argues that there are four key elements of terrorism: It is premeditated - planned in advance, rather than an impulsive act of rage.

It is political - not criminal, like the violence that groups such as the mafia use to get money, but designed to change the existing political order. It is aimed at civilians - not at military targets or combat-ready troops.

It is carried out by subnational groups not by the army of a country.

Where does the word "terrorism" come from?

It was coined during France's Reign of Terror in 1 793-94. Originally, the leaders of this systematized attempt to weed out "traitors" among the revolutionary ranks praised terror as the best way to defend liberty, but as the French Revolution soured, the word soon took on grim echoes of state violence and guillotines. Today, most terrorists dislike the label, according to Bruce Hoffman of the RAND think tank.

Is terrorism a new phenomenon?

No. The oldest terrorists were holy warriors who killed civilians. For instance, in first-century Palestine, Jewish Zealots would publicly slit the throats of Romans and their collaborators; in seventh-century India, the Thuggee cult would ritually strangle passersby as sacrifices to the Hindu deity Kali; and in the eleventh-century Middle East, the Shiite sect known as the Assassins would eat hashish before murdering civilian foes. Historians can trace recognizably modern forms of terrorism back to such late-nineteenth-century organizations as Narodnaya Volya ("People's Will"), an anti-tsarist group in Russia. One particularly successful early case of terrorism was the 1914 assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serb extremist, an event that helped trigger World War I. Even more familiar forms of terrorism often custom-made for TV cameras - first appeared on July 22, 1968, when the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine undertook the first terrorist hijacking of a commercial airplane.

Is terrorism aimed at an audience?

Usually, yes. Terrorist acts are often deliberately spectacular, designed to rattle and influence a wide audience, beyond the victims of the violence itself. The point is to use the psychological impact of violence or of the threat of violence to effect political change. As the terrorism expert Brian Jenkins bluntly put it in 1974, "Terrorism is theatre."


Ex. 2. Answer the questions:

1.      Is terrorism just brutal, unthinking violence?

2.      Does it take the form of bombing, shooting, hijacking or assassinations?

3.      Is it a deliberate use of violence against civilians for political or religious ends?

4.      Is there a definition of terrorism?

5.      What is terrorism?

6.      What are some key elements of terrorism?

7.      Where does the term “terrorism” come from?

8.      Is terrorism a new phenomenon?

9.      Is it aimed at an audience? Why?

10.    Do you think it is irrational to recruit young people to commit suicide for a cause?

11.    What role should people of good will take in the current crisis?


Ex. 3. What word is odd out?

1)      violence – brutality – justice – cruelty – fierceness

2)      victim – martyr – wickedness – sufferer – sacrifice

3)      terrible – outrageous – vicious – terrific – audacious – essential


Ex. 4. Make up a dialog using new vocabulary, analyzing last events in Russia


Ex. 5. Read and translate using a dictionary if necessary


On September 11, 2001, the United States was attacked by terrorists connected with the radical Islamist group, Al Qaeda. Four commercial airliners were hijacked, to be used as missiles in the destruction of American monuments and American lives. Both towers of the World Trade Center in New York were destroyed, and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, was severely damaged. Almost three thousand lives were lost, the greatest single-day loss of American lives on American soil since the Civil War and the greatest, single-day loss to violence of American civilian lives in history

Some refer to these horrible events as a tragedy or a disaster But both these terms carry connotations of unavoidable natural calamities such as hurricanes or earthquakes: that is, these terms connote events with no human cause. When disaster strikes, we can do naught but mourn. The events of September 11, however, were the result of deliberate human action. The more appropriate terms for speaking about these events are crime, mass murder or acts of war. Thus, while we mourn the loss of lives on that day another response is also justified: a desire for justice.


Comparisons are now made to the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. But really, the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks are incomparable. In 1941, the armed forces of the Empire of Japan attacked the armed forces of the United States. On September 11, however, the terrorists did not attack our armed forces, but the American people as such. This is truly an unprecedented crime.

The Al Qaeda terror network is at war with us. These terrorists, quite clearly, hate us and seek to do us harm. Osama bin Laden has called it a holy duty binding on every Moslem to kill every American within reach. In other words, he believes genocide is justified. Such hate is difficult for Americans to fathom for we know ourselves to be a peaceable people. What, then, is the cause of such hatred? What are the grievances of the followers of Osama bin Laden which prompt them to commit mass murder of American civilians? Are they such that they could be appeased?

At a macro-historical level, the terrorists of Al Qaeda see themselves as holy warriors in the long history of conflict between Islam and the unbelievers - in particular, the unbelievers of the West, or Christendom. While we are now taught that the medieval Crusades were in their very nature a crime of intolerance (and it is surely true that the Crusaders committed innumerable shameful atrocities), we would do well also to recall that the Crusades were a belated act of strategic defense. For Mohammed was an "armed prophet," as Machiavelli put it. In the seventh and eighth centuries, Arab armies swept across the Christian lands of North Africa, converting peoples at the point of the sword. Crossing over into Europe at the Straits of Gibraltar, they conquered nearly the whole of Spain, and their advance into Western Europe was stopped only at the Battle of Tours (in central France) in 732. Spanish Christians fought for centuries to reclaim their country and to defend against successive Muslim invasions, succeeding finally only in the fifteenth century, after hundreds of years. This Spanish victory, the final liberation of Christian Spain from what were, in effect, Muslim imperialists or colonialists, is referred to by Osama bin Laden in his videotaped response to the September 11 bombings as the "tragedy of Andalusia."

Likewise in Eastern Europe, after the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453, the nations of Christendom were threatened in the Balkans by successive Muslim invasions. In 1683, the Turks penetrated as far as the gates of Vienna, where they were defeated by the heavy cavalry of the Polish king Jan Sobieski. Centuries of war and popular uprisings in the Balkans eventually liberated Christian peoples from the "Turkish yoke." By the end of the nineteenth century, the Ottoman Empire was the "sick man of Europe," while Europe reached its imperialist zenith.

These are hardly "current events," but it is necessary to revisit such history in order to understand the background to the grievances which animate Al Qaeda. Their deepest grievance is the worldly success of the West, or Christendom; and the relative decline in the power and prestige, the splendor and dynamism of Islamic civilization over the past four centuries.


Ex. 6. Put questions to the text.


Ex. 7. Translate from English into Russian:

naught - nothing

fathom - to understand

atrocities - extremely evil and cruel actions

Machiavelli - Italian political theorist (1469-1527)

zenith - the highest point

stagnant - not moving or growing

glut - oversupply

complicit - involved as an accomplice

imputed - attributed to or credited with

appreciably - noticeably

theocratic - a government rum in the name of God

getting "out of hand" - becoming out of control

recompense - repayment for damages

omnipotent - having unlimited power, force or authority

prudence - wisdom and care



Read and translate the text using a dictionary if necessary


What Do We Tell Our Children?

Nobody has written the how-to manual on this one yet. When our children woke up on Sept. 12, the world felt less safe to them than it did at the same time yesterday. It did for us, too, but if adults are finding the events in New York and Washington incomprehensible, children may be profoundly frightened.

"Just as this is beyond belief for adults, it suggests to children that the worst fantasies they can possibly have are possible. The illusion that life is safe and predictable has been challenged," child psychiatrist Stuart Goldman of Children's Hospital and Harvard University said yesterday.

For children of every age, the first thought often will be an egocentric one: "What about me? Am I safe? Are my parents safe?" Answering that question is our first and most important responsibility, said children's television personality Fred Rogers in a telephone interview. He urged parents not to fall apart, "even though that's what you feel like doing," and to tell children explicitly that we and our government are doing all we can to keep them and our country safe, even as we express our sorrow and grief.

For children under 7, worry typically translates to clingy behavior. A 4-year-old may follow you around the house, or insist you stay with her tonight until she falls asleep, something she hasn't wanted for an age. With older children, the clinging has an age-appropriate twist: "The most independent 16-year-old may suddenly be checking in with you by phone just to say he's going to be five minutes late," Goldman said. Keeping the connection to children tightly under control, literally being with them even if it's just to be in the same room or under the same roof, is profoundly comforting and something parents should not underestimate. It's what prompted child psychiatrist Gene V. Beresin of Massachusetts General Hospital to cancel patients yesterday so he could be home when his twin 14-year-olds arrived from school. It's also what's behind Brookline psychologist Sharon Gordetsky's advice when she tells parents to cancel any plans in the next few days and this weekend that would take you away from your children.

Gordetsky said some children will need more structure than usual in the days to come, perhaps wanting you to walk them to school, or meet the bus. If a child of any age is more fearful than usual, expecting him to tough it out - "You have your own bedroom to sleep in, just like always", - runs the risk of inflaming fears, not dispelling them. She said keeping to routines, having family meals together, getting together with extended family, and lots of extra cuddle time are strategies to mitigate against fearfulness.

Why do deaths in New York City and Washington translate to childhood fears in Boston? For the same reasons they do for adults: They stir up an intense sense of vulnerability. In addition, though, young children lack the cognitive ability to bring perspective to tragedy. If an airplane can fly into a building in New York, why not into the Prudential or the Hancock in Boston? If a plane can be hijacked and blow up, why not daddy's plane when he goes on a business trip? If people can go to work and die in Washington or New York, how safe is mom's office in Providence or Boston? For middle- and high-school age children who are able to engage in abstract thinking, the fears may project to the future, but also in a self-centered way: Will our country ever be safe again? Will I ever feel safe flying? Will we fly to Colorado at Christmas? Will our synagogue be safe at Rosh Hashana?


Vocabulary practice


Ex. 1. Answer the following questions:

1.      Why did the world feel less safe after September 12?

2.      Why are the worst fantasies of profoundly frightened children possible in our world?

3.      What is our first and most important responsibility?

4.      What does children’s television personality advise parents?

5.      How are the parents advised to behave themselves?

6.      Why does child psychiatrist prompt to cancel our plans so we could be home with our children?

7.      Do children need more structure than usual in the days to come?

8.      Why are lots of extra cuddle time said to be strategies to mitigate against fearfulness?


Ex. 2. Find in the text the English equivalents of the following:

Непонятный, оставлять, определенно, цепко, рассеивать, близость, уязвимость, синагога, вечность.


Ex. 3. Can you guess the meaning of these words:

Adult, child, psychiatrist, children’s television personality, parents, psychologist, pediatrician.


Ex. 4. Study the following words and use them in sentences of your own:

Manual on, incomprehensible, predictable, responsibility, to urge, to fall apart, explicitly, to express sorrow and grief, clingy behaviour, to comfort, fearful, to tough out, inflaming fear, dispel, cuddle time, vulnerability.


Comprehension Exercises


Ex. 1. Read the text and answer the following questions:

1.      How can you prove that adults know how to help children?

2.      What are the best recommendations for comforting children?

3.      Are there any differences in behaviour for children under 7 and the most independent 16-year-old ones?

4.      Is it OK to share your feelings even with preschoolers as long as you burden them or overdo it?


Ex. 2. Comment on this quotation:

“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”

Mohandas Gandhi.


Ex. 3. Questions for discussion:

1.      What are the types of initial reactions children expressed during and after terrorist attacks?

2.      How do the child psychiatrists advise parents to deal with their children’s fears and questions? Do you think it is a good advise? Does the child’s age matter?

3.      Can you give advice how to deal with traumatized children?


Ex. 4. 1. Write down a report. “Children and Terrorism” describing your feelings, emotions and opinion.

2. Write down essays on theme “What role does Islamic fundamentalism play in terrorism?”


Home reading


Put questions and analyze these questions.


Mass murder inspired by Islamic fundamentalism and fanaticism differs from the secular totalitarian ideologies and regimes of Europe's twentieth century fascism and Nazism, on the one hand, and Communism, especially in. the Stalin era, on the other. Like the twentieth-century totalitarians, today's Islamic fundamentalist fanatics are convinced that they possess absolute Truth which is immune to refutation or criticism; they despise Western modernity yet borrow its technological accomplishments in an effort to destroy it. They believe that force and terror are necessary to establish a Utopia in place of the current decadent and corrupt world; and they explain history on the basis of a conspiratorial construct in which the United States, more than "international Jewry" or global capitalism, plays the central role.

Unlike the followers of the past century's secular religions, today's terrorists draw inspiration from an apocalyptic vision rooted in religious radicalism. Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda emerge in a global political culture in which elements of Leftist anti-globalization discourse and reruns of fascist and Nazi visions of Jewish conspiracies merge with religious passions. Because Al Qaeda knows how to speak the language of leftist anti-imperialism of the past century, it suggests a mood that overlaps with secular Third-World radicalism. Yet in crucial matters, such as its view of death and suicide and its stance on rationality, it appears closer to the fascist and Nazi philosophy than to the Communist past. The stand-off with Soviet Communism could end with its peaceful implosion; as was the case with fascism and Nazism, the only way the threat of terrorism inspired by radical Islam can end is through its military defeat.

By terrorism, I mean the intentional murder or attempted murder of any person, civilian or military, man, woman, or child, old or young, who is not engaged in military combat. Civilian deaths caused by stray bombs and missiles or preemptive killings of those who are actively engaged in acts of terror, neither of which intentionally target the innocent, are not acts of terrorism in this sense. In the modern European context terrorism is rooted both in the Jacobin and Communist traditions, on the one hand, and in the fascist and Nazi movements and regimes, on the other. At all times and in all places in modern European history, terrorism's many targets have always included a frontal attack on the institutions and principles of liberal democracy - which rests on the principle that all conflicts should be resolved by discussion, debate, and compromise. Terrorists, however, believe they are in possession of absolute Truths, and thus have the right and obligation to kill those who disagree and who stand in their way. In every instance, terrorists are persons with an ideological rationale that facilitates murdering the innocent with a clean conscience fueled by self-righteous indignation. In many cases their tar-gets have been political leaders who sought compromise or nonviolent solutions to complex problems.

The emergence of terrorism during the French Revolution represented a regression to the normal practice of war during the wars of religion in the seventeenth century. During the Thirty Years War, Europeans did not distinguish between combatants and civilians but between believers and apostates, Protestants and Catholics. The resulting devastation led to efforts to codify rules of war that would establish such distinctions, put limits on war and political violence, and establish in the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 the principle that peace required toleration of differing religious beliefs. The American Constitution rests in part on the bitter European recognition that civil peace required the separation of religion from the state. By inventing the new category of "enemy of the people" during the French revolution, the Jacobins again blurred the distinction of combatant and noncombatant and gave renewed justification to murder as a political weapon. Since the Jacobins, terror remained an important component of European history when Left/Right and nationalist tensions reached a boiling point.

Terrorism in modern Europe has been the practice of those who believe that reform and diplomacy are undesirable. Apologists for terrorism suggest that it is the result of conditions of social injustice. Violence in the Sorelian tradition is a response to the growing success of working-class integration in Europe and the popularity of peaceful reformism as opposed to revolutionary sentiment within the working classes. Terrorists have repeatedly attacked those who seek to find negotiated and non-catastrophic solutions to difficult problems. The assassination of the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand in June 1914, which was the immediate but not deeper cause of World War I, illustrates this enduring feature of terrorism. Ferdinand was among those in the Hapsburg Empire who sought a negotiated solution to the dilemma of nationalism within a multinational empire. Hence, it was key to murder him to rule out all but the most radical possibilities.


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