European Union Has Developed a Nascent, but Growing Capacity to Deploy and Employ Armed Force
Jul 8, 2008
From the Balkans to the Congo
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Two previous RAND volumes addressed the roles of the United States and the United Nations in nation-building, defined as the use of armed force in the aftermath of a conflict to promote a durable peace and representative government. This volume presents six case studies of recent European-led nation-building missions: Albania, Sierra Leone, Macedonia, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Bosnia. It also reviews the Australian assistance mission to the Solomon Islands. Using quantitative and qualitative measures to compare inputs (such as military levels, economic assistance and duration) and outcomes (such as levels of security, economic growth, refugee return, and democracy), the analysis concludes that these European-led missions have been competently managed and, within their sometimes quite limited scope, generally successful. Most helped achieve sustained peace, gross domestic product growth, and representative government. The EU has a wide array of civil competencies for nation-building, but it is sometimes slow to deploy them in support of its military operations, particularly when these are conducted far from Europe. The UN offers the most cost-effective means to address most postconflict stabilization requirements and NATO the better framework for large-scale force projection in cases in which the United States is ready to participate. But the EU now offers European governments a viable alternative to both these organizations in cases in which European interests are high, U.S. interests are low, and the UN is, for some reason, unsuitable or unavailable.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Nation-Building Supporting Data
"This study evaluates Europe's success in using armed force in nation-building efforts in such countries as Albania and Sierra Leone and compares them to similar efforts by the United States and the UN. The authors emphasise the importance of a multilateral approach involving actors such the European Union and NATO."
- Survival, June-July 2009
"The third in a series of studies looking at nation building (the first two of which focused on U.S.- and UN-led efforts), this volume examines Europe's expanding role in trying to bring peace and stability to trouble spots. Under the direction of Dobbins — a former top diplomat with crisis-management experience in the Balkans, Somalia, Haiti, and Afghanistan — a team of RAND scholars has compiled large amounts of data about such missions in an effort to bring some rigor to the debate about different sorts of nation-building efforts… The number of variables involved in such different cases makes scientific comparison difficult, but the study does show that European Union missions have been not only fairly successful but also smaller, safer, shorter, and less challenging than those run by the United States or the United Nations. The EU is developing a nation-building capability, but it remains embryonic."
- Foreign Affairs, November/December 2008
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