February 19, 2015 | Quote

Pentagon Keeps Low Profile at Extremism Summit

Other experts agree. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, says that the White House is correct that there is no sole military solution to violent extremism — but there's also no solution without a military component, either.

“Having a military perspective is quite important in this set of discussions if you want to discuss a broad-based and comprehensive solution, which is what [the summit] seems designed to do,” Gartenstein-Ross told Military Times.

Yet there's still value in having service members, foreign dignitaries and educators in the same room, he said. “This is much more about having a meeting and getting people talking — the purpose is the meeting itself, and the discussions and the connections that will be established and sustained by something like this.”

Aside from establishing relationships, Gartenstein-Ross expressed skepticism that any innovative policy will emerge from these talks.

The wide range of topics under discussion — from the attacks in Paris to the murder of three Muslim students near the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — is tough to approach and narrow down answers, Gartenstein-Ross said.

The examples of explosive growth in jihadism over the last four years do not mean the summit will develop targeted solutions.

“I'm not sure if you were to ask the people organizing this summit, 'Why has this happened,' I'm not sure you'd get a satisfactory answer and if you can't answer the question, how do you develop a framework for addressing it?” Gartenstein-Ross said.

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