and Human Rights, Democracy, Department of State, Extremism, Geneva, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, islamic-terrorism, Political Correctness, Propaganda, psychology, recruiting, Switzerland, Under Secretary for Civilian Security
Department of State official, Sarah Sewall, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights during a speech Monday at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Geneva, Switzerland addressed the lure of terrorism…well sort of.
Avoiding the mention of Islamic teachings, Sewall cited Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, i.e., the need for people attain their self-realization and the motivating tools used by extremists to recruit young people into their organizations.
Speaking in Geneva on Monday, Undersecretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall cited a theory in popular psychology – the “hierarchy of needs” – in an attempt to explain why people from widely different backgrounds are attracted to terrorist groups….
Sewall said that while people may be vulnerable to recruitment by extremists due to factors like poverty (‘the inability to provide for oneself or one’s family’) or physical insecurity, needs higher up the hierarchy are also relevant….
“due to factors like poverty (‘the inability to provide for oneself or one’s family’)…” Now where have we heard that before? Oh yes, White House talking points.
Earlier this year, Barack Obama declared that the root cause and success of the Islamic State (ISIS) has nothing to do with radical Islam but poverty. Balderdash. Those talking points have been debunked repeatedly.
Transcript (also available for reading here.)
Good morning everyone. Thank you Dr. Mohamedou, and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, for inviting me to address this accomplished group of scholars and practitioners on a topic that concerns much of the globe today: the threat of violent extremism. This threat takes many forms and appears throughout the world including: Neo-Nazi actors in the United States or Europe, violent radical Islamist movements in the Middle East and Africa, or extremist Buddhism operating in parts of Asia.
Violent extremism’s growth over the last decade is an extremely dangerous and destabilizing phenomenon. It is essential that the world mobilize against such backward-looking intolerance and cruelty, which threatens humanity’s moral, political, and economic progress. We know that terrorists must be defeated militarily, yet we also see them responding to military force by dispersing, rebranding, aligning and reforming – continuing to spread as new members join their ranks. This underscores the need to adopt a more preventive approach, one that halts the spread of violent extremist networks. This was a unified message from the February White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism.
Yet we remain challenged by the difficulty of understanding why individuals or communities would join such backward, violent extremist groups. Terror network recruits come from all walks of life: posh suburbs and forgotten slums; from countries rich and poor, repressive and free, stable and conflict-ridden.
They have many complex, overlapping and context-specific motives. This can be confounding for a global community eager to understand why violent extremism proliferates and how we can address it.
Even as our understanding remains incomplete, we have documented a range of grievances and motives that propel individuals, and in some cases, communities to join or align with terrorist actors.
Motives can be identified along what psychologist Abraham Maslow famously posited as a human hierarchy of needs.
Maslow argued that individuals have a range of needs that must be met – in priority order – before people attain their greatest self-realization.
At the bottom of the pyramid are needs critical to physical survival, such as food, shelter and safety.
Higher up the hierarchy of need, individuals look to find love and belonging, self-esteem, and purpose.
In my view, understanding Maslow’s schema usefully helps us disaggregate the reasons that individuals might be “pushed” or “pulled” toward violent extremism. What have been called push factors – the conditions that make individuals or communities vulnerable to extremist recruitment – prominently feature conditions like physical insecurity or the inability to provide for oneself or one’s family. But even where people’s lower-level needs are met, social and political marginalization can impact higher-order human needs such as a valued role or purpose.
The Hierarchy of Needs therefore helps us understand why dramatically different profiles of persons can be drawn to organizations antithetical to what we would identify as progress and humanity.
Any type of violent extremist group exploits human needs all along the spectrum…..
Talk about going PC all the way, the yawn factor listening to this propaganda on a scale of 1 to 10 had to be a 30.
According to the Office Undersecretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, Department of State website, their mission is to lead:
State Department efforts to prevent and counter threats to civilian security and effective governance, such as terrorism, violent extremism, mass atrocities and transnational crime. The bureaus and offices reporting to the Under Secretary contribute to the security of the American people and nations around the world by assisting countries to build more democratic, secure, stable, and just societies.
To achieve our mission, we work together, along with other U.S. Government agencies and foreign partners, to prevent and respond to conflict, promote peace and genuine stability, strengthen and develop the rule of law, achieve accountability for atrocities, counter terrorism and violent extremism, build democratic institutions, deepen respect for universal human rights, strengthen civilian protection and security, and advance the United States’ humanitarian policies, practices, and programs around the world…..
As if we don’t have enough government agencies already, the Office of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights oversees the following agencies:
- Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO)
- Bureau of Counterterrorism (CT)
- Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL)
- Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL)
- Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM)
- Office of Global Criminal Justice (GCJ)
- Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP)
- The Open Government Partnership (OGP)
H/t Tammy Bruce.
Image: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Pyramid. Courtesy of FireflySixtySeven, Wikimedia Commons (CC some rights reserved.)
Source: Permanent Mission of the United States of America to theUnited Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva
the Office Undersecretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, Department of State
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