Secretary of State John Kerry met with U.S. Embassy staff in Ottawa on Tuesday, thanking them for getting through a “pretty jarring” lockdown after last week’s terrorist attacks, including on the parliament building.
“We’re living in an incredibly challenging time. It’s almost cliched now to sort of say that, because it doesn’t fully bring home to people the full measure of challenge that we all face. I’m sure some of you have served in Kabul or Baghdad, and the last thing you expected was to come to Ottawa, know that there were gunshots in the streets and that the parliament was potentially under siege and certainly assaulted by one individual with weapons,” Kerry said.
“That brings home to us that this is a different kind of challenge. This – the challenge of our generation is going to be to deal with religious radical extremism, which exploits a legitimate and beautiful religion that is being totally distorted, has nothing to do with what they purport to be pursuing, and nevertheless captures the minds of some of our young people, even in America. We have over a hundred people who’ve gone over there to fight with ISIL. Several hundred from France, from Germany, from Britain, from Holland, from the Netherlands, from Australia – run around the world.”
Kerry said the battled has to be won with “ideas” and not just “our efforts on the ground in this coalition with kinetic efforts.”
“And we’re also going to win it with better alternatives for a whole bunch of young people who today live in places where they feel oppressed, where they don’t have a lot of opportunity, there’s not enough education, they don’t have jobs, but they know what the rest of the world has because they all have smart phones, they all have mobile devices, and they’re all seeing what’s going on and they trade thoughts,” he said.
“…So our challenge is to not make them think that modernity and rule of law and civil society and states that have long existed is somehow the enemy.”
Kerry warned the diplomats “it could get harder before it gets easier in some ways in certain parts of this journey.”