For five years, Amaryllis Fox served as a Clandestine Service officer overseas for the Central Intelligence Agency.
Now, the former undercover agent is going public about her experiences and how she sees a future of peace happening here and abroad. After a career in counterterrorism, Fox advocates for what is called "red-learning," where you put yourself in the shoes of your adversary and try to decide how and why you'd make the same decisions they make given similar circumstances.
"And once you have become your enemy, you will know he is not your enemy," Fox says.
Now that Fox's cover is being rolled back, she has begun making public statements about how peace can be achieved at a time where mass shootings, ISIS, airstrikes and civil war dominate the news headlines. In a recent video for AJ+ posted below, Fox speaks to those issues based on the experience she has garnered while working undercover with the CIA.
"If I learned one thing from my time with the CIA, it is this: everybody believes they are the good guy," Fox says in the video.
She also speaks to the stories she encountered during her work, stories people tell themselves about why certain things are the way they are: in America, she suggests that many say ISIS is attacking us because they hate us for having freedom. In Iraq or Syria, if you ask why the United States is dropping bombs, she says they believe it's because we're waging a war on Islam.
"But those are stories, manufactured by a really small number of people on both sides who amass a great deal of power and wealth by convincing the rest of to keep killing each other," Fox says.
Her message is simple: listening to your enemy and putting yourselves in their shoes is the only way to take real actionable steps towards peace.
For someone with her experience, that message carries a lot of weight.