A Better Way to Counter Violent Extremism

Why Business as Usual Won't Work

A member of Iraq's counterterrorism forces in Falluja, June 2016. Thaier Al-Sudani / REUTERS

There is something of a paradox emerging around global efforts to counter violent extremism. In the wake of terrorist attacks in Aden, Baghdad, Dhaka, Istanbul, Kabul, Nice, Orlando, and elsewhere, public awareness of the problem and the need to address it has never been greater. The White House’s CVE summit in 2015 and the meetings that followed it, along with the January 2016 publication of the UN Secretary General’s Action Plan to Prevent Violent Extremism, have helped build high-level support for a response involving governments, the private sector, and civil-society organizations. Countries from Finland and Kenya to Canada and Nigeria are heeding the call put forth in that document, developing their own national plans to steer their populations away from violent extremism. And in May, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released their first-ever joint strategy for international CVE, which encourages

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