Head off terrorism by heading off poverty

September 17, 2013

Violent radical religious organizations thrive by taking advantage of the absence of the State in the poorest populations (Berman 2011, The New Economics of Terrorism). By providing communities with important benefits in exchange for their loyalty, and at times their involvement, they are able to develop into highly efficient terrorist organizations. Interestingly, as we currently follow the Middle East conflict and the U.S. intervention, we find that various violent insurgent organizations are shaping the politics of Syria using the same tactics.

On average, Americans estimate that 20% of the federal budget goes to foreign aid; in reality less than 1 percent goes to assisting the world’s poor. For political pressure to rise, the public needs to be aware of current shortcomings. But beyond the humanitarian imperative, the United States has a strategic interest in improving the plight of the world’s poor.

There is nothing complicated about improving living conditions for people suffering in abject poverty. Global poverty has been drastically reduced in recent years and there are many success stories of conditions being improved for families, villages and entire countries. The Borgen Project is challenging public and political pessimism in the U.S. and addressing the frequent justifications given as to why the U.S. isn’t doing more to address global poverty that might prevent the formation of violent anti-U.S. groups. The U.S. should prevent 25,000 children from dying each day, because the U.S. can prevent 25,000 children from dying each day.

Alan Gonzalez-Cota


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