Extremist violence often rooted in helplessness, humiliation and hatred - John Brennan

Issues:Global militarisation, Marginalisation

John Brennan, President Obama's senior adviser on counter-terrorism, highlighted the linkages between extremist violence and political, social and economic factors in a speech on 6th August at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a US think-tank.
Although Brennan identified Al-Qaeda as the biggest threat to US security, much of the speech was devoted to the importance of non-military solutions to the problem of violent extremism: "any comprehensive approach has to also address the upstream factors, the conditions that help fuel violent extremism." Brennan described how part of the current US national security strategy is "a political, economic and social campaign to meet the basic needs and legitimate grievances of ordinary people – security for their communities, education for their children, a job and income for parents and a sense of dignity and worth."
Time will tell how this sentiment will translate into policy. However, increased focus on the route causes of insecurity is certainly welcome. 
The full speech can be downloaded here. 
Photo: Getty Images


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