The Administration’s New Approach to um, er, poverty, no wait, political instability, no, let’s try social unrest, hold on …

A sampling of recent remarks from John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism:

“What I want to do today is to talk about the new thinking and the new approach that President Obama brings to the task of safeguarding the American people from violent extremism and terrorism.”

“The president understands that military power, intelligence operations and law enforcement alone will never solve the second long-term challenge we face – the threat of violent extremism generally, including the political, economic and social factors that help put so many individuals on the path to violence. … Extremist violence and terrorist attacks are therefore, often the final, murderous manifestations of a long process rooted in helplessness, humiliation and hatred. … This is why the president’s approach includes a critical fourth element – the recognition that addressing these upstream factors is ultimately not a military operation, but a political, economic and social campaign to meet the basic needs and legitimate grievances of ordinary people.”

“As many have noted, the president does not describe this as a “war on terrorism.” That is because terrorism is but a tactic – a means to an end – which, in al-Qaida’s case, is global domination by an Islamic caliphate. … Likewise, the president does not describe this as a “global war.” …  Nor does President Obama see this challenge as a fight against jihadists. Describing terrorists in this way, using the legitimate term “jihad,” which means to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal, risks giving these murderers the religious legitimacy they desperately seek but in no way deserve.”

“President Obama has made it clear that the United States will not be defined simply by what we are against, but by what we are for … Rather than looking at allies and other nations through the narrow prism of terrorism, whether they are with us or against us, the administration is now engaging other countries and people across a broader range of areas.”

“At the same time, terrorism is recognized as one of the many transnational challenges the world will face in the 21st century. We saw this in [the president’s] speech in Cairo, where he spoke of a broader engagement with the world’s Muslims, including the issues important to them – education, public health, economic development, responsive governance and women’s rights. Indeed, it was telling that the president was actually criticized in certain quarters in this country for not using words like terror, terrorist and terrorism in that speech. This goes to the heart of this new approach. Why should a great and powerful nation like the United States allow its relationship with more than a billion Muslims around the world be defined by the narrow hatred and nihilistic actions of an exceptionally small minority of Muslims?”

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