Overcoming Obstacles to Peace

Overcoming Obstacles to Peace: Local Factors in Nation-Building

James Dobbins
Laurel E. Miller
Stephanie Pezard
Christopher S. Chivvis
Julie E. Taylor
Keith Crane
Calin Trenkov-Wermuth
Tewodaj Mengistu
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 348
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  • Book Info
    Overcoming Obstacles to Peace
    Book Description:

    Following on a series of RAND Corporation studies of nation-building, this monograph analyzes the impediments that local conditions pose to successful outcomes in these interventions. It examines how external actors and local leaders in a variety of societies modified or worked around those conditions to promote enduring peace.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-7863-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xv-xxxvi)

    In the past decade, RAND has published a series of studies on nation-building. We intend this term to describe operations conducted by external civilian and military authorities that employ armed force alongside other means of influence in the aftermath of conflict to promote enduring peace. Some prefer the term state-building, giving primacy to postconflict activities aimed at constructing state institutions and deemphasizing those activities intended to build a national identity. Others prefer peace-building, which perhaps best captures the overriding purpose of the types of externally driven operations on which we focus. Neither state-building nor peace-building necessarily implies the employment of...

  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxxvii-xxxviii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxxix-xliv)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    During the Cold War, civil and regional conflicts often resulted in the two superpowers taking opposing sides, perpetuating rather than resolving the violence. Since the end of the Cold War, the international community has found it politically possible on several occasions to intervene collectively using military, as well as political and economic, means to help end conflicts and prevent their reoccurrence. In these instances, keeping the peace has required more than putting a stop to the fighting. Combatants needed to demobilize and reintegrate into society. Competition for wealth and power needed to be redirected from violent into peaceful channels. Institutions...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Which Local Factors Pose Challenges to Nation-Building?
    (pp. 11-28)

    States and international organizations that intervene in conflict-affected countries to establish security, help build representative government institutions, and promote economic growth and social well-being do so principally for the purpose of trying to foster durable peace. The basic premise underlying nation-building interventions is that conditions in and around the country subject to an intervention can be changed in ways that reduce the risk of conflict resuming or new conflict emerging. Thus, nation-building interveners need to understand the factors that elevate those risks and affect the outcomes they can reasonably expect to achieve, and they should tailor their plans and actions...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Cambodia
    (pp. 29-66)

    In 1991, warring Cambodian parties signed the Paris Peace Agreements, agreeing to end the conflict and hold democratic elections. For more than two decades, Cambodia had been ripped apart by three successive conflicts that devastated all aspects of Khmer society: (1) civil war and U.S. aerial bombardment in the early 1970s, (2) genocide at the hands of the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s, and (3) a Vietnamese invasion and subsequent civil conflict throughout the 1980s. In all, more than 2 million Cambodians died either as a direct result of war or from war-related famine or disease.¹ By the time...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR El Salvador
    (pp. 67-92)

    The peace agreement signed in January 1992 by the Salvadoran government and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional, or FMLN) in Chapultepec, Mexico, marked the end of a 12-year civil war that resulted in 80,000 people dead and another 70,000 severely wounded.¹ The provisions contained in this peace accord specifically aimed to address the core issues that had led to the conflict in the first place: a socioeconomic structure based on great inequalities between a small minority consisting of landowners and a large number of poor agricultural workers with little or no land...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Bosnia and Herzegovina
    (pp. 93-124)

    Prior to its 1991 declaration of independence, Bosnia had been a reasonably harmonious multiethnic republic in the midst of a rather less harmonious multiethnic state (see Figure 5.1). Its leaders had no particular desire to secede from Yugoslavia, but, once Slovenia and Croatia proclaimed their independence in June 1991,¹ Bosnia faced a choice between remaining within a Yugoslav state dominated by Serbia or following the other two republics out. When Bosnia chose the latter course, its Serb population, encouraged by the government in Belgrade, revolted.

    From 1992 to 1995, the Bosnian Serb army, supported by Serbia, captured majority Serb–populated...

  14. CHAPTER SIX East Timor
    (pp. 125-150)

    In September 1999, the international community deployed the first of a succession of peacekeeping missions whose task was to prepare East Timor for independence from Indonesia. First came an Australian-led, UN-mandated force, followed a month later by the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). The UN mandate in East Timor was exceptionally broad. It included “overall responsibility for the administration of East Timor” and gave the mission the power to “exercise all legislative and executive authority, including the administration of justice.”¹ UNTAET was also charged with enforcing law and order and setting up a new administration.² Other key tasks...

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN Sierra Leone
    (pp. 151-178)

    The civil war in Sierra Leone began in 1991 with an invasion of armed rebels coming from and supported by one of the contending factions in neighboring Liberia. In its final report published in 2004, the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission also cited poor governance, rampant corruption, denial of human rights, and disregard for democracy and the rule of law as key contributing factors to the war. A year earlier, Sierra Leone’s National Recovery Strategy Assessment cited the same factors, along with economic deterioration and sub-regional instability.¹ After the end of the war in 2002, Sierra Leone received considerable...

  16. CHAPTER EIGHT Democratic Republic of the Congo
    (pp. 179-204)

    With the end of the Cold War, Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko began to lose his grip on power. Laurent Kabila overthrew him in 1997, and then war broke out in the Congo, centered in the east, as Kabila fought with his Rwandan and Ugandan backers, who sought to oust him. When Angola, Zimbabwe, and Namibia intervened on Kabila’s behalf, the newly renamed Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) descended into the bloodiest and most complex war in recent African history. By most estimates, several million people died. Neighboring militaries withdrew following the 2002 Sun City peace accords, and a...

  17. CHAPTER NINE Estimating the Challenges and Comparing with Outcomes
    (pp. 205-232)

    In this chapter, we turn to a larger set of the 20 main post–Cold War nation-building operations organized by the United Nations, NATO, or a coalition of willing nations, including the six looked at in more detail in preceding chapters. In each of these 20 cases, we assess the overall degree of difficulty of achieving nation-building objectives imposed by local factors, such as geography, ethnicity, and levels of development. We then compare our estimates of difficulty with the degree of progress achieved in each case in promoting peace, democracy, government effectiveness, economic growth, and human development over five- and...

  18. CHAPTER TEN Conclusions
    (pp. 233-246)

    The case studies explored in this volume aim to answer two principal questions: First, what local factors were important in each case in giving rise to conflict and threatening to perpetuate it? And second, were external actors able to modify or work around those factors to promote enduring peace, and, if so, how? The answers to the first question illuminate which local circumstances pose the greatest challenges to nation-building, as well as the best opportunities for nation-building success. The answers to the second offer insights into how nation-building interveners may most effectively target their efforts in inevitable future operations to...

  19. APPENDIX A Performance Indicators and Nation-Building Inputs for 20 Major Post–Cold War Nation-Building Interventions
    (pp. 247-268)
  20. APPENDIX B Economic Growth Statistics for Nation-Building Interventions in Comparative Perspective
    (pp. 269-272)
  21. References
    (pp. 273-304)