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BookCoverOur Time Has Come: How India is Making Its Place in the World
By Alyssa Ayres
Oxford University Press, January 2018
ISBN-13: 978-0190494520
360 pages

In “Our Time Has Come” Alyssa Ayres looks at how the tension between India’s inward-focused past and its ongoing integration into the global economy will shape its trajectory. Today, Indian leaders increasingly want to see their country feature in the ranks of the world’s great powers-in fact, as a “leading power,” to use the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Ayres considers the role India is likely to play as its prominence grows, taking stock of the implications and opportunities for the US and other nations as the world’s largest democracy defines its place in the world. As she shows, India breaks the mold of the typical “ally,” and its vastness, history, and diversity render it incomparable to any other major democratic power. By focusing on how India’s unique perspective shapes its approach to global affairs, Our Time Has Come will help the world make sense of India’s rise.


“Few outsiders know modern India’s politics, society and history as well as Alyssa Ayres. In Our Time Has Come, she chronicles India’s extraordinary rise and its future as a great global power.”
—Nicholas Burns, former Undersecretary of State, U.S. State Department; Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School

“Alyssa Ayres has blended a keen sense of the possibilities with a clear-eyed grasp of the complexities to produce the most cogent and compelling account to date of India’s emergence on the world stage. She gives her readers easy access to her perspectives as scholar and policymaker, without shying away from the hard questions. Our Time Has Come is a tremendous piece of work.”
—Jake Sullivan, Martin R. Flug Visiting Lecturer, Yale Law School; former Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; former National Security Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden


ALYSSA AYRES is senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations. She served as US deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia during 2010-2013, and her more than twenty-five years’ experience in India and South Asia crosses the government, nonprofit, and private sectors. She has served as project director for two bipartisan task forces on US-India relations, and co-edited three books on India and Indian foreign policy. Her book on nationalism in Pakistan, Speaking Like a State, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2009.


BookCoverOrban: Hungary’s Strongman
By Paul Lendvai

Oxford University Press, March 2018
ISBN: 978-0190874865
224 pages

A no-holds-barred biography of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who has become a pivotal figure in European politics since 2010, this is the first English- language study of the erstwhile anti-communist rebel turned populist autocrat. Through a masterly and cynical manipulation of ethnic nationalism, generating fear of migrants and deep-rooted corruption, Orbán has exploited successive electoral victories to build a closely knit and super-rich oligarchy. He holds unfettered power in Hungary and is regarded as the single most powerful leader within the European Union. Orbán’s ambitions are far-reaching. Hailed by governments and far-right politicians as a symbol of a new anti-Brussels nationalism, his ruthless crackdown on refugees, his open break with normative values and his undisguised admiration for Presidents Putin and Trump mean he poses a formidable challenge to Angela Merkel and the survival of liberal democracy in a divided Europe. Drawing on access to exclusive documents and numerous interviews, celebrated veteran journalist Paul Lendvai paints a compelling portrait of the most successful and, arguably, most dangerous politician in Hungarian history.


“[A] Thoughtful, entertaining biography… The value of Lendvai’s book lies in his penetrating explanation of why Hungary’s post-1989 institutions have proved so vulnerable to Mr Orban’s assault”
—The Financial Times

“Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister, has become infamous for his ruthless crackdown on refugees and embrace of an unabashed nationalism. This first English-language biography of Orban captures how he turned himself into one of the most successful populist autocrats of our times.”
—The New York Review of Books

“In Europe, Viktor Orbán is the pioneer of populism in power. Paul Lendvai’s excellent book is an indispensable guide to understanding the man himself as well as the increasingly authoritarian system Orbán has been constructing in Hungary.”
—Jan-Werner Müller, Princeton University, author of What is Populism?

“This book explains Viktor Orbán’s evolution from a liberal, pro-Western opponent of communism in the twentieth century to a radical, right-wing and nativist authoritarian in the twenty-first century. It sheds light on how Orbán can rightfully claim to be both Vladimir Putin’s and Donald J. Trump’s ideological soulmate.”
—Charles Gati, Senior Research Professor, School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University

“Only very few people know Hungary and the personalities active there so well as does Paul Lendvai. Anyone seeking to gain a clear picture of developments in Central and Eastern Europe cannot ignore this book.’
—Dr Heinz Fischer, Federal President of Austria, 2006-2016

“This book explains Viktor Orbán’s evolution from a liberal, pro-Western opponent of communism in the twentieth century to a radical, right-wing and nativist authoritarian in the twenty-first century. It sheds light on how Orbán can rightfully claim to be both Vladimir Putin’s and Donald J. Trump’s ideological soulmate.”
—Charles Gati, Senior Research Professor, School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University

“A superb political observer, researcher and writer, Paul Lendvai tells the story of Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s world-famous leader, and his rise from rags to riches, and from a young revolutionary democrat to a chauvinist demagogue and a savvy, conservative statesman. As Lendvai explains so well, Orbán won the loyalty of the majority of Hungarians by securing them a safe existence, free from parliamentary turmoil and from the alleged danger represented by ‘swarthy’ refugees. In his relentless pursuit of money and power, Orbán—and his team of fellow former country boys—gravely weakened the system of checks and balances, and extended his authority over much of the media, education, and the economy. Lendvai does not deny Orbán’s charm and outstanding intellect but warns of the damage his cold narcissism is causing to European unity, mutual trust, and humane behavior.”
—István Deák, Seth Low Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University


Paul Lendvai is a Hungarian-born Austrian journalist who worked as a correspondent for the Financial Times for more than two decades. He is the author of Hungary: Between Democracy and Authoritarianism; Inside Austria: New Challenges, Old Demons; and Blacklisted: A Journalist’s Life in Central Europe.


BookCoverThe Kremlinologist: Llewellyn E. Thompson, America’s Man In Cold War Moscow
By Jenny Thompson and Sherry Thompson

Johns Hopkins University Press, April 2018
ISBN: 978-1421424545
600 pages

Against the sprawling backdrop of the Cold War, The Kremlinologist revisits some of the twentieth century’s greatest conflicts as seen through the eyes of its hardest working diplomat, Llewellyn E Thompson. From the wilds of the American West to the inner sanctums of the White House and the Kremlin, Thompson became an important advisor to presidents and a key participant in major global events, including the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. Yet unlike his contemporaries Robert S. McNamara and Dean Rusk, who considered Thompson one of the most crucial Cold War actors and the “unsung hero” of the Cuban Missile Crisis, he has not been the subject of a major biography—until now.

Thompson’s daughters, Jenny and Sherry Thompson, skillfully and thoroughly document his life as an accomplished career diplomat. In vigorous prose, they describe how Thompson joined the Foreign Service both to feed his desire for adventure and from a deep sense of duty. They also detail the crucial role he played as a negotiator unafraid of compromise. Known in the State Department as “Mr. Tightlips,” Thompson was the epitome of discretion. People from completely opposite ends of the political spectrum lauded his approach to diplomacy and claimed him as their own.

Refuting historical misinterpretations of the Berlin Crisis, the Austrian State Treaty, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Thompsons tell their father’s fascinating story. With unprecedented access to Thompson’s FBI dossier, State Department personnel files, letters, diaries, speeches, and documents, and relying on probing interviews and generous assistance from American and Russian archivists, historians, and government officials, the authors bring new material to light, including important information on the U-2, Kennan’s containment policy, and Thompson’s role in US covert operations machinery.

This unique and monumental biography not only restores a central figure to history, it makes the crucial events he shaped accessible to a broader readership and gives contemporary readers a backdrop for understanding the fraught United States-Russia relationship that still exists today.


“By telling the detailed personal story of Ambassador Llewellyn E Thompson, the most brilliant American master of negotiation and compromise, The Kremlinologist will help diplomats deal successfully with future crises. Highly recommended.”
—Sergei N. Khrushchev, author of Nikita Khrushchev and the Creation of a Superpower

“A wonderful achievement; with every page, my appreciation grew. The authors succeed in commemorating the role of their father, Llewellyn Thompson, an unsung hero of the Cold War, while going beyond a simplistic portrayal of American motives and decision making in the longest confrontation of the twentieth century. Meticulously researched and infused with empathy for both sides, The Kremlinologist is a valuable contribution to Cold War scholarship.”
—Vladislav M. Zubok, author of A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev

“A remarkable, insightful picture of Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson as a person and of his role in the conduct of American diplomacy. Well researched and beautifully written, The Kremlinologist will be fascinating reading for anyone interested in foreign policy, the work of diplomats, and the history of the Cold War.”
—Jack F. Matlock Jr., former US Ambassador to the USSR, author of Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended

“Combining a charming family memoir with meticulous diplomatic history, Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson’s daughters’ wonderful account illuminates everything from their adventures growing up in the Moscow embassy, to Stalin’s and Khrushchev’s relations with presidents from Roosevelt to Johnson, to the Cold War’s main crises in Berlin, Cuba, and Vietnam.”
—William Taubman, author of Khrushchev: The Man and His Era and Gorbachev: His Life and Times

“Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, The Kremlinologist is an analytically piercing biography of America’s longest serving and most influential Soviet expert, Ambassador Llewellyn E Thompson. Both an intimate portrait and an insider’s account of life in Moscow during the Cold War, it reveals new and fascinating details about the many US–Soviet crises that Thompson helped to resolve during the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations.”
—Martin J. Sherwin, coauthor of American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

“In The Kremlinologist, Jenny and Sherry Thompson’s masterful biography of the legendary Ambassador Llwellyn Thompson, his daughters resurrect a bygone—and sorely missed—era of American diplomacy. Exercising archival and anthropological diligence, no archive has gone unvisited, no eyewitness has not been interviewed. This book will find its deserved place as an exemplary addition to the history of twentieth-century American diplomacy.”
—Alex Beam, author of The Feud: Vladimir Nabokov, Edmund Wilson, and the End of a Beautiful Friendship


Jenny Thompson runs an English language school in Estepona, Spain. Before she retired, Sherry Thompson was the director of a nonprofit foundation. The authors, daughters of Llewellyn E Thompson, spent eight years of their childhood in Moscow.


BookCover Rival Power: Russia’s Influence in Southeast Europe
By Dimitar Bechev

Yale University Press, August 2017
ISBN: 9780300219135
300 pages

A nuanced and comprehensive study of the political dynamics between Russia and key countries in Southeast Europe

Is Russia threatening to disrupt more than two decades’ of E.U. and U.S. efforts to promote stability in post-communist Southeast Europe? Politicians and commentators in the West say, “yes.” With rising global anxiety over Russia’s political policies and objectives, Dimitar Bechev provides the only in-depth look at this volatile region.
Deftly unpacking the nature and extent of Russian influence in the Balkans, Greece, and Turkey, Bechev argues that both sides are driven by pragmatism and opportunism rather than historical loyalties. Russia is seeking to assert its role in Europe’s security architecture, establish alternative routes for its gas exports—including the contested Southern Gas Corridor—and score points against the West. Yet, leaders in these areas are allowing Russia to reinsert itself to serve their own goals. This urgently needed guide analyzes the responses of regional NATO members, particularly regarding the annexation of Crimea and the Putin-Erdogan rift over Syria.


“This work plows past other books about Putin and democracy… Captivating for serious students of Russian history and political junkies as well.”
—Library Journal

“Important …a balanced, well-documented picture of the competition between Russia and the West for influence in an area of considerable geopolitical importance.”


Dimitar Bechev is a research fellow at the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.


BookCover The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy: Why Strategic Superiority Matters
By Matthew KroenigOxford University Press, January 2018
ISBN: 9780190849184
255 pagesFor decades, the reigning scholarly wisdom about nuclear weapons policy has been that the United States only needs the ability to absorb an enemy nuclear attack and still be able to respond with a devastating counterattack. So long as the US, or any other nation, retains such an assured retaliation capability, no sane leader would intentionally launch a nuclear attack against it, and nuclear deterrence will hold. According to this theory, possessing more weapons than necessary for a second-strike capability is illogical.Matthew Kroenig challenges the conventional wisdom and explains why a robust nuclear posture, above and beyond a mere second-strike capability, contributes to a state’s national security goals. In fact, when a state has a robust nuclear weapons force, such a capability reduces its expected costs in a war, provides it with bargaining leverage, and ultimately enhances nuclear deterrence. This book provides a novel theoretical explanation for why military nuclear advantages translate into geopolitical advantages. In so doing, it helps resolve one of the most-intractable puzzles in international security studies.

Buoyed by an innovative thesis and a vast array of historical and quantitative evidence, The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy will force scholars to reconsider their basic assumptions about the logic of nuclear deterrence.


“The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy is a major contribution to the national debate about the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security policy. Matthew Kroenig provides penetrating insights into how nuclear posture affects a variety of national security interests and the book is a must read for anyone who wishes to understand this increasingly vital set of issues.”
—Stephen Hadley, former National Security Adviser to U.S. President George W. Bush

“A provocative contribution from a next-gen scholar to the revival of debate about nuclear strategy.”
—Graham Allison, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School

“Matthew Kroenig’s comprehensive research, analysis, and conclusions provide a compilation of insights and information that policy makers and military leaders must understand. This book should be required reading for policy makers, strategists, and military leaders, as well as students of military strategy and international affairs.”
—Cecil Haney, former Commander US Strategic Command

“Matthew Kroenig has provided an innovative and counter-intuitive study of why nuclear superiority might matter and why practitioners of both political parties have gravitated consistently towards it even as academic theorists have argued that it doesn’t matter. This is an agenda setting book that will be debated by scholars and policy-makers for years to come.”
—Eric Edelman, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and Hertog Practitioner-in-Residence at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies

“Contrary to much that has been written on the subject, in this provocative new study Matthew Kroenig argues that the United States can attain, and should seek, meaningful military superiority over other nuclear-armed states. This is an important statement of a controversial position that deserves to be read and debated by both policy makers and political scientists.”
—Aaron Friedberg, Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University


Matthew Kroenig is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a Senior Fellow in the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at The Atlantic Council. He is the author or editor of six books, including Exporting the Bomb: Technology Transfer and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons.


BookCoverThe Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State
By Elizabeth C. Economy

Oxford University Press, May 2018
ISBN: 978-0190866075
360 pages

In The Third Revolution, eminent China scholar Elizabeth C. Economy provides an incisive look at the transformative changes underway in China today. Chinese leader Xi Jinping has unleashed a powerful set of political and economic reforms: the centralization of power under Xi, himself, the expansion of the Communist Party’s role in Chinese political, social, and economic life, and the construction of a virtual wall of regulations to control more closely the exchange of ideas and capital between China and the outside world. Beyond its borders, Beijing has recast itself as a great power, seeking to reclaim its past glory and to create a system of international norms that better serves its more ambitious geostrategic objectives. In so doing, the Chinese leadership is reversing the trends toward greater political and economic opening, as well as the low-profile foreign policy, that had been put in motion by Deng Xiaoping’s “Second Revolution” thirty years earlier.

Through a wide-ranging exploration of Xi Jinping’s top political, economic and foreign policy priorities—fighting corruption, managing the Internet, reforming the state-owned enterprise sector, improving the country’s innovation capacity, enhancing air quality, and elevating China’s presence on the global stage—Economy identifies the tensions, shortcomings, and successes of Xi’s reform efforts over the course of his first five years in office. She also assesses their implications for the rest of the world, and provides recommendations for how the United States and others should navigate their relationship with this vast nation in the coming years.

Elizabeth Economy is the C. V. Starr senior fellow and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. She is an expert on Chinese domestic politics and foreign relations, writing on topics ranging from China’s environmental challenges to its role in global governance. She is the award-winning author of “The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s Future” (Cornell University Press, 2004; 2nd edition, 2010), and “By All Means Necessary: How China’s Resource Quest is Changing the World” (Oxford University Press, 2014), co-authored with Michael Levi.


BookCoverFalse Dawn
By Steven A Cook

Oxford University Press, June 2017
ISBN: 978-0190611415
360 pages

Half a decade after Arabs across the Middle East poured into the streets to demand change, hopes for democracy have disappeared in a maelstrom of violence and renewed state repression. Egypt remains an authoritarian state, Syria and Yemen are in the midst of devastating civil wars, Libya has descended into anarchy, and the self-declared Islamic State rules a large swath of territory. Even Turkey, which also experienced large-scale protests, has abandoned its earlier shift toward openness and democracy and now more closely resembles an autocracy.

How did things go so wrong so quickly across a wide range of regimes? In False Dawn, noted Middle East regional expert Steven A. Cook looks at the trajectory of events across the region from the initial uprising in Tunisia to the failed coup in Turkey to explain why the Middle Eastern uprisings did not succeed. Despite appearances, there were no true revolutions in the Middle East five years ago: none of the affected societies underwent social revolutions, and the old structures of power were never eliminated. Even supposed successes like Tunisia still face significant barriers to democracy because of the continued strength of old regime players. Libya, the state that came closest to revolution, has fragmented into chaos, and Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has used the July 2016 coup against him as grounds for a widespread crackdown on his opponents, reinforcing the Turkish leader’s personal power.

After taking stock of how and why the uprisings failed to produce lasting change, Cook considers the role of the United States in the region. What Washington cannot do, Cook argues, is shape the politics of the Middle East going forward. While many in the policymaking community believe that the United States must “get the Middle East right,” American influence is actually quite limited; the future of the region lies in the hands of the people who live there. Authoritative and powerfully argued, False Dawn promises to be a major work on one of the most important historical events of the past quarter century.


“The promise of the ‘Arab Spring’ now seems a distant memory. False Dawn offers a sweeping account, a combination of on-the-ground narrative and deep historical analysis of what went wrong. Stephen Cook’s excellent book opens with a quote from deposed Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011 that seemed like a threat at the time but now reads more like a prophecy: ‘The youth who called for change and reform will be the first to suffer.’ Cook tells us why.”
—Deborah Amos, NPR Middle East Correspondent

“How did the Arab Spring become the long winter we now see? Steven Cook is one of Washington’s most astute and informed observers of the Middle East, and anyone wanting to understand how the region has ended up in its current unraveling state would do well to read his new book False Dawn. The backlash—and Western misreadings of it—are all too real, and Cook’s book is a major contribution in understanding what we got wrong.”
—Susan Glasser, chief international affairs columnist of POLITICO, and former Editor in Chief of Foreign Policy

“The collapse of the Arab Spring was more than a defeat for democracy in the Arab world, it broke the Middle East. In this incisive book, [Steven Cook] has masterfully applied the tools of the social sciences to separate fact from fiction in explaining how that moment of hope in the region turned into calamity. Intelligent and well-written this is must reading for anyone interested in understanding the tumult that is unfolding in the Middle East today.”
—Vali Nasr, Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. and a Senior Fellow in foreign policy at Brookings Institution.

“For those who want to understand the deeper dynamics that explain what happened specifically in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Turkey, they now have an excellent book to read. False Dawn, Steven Cook’s latest work, offers a smart and analytically compelling explanation for why the events of 2011 were bound to fall short of the promise and hopes they raised. Ultimately, the uprisings forced out individual leaders but not the power structures and institutions that sustained them except in Libya where Qaddafi’s demise left a vacuum. Authoritarian governance, the struggle over identity, and ongoing conflicts are going to define the Middle East for the foreseeable future, and Cook calls for American policy-makers to understand the limits of our ability to change these basic sources of instability in the area. Even those who may not fully subscribe to his policy prescription will profit highly from reading this very well constructed and thoughtful book.”
—Dennis Ross, an American diplomat and author has served as the Director of Policy Planning in the State Department under President George H. W. Bush, the special Middle East coordinator under President Bill Clinton, and was a special adviser for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia (which includes Iran) to the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


Steven A. Cook is Eni Enrico Mattei Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa
Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of The Struggle for Egypt and Ruling but Not Governing.


BookCoverWar on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence
By Ronan Farrow

W. W. Norton & Company, April 2018
ISBN-13: 978-0393652109
ISBN-10: 0393652106
432 pages

A harrowing exploration of the collapse of American diplomacy and the abdication of global leadership, by the winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service.

US foreign policy is undergoing a dire transformation, forever changing America’s place in the world. Institutions of diplomacy and development are bleeding out after deep budget cuts; the diplomats who make America’s deals and protect its citizens around the world are walking out in droves. Offices across the State Department sit empty, while abroad the military-industrial complex has assumed the work once undertaken by peacemakers. We’re becoming a nation that shoots first and asks questions later.

In an astonishing journey from the corridors of power in Washington, DC, to some of the most remote and dangerous places on earth―Afghanistan, Somalia, and North Korea among them―Ronan Farrow illuminates one of the most consequential and poorly understood changes in American history. His firsthand experience as a former State Department official affords a personal look at some of the last standard bearers of traditional statecraft, including Richard Holbrooke, who made peace in Bosnia and died while trying to do so in Afghanistan.

Drawing on newly unearthed documents, and richly informed by rare interviews with warlords, whistle-blowers, and policymakers―including every living former secretary of state from Henry Kissinger to Hillary Clinton to Rex Tillerson―War on Peace makes a powerful case for an endangered profession. Diplomacy, Farrow argues, has declined after decades of political cowardice, shortsightedness, and outright malice―but it may just offer America a way out of a world at war.


“With astonishing reporting and gripping prose, Ronan Farrow tells the powerful story of the gutting of American diplomacy…War on Peace is an indispensable and fascinating revelation of what diplomats actually do for our country and why undermining them is so dangerous. Farrow is a riveting storyteller with a great eye for colorful characters. This is one of the most important books of our time.”
– Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and professor of history, Tulane

“Ronan Farrow has scooped us all (again). And it is no wonder. A gifted writer with a powerful intellect and a passion for truth, Farrow has become one of this generation’s finest journalists and War on Peace a book that will be required reading for generations to come. It is perhaps the most riveting and relatable book on foreign policy and diplomacy I have ever read. I have covered these same corridors of diplomatic power, these same bloody war zones, yet on every page of War on Peace I was astonished by what I learned.”
– Martha Raddatz, ABC News chief global affairs correspondent and author of The Long Road Home

“US diplomacy has failed to keep up with the times. Part insider account and part sober analysis, War on Peace traces the fall of American diplomacy and pulls no punches. Only someone as incisive and unflinching as Farrow could have written this book―and we should all be thankful that he did. A must-read.”
– Ian Bremmer, editor-at-large, Time magazine, and president, Eurasia group


Ronan Farrow is an investigative journalist who writes for The New Yorker and makes documentaries for HBO. He has been an anchor and reporter at MSNBC and NBC News, and his writing has appeared in publications including The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. He is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the George Polk Award, and the National Magazine Award, among other commendations, and has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. He is also an attorney and former State Department official. He lives in New York City.

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