The following was taken from an Op-Ed written by John Kerry today in the Wall Street Journal. The following is a glimpse as to the average day in my head reading the news. To clarify: anything in Parentheses is my addition.
Our (Non-violent) Plan for Countering Violent Extremism
Show the world the power of peaceful communities, and tackle bad governance that breeds frustration (except if they have Oil).
Written by John Kerry,
Sarcastic Commentary (In Parentheses) by Ari Krauss.
Throughout our history, we have faced threats from aggression, genocide, chaos and dictatorship. Today we are asked to wage a new war against a new enemy. The battlefield is different, and so are the weapons that we need to overcome that enemy and triumph. (None of which the administration is willing to undertake so let’s try and think of something else).
The rise of violent extremism represents the pre-eminent challenge of the young 21st century. Military force is a rational and often (Not always?) necessary response to the wanton slaughters of children (even though we don’t even do anything about that in our own country), mass kidnappings of schoolgirls (#BringBackOurGirls…..ok fine don’t), and beheading of innocents (Except when the Saudis do it). But military force alone won’t achieve victory. (Especially when you half ass it) In the long term, this war will be won only by deploying a broader, far more creative (Hashtag) arsenal.
A safer and more prosperous future requires us to recognize that violent extremism can’t be justified by resorting to religion (Researching possibility of a Fatwa on this topic). No legitimate religious interpretation teaches adherents to commit unspeakable atrocities (Except the big three), such as razing villages or turning children into suicide bombers. These are the heinous acts of individuals who (Successfully) distort religion to serve their criminal and barbaric cause.
A safer and more prosperous future also requires us not to be distracted by divisions grounded in hatred or bias (Thinking about them makes us sad on the inside). There is no room in this fight for sectarian division (Apparently someone forgot to tell the Sunni and Shia). There is no room for Islamophobia (Which is a fear of being defeated in an election for saying anything bad about Islam or Muslims) or anti-Semitism (Which is hating Jews any more than is absolutely necessary). Violent extremism has claimed lives in every corner of the globe, and Muslim lives most of all (Our bad). Each of us is threatened, regardless of ethnicity, faith or homeland (Especially if you’re a Ginger on Homeland). We must demonstrate to the terrorists that rather than divide us, their tactics unite us and strengthen our resolve (To blame the whole mess on Israeli settlements).
Toward that goal of unity, and of action, President Obama has been hosting a summit in Washington this week (Because you know what they say: Words speak louder than actions) that is bringing together leading figures from local and national governments, civil society, and the private sector around the world. This summit at the White House and State Department will expand the global conversation and, more important, adopt an action agenda that identifies, shares and utilizes best practices in preventing and countering violent extremism. And when world leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly (Generally an effective body) next fall, a key topic of discussion will be the steps we’ve all taken to fight (Israeli) extremism based on (Everything but) the agenda we outline this week.
Put simply, we are building a global partnership against violent extremism. (Sponsored by Heinz)
Success requires showing the world (And Christians in Iraq and Syria) the power of peaceful communities instead of extremist violence. Success requires offering a vision that is positive and proactive: a world with more concrete alternatives to the nihilistic worldview of violent extremists (Jihad as a new fitness craze?). Success requires empowering leaders from Los Angeles to Sana’a Lagos, Paris to Peshawar (How DO you get the Taliban on board?), and Bogotá to Baghdad to take the reins in this effort (Prefarbly with the Iraqi army leading the charge)— because terrorists don’t exist in a vacuum. They require acquiescence from the broader population, if not outright support. They recruit among the disaffected and disenfranchised, but also among those of all backgrounds on a misguided quest for meaning and empowerment. They exploit anger, ignorance and grievance (Actually…not entirely).
Eliminating the terrorists of today with force will not guarantee protection from the terrorists of tomorrow (Forget for a second that eliminating them today will protect us today). We have to transform the environments that give birth to these movements (Global warming as a counter terrorism policy?) . We have to devote ourselves not just to combating violent extremism, but to preventing it (Only YOU can prevent Gay people from being thrown off buildings). This means building alternatives that are credible and visible to the populations where terrorists seek to thrive (also don’t require Obama to go back on campaign promises to leave Iraq)
The most basic issue is good governance (And when we figure out what the looks like we will let you know). It may not sound exciting (but then again, my voice could put a meth head to sleep), but it is vital. People who feel that their government will provide for their needs (AKA Welfare queens), not just its own (Republicans), and give them a chance at a better life are far less likely to strap on an AK-47 or a suicide vest, or to aid those who do.
We must identify the zones of greatest vulnerability (except if they are in Mosques), the places that could descend into the chaos that breeds terrorism—or that could turn the corner and be the hotbed of growth or innovation (Just look at Gaza! The Singapore of the middle east!). And then we must tailor our efforts and target our resources to meet the specific needs of those places. It may be training young people so they can get jobs and envision a future of dignity and self-reliance (Do for Jihadis what the VA has done for Vets?). It may be working to eliminate corruption and promote the rule of law (Except in Saudi Arabia), so that marginalized communities can enjoy security and justice (Damn Israelis). It’s very likely both (Or None), and of course much more.
There are precedents that can lead us (Citation needed). We’ve combated violent extremism before (Citation needed). We know there are tools that work (Citation needed). We also know the power of the international community to make positive progress when we’ve come together to combat other challenges, such as when we combined our efforts most recently to fight Ebola (No more dead white people = Success). We need to funnel more resources, creative ideas and energy into the fight against extremism and work closely with effective local organizations and governments to make sure those resources are used properly.
This week’s summit won’t solve all these problems (Probably won’t solve any), but it can catalyze a global effort. But let me be clear: We are in this for the long haul (at least until 2016). We can send a clear signal to the next generation that its future will not be defined by the agenda of the terrorists and the violent ideology that sustains them; we will not cower, and we will prevail by working together (Lol). Indeed, there are roles for everyone, from religious and government leaders to academics (Provided they can take a second away from trying to boycott Israel), NGOs (If we can get the Human Rights Council to focus on anything other than Israel) and the private sector (The Government Contractors sending all our veterans back overseas for 10x the pay). Our collective security depends on our collective response (we’re screwed)
The 20th century was defined by the struggle to overcome depression, slavery, fascism and totalitarianism (Also Carbs). Now it’s our turn (To be overcome??). The rise of violent extremism challenges every one of us, our communities, our nations and the global rule of law. But the extremist forces arrayed against us require that we charge forward in the name of decency, civility and reason (and my Nobel Peace Prize).