As the humanitarian and financial costs of terrorism continue to increase, the United States Institute for Peace’s (USIP) Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States has issued a new report calling on Congress and all Americans to adopt a bold new paradigm to prevent vulnerabilities and foster peace. The report, Extremism in Fragile States: A New Approach, shifts the focus to prevention. “If we can mitigate the underlying conditions that allow extremism to emerge and spread in these states, the United States will be closer to breaking out of the costly cycle of perpetual crisis response, pushing back against the growing threat of extremism, and positioning itself effectively for strategic engagement with its competitors,” USIP said. (Read more.)
The report calls for three major steps to address the systemic conditions that produce extremism all over the world:
- Coalesce around a singular definition and standards of extremism and well as state the US’s intention to prevent and resolve the conditions that create extremism through investments and partnership with citizens and residents of fragile states both in and outside of the government;
- Optimize coordination and cooperation of US and partners’ development, diplomatic, and defense organizations to ensure maximum efficiency and impact; and
- Establish the Partnership Development Fund to streamline efforts to end the conditions in which extremism thrives.
The Task Force cautions that this new approach will be a long, arduous, expensive process, but in the long run will pay off for the US, its partners, the global economy, and those harmed in extremist violence.
The Task Force was established under a Congressional mandate in 2017. Its 15 members – comprised of policymakers, legislators and other experts - represent a bipartisan foreign policy approach on how to empower fragile states to push back against extremism. It is chaired by Tom Kean, former Governor of New Jersey and 9/11 Commission Chair, and Lee Hamilton, former Representative from Indiana and 9/11 Commission Chair.