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MBA Corps 

Creators of Economic Opportunity (C.E.O.s)


Pro Bono MBAs Program     MBAs Care    MBAs Care Program Specifics    Why Help Small Businesses 

Pro Bono MBAs Program Specifics     Benefits      Why Volunteer   Your Impact 

WHY COMBAT POVERTY INTERNATIONALLY 

MBA Corps Volunteer Consultants work to increase the competitiveness of small and medium sized businesses in emerging democracies and the developing world.  Our efforts assist in stabilizing the world by assisting in the development of free market economies and democracies.  Democracies do not start wars with one another.

Waging the War on Terror is a key part of MBA Corps’ mission because our thesis is that economic development combats terrorism.  In the long run, full bellies and full employment (positive economic conditions) are some of our best weapons against Terror. 

Viewing the War on Terror in a foreign policy context, as opposed to a criminal prosecution, war fighting or national security context, creates an environment where the MBA Corps engages as instruments to effect significant change while promoting our nation’s foreign policy goals.  To wit, the leadership of some terrorist groups consists of the wealthy and the well educated.  However, their ability to recruit foot soldiers to carry out terror missions is rooted in the soldier’s miserable daily existence.  Such existence results from poor economic conditions.  Many potential recruits are disenfranchised and disillusioned.  They feel they have nothing to live for.  Terrorism is widely acknowledged as a product of such human conditions.  The Corps’ economic development work at the grassroots level injects counterterrorist goals into foreign policy.

MBA Corps can improve the economic conditions in many nations that are breeding grounds for foot soldiers of terrorism.  The Corps’ activities catalyze economic development helping to launch an economy on a glide path to prosperity.  Such prosperity or the hope of prosperity is the antidote to combat the virus of despair that creates terrorist cells in developing nations.  Initiating the economic cascade that leads to the concrete result of increased pay rolls and improved quality of life is the foundation for sustained cooperation between foreign business leaders and community opinion leaders and their U.S. peers. 

U.S. initiatives overseas affect the resentments and motivations of those who may resort to terrorism.  The management of relations with foreign governments whose cooperation is vital to combating terrorism has major consequences for the effectiveness of the U.S. counterterrorism effort.  A basic principle of the Corps is to engender cooperation among members, businesses, and the community with its civic leaders.   This cooperation can enhance understanding, attenuate the vitriolic message of radical anti-U.S. groups, and, ideally, diminish the terrorists’ ability to recruit foot soldiers.  The final result will reduce the impact of terrorism on Americans.

In his recent book, “Terrorism and US Foreign Policy”, (Brookings Institution Press, 2001)  Paul Piller indicates that the current U.S. policy on counterterrorism has remained largely unchanged during past administrations.  Mr. Piller discloses much more, which we paraphrase and comment on below….The official tenets are as follows:

 —Make no concessions to terrorists and strike no deals;

—Bring terrorists to justice for their crimes;

—Isolate and apply pressure on states that sponsor terrorism to force them to change their behavior; and

—Bolster the counterterrorist capabilities of those countries that work with the U.S. and require assistance.

The first three tenets are confrontational and fall under the “fight-don’t-finesse” stream of American thinking about terrorism.  The fourth tenet on counterterrorist assistance to cooperative countries is the most broad-minded as it implicitly recognizes that counterterrorism is more than confrontations, that the threat terrorism poses to non-Americans matters to the United States, and that counterterrorism efforts rely on foreign help.  This cooperation should extend beyond governments to their citizens. The Corps’ programs demonstrate an effective commitment to public diplomacy.

As a phenomenon of broad political and social development, terrorism is a foreign policy issue, as well as a national security issue.  The majority of terrorist acts that have damaged U.S. interests are foreign, as are most of the terrorist threats that confront the U.S. today.  During the past two decades, 78% of the Americans who died from terrorism were killed by foreign terrorists, notwithstanding the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, which, although perpetrated on American soil, were perpetrated by foreigners.

Counterterrorism experts have argued that terrorism is a problem to be managed, not solved, and that the U.S. should disrupt terrorist infrastructures worldwide.  While terrorist attacks are seemingly committed by an organization few in number, the reality is that there is a large infrastructure that supports these attacks.  The maintenance of such an infrastructure consists of recruitment, financing, and logistics.  All batteries should be brought to bear on terrorism including recruitment interdiction—a result of the Corps’ programs.  The current Administration is attacking the financing function.  The Corps’ efforts should be highlighted as a sustained, long-term initiative that combats terrorism; it is not a sporadic, knee-jerk, post-incident response. 

Through the Corps programs, and I underscore this for emphasis, we can undermine the belief systems that drive terrorism when we give people hope in the here and now, and improved quality of life in the near future through economic development.  We envision the strategic principle of attacking infrastructure to be part of the Corps’ mission.  This mission is reminiscent of the Strategic Bombing Campaign during World War II.  Then, the infrastructure attacked was ball bearing manufacturing capacity rather than personnel recruitment capacity.  The Corps is a key part of the long-term, strategic solution to manage terrorism.

Once again we credit Mr. Piller for his insightful work.  He was deputy chief of the Counterterrorist Center at the CIA and also author of Negotiating Peace (Princeton, 1983).