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Article Alert Service

June/July 2011

Vol. 15, No. 4

Foreign Policy - Economic Issues - Democracy and Global Issues - U.S. Society and Values


After Bin Laden
By Michael Rubin
(Commentary, June 2011)

"For those who defined the primary goal of the past decade’s harrowing battle against terrorism narrowly as the manhunt for bin Laden or, a bit more broadly, as a fight against al-Qaeda, bin Laden’s death not only meant that justice had been done and the United States had succeeded in securing an important national goal. It meant closure of a different kind."
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al-Qaeda (a.k.a. al-Qaida, al-Qa'ida)
By Jayshree Bajoria and Greg Bruno
(Council on Foreign Relations, June 17, 2011)

A profile of the international terrorist network that the United States has singled out as the most serious threat to U.S. security.
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Alliances in the 21st Century: Implications for the US-European Partnership
By Jeremy J.Ghez
(RAND Corporation, June 28, 2011)

The paper's argument is two-fold. First, the concepts of "partnership" and "alliance" deserve to be unpacked because they can reflect very different motivations and realities. Second, strategic partnerships do not exclusively take the form of a threat or an adversary-based alliance. Partnerships that are driven commonalities in political culture -- "natural alliances" -- can also be the expression of a very pragmatic approach to international relations, especially for leaders in search of predictability in an uncertain global landscape.
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The Arab Wave
By Eugene Rogan
(The National Interest, May/June 2011)

Contrary to so much conventional wisdom, the struggle for democracy in the Middle East is not new. The events of 2011 have deep roots in the nineteenth century. Islamic culture and self-governance are not mutually exclusive.
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The Battle for Pakistan
By Bruce Riedel
(YaleGlobal, June 2, 2011)

Pakistan's conflicting policy of fighting Al Qaeda while supporting Islamist militants against India has boomeranged spectacularly. Bruce Riedel discounts the notion that Pakistan is a failed state. It is a state under siege by the very radicals nurtured by elements of Pakistani military for launching attacks against rival India. Since the death of Osama bin Laden, the Pakistani military has fended off verbal attacks from the U.S. and lethal ones from Al Qaeda.
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Beyond Tahir Square
By Jenna Krajeski
(World Policy Journal, Summer 2011)

At the core of the Egyptian revolution were young people with dreams of turning Egypt into a genuine secular democracy. Now, the fate of their ambitious project is in doubt, reports Jenna Krajeski. Under military rule, the tide in Egypt has turned from revolutionary to counterrevolutionary, and Egypt’s liberals are in danger of being pushed aside and outflanked by the Muslim Brotherhood. “Egypt’s so-called ‘Facebook revolutionaries’ are now confronting the task of spreading their message to people and places barely touched by the Internet and social media,” Krajeski writes. 
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Combating Terrorism: U.S. Government Strategies and Efforts to Deny Terrorists Safe Haven
By Jacquelyn L. Williams-Bridgers
(U.S. Government Accountability Office, June 3, 2011)

The report finds that U.S. national strategies emphasize the importance of denying safe haven to terrorists and that, since 2006, State has annually identified terrorist safe havens in its "Country Reports on Terrorism." The United States highlights the denial of safe haven to terrorists as a key national security concern in several U.S. government strategic documents.
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Danger: Falling Tyrants
By Jeffrey Goldberg
(The Atlantic, June 2011)

"As dictatorships crumble across the Middle East, what happens if Arab democracy means the rise of radical Islamism? Does promoting American values while protecting American interests—most notably, containing Iran and preserving our access to oil—require the Obama administration to call for more democracy in one country while propping up the monarch next door? In a word, yes."
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Demystifying the Arab Spring
By Lisa Anderson
(Foreign Affairs, May/June 2011)

"Why have the upheavals in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya followed such different paths? Because of the countries' vastly different cultures and histories, writes the president of the American University in Cairo. Washington must come to grips with these variations if it hopes to shape the outcomes constructively."
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Echoes of Gunfire: bin Laden, the US and the Greater Middle East
By Jonathan Stevenson
(Survival, July/August 2011)

"The death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of US Navy Seals on 1 May 2011 was so long in coming – almost ten years after the 11 September attacks – that it was felt more as a relief than as a triumph. Despite the cheers and celebrations that erupted across the United States, the essential reaction was ‘it’s about time’. Because bin Laden had for years been viewed as a besieged and operationally hobbled figurehead, his demise seemed little more that welcome retribution for the blood he had shed, and a pleasant surprise to those who had just about stopped begrudging him his proverbial (and fictitious) cave."
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Foreign Aid and National Security. Will Cuts in Assistance Undermine U.S. Safety?
(CQ Researcher, June 17, 2011)

The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan prompted U.S. leaders to increase U.S. aid in the belief that improved global stability ultimately undergirds U.S. security. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are now among those calling for elevating international development assistance and diplomacy to the same status as defense. But budget debates on Capitol Hill could block aid-reform efforts.
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Global Forecast 2011: International Security in a Time of Uncertainty
By Craig Cohen and Josiane Gabel
(Center for Strategic & International Studies, June 10, 2011)

We have witnessed a number of significant challenges to international security in recent years. Some crises have arisen so quickly and with so little warning that national security professionals have had difficulty responding in ways that maintain strategic balance. Other challenges have emerged so slowly and over such a vast scale that near-term options appear limited. How to determine in real time what is a tectonic shift and what is merely a low-magnitude tremor. How to anticipate events and set clear policy goals at a time of such dynamism?
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Iran and the Bomb. How Real is the Nuclear Threat?
By Seymour M. Hersh
(New Yorker, June 6, 2011

This article writes about whether Iran’s nuclear program is being exaggerated. Is Iran actively trying to develop nuclear weapons? Members of the Obama Administration often talk as if this were a foregone conclusion, as did their predecessors under George W. Bush. There’s a large body of evidence, however, including some of America’s most highly classified intelligence assessments, suggesting that the U.S. could be in danger of repeating a mistake similar to the one made with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq eight years ago—allowing anxieties about the policies of a tyrannical regime to distort our estimates of the state’s military capacities and intentions.
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Iran Sanctions: Preferable to War but No Silver Bullet
By Barbara Slavin
(Atlantic Council, June 2, 2011)

The study outlines the penalties imposed on Iran as a result of its nuclear program; its support for organizations the U.S. government has designated as terrorist; and its human rights abuses. It also discusses the impact of these penalties on Iran's nuclear advancement, and the consequences for the overall Iranian economy.
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The Libyan Crisis Seen from European Capitals
By Ruth H. Santini
(Brookings Institution, June 1, 2011)

Some in Brussels are breathing a sigh of relief that the military intervention in Libya has not replicated the European divisions over the 2003 Iraq war, when the EU famously split in two camps and the United States cherry-picked "New" European allies over war-reluctant "Old" Europe, says the author.
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Mounting Pressure in Arab Uprisings
By Deborah Jerome
(Council on Foreign Relations, May 31, 2011)

Following the G8's tough stand on political repression, the weekend saw increased violence in Libya, Syria, and Yemen along with signals of regime weakening. Some experts say the U.S. should take a tougher line with Libya and Syria.
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National Strategy for Counterterrorism
(The White House, June 2011)

"This National Strategy for Counterterrorism articulates our government's approach to countering terrorism and identifies the range of tools critical to this Strategy's success. This Strategy builds on groundwork laid by previous strategies and many aspects of the United States Government's enduring approach to countering terrorism. At the same time, it outlines an approach that is more focused and specific than were previous strategies. The United States deliberately uses the word "war" to describe our relentless campaign against al-Qa'ida. However, this Administration has made it clear that we are not at war with the tactic of terrorism or the religion of Islam. We are at war with a specific organization--al-Qa'ida."
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The New Policy World of Cybersecurity
By Richard J. Harknett and James A. Stever
(Public Administration Review, May/June 2011)

"As government agencies, private sector corporations, the military, and even retail shoppers shift their activities to the Internet, cybersecurity becomes increasingly important. Past presidential administrations recognized that cybersecurity necessitates a comprehensive national policy to protect electronically transmitted and stored information from intrusion. But so far, development of a coherent cybersecurity policy has proven to be a daunting task."
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The “New Terrorism” and its Critics
By Ersun N. Kurtulusa
(Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Vol. 34, Issue 6, 2011)

This article attempts to fulfill a lacuna in the literature on terrorism by providing a systematic response to the widespread criticism of the concept of “new terrorism.” According to this conceptualization, the “new terrorism” is characterized by religious motivation, networked organizational structures, tendency to launch mass casualty attacks and possible use of weapons of mass destruction.
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Patterns in Terrorism in North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia: 2007-2010
By Anthony H. Cordesman
(Center for Strategic & International Studies, June 29, 2011)

The report draws on an extensive modeling effort by Andrew C. Gagel. It provides a statistical trend of the U.S. count of terrorist actions by terrorist organization in each region and country, along with maps of the number and density of terrorist acts. These trends and developments are summarized in a short overview for each sub region.
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Political Order in Egypt
By Francis Fukuyama
(The American Interest, May/June 2011)

"How Samuel Huntington helps us understand the Jasmine Revolutions. While academic political science has not had much to tell policymakers of late, there is one book that stands out as being singularly relevant to the events currently unfolding in Tunisia, Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries. "
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Recalibrating Homeland Security
By Stephen Flynn
(Foreign Affairs, May/June 2011)

"As the recent fiasco with body scanners at airports demonstrated, the United States' homeland security strategy is off track. It has failed to harness two vital assets: civil society and the private sector. Washington should promote a sensible preparedness among individuals, communities, and corporations."
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The Rise of the Islamists
By Shadi Hamid
(Foreign Affairs, May/June 2011)

"The recent turmoil in the Middle East may lead to the Arab world's first sustained experiment in Islamist government. But the West need not fear. For all their anti-American rhetoric, today's mainstream Islamist groups tend to be pragmatic -- and ready to compromise if necessary on ideology and foreign policy."
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Terrorism After the Revolutions
By Daniel Bymam
(Foreign Affairs, May/June 2011)

"Although last winter's peaceful popular uprisings damaged the jihadist brand, they also gave terrorist groups greater operational freedom. To prevent those groups from seizing the opportunities now open to them, Washington should keep the pressure on al Qaeda and work closely with any newly installed regimes."
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Transfers of Gunatanamo Detainees to Yemen: Policy Continuity between Administrations
By Robert M. Chesney and Benjamin Wittes
(Brookings Institution, June 15, 2011)

In a briefing paper to the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Benjamin Wittes, Matthew Waxman, and Robert Chesney examine the problem of transfers of Yemeni detainees from Guantánamo Bay. The authors lay out why Yemen has proven such an intractable problem in the disposition of Guantánamo cases and why generalizing the Yemen predicament to the rest of the Guantánamo population is a mistake.
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The Trust Deficit: Seven Steps Forward for U.S.–Arab Dialogue
By Mina Al-Oraibi and Gerard Russell
(The Washington Quarterly, Summer 2011)

"A pan-Arab journalist and a former British spokesperson to global Muslim audiences sketch seven principles for the United States, still uniquely capable of influencing regional events, to help win the war of ideas in the Middle East."
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U.S.-Pakistan Ties: Uneasy and Essential
By Deborah Jerome
(Council on Foreign Relations, June 17, 2011)

U.S.-Pakistan ties are increasingly frayed following a string of high-profile counterterrorism incidents, but experts say U.S. aid to Pakistan should continue and that the security relationship remains vital.
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The Financial Rebalancing Act
By Alan M. Taylor
(Foreign Affairs, July/August 2011)

Many economists argue that global financial imbalances fueled the recent recession. To prevent future crises, world leaders are trying to even out the balance sheet. They need not worry: it turns out that a rebalancing is already under way.
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Globalization and Unemployment
By Michael Spence
(Foreign Affairs, July/August 2011)

Jobs growth was slow in May, renewing pessimism about the U.S. economy. Spence, a Nobel Prize-winning economist writes that economic growth and employment in the United States have started to diverge, increasing income inequality and reducing jobs for less-educated workers.
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More Blame Wars than Domestic Spending or Tax Cuts for Nation's Debt
(Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, June 7, 2011)

Far more Americans say that the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has contributed a great deal to the nation's debt than say that about increased domestic spending or the tax cuts enacted over the past decade. Six-in-ten (60%) say the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has contributed a great deal to the size of the debt. About four-in-ten (42%) say the same about the condition of the national economy.
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America's Cyber Future: Security and Prosperity in the Information Age
By Robert E. Kahn et al.
(Center for a New American Security, June 2011)

Despite productive efforts by the U.S. government and the private sector to strengthen cyber security, the increasing sophistication of cyber threats continues to outpace progress. To help U.S. policymakers address the growing danger of cyber insecurity, the report features accessible and insightful chapters on cyber security strategy, policy, and technology by some of the world's leading experts on international relations, national security, and information technology.
Volume I
Volume II

Climate of Denial. Can Science and the Truth Withstand the Merchants of Poison?
By Al Gore
(Rolling Stone Magazine, June 22, 2011)

Throughout American history, we relied on the vibrancy of our public square — and the quality of our democratic discourse — to make better decisions than most nations in the history of the world. But we are now routinely making really bad decisions that completely ignore the best available evidence of what is true and what is false. When the distinction between truth and falsehood is systematically attacked without shame or consequence — when a great nation makes crucially important decisions on the basis of completely false information that is no longer adequately filtered through the fact-checking function of a healthy and honest public discussion — the public interest is severely damaged.
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How Should Americans Think About Human Rights?
By Kim R. Holmes
(The Heritage Foundation, June 13, 2011)

America's storied leadership in promoting liberty and individual rights began long before we became a nation. It began when the first persecuted immigrants came here to find religious freedom. Their belief in a natural, God-given right to practice religion freely grew out of centuries-old struggles of people to secure a right to life, liberty, and property under the rule of law, not the whim of rulers. How should Americans think about human rights today?
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Intelligence Information: Need-to-Know vs. Need-to-Share
By Richard A. Best Jr.
(Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, June 6, 2011)

Unauthorized disclosures of classified intelligence are seen as doing significant damage to U.S. security. This is the case whether information is disclosed to a foreign government or published on the Internet. On the other hand, if intelligence is not made available to government officials who need it to do their jobs, enormous expenditures on collection, analysis, and dissemination are wasted. This report focuses on information acquired, analyzed, and disseminated by agencies of the U.S. Intelligence Community, but these concerns also affect classified information outside the Intelligence Community.
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International Climate Change Financing: The Green Climate Fund (GCF)
By Richard K. Lattanzio
(Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, June 23, 2011)

Over the past several decades, the U.S. has delivered financial and technical assistance for climate change activities in the developing world through a variety of bilateral and multilateral programs. The Cancun Agreements proposed that the pledged funds are to be new, additional to previous flows, adequate, predictable, and sustained, and are to come from a wide variety of sources, both public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance.
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Iran's Nuclear Future: Critical U.S. Policy Choices
By Lynn E. Davis et al.
(RAND Corporation, June 7, 2011)

As Iran's nuclear program evolves, U.S. decisionmakers will confront a series of critical policy choices involving complex considerations and policy trade-offs. These policy choices could involve dissuading Iran from developing nuclear weapons; deterring Iran from using its nuclear weapons, if it were to acquire them; and reassuring U.S. regional partners. The U.S. Air Force will need to prepare to carry out whatever policies are chosen, according to the report.
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Japan's Earthquake: The Politics of Recovery
By Masahiro Matsumura
(Survival, July/August 2011)

"The powerful offshore earthquake and subsequent tsunami on 11 March 2011 devastated the northeast coast of Japan’s main island, Honshu. The loss of life and destruction of buildings and infrastructure was on a scale unprecedented in the country’s post-war experience. There was catastrophic damage to several reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, necessitating evacuation over a wide area, and rumours of radioactive contamination led to substantial drops in sales of agricultural and fisheries products."
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The Morning After Fukushima - Part II
By Nina Netzer and Richard Weitz
(YaleGlobal, May 26, 2011)

The world has more than 400 nuclear reactors in 29 nations, with 64 more under construction. Disaster rather than industry growth exposes the need for industry review and regulation updates, suggests the series. The accident at the Fukushima power plant in Japan revealed that global emergency-response and safety standards currently in place may be inadequate for aging reactors, anticipated industry growth or severe weather events, explains the author.
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The New Geopolitics of Food
By Lester R. Brown
(Foreign Policy, May/June 2011)

"From the Middle East to Madagascar, high prices are spawning land grabs and ousting dictators. Welcome to the 21st-century food wars. "
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Nuclear Power. Can nuclear energy answer global power needs?
(CQ Researcher, June 10, 2011)

The catastrophic accident in March at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has sparked new debate in the United States and elsewhere over the role of nuclear energy in electric-power generation. Spurred by concerns that the burning of coal and other carbon-based fuels is causing climate change, Democrats, including President Barack Obama, and some environmentalists have joined a long-established Republican consensus that nuclear power belongs in the nation's energy mix.
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Peacebuilding: Can it Stabilize Countries after the Fighting Stops?
(CQ Global Researcher, June 21, 2011)

"Peacebuilding is the international community's newest approach to ending cycles of conflict in hot spots around the world. It recognizes that even if conflict has officially ended, the risk of violence often remains ever-present. In fact, roughly 40 percent of post-conflict countries have faced renewed violence within a decade. Peacebuilding tries to improve the prospect for lasting peace by helping to stabilize societies, strengthen institutions and reinforce governments."
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Promoting Global Internet Freedom: Policy and Technology
By Patricia Moloney Figliola
(Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, May 26, 2011)

Modern communication tools such as the Internet provide a relatively inexpensive, accessible, easy-entry means of sharing ideas, information, and pictures around the world. In a political and human rights context, in closed societies when the more established, formal news media is denied access to or does not report on specified news events, the Internet has become an alternative source of media, and sometimes a means to organize politically. 
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Social Networking Sites and Our Lives
By Keith Hampton et al.
(Pew Internet & American Life Project, June 16, 2011)

Questions have been raised about the social impact of widespread use of social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter. Do these technologies isolate people and truncate their relationships? Or are there benefits associated with being connected to others in this way? The report examines social networking sites in a survey that explored people's overall social networks and how use of these technologies is related to trust, tolerance, social support, and community and political engagement.
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The Americanization of Islamism
By Mohamed Nimer
(The American Interest, July/August 2011)

"Before 1965, the number of foreign-born Muslims in the United States was small. Since 1965, significant immigration from a range of Muslim-majority countries has created a new dynamic in the American immigration experience."
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How Health Care Can Save or Sink America
By Peter R. Orszag
(Foreign Affairs, July/August 2011)

The United States' fiscal future depends on whether the country can limit health-care costs. Obama's reforms were a major step in the right direction, argues the former White House budget director. But to finish the job, the U.S. medical system must evolve so that it emphasizes evidence and pursues quality rather than quantity.
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Muslims in America
By Jessica Stern
(The National Interest, May/June 2011)

The threat of domestic Islamic terrorism grows. But the origin of the problem is neither mosques nor the Muslim community writ large—it is jihad cool.
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My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant. A Reporter Talks about his Illegal American Dream
By Jose Antonio Vargas
(New York Times Magazine, June 22, 2011)

"One August morning nearly two decades ago, my mother woke me and put me in a cab. She handed me a jacket. “Baka malamig doon” were among the few words she said. (“It might be cold there.”) When I arrived at the Philippines’ Ninoy Aquino International Airport with her, my aunt and a family friend, I was introduced to a man I’d never seen. They told me he was my uncle. He held my hand as I boarded an airplane for the first time. It was 1993, and I was 12. My mother wanted to give me a better life, so she sent me thousands of miles away to live with her parents in America — my grandfather (Lolo in Tagalog) and grandmother (Lola). After I arrived in Mountain View, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay Area, I entered sixth grade and quickly grew to love my new home, family and culture. I discovered a passion for language, though it was hard to learn the difference between formal English and American slang. One of my early memories is of a freckled kid in middle school asking me, “What’s up?” I replied, “The sky,” and he and a couple of other kids laughed. I won the eighth-grade spelling bee by memorizing words I couldn’t properly pronounce. (The winning word was “indefatigable.”)"
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