The Civil Side of Counterterrorism
October 17, 2016
The following presentation entitled “The Civil Side of Counterterrorism” was given by Dr. Anthony H. Cordesman to the 7th Xiangshan Forum on October 12, 2016. The full presentation can be viewed on the CSIS website at https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/161017_Civil_Side_Counterterrorism_0.pdf.
Key Points of the Presentation
Just as development cannot occur without stability and security, stability and security cannot be achieved without development. Counterterrorism must look beyond simply fighting terrorism and insurgency, and address the underlying causes of instability and violence.
Change requires time, and an effective strategy for counterterrorism must look at time periods of a decade or more, and future trends. Focusing on the current threat alone is a certain recipe for failure.
One key trend is the rapid growth of Islam throughout much of the world, and the need for partnership with the Islamic world and moderate, largely Islamic states. Demonizing all of Islam over the action of a small extremist minority is an equally certain recipe for failure.
Both the West and the East have adopted the wrong approaches to the deeper upheavals within the Islamic world. As the Arab Development Reports warned as early as 2002, These upheavals are the product of failed secularism and governance, failed development, failed governance, corruption, and massive population pressure. The Western view that “Arab Spring” could bring effective stability and development when every such upheaval lacked moderate leaders who could govern, had political experience, and could move towards development was a triumph of optimism over experience. The East focus on “color revolutions” and conspiracy theories has been an exercise in equally absurd political opportunism.Photo credit: ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images