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A nation must think before it acts.
Access the Spring 2021 Issue of Orbis
As global attention and resources have shifted away from issues of extremism, conditions in many parts of the world are ripe for a resurgence of extremist violence. From former theaters of robust U.S. military engagement like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria to secularist strongholds such as France and Turkey, incentives and opportunities for extremist violence are rising. This rise, however, has not been met with renewed thinking or updated conceptual or policy frameworks. To revive discussions on issues of extremist violence, this article offers the concept of the “enterprising extremist”—a particular type of violent entrepreneur whose behavior and choices help explain trends in extremist violence. To illustrate the concept, this article draws on extensive field research in Pakistan to specify the incentive structures that induce extremist violence, thereby turning violent entrepreneurs into enterprising extremists.