A New Approach to Preventing Violent Extremism

Combating terrorism since 9/11 has been a multi-trillion dollar and nearly 20-year effort by the U.S. government. Is it possible to mitigate terrorism by increasing investment in policies that mitigate the spread of extremist ideologies and, if so, where does public diplomacy fit in?

In February 2019, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP)'s bipartisan Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States issued a report with recommendations on how to empower fragile states to resist extremism. Importantly, its three-policy recommendations emphasize the importance of building partnerships between U.S. and foreign leaders, civil society and the private sector.

"To reduce our expenditure of blood and treasure, protect against future threats, and preserve American leadership and values in contested parts of the world, we must not only respond to terrorism but also strive to prevent extremism from taking root in the first place," the Task Force notes in its final report. "The objective of a preventive approach should be to strengthen societies that are vulnerable to extremism so they can become self-reliant, better able to resist this scourge, and protect their hard-earned economic and security gains."

Read the final report, "Preventing Extremism in Fragile States: A New Approach," here.

Photo by Robert Lyle Bolton | CC BY-SA 2.0

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