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PART I The Problem 19 T WO It’s All about Jobs The West thought it recognised what was happening in the Arab world: People wanted democracy, and were having revolutions to make that point. . . . Could it be that the Arab Spring was about something else entirely? I believe so. The Arab Spring was a massive economic protest: A demand that the poor should have the basic rights to buy, sell, and make their way in the world. . . . If the West places Egypt and the Arab Spring into the category of “Islamist uprising ,” it will not only misunderstand the hopes of millions but miss a remarkable opportunity. Hernando de Soto, The Spectator, 2013 It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace. Secretary of State George C. Marshall on the Marshall Plan, 1947 To succeed in the twenty-first century, we need to integrate the traditional tools of foreign policy—diplomacy, development assistance, and military force—while also tapping the energy and ideas of the private sector and empowering citizens, especially the activists, organizers , and problem solvers we call civil society, to meet their own challenges and shape their own futures. Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton, Hard Choices, 2014 COUNTRIES WITH SKY-HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT dominate the roster of the world’s most unstable and un-peaceful places. This is not a coincidence. In 20 PEACE THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP fact, the primary driver of instability in many countries is chronic joblessness , the 30 and 40 percent unemployment rates for young people that hamstring many Middle Eastern and North African economies. When you consider that unemployment rates for young people are rising in the regions where the number of young people is rising, the future is already in trouble.1 Destabilizing unemployment plus a very young population is a brutal combination. This combination produced Mohamed Bouazizi, the desperate Tunisian vegetable seller who set himself afire out of sheer economic frustration, launching the Arab Spring. The same combination rallied hundreds of thousands to Tahrir Square in Egypt. It also spawns foot soldiers for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria2 and for Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.3 The combination creates pools of young men open to radical ideology and susceptible to recruitment to uprisings and rebel groups and terrorist cells.4 The social unrest wrought by unemployment is clearly not just a local matter confined to the world’s chaotic neighborhoods. Fragile states are fertile ground for terrorism, with immensely real consequences for the United States. Most observers agree that today’s threats to American security come not from strong nation-states with standing armies (like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union) but from unstable, politically shaky regions of the world and from “non-state actors,” men in caves outside of Kandahar plotting world-changing terrorist attacks, for instance. Building a nuclear submarine fleet or army of invasion takes a massive economic foundation. But the weapons of hide-and-seek terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda require far more modest startup costs. The West—America, mostly—fights these elusive enemies with boots on the ground and (after trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives consumed) drones. With mixed results. (It is, of course, very possible for Western milieus of unemployment to foster terror. The Paris attacks of November 2015 were perpetrated by men from or connected to Molenbeek, Belgium, a Brussels neighborhood beset by a 25 percent unemployment rate, greater than the city’s average, and a MENA-like youth unemployment rate of 37 percent.5 ). “American security and prosperity is increasingly and inextricably linked to economic growth in developing countries,” warns a 2013 Center for Strategic and International Studies report.6 In those parts of Africa with bleak economic prospects—Niger, Mali, northern Nigeria, and elsewhere— IT’S ALL ABOUT JOBS 21 terrorist havens are hardly a concern for the future. They are a clear and present danger. As the Christian Science Monitor reports of Africa: “Widespread unemployment, corruption, poor governance, and lawlessness have offered Islamist militants a foothold. Frustrated young men make good recruits , while criminal networks can be tapped as sources of funding.”7 Trouble brews in troubled lands. But frequently the root cause of instability is misdiagnosed. In the Middle East and North Africa, centuries-old conflicts between religious sects, and the fact that ethnic...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780815729242
Related ISBN
9780815729235
MARC Record
OCLC
946255043
Pages
240
Launched on MUSE
2016-07-31
Language
English
Open Access
No
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