Bono argued that investments in development and education in third-world countries, and not border walls and executive orders, could prevent extremism during the U2 singer’s speech at the Munich Security Conference Friday.
“I don’t see a body of water wide enough, or a wall high enough, to keep these problems from our doors,” Bono warned.
“The frontier of national interest is no longer the national border. You may not be interested in the trouble on a far-off street or across the Mediterranean on the other side of the globe, but let me assure you, that trouble is interested in you. Our fate is a shared fate. But which fate will it be?”
The singer lobbied the world leaders in attendance at the Germany conference – including U.S. defense secretary Jim Mattis and German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen – to invest in the proper infrastructure to help these developing nations before they turn into a situation that resembles the refugee crisis in Syria. “We need to help African leaders make sure that their young people find work, or they’ll find trouble,” Bono said, citing Nigeria as an example of a country that could potentially manifest into a “humanitarian crisis.
“From where I stand if Nigeria fails, Africa fails. If Africa fails, Europe fails. And if Europe fails, well then the world has a very, very big problem,” Bono continued. “We need to help African leaders make sure that their young people find work, or they’ll find trouble.”
Bono implored leaders to institute a three-step plan revolving around education, employment and empowerment to help fight the rise of extremism. “We need a plan to make sure all girls can go to school. 130 million girls around the world don’t,” Bono said. “For every extra year a girl goes to school her income goes up 12 percent. Some studies even suggest that more education can reduce a country’s risk of conflict by 20 percent.”
Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to speak at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.
“In an uncertain world, a strong military is essential, but the best bulwark against violent extremism is hope and opportunity,” Bono added.