Lessons from Norway

Two days ago the foreign minister of Norway, Jonas Gahr Støre, had an op-ed in the New York Times about the lessons to be learned from the tragedy on Utøya and in Oslo on 22 July 2011. He believes there are implications here for the global war on terrorism:

Osama bin Laden successfully provoked the West into using exceptional powers in ways that sometimes have been in conflict with its commitment to human rights and democracy. This only strengthened the case of extremists, and it shows that we should try to avoid exceptionalism and instead trust in the open system we are defending.

This is not a soft approach. It requires and allows for tough security measures. But it is firmly anchored in the rule of law and the values of democracy and accountability.

I agree. We all have much to learn from the manner in which Norwegians have handled the aftermath of last year’s horrific events. It has been dignified, determined and literally awe-inspiring in every conceivable way.