Yesterday, I clicked hopefully on a link reading “Obama and Cameron: Prosperity Is Key To Defeating Terrorism.” President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron had penned a coöp-ed in the Times (UK). The piece is headlined “We won’t let the voice of freedom be muzzled,” which is an interesting choice from a president often accused of cracking down on press freedoms and a prime minister who is currently calling for an end to privacy on the internet. But more interesting to me was the subtitle:
“Safeguarding our way of life depends on economic strength and standing up to terrorism and international aggression.”
Though the second half is standard-issue meaningless tough talk, that “economic strength” set my heart aflutter. Had these two powerful world leaders finally concluded that Islamic terrorism’s primary cause was neither violence inherent to Islam nor barbarism native to Middle Easterners but the region’s explosive mixture of poverty, hopelessness, and youth unemployment? Would we be cutting spending on our mind-bogglingly massive defense budget and battling future terrorism by reinvesting it in a global pro-education, anti-poverty fund?
No, of course not. Here’s what they actually wrote: “We reaffirm our belief that our ability to defend our freedoms is rooted in our economic strength.”
In other words, we need to focus on making sure our own wealthy nations stay wealthy so we can keep pouring money into whack-a-mole military solutions.