Joblessness is the root cause of the global unrest threatening American security.

Fostering entrepreneurship is the remedy.

     We just don’t know what to do about the Middle East. For decades, America has sent negotiators, money, military hardware, and troops to the region. Peace never lasts. Unrest, extremism, and terror loom larger than ever. What are we missing?

     The answer is simple: Jobs. In the Middle East – and across the world’s most troubled places – tens of millions of un- and under-employed young people lead lives of endless economic frustration. Instability and terror breed where young men cannot find jobs. Joblessness – not religious or cultural conflict – is the root cause of the unrest that vexes American foreign policy and threatens American security.

     Fortunately, jobs and economic hope can come in great part – in most part – from a quintessential American value and underutilized foreign policy tool: Entrepreneurship.

     In Peace through Entrepreneurship, Steven R. Koltai argues for the significant elevation of “entrepreneurship in the service of foreign policy.” By bolstering startup activity in fragile and developing markets, the U.S. can leverage its world-renowned expertise in innovation to generate economic opportunity for the jobless, marginalized, and legions of frustrated, hopeless, and impressionable young people.

     Here-and-now extremism will not be resolved by a war on terror or even by coalition governments and democracy. Required instead are viable economic opportunities for the virtually limitless supply of desperate, unemployed young men living in shaky states. Peace through Entrepreneurship demonstrates that those opportunities will come through entrepreneurship – and explains exactly how U.S. foreign policy can be reshaped to make it happen.

Steven Koltai and panelists discuss Peace through Entrepreneurship at the Brookings Institution, 13 September 2016.

Steven Koltai speaks at the World Affairs Council, San Francisco, on 28 September 2016.

Book reviews | Related articles by Steven R. Koltai

• "Entrepreneurs Are the Same Person All Over the World. And That’s a Good Thing." NextBillion, 24 July 2017.

• "Entrepreneurship at Home and Abroad: Why Donald Trump should listen to two visionary businessmen who didn't support him," by Dane Stangler, Washington Monthly, Jan/Feb 2017.

• "Refugees need jobs. Entrepreneurship Can Help," Harvard Business Review, 29 December 2016.

• "Entrepreneur Says U.S. Not Using Proven Weapon Against Global Terrorism," by Christine Parrish, The Free Press (Maine), 22 December 2016. 

CDT Tech Talk with Brian Wesolowski, 18 November 2016.

Interview with Adm. (Ret.) James Stavridis, Dean, Tufts Fletcher School, 12 October 2016. 

• "The Mouse and the Hippo: Solving Problems in Procurement," Devex, 10 October 2016.

• "'Business Sense' is Nonsense in 2016," U.S. News & World Report, 7 October 2016.

• Interview with Caroline Dowd-Higgins, author of This is Not the Career I Ordered. Interview excerpts in "How Entrepreneurship Can Help Achieve World Peace," The Huffington Post, 4 October 2016. Complete interview from 2 October 2016 available at

• "Shimon Peres: Godfather of Israeli Entrepreneurship," Jewish Journal, 30 September 2016

• The Jewish New Year," with Tara Sonenshine, The Huffington Post, 29 September 2016.

• "The Truth About Email at the State Department," The Hill, 18 September 2016.

• "Entrepreneurship is More than IT – And That's Good News for Policy," Brookings TechTank, 12 September 2016.

• "Entrepreneurship Needs to Be a Bigger Part of U.S. Foreign Aid," Harvard Business Review, 15 August 2016.

• "Obama Made a False Promise for Jobs in the Middle East,", 21 June 2016.

Praise for Peace through Entrepreneurship

"‘We are turning the screw of economic development with a rubber screwdriver.’ That’s Steve Koltai’s lively and engaging account of what is wrong with much official U.S. foreign assistance. Happily, he has a deeply American solution: harnessing the creativity and energy of people around the world in ‘doing entrepreneurship.’ He’s both a visionary and a pragmatist; his ideas actually work on the ground and should occupy a much larger place in U.S. foreign policy."

Anne-Marie Slaughter 

President and CEO, New America


"Steven Koltai makes the critical point that joblessness in volatile states is a major national security concern that must be addressed by innovative means. America’s traditional strength in entrepreneurship represents a promising and much needed tool in the fight against joblessness and the hopelessness, anger, and desperation it creates. Koltai has identified and persuasively argued for an important new element in American foreign policy that must be added to our toolkit."

Admiral (Ret.) James G. Stavridis

Dean, Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University; Former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO