Over the past few years, the global community has dealt severe, even debilitating defeats to some of the most high-profile terrorist organizations around the globe. Nonetheless, terrorism still poses an existential threat to many states around the world.
One of the lesser-known, but nonetheless effective tools against radicalization and terrorism is foreign aid. It’s not just about delivery of direct or humanitarian aid. Supporting global democracy and civil rights, stabilizing post-conflict areas and post-disaster areas, and helping the displaced return to their homes are all effective means of countering terrorism.
And this is where the United States Agency for International Development comes in. “Our development initiatives address conditions, which left unchecked, can lead to the kind of frustration and despair that transnational criminal organizations and terrorist groups, often try to exploit,” said USAID Administrator Mark Greene in recent testimony before a House Appropriations Subcommittee.
USAID works to ease the life of displaced families and the communities that host them, countering the conditions that often drive mass migration, said Administrator Green.
“We also work to repair the fabric of countries and communities torn apart by conflict and war, in ways that will hopefully solidify military success. In particular, we know helping the most vulnerable, and the most targeted has to be a big part of this strategy,” he said
USAID cooperates with other agencies and international partners to resolve more complex problems. For example, the Agency supports the U.S. Department of Defense in its efforts to stabilize Raqqa so its citizens can return to their homes. And the Department of Defense, in return, supports USAID’s disaster relief response teams as they work to aid the victims of hurricanes, earthquakes or other natural disasters.
“USAID plays a key role in the interagency international strategy to prevent and mitigate the threat of infectious disease outbreaks, epidemics, and anti-microbial resistance under the global health security agenda…We help counter illicit activities from trafficking in persons to trafficking in wildlife, which criminal and terrorist organizations often leverage to fund their operations.” said Administrator Green. “Because responding to the growing number of humanitarian crises is a core part…of American global leadership, we are working to elevate and refine our humanitarian assistance efforts.”