Kerry's 'New Paradigm' to Deal With Terrorism Includes Job-Creation for Palestinians

April 23, 2013 - 8:37 AM

(CNSNews.com) - "[W]e're not going to solve this challenge of terror and of extremism and of people finding an alternative if we're not reaching out to people, talking to them, bringing them to the table and trying to work through major, perceived differences," Secretary of State John Kerry told a gathering in Brussels on Monday.

"I believe we have to create a new paradigm, frankly, to deal with this."

Kerry said the new paradigm includes public-private partnerships, and he pointed to new initiative that's just getting under way with Palestinians in the West Bank, where U.S. businesses are being urged to invest in places for the sake of peace, not profit:

He mentioned Coca-Cola specifically.

"And that initiative is fundamentally to bring major corporations to the table who are looking for places to invest where they can make a difference, where it may not be that today the bottom line on a spreadsheet tells them this is the best investment in the world, but where they can also be persuaded that they're investing in the future and in peace, in changing the lives of people, and in opening up doors of opportunity."

Kerry said the private sector can provide a job base "that will change the lives of people more rapidly, and hopefully encourage people to buy into the possibilities of this economic transformation. So it's really economic diplomacy, if you will."

But economic diplomacy isn't enough, Kerry added:

"We have to speak to moderate Islam and find ways to get moderate Islam to fight and stand up for the real basis of their religion, rather than allowing it to be hijacked by people who completely misinterpret and misapply it." Extremists, he said "intimidate people" and squelch "the voices of moderation that are there."

Kerry said the "vast majority" of Muslims are moderate, adding that most people understand that.

"King Abdullah of Jordan and others have engaged in this kind of interfaith initiative. And I believe we need to do more of that, so that we really provide a greater basis for our ability to push back against the radicalization and present people with ways in which they can be true to their faith, but at the same time be able to participate in increasing the standards of living and providing greater opportunity for their people."

Kerry noted that 60 percent of Egypt's population is under the age of 30, 50 percent is under age 21, and 40 percent under age 18: "If they grow up without education, without opportunities, it's pretty predictable what kind of challenges we can all face. So I think this is urgent, President Obama believes this is urgent, and that we need to come together in an effort to try to change it."

He repeated that the new paradigm combines economic diplomacy with "significant diplomatic outreach."

Social media has "enormously complicated this," he added, "because there's so much out there that just has no basis in fact, but which gains a kind of life of its own. So we've got to have fact-checkers and unbelievable sort of communication efforts, which all of you can figure out how we're going to do, so that we can push back against this adequately."

Kerry was speaking to trainees of the European Commission, and he made those comments in response to a question about combating terrorism.