The UN's Plan to Prevent "Violent Extremism"

In 2006, the UN General Assembly adopted the "UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy," which includes a Plan of Action consisting of four "pillars." The very first pillar is entitled "Measures to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism;" the theme moves from the terrorist's victim to the terrorist as a victim. The focus of UN attention has been away from so-called security-based counter-terrorism measures to prevention. To promote this development, in late December 2015 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a "Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism." In June 2016, the General Assembly addressed the plan as part of a ten-year review of the 2006 Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

The UN's focus on preventing "violent extremism" suffers from three major failures:
1. It fails to define "violent extremism" (just as the UN fails to define terrorism);
2. It prioritizes prevention over security responses to terrorist threats;
3. It inverts terrorist perpetrators and terrorist victims.