Aslak Sira Myhre on Norway's Far-Right. "Like every other citizen of Oslo... I share the fear and pain of my country," writes Myrhe. "But the question is always why, and this violence was not blind." He adds that thought Islamists and the far-left were considered "the inner threat to our 'way of living'" in Norway, what little terror the country experienced before the massacre, and now the massacre itself, comes from the far-right: "political violence in this country has been almost the sole preserve of neo-Nazis and other racist groups." He is not surprised that the initial reaction was to blame Muslims. "For at least 10 years we have been told that terror comes from the east. That an Arab is suspicious, that all Muslims are tainted." Moreover, he adds that "There is, of course, another reason why everybody looked for al-Qaida. Norway has been part of the war in Afghanistan for 10 years, we took part in the Iraq war for some time, and we are eager bombers of Tripoli. There is a limit to how long you can partake in war before war reaches you." Yet, the war was not thought of as a motivation of the attack: "the war was rarely mentioned when the terrorist hit us. Our first response was rooted in irrationality." Though he believes that the killer is "mad," he writes that "this is madness with both a clinical and a political cause... We need to use this incident to strike a blow to the intolerance, racism and hatred that is growing, not just in Norway, nor even only in Scandinavia, but throughout Europe."
Nicholas Kristoff on the Republican Threat to National Security. The "biggest threat to America’s national security this summer doesn’t come from China, Iran or any other foreign power," writes Nicholas Kristoff. "It comes from budget machinations, and budget maniacs, at home." He acknowledges that politicians "are usually focused only on short-term issues, so it would be commendable to see the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party seriously focused on containing long-term debt." But in this case, "many House Republicans aren’t serious, they’re just obsessive in a destructive way. The upshot is that in their effort to protect the American economy from debt, some of them are willing to drag it over the cliff of default." Kristoff lays out the repercussions of default and the debt debate, summarizing that: "In other words, Republican zeal to lower debts could result in increased interest expenses and higher debts. Their mania to save taxpayers could cost taxpayers. That suggests not governance so much as fanaticism... So let’s remember not only the national security risks posed by Iran and Al Qaeda. Let’s also focus on the risks, however unintentional, from domestic zealots."