One word you will hear a lot more in foreign policy and national security debates is “offensive.” There will be dire warnings about the dangers of passivity in an era of ubiquitous information and instantaneous communication, and exhortations of the need to dictate the pace of events. Expect to be told that we “cannot let the other side take the offensive.”

While there is a new reality to threats in the digital era, we must pay close attention to how the word “offensive” is being used. Today, it has two very distinct meanings that apply in very different contexts, and it is dangerous to confuse the two. One use may raise eyebrows, but the other should not. As Japan begins critical discussions on national security, clarity and concision are essential. There is far too much at stake to indulge in sloppy logic or language.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
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