Monday, July 4, 2016

Thinking and Writing About Terrorism: Reflections on an Uncertain World

JB - Happy Fourth of July! (pix via SW); hear also (via MF).


Philip Seib,

image from
I think a lot about how terrorism’s presence changes our world. ...
Islamophobia is spreading, and it contributes to the feeling among Muslims that they and their religion are under siege.
Faced with seemingly intractable problems of violence, politics, and refugee resettlement, governments outside the Arab world must decide what to do next. Military action has limited effect, especially because Islamic State has proved able to fluidly metastasize and expand into Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Public diplomacy efforts of Western governments and NGOs are often viewed with suspicion and so have found it difficult to gain traction within the region.

Rather than surrender to such difficulties, those wishing to undercut extremism should rely more heavily on “collaborative public diplomacy,” in which pride of ownership is set aside in favor of enhanced credibility. In countries such as Tunisia (which has been a major source of Islamic State recruits) the most effective public diplomacy would be to create programs that focus on economic development. Help people get jobs so they can support their families and they will be less likely to pay attention to extremists. Such programs could be funded but not branded by Western sources; Arab and Muslim NGOs would be at the forefront. ...

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