Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center Director Peter Schechter and VP and Brent Scowcroft Center Director Barry Pavel write for The Hill on the State Sponsors of Terrorism List and why it needs to be revised to incorporate nonstate actors:
President Obama’s decision to notify Congress last week that the United States intends to remove Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List is yet another positive step towards normalizing this country’s relationship with Cuba. This step is a good moment to pause and reflect on both the rationale for the Cuba decision as well as on the purpose and legitimacy of this antiquated foreign policy tool.
Until now, Cuba sat on this list with only three other countries; Sudan, Iran, and Syria. Is this the extent of what we know about how terrorism and extremism grows and spreads in the 21stcentury? Anyone who has opened a newspaper in the last month, year, or decade knows that there is something terribly wrong with that picture. As the United States joins the rest of the world in developing strategies to combat ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Houthi insurgents, Al-Shabab, the Taliban, North Korea’s unpredictable missile launches, and Russian separatists operating in eastern Ukraine, shouldn’t we refine our national approach to the highly publicized and symbolic State Sponsor of Terrorism List? Or, even more importantly, we should ask ourselves whether it has any meaning at all in its current form.