After conflicts end, allied nations must undertake military, political, humanitarian, and economic activities to enable states to prosper, but these activities do not always succeed. RAND has examined U.S., United Nations, and European Union nation-building efforts since World War II to determine key principles for their success and draw implications for current and future nation-building investment.
It is relatively easy to criticize what's going wrong in Afghanistan. It is much harder to propose a realistic way forward. Seth Jones and Keith Crane in a new report, “Afghanistan After the Drawdown,” suggest a calibrated political and military approach that protects U.S. interests at a realistic level of manpower and investment.
It took approximately two years to wrap up the long-term, country-wide military presence in Iraq, which at its peak involved more than 170,000 troops, an equal number of contractors and more than 500 military bases and outposts. Policymakers and military commanders should use the lessons derived from Iraq to inform critical decisions and timelines required to successfully end large-scale military operations, including the one in Afghanistan.
An examination of the transition of authority from military hands to civilians in the U.S. and Iraqi governments found lessons that could smooth the departure of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in 2014 and guide similar transitions in the future.
Policymakers and military commanders should use the lessons derived from the final years of U.S. involvement in Iraq to inform critical decisions and timelines required to successfully end large-scale military operations, including the one in Afghanistan. However, there is no “one-size-fits-all” template to follow.
In this October 2013 Congressional Briefing, defense analyst Bruce Bennett discusses the possible consequences of a North Korean government collapse, including civil war in the north; a humanitarian crisis; the potential use and proliferation of the nation's chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons; and conflict with China.
Friends have gone home or on to other wars. Reports of crime are on the rise in a city once safe, save for the occasional bombing. Afghans still call their government a “mafia” but have stopped asking me what the United States is going to do to fix it, writes Rebecca Zimmerman.
After a five-year delay, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agreed this week to resume direct peace talks. RAND researchers have worked with Palestinians, Israelis, and the international community since 2002 to develop a comprehensive nation-building plan.
Most of the major nation-building missions undertaken since the end of the Cold War achieved not only their primary aim of establishing peace, but also other benefits — with only a modest commitment of military resources and economic assistance.
For counterinsurgency interventions, the greatest value of local defense forces lies in intelligence, not combat; misuse of such defensive forces can greatly reduce their effectiveness.
If Alawites and Sunnis living abroad can stand united against the Assad regime, so can their counterparts inside Syria. By setting an example of coexistence, they can mitigate the fears of Alawites in Syria that deserting Assad would facilitate the rise of an anti-Alawite Sunni regime.
Ten years after the Iraq war started, violence may persist, but the new order survives without U.S. assistance. And it is a lot less fragile than it often appears, says Lowell Schwartz.
In their new book, Overcoming Obstacles to Peace, RAND experts James Dobbins and Laurel Miller present evidence that international interventions can in fact build more peaceful nations. Join the discussion on March 18, 2013, 10-11:30 a.m., at the U.S. Institute of Peace Headquarters.
Most interventions in the past 25 years have been followed by improved security, some degree of democratization, and significant economic growth—with only a modest commitment of international military and civilian manpower and economic assistance.
The memory of a few spectacular failures has created the impression that nation-building seldom succeeds. Yet most such operations over the past 20 years have produced positive results.
The Egyptian process left no room for broad deliberation of the constitutional issues, or even for educating citizens about the text of the document on which they were asked to vote, writes Laurel Miller.
If there ever was a honeymoon in Egypt's post-Mubarak politics, it is long over. The two main ideological camps—Islamists and secular-liberals—have shown a willingness to cooperate only when brought together by a common foe, writes Jeffrey Martini.
No matter which presidential candidate occupies the White House in January, he should make a concerted effort to address Iraq's most combustible hotspot: the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, writes Larry Hanauer.
Despite its role in helping topple Qaddafi, NATO is absent from Libya today. A year after Qaddafi's death, the light-footprint approach adopted for Libya's postwar transition is facing its most serious test.
Libya should remain in charge of its own post-conflict path, but it needs the help of external actors to succeed with its transition, writes Christopher Chivvis.
The roots of the unrest are not in the desire to cast off authoritarian regimes that took expression in Arab Spring protests. The roots came before the uprisings, and progress will take longer than we wish, writes Laurel Miller.