Friday, January 6, 2017

How We Can Kill Terrorism With Kindness

Jacob N. Shapiro, Time

Image from article, with caption: Displaced people fleeing from Boko Haram incursions into Niger carry boxes of oil during a World Food Programme (WFP) and USAID food distribution at the Asanga refugee camp near Diffa on June 16, 2016.

The old adage that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar applies to counterterrorism. Conspicuous generosity to the innocent victims of terrorism presents a huge opportunity for public diplomacy. For example, we could do more to help refugees who are clearly victims of terrorist activity. Helping refugees will remind potential supporters of violent groups and, more importantly, their communities, of the vast difference between how the West treats victims of conflict and how they are treated by terrorists at home.
This does not necessarily mean letting more refugees into the United States. Reasonable people can disagree on how big (or worthy) the risks of generous refugee and asylum policies are. But there is no risk and much gain from helping out refugees abroad. ... What matters in these efforts is that America lead by example in a way the whole world can see. There needs to be no question about our commitment to helping the victims—whomever they are—of radical terrorism.
President-elect Trump knows better than most politicians the value of a brand. His administration can take actions immediately after his inauguration to renew America’s brand by setting an example of conspicuous generosity towards refugees. Doing so will arm local law enforcement across the world with a powerful argument for why people should trust and engage with them and will make it harder for terrorist groups to find new recruits. ...

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