July 25, 2006
Calling All Europeans
Sixty years ago the US helped Europe defeat fascism. Then we spent billions, through the the Marshall Plan, to put a devastated Europe back on its feet. After that we spent a few trillion bucks over the next half century protecting Europe from Soviet expansionism.
Sixty one years later, Europe is stronger than ever, socially and economically. Like Japan, postwar Europe was spared the lion's share of their own defense allowing them to pour resources into their own economies and to provide their citizens with better social services than most Americans can every dream of having. (Did someone say national health insurance?)
Today Europe is united, literally, and growing eastward. Muslim Turkey, already a member in (reasonably) good standing of NATO, is also in line for membership in the European Union. And, Germany, once the European neighborhood's resident bully, has become the continent's leading peacenik.
Why do I feel it necessary to mention all this?
Because, it's Europe's turn.
The West “won” the Cold War by stubbornly adhering to a strategy of containment. The rules of the game were clear and the lines not to be crossed, just as clear. The Soviet Union would not be preemptively attacked, but it would also not be allowed to expand.
That was a long war, not to mention a ridiculously expensive one, considering the two antagonists, Russia and the US, never fired a single shot or missile at one another.
Thanks largely to the policy of containment, Stalinist communist expansionism has been relegated to history books. And former Soviet satellites are involved in various degrees of social and economic development and self-discovery. Some have even been granted membership in NATO and others want to join. That outcome is my definition of a mission accomplished.
Which begs the question; if the policy of containment worked so well against the Soviet Union, a superpower, why haven't we tried it in the Middle East as way to similarly choke off the spread of radical Islam?
I believe it would work, and a lot better than what Bush has been up to. We should try containment to staunch the spread of radical Islam. But when I say “we” I am not talking about the US stepping up with another open commitment or open wallet. Nor am I talking about US troops setting up bases in the Middle East as we did in postwar Europe.
No. We've been there and done that, in spades. Now it's time for the folks we “done that” for, to do it for us.
What got me stewing about that this morning was a story in the paper saying that, while our European allies favored putting a multinational armed force into Lebanon, none of them were willing to contribute troops to such a force.
I guess that should not have surprised me. After all. it's just Europeans being Europeans. The modern history of the European continent is one of living in delusional, self serving denial right up the moment the sound jackboots are heard marching up the front steps. (The other day Newt Gingrich was on TV declaring that what's going on in the Middle East is nothing short of World War III. To which some wag emailed the program, “It's not a world war until France surrenders.”)
If you've read my previous posts, you know my feelings about radical Islam. I don't dismiss the rocky history between the west and Islam.... the Crusaders, the European colonialists, etc. etc. etc. And that that was followed by exploitation by western oil company carpetbaggers. And of course, there's the whole Israel/Palestinian, never-ending Jerry Springer show.
Yada, yada, yada. You know the whole “we're the real victims” drill as well as I do. We all know it. Everyone in the Middle East has gripe, many justified and just as many religious hallucination. After 60 years this enormous class of injured parties have finally convinced me that there can be no way to settle their cases to anyone's satisfaction. Their lists of grievances stretch back a thousands of years, with more counts added hourly.
Which brings me back to Europe. The world is currently seeking a solution to the current fighting in Lebanon. But that vision is dangerously narrow. Instead they need to broaden their notion of what the world currently faces -- and it's not just Jews v. Arabs or al Qaida v. The West. It's expansionist radical Islam. And while they are not (yet) armed with nuclear weapons, radical Islam poses no less a threat the world's democracies than Stalinist communism once did.
Having said that though, if Europe thinks the US will again shoulder the bulk of this new burden, they're seriously mistaken, for several reasons:
First, the Bush administration seemed to have forgotten the power of containment. Instead they figured we could scare the Arab nations straight by preemptively attacking one of them -- Iraq. That made about as much sense as if Richard Nixon had attacked Soviet Georgia to get Russian nukes out of there and to “free the poor Georgian people from Soviet oppression.” That never happened of course because, while Nixon was a crook and liar, he was not stupid. But, while Bush may not be a crook, he is both a liar and stupid.
Therefore, Bush and his neo-con sidekicks effectively pissed away any goodwill or credibility the US might have had when it comes to containing radical Islam or imposing discipline and order anywhere in Middle East.
Second, the US is broke – flat, up to our ass in debt, broke. We'll be lucky to get through the next decade without a crippling recession, or worse, a full-out depression. Washington can't even figure out how to fund Social Security just as Baby Boomers begin retiring. Or how to keep Medicare afloat even as aging Boomers joints, kidneys and other replaceable body parts just now begin wearing out. The US government currently has something just over $45 trillion in unfunded obligations.
So, can we spend a few trillion bucks containing the spread of radial Islam so Europeans can continue enjoying their lattes and croissants unmolested? Forgetaboutit.
NATO has been trying to redefine its mission now that the Soviet Union is no more. Well, hello, here it is. Step up to the plate, Europe. It's your turn to save democracy.
Confused? More a few readers have emailed wondering just whose side I'm on. I seem to have created more than a little confusion with my two posts (below) regarding the mess in the Middle East. (The most recent mess.)
No, I haven't gone over to the dark side folks. I'm just trying to keep an open mind, but not so open that my brain fall out.
Let me take another run at the subject and see if can clear up the confusion.
Yes, it was wrong for the US to attack Iraq. Iraq was the wrong country, attacked for all the wrong reasons, and now we are fighting there to attain the wrong ends. As I wrote over a year ago, Iraq is not a nation but three nations. All the killing and bombing we see there today is just the real Iraqs trying to escape the unnatural Dr. Frankenstein monster-nation cobbled together and forced upon them by the British a century ago.
Ask any cop and he/she will tell you that the most dangerous calls they go on are family disputes. That's what Bush has put our troops right in the middle of – the Mother of All Family Disputes. Iraq wants to become three countries. You can call them, Sunniland, Shiiteland and Kurdland and, sooner or later, they will.
We can't midwife those births. Saddam held the artificial Iraq together the same way Tito held the former Yugoslavia together, with brute force and savagery. Before we “liberated” Iraq only Sunnis were allowed to massacre Shiites. Now everyone gets to play. It's going to be very messy, but they are bound and determined to do it their way. We need to get the hell out of the way and let them get about it. Trying to tell these three tribes they should live peacefully together is a fool's errand. And we're those fools.
So, send most US home, move a strong contingent to Kuwait, then watch the fur fly.
The Lebanese people need to decide if their country is going to be "Lebanon" or "Hezbollon."
If they want it to be Lebanon, then they need to drop the hammer on Hezbollah. If they can't do that alone they need to ask for help from other Arab countries. If they refuse, then NATO should step up to the plate and give the Lebanese whatever they need to cleanse these spoilers from their country.
But so far the Lebanese have chosen to try to be a little bit pregnant -- which of course is quite impossible. Either they are a sovereign nation with control within their own borders, or they're not a nation. And up to today Lebanon is not a nation.
Forty percent of Lebanese are Shiites, which complicates their views of Hezbollah. Israel is currently trying to focus the Lebanese attention on their country's lacking nationhood. The Lebanese can't have it both ways. Either they are a nation with a non-aggression policy towards it's neighbors, or it's a lawless country unable and/or unwilling to control a private army that hides behind its borders and uses its territory to attack Israel.
Everyone is up in arms about how the poor Lebanese are being punished for the actions of a few. Well, if the Lebanese don't want to get caught in the middle of future crossfires they have to cut bait and evict Hezbollah once and for all. If they don't Israel will, from time to time, have to cross the border and fumigate.
Until Lebanon get's it's nationhood act together, it's people will continue to suffer from the sins of commission of others, and their own sin of omission.
Iran and Syria:
NATO needs to treat these two perpetual trouble makers the same way it treated the old Soviet Union – containment backed up by a credible military deterrent. Everyone knows that the silly UN kabuki dance is not going to get Iran to stop trying to build nukes. Therefore NATO should meet in emergency session and emerge with a no nonsense set of “Don't Do That,” rules:
1)Tell Iran to stop enriching uranium within ten days or face a total air, sea and land blockade. Only food and medicines will be allowed into the country and nothing, including oil, gets out.
2)Let the Iranians know that NATO nations fully understand that Iran can strike back in a number of asymmetric ways, and that NATO nations are fully prepared suffer the consequences of any Iranian sponsored retaliation and will respond in a robust and disproportionate manner.
3)Likewise, NATO should put Syria on notice that if it is caught aiding Hezbollah or Hamas in attacks on anyone, Syria will be added to the blockade.
I know many readers shudder whenever I include the military in these matters, but come on, get real. If Iran, or its surrogates, like Hezbollah, get nukes, it's game over. For the first time since 1945 nuclear bombs will explode in cities. That's not neo-con scare mongering. It's common sense. If you want to play bet your life wagering that it will never come to that, fine. But you're betting my life along with yours, and I see the odds very differently.
So, Iran must not be allowed to get nukes.
This is the world we live in folks. It's an dangerous place run by an frightening collection of odd balls, psychopaths and morons. Frankly, I consider it a miracle our species has made it this far. But it's pure folly to delude ourselves that we can make it through the next fifty years by just holding hands and sing Kumbaya.
That's all I was saying.
Have a nice weekend.
July 19, 2006
The American Left's
"Sounding Like Bush”
The American left – of which I would like to consider myself a left of center member – has a problem sorting out how respond to the key challenge of our time – radical Islam.
Our parents faced a similar test in mid-1930s, and the first time around they failed that test. Rather than pulling the plug early on Germany's goose-march into fascism, Europeans and Americans blamed themselves.
Germany was, they misled themselves, just reacting to the humiliating and disproportionately punitive terms we imposed on them by the victors of World War I. All the Nazis were trying to do, they rationalized, was to regain Germany's' honor, rebuild it's civilian and military institutions and return itself as a member in good standing of the European community of nations.
It wasn't until half of Europe was in flames that our parents generation saw German fascism and Japanese aggression for what they were – a direct and unambiguous attack on everything they valued.
America's left today is stuck where Western countries were in 1936. They view Muslim hostility, and growing violence, towards the west as entirely the west's own fault -- a reaction to centuries of western colonization and exploitation. Countries like Syria and Iran, and popular movements, like Hamas and Hezbollah, are not practicing terrorism, the the left contends, but are liberation movements. They are just fighting to return Muslims to their glory days, before westerners destroyed their once proud and advanced civilization.
Muslim anger towards the west, the left rationalizes -- like that of the Germans of the 1930's -- is little more than an understandable response to the humiliation the west has heaped on Muslims for six centuries.
Then there's the “Israel Problem.” The left doesn't quite know what to do when it comes to Israel – an advanced western democracy precariously nesting within the very heart of the Muslim world.
I understand the source of the left's knee-jerk hostility towards Israel. After all, the creation of modern Israel in the wake of WW II was a classic example of arrogant, colonial boundary drawing. Europeans and Americans used Israel's creation as a way to cleanse themselves of the well-earned guilt for doing nothing to stop the Nazis from snuffing out 6 million European Jews. The only trouble is those western nations took that guilt bath at someone else's expense. As the old saying goes, "never write a check someone else has to cover." That's just what the west did when it created Israel – wrote a check the Palestinian people had to cover.
I am not going to get in to a debate as to whether the creation of modern Israel was right or wrong, because such a debate now can yield neither side anything but more misery. Having that argument now is about as relevant as reopening the debate over whether American settlers had any right at all to shove indigenous Indians off their lands on onto reservations. As moral principle, of course they didn't. As a practical matter today, that bell can't be un-rung -- and the same goes for the whole creation of Israel business.
Which is why, when I hear American leftists arguing that Israel should just allow displaced Palestinians to return to their old lands in Israel, I am tempted to ask them where they live so I can find the Indian tribe that once lived there and invite them to move back. I am sure the big-hearted lefty wouldn't mind. It's just silly liberal clap trap.
Don't get me wrong. I am not giving the Israelis a free pass on their own misbehavior. They should have returned the West Bank territories to the rightful owners decades ago. Instead they took a page from Hitler's own expansionist play book by declaring that Israel needed the room to grow. The Nazis justified their land grabs by describing by claiming they needed "lebensraum" (living space.) Jewish settlers, aided and protected by the Israeli army, saw the capture of the West Bank as their chance to expand Israel's boundaries. When they were forced by international pressure to stop new settlements, they insisted on expanding existing one. Their rational – they needed to accommodate “natural growth,” in those settlements. In other words, they needed lebensraum.
When you start going down the wrong path things can only get worse. So, by occupying Arab populated lands the Israelis had unwittingly set the timer ticking on a demographic time bomb. With Arabs reproducing faster than Israelis they would soon have more political clout than Israelis. In response Israel began acting like another fascist regime, the old apartheid government of South Africa. The occupation is a cancer on Israeli society and psyche. It must end.
So, I fully understand, and even in some cases share, the lefts' condemnation of such Israeli misbehavior. Israel should answer for it's misdeeds, stop repeating them and make amends for them.
But double standards are always wrong be from the political left of the right.
Which brings me to the Arabs. To listen to the American left you'd think they were little more than innocent bystanders every time the shit hits the fan in the Middle East. And, that if the west would just leave them alone, stop supporting Israel and stop annoying them the Muslim nations of the region would stop annoying us. And, as for those frequent Arab-sponsored attacks on Israel -- as far as the left is concerned, Israel is just asking for it dressing like that.
That's the fundamentalist left's view of the conflict. (Yes, there is a fundamentalist left, just as there's a fundamentalist right. And they are just as inflexible and, more often than not, just as wrong.)
Without excusing Israel's own misbehavior, I don't see it that simplistically. There isn't a nation on earth that's perfect. Some are closer than others, but none of them have entirely clean hands. Having said that though western countries are demonstrably better places to live. The west, for all it lingering faults and foibles , is far more socially and institutionally advanced and enlightened. And, despite our occasional backsliding, western nations are light years ahead of the Muslim world when it comes to respecting and protecting individual freedoms and human rights -- Light years ahead. (I would venture to bet, big money, that westernized Israel, for all it's faults, remains the only country in that region any of these moralizing western lefties would dare try to live in. Because in any other Middle Eastern nation, such rabble rousers for freedom, truth and the American way would quickly learn they weren't in Kansas any more.)
This is especially true of what I call the “self-hating western female.” I am always left breathless when I hear liberal western women activists making excuses for the viscious and institutionalize misogynistism of Muslim nations and groups. I go back a long way with the women's liberation movement – back to those silly old, but quaint, bra burning days. Even then, as a horny young man, I could never get my head around the reason any society would treat half their members as though they had nothing more to offer than hot meals and babies. It was not just wrong, but a breathtaking waste of human capital.
Which is why today when I hear liberal women mealy-mouthing support for Islamic cultures that treat treat their women like chattel (and in many cases, like cattle) it leaves me muttering to myself... “what the f..............?!?!?!?!?!?!?” It makes me wish I could sentence these wester women a year in Death Valley wearing a full berka. They could call themselves the Sisterhood of Shame.
Here's another problem the American left suffers from. The left has allowed neo-cons to deny them valid arguments. Like male dogs that piss on bushes and lamp posts, neo-cons have claimed ownership of key policy positions. They have done so by tainting those arguments. If the Bush administration uses an argument to justify something that is clearly the wrong -- like attacking Iraq... from that day forward that argument becomes a no-go zone for liberals. It's rendered radio active. Nevermind that all or parts of the argument might be justified in other cases. If Bush used it, it must be wrong. Always wrong.
I call this the left's “fear of sounding like Bush syndrome." And these days, the left would rather be wrong, than to sound like Bush. (Remember the right's old 1950's “Better dead, than red syndrome." It's the same kind of mindset.)
And nowhere is this more true than when the left has to confront the growing threat of the worldwide Islamic terrorist movement. The Bushies lied and demagogued the issue of Islamic terrorism after 9/11 in order to scare Americans into relinquishing liberties and justify attacking Iraq. Therefore, to wit, it follows now that when a western leader or pundit warns of the growing danger of Islamo-fascism, such fears are just lies, exaggerations, pretexts. Islamic terrorism is just a neo-con boogie man.
Well, try and tell that train riders in Spain, Britain and now India. Try to tell that to Australian vacationers in Bali or Nigerian embassy employees. That boogie man turned out being too real.
And -- here's where it gets sticky again -- try to tell that to Sunni and Shiite civilians in Iraq who are nolonger being killed by American bombs, but by Muslim hit squads. (Which, the left is quick to reply, is still our fault. In this case the left has a point.. but only half a point. The other half they choose to ignore. Before we unseated Sunni leader Saddam, only Shiites were masqueraded at the hands the ruling Sunnis. Now they are free to massacrer one another. By toppling Saddam we freed all Muslim tribes in Iraq to be all they can be. And they are doing just that. They are using their new-found freedom to clean up their tribal regions. It's called ethnic cleansing and it's all the rage in Bush's liberated Iraq.)
Finally, since the Bushies snookered the world into using force when force was not justified, the left now can never suggest using military force for “fear of sounding like Bush.”
So, in an increasingly dangerous world, the left has been left without arguments or policy positions untainted by the right. Israel has be always wrong. The US is always wrong. The Muslims are always victims. Terrorism is not a threat but just the west's colonialist chickens coming home to roost.
Most of which is pure, unadulterated nonsense. And voters know it. Trading Bush bad policies for the left's no policies is not something voters either deserve, or will stand for. If the left is ever going lead America again it has to get a grip on reality. And that begins by embracing clear-eyed, coherent policies -- policies based on how thing are, not how we wish the were. We can begin by agreeing on some basic principles. But the left has it's orthodoxy and those of us who question it re savaged for “sounding like Bush.” Believe me, I am bracing myself for the onslaught this post will earn me.
But simply denying the that fundamentalist Islamic moverments worldwide pose a threat to the democracies of the west is the same as when the right denies global warming -- and just as dangerous.
For fear of "sounding like Bush, I say, the left needs to knock that shit off, and agree on some fundamental concepts:
1)Agree that, while Israel certainly has a right to exist, it must stop using Biblical title reports to justify grabbing lands that do not belong to them. And they need to get the hell out of the occupied territories. If the handful of large settlements bordering the Israel cannot be returned then Israel needs to give the Palestinians equal portions of Israeli real estate adjacent to either the West Bank or Gaza in return. No. They can't just keep those lands without paying for them.
2)Agree that, while it was unfair to displace Palestinians when Israel was created, what's done is done and cannot not be undone with creating more suffering and more trouble. But Israel and the western powers that wrote that check over 60 years ago now need to write a few more checks – this time to those displaced Palestinians.
3)Agree that fundamentalist Islamic (neo-fascist) movements offer no good solutions for the problems that face that region or the world, but are themselves a problem. That, be they Christian, Jewish or Islamic, all intolerant, non-inclusive, hate-based fundamentalist movements represent a cancer that civilized nations should oppose, through peaceful means if possible, but with military force when necessary.
4)Agree that there really are core western values worth fighting for and which must always be non-negotiable; the rule of law, separation of church and state, freedom of speech and equal treatment for all – and that means women in all cultures -- Islamics included.
So there. Let's all stop making excuses for bad behavior -- be it by America, Israel or Muslim countries. But please, don't make the same mistake we made in 70 years ago. Because some of the worst behavior the world has seen since the then now festers at the very heart of the Muslim world – not the west.
And those on the left who indulge themselves in blame-shifting and rationalizing that behavior do so at all our peril.
the Middle East
Let's stop kidding ourselves. With the exception of Israel there isn't a single nation in the Middle East with the social/political maturity required to play in mankind's major league. The major league being, of course, the nations on earth which, to one extent or another, used the last thousand years to change, mature and develop.
Political correctness has led us into a deadly trap. Perpetrating the fiction that backward Arab Islamic cultures are ready to embrace modern democratic systems of governance has gotten at least 3000 American soldiers, and tens of thousands of Afghan and Iraqis killed over the last three years. And for what? We have nothing to show for it. Nothing but coffins.
And now we have new fighting between Israel, Hamas and Hezbollah. Evidence that the West's approach to radical Islam is not only not working, but actually counter productive, abounds. The impotence of so-called moderate Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, in the face of the current crisis is a clue. The aiding and abetting by Iran and Syria of Islamo-fascist Hezbollah is another clue. Iran's stubborn refusal to stop it's march towards a nuclear bomb in the face of world condemnation, is another clue. Shiites murdering Sunnis and Sunnis murdering Shiites in Iraq, is another clue. And not just murdering them. That's not enough for these throwbacks. First they use an electric drill to drill holes through their hands which they then bolt together. Then they kill them.
When democracy is tried by one of these Arab countries, what do they do with it? They elect radical Islamo-fascists whose first actions are to subordinate civil law to fundamentalist Sharia rule. Women's rights? Forget about it. Back into your berka, bitch!
The West needs to take a timeout and completely rethink it's approach to what's become an out of control Muslim fundamentalist wildfire. Attempts to lure, cajole or drag these 12th century populations into the 21st century has only made matters worse.
The uncomfortable, politically incorrect fact is they are not able, they are not willing and they are not ready. Despite what George W. may think, democracy is not a state of nature but a state of mind. Arab nations are not there yet. Not even close.
But they are armed and dangerous. The social/political religious retardation of Arab nations poses a greater threat to the West than the Soviets ever did. The Soviets saw war with the West as something to be avoided. Fundamentalist Islam sees war with “infidels” of the West as not only inevitable, but the will of God.
The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a (nut)case in point. It's as if you woke up this morning to discovered that Rev. Jerry Falwell had been elected President of the United States and David Duke Vice President. Ahmadinejad is both ... a fundamentalist's fundamentalist and a rabid anti-semite.
You simply can't “deal” with such people. And, believe me, they have no interest in “dealing” with us either.
Forget about “bringing democracy to the Middle East.” What the Arab nations need more than lessons in democracy is a good dope slap from the rest of the world. They need to be sent to their rooms until it they can learn to behave – no biting, no scratching, no hitting, no name calling and learn to share.
Stop with the “Islam is a peaceful religion,” nonsense too. The Amish are a peaceful religion. The Quakers are a peaceful religion. Fundamentalist Islam is provably not a peaceful religion -- not even when it's on it's best behavior. Like fundamental Christianity and radical Zionists, fundamentalist Islam is exclusive, narrow minded, and hostile to those who refuse to share and adhere to their beliefs. Money is not the root of all evil, religious zealots are. History documents this beyond argument. And not since the Inquisition has the world seen self-righteous cruelty and aggressive religious zealotry the likes of radical Islam.
So, what to do about it?
First, stop trying to democratize Arab countries. We might as well be trying to modernize stone age Amazon tribes by air dropping them Dell laptops. It's just silly. No, it's worse than than silly -- it's dangerous, as we have seen in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine. Arab countries don't use democracy, they misuse it. Given the vote they elect the very fundamentalists the vote was supposed to marginalize. Instead democracy has legitimized them. (The law of unintended consequences – duh!)
Stop pretending these countries are even trying to become part of the modern world. Syria, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordon, Egypt – have to choose. Stop pandering to the primitive Islamic forces within their own countries. Make hate speech a crime, then enforce it. Close Islamic schools that refuse to teach a benign and inclusive form of Islam. Arrest mullahs that preach hate and jihad from their pulpits. Lock up those who espouse jihad. Pull all Islamo-fascist cells up by the roots.
The Arab countries that refuse to do so and instead continue to harbor, finance or supply jihadists should be punished with militarily enforced embargoes -- land, sea and air. And, yes, that must include oil exports. No pain, no gain. International banking transactions with such countries would be restricted to payments for food and medicine only. Nothing else goes in or comes out.
Countries that still allow jihadists to launch attacks from their territories should be immediately punished with attacks on key infrastructure. These countries have shown time and again they care a lot more about their power plants, bridges, military bases and palaces than they do about the lives of their own people. So, rather than waste either our soldier's lives or theirs, hit infrastructure. And keep hitting it until they cry “uncle.” (See NFR "Don't Do That" defense policy)
What we have done in Iraq could not have been a bigger mistake. Putting Western troops on the ground in one of these Arab nations to an attempt to pacify it is like trying to cure a chicken killing dog by throwing chickens into it's pen. Arab nations have plenty of people and don't seem to mind sacrificing them for Allah – even using them as human smart bombs. That's their strength. The West needs to play to it's strength – technology – by using stand off weapons to pound the offending nation's expensive and hard to replace infrastructure.
But, to paraphrase Don Rumsfeld, it all begins by coming to terms with the enemy we are actually dealing with, rather than the enemy we wish we were dealing with. Trying to force feed democracy to these primitive Muslim dominated Arab societies is like taking a baseball bat to a hive of killer bees. And that's exactly what we've done in Iraq.
It's time admit that Islam, what ever it may have been, has now been taken over by folks with a lot more in common Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot than Abraham, Jesus or Mohammad.
And then act accordingly.