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JUNE 2017


dren who have seen and experienced far

too many horrors for their age.

Retired military and former gov-

ernment officials say that childhood

education is one of the most potent and

underappreciated tools for combatting

terrorism. “I think it’s a brilliant idea

and phenomenally positive,” said David

Barno, a retired U.S. Army ranger and

former commander of the U.S. military

mission in Afghanistan. “If we’re not

doing enough in aid, development,

childhood education, we’re going to

have to keep fighting terrorists.”

Terrorist groups use a variety of tools

to recruit and groom the next genera-

tion of fighters. Sesame Street offers a

real alternative, said Ammar al-Sabban,

a “Muppeteer” for the Arabic version,

which has been based in the United

Arab Emirates since 2015.

“We get to deliver really positive mes-

sages of equality, of tolerance, of accep-

tance for other people,” he said. “Educa-

tion is what can counter extremism.”

—Gemma Dvorak, Associate Editor

GAO Inventories State-

Defense Cooperation on

Security Assistance

A March report from the Government Accountability Office provides an

inventory of the wide range of security-

related activities conducted by the State

Department and Department of Defense

to build foreign partner capacity.

The State Department and DOD are

engaged in more than 194 security assis-

tance and security cooperation projects

around the world today, and more than


or most career Foreign Service offi-

cers peace-building is not simply

a profession, it is a passion. Unfortu-

nately, the same cannot always be said

for those parliamentary bodies which

must vote the appropriations needed

to support peace-building activities.

Parliaments, in fact, too often treat

peace-building like a step-child. Too

often, they are willing to vote many bil-

lions for bullets, but balk at allocating a

fewmillions for the productive work of

strengthening peace.

There have, however, been notable

exceptions. Most significant among

themwas the action taken by the

U.S. Congress 20 years ago when

this country invited both its allies

and its former enemies in history’s

greatest war to join that unique and

magnificent partnership, known as the

Marshall Plan, which was designed to

rehabilitate a vast continental area—

and thus, hopefully, to eradicate from

it the seeds of future conflict.

America’s willingness to underwrite

European economic recovery was,

without question, one of the most

truly generous impulses that

has ever motivated any nation

anywhere at any time. But as

with the early Quaker mission-

aries—of whom it has been

said that they went out into the

world to do good, and wound

up by doing very well—the United

States derived enormous benefits

from the bread it figuratively cast upon

the international waters.

…Today, the United States, its

former partners in the Marshall Plan

and—in fact—all other advanced

industrialized countries, including

those of Eastern Europe, are being

offered an even bigger bargain: the

chance to form an effective partner-

ship for worldwide economic and

social progress with the earth’s

hundred and more low-income

nations. The potential profits in terms

of expanded prosperity and a more

secure peace could dwarf those won

through the European Recovery


Yet the danger that this bargain

will be rejected—out of apathy, indif-

ference and discourage-

ment over the relatively

slow progress toward

self-sufficiency made by

the developing countries

thus far—is perhaps even

greater than was the case

with the Marshall Plan.

For the whole broadscale effort

of development assistance to the

world’s poorer nations—an effort that

is generally, but I think quite mislead-

ingly, called “foreign aid”—has never

received the full support it merits

and is now showing signs of a further

slippage in both popular and govern-

mental backing. Under these circum-

stances, the study of the Marshall

Plan’s brief but brilliantly successful

history is much more than an aca-

demic exercise.

—Paul G. Hoffman, administrator

of the Bureau of Educational and

Cultural Affairs (1948-1950) and

member of the U.S. Delegation to

the United Nations (1956-1957). From

1959 to 1972, he acted as managing

director of the U.N. Special Fund.

50 Years Ago

Peace-building–Its Price and Its Profits