The rise in terrorism has naturally elicited a response. Counterterrorism, however, must not always be military in character. An article published by TBS News proposes strengthening democracy as an effective strategy. Here is an excerpt:
Last month, US President Joe Biden hosted the virtual Summit for Democracy, convening more than 100 countries to draw attention to rising authoritarianism and the erosion of democratic norms. The summit addressed many threats to democracy posed by autocratic regimes and illiberal political systems.
One of the things the summit did not adequately explore was the continuing impact the United States’ two-decade fixation on countering terrorism and violent extremist groups had on fragile democracies during the global war on terror. If the administration maintains this blind spot, Biden’s democracy agenda will ultimately fail where it’s most needed. If, on the other hand, the administration encourages countries to fulfil their summit commitments on anti-corruption, human rights, and opening civic spaces, it could have a positive and lasting impact on both democracy and counterterrorism.
Research and experience show that the spread of transnational violent groups is primarily a governance problem. These groups exploit grievances against states that have failed their citizens in one way or another, whether through marginalisation, corruption, discrimination, or abuse. These governance failures, in turn, swell the ranks of violent groups offering an outlet to aggrieved people hungering for justice and social status—often young people who have experienced violence at the hands of the state.
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The spread of transnational violent groups is primarily a governance problem. Time to start treating it like one