Nation-Building

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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.

  • U.S. Army Soldiers provide security during a mission in Yarmouk, Iraq, July 2007

    Report

    Armies Have a Role to Play in Nation Building

    Oct 24, 2017

    Events in Iraq and Mali have raised questions about the value of Security Force Assistance and U.S. capacity to strengthen client states' militaries in the face of insurgencies or other threats. History shows that SFA programs could be improved if they focused more on ideology and how an army complements a host country's larger nation-building efforts.

  • Syrian refugees cross into Jordanian territory, near the town of Ruwaished, 149 miles east of Amman, December 5, 2013, photo by Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

    Report

    Stabilizing Eastern Syria After ISIS

    Sep 8, 2020

    Eastern Syrian communities are no longer occupied by ISIS but they are in a fraught political environment where the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Syrian government have both expanded their presence and some ISIS fighters remain. What are the region's most urgent needs and is there a viable strategy to build near-term stability?

Explore Nation Building

  • Report

    Report

    A President's Early Foreign Policy, National Security Success Depends on Transition

    The foreign policy success of incoming presidents, particularly in the early years of a presidency, is largely determined by how well the new administration learns from the successes and failures of the outgoing president.

    Jul 29, 2008

  • Testimony

    Testimony

    Testimony on America's Need of a New Grand Strategy, Shift in National Security Policy

    The unanticipated costs and unpredictable outcomes of the War on Terror necessitate a reevaluation of national security strategy, including a shift away from policies of preemption and democratization and towards nation-building with its consequent need for a rebalancing of political and military power.

    Jul 15, 2008

  • News Release

    News Release

    European Union Has Developed a Nascent, but Growing Capacity to Deploy and Employ Armed Force

    Over the past few years, the European Union has demonstrated the capacity to deploy and employ armed force outside its borders in support of broader common policy objectives, creating a new player in nation-building operations.

    Jul 8, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    Dangerous Thresholds: Managing Escalation in the 21st Century

    Historical examples and the analysis of two modified Delphi exercises augment an examination of approaches to escalation management within the demands of today’s security environment and its attendant threats involving not only long-standing nuclear powers, but also insurgent groups and terrorists.

    Jul 8, 2008

  • News Release

    News Release

    Shortcomings in Planning for Post-Combat Period in Iraq Outlined

    Efforts to adequately plan for the post-combat period in Iraq were thwarted by overly optimistic views held by top civilian leaders and a belief among military leaders that civilian authorities would be responsible for postwar operations.

    Jun 30, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    Flexibility and Sensitivity to Local Concerns Are Crucial to Long-Term U.S. Security Relationships with Iraq and Afghanistan

    The United States is heavily invested – diplomatically, economically, and militarily – in Iraq and Afghanistan. Based on this, the United States must clarify its long-term intentions to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the surrounding regions.

    Jun 17, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    U.S. Has Long-Term Economic, Political Options to Help Make Iran More Democratic

    The United States should pursue a mixed strategy toward Iran, using a variety of means to promote favorable social developments within the country and at the same time exploiting vulnerabilities in the nation's political, economic and demographic conditions.

    Jun 16, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    European Forces Play Growing Role in Nation-Building, Peacekeeping Operations Worldwide

    Over the past few years, the European Union has demonstrated the capacity to deploy and employ armed force outside its borders in support of broader common policy objectives, creating a new player in nation-building operations.

    Jun 5, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    Afghanistan: From Chaos and Corruption to Sustainable Success

    Since the 2002 U.S.-led attacks in Afghanistan, the country has struggled to stabilize their government and society. RAND co-hosted a conference attended by experts in academia, government and NGOs from over 20 nations to discuss the need for a strategic approach to Afghanistan's attempts at nation-building.

    Apr 30, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    Caution Nation-Builders: Gender Assumptions Ahead

    Drawing the female population into the nation-building process will be good for a country's post-conflict progress and stability.

    Apr 13, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    Breaking the Failed-State Cycle

    The predominant threat to U.S. security in the 21st century comes not from the actions of opposing countries but from the fallout of collapsing ones. The world’s leading states can and should help the citizens of failed states by integrating efforts to reduce violence, advance the economy, and reform government.

    Apr 6, 2008

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    America Is Making a Difference in Eastern Afghanistan

    [The United States] has made some progress against the Taliban and other insurgent groups in eastern Afghanistan, and created a window of opportunity to spread this elsewhere, writes Seth G. Jones.

    Apr 1, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    Developing U.S. Civilian Personnel Capabilities in State-Building Operations

    Recent U.S. experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown that engaging in stability and reconstruction operations is a difficult and lengthy process that requires appropriate resources. A framework for improving U.S. civilian personnel and staffing programs for state-building efforts could help.

    Mar 8, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    Modernizing the North Korean System

    An unprecedented joint report by researchers from the U.S., China, Russia, Japan and South Korea recommends a new approach to promoting the modernization of North Korea, as well as a "tool kit" to enable North Koreans to create their own modernization plans.

    Mar 3, 2008

  • News Release

    News Release

    Women's Greater Role in Nation-Building Can Lead to Economic and Political Stability in Post-Conflict Countries

    Women's participation in post-conflict nation-building is an important ingredient in achieving an equitable, peaceful and more prosperous society.

    Feb 27, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    Shortcomings in Planning for Post-Combat Period in Iraq

    Efforts to adequately plan for the post-combat period in Iraq were thwarted by overly optimistic views held by top civilian leaders and a belief among military leaders that civilian authorities would be responsible for postwar operations.

    Feb 25, 2008

  • Police recruit Anis Gul and Capt. Gul Jan pose for a picture after Gul signed up for police training February 16, 2004 in Kabul, Afghanistan

    Report

    Women and Nation-Building

    Women's participation in post-conflict nation-building is an important ingredient in achieving an equitable, peaceful and more prosperous society. Leaders should include women in the earliest economic reconstruction activities.

    Feb 4, 2008

  • Testimony

    Testimony

    International Perspectives on Interagency Reform

    In testimony presented before the Armed Services Committee, Nora Bensahel discusses the lack of civilian capacity in stability and nation building operations, which has led to an overreliance on military forces.

    Jan 29, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    United States Lacks the Capability to Counter Insurgency in the Muslim World

    Iraq and Afghanistan have revealed serious shortfalls in the capabilities of the U.S. to counter insurgency in the Muslim world. Instead of relying predominantly on military occupation, the U.S. must become more able to bolster the ability of threatened states to win the contest for the support of their people.

    Jan 25, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    Women and Human Security: The Case of Post Conflict Afghanistan

    Improvements to the outcomes of post-conflict nation-building can be made through a stronger emphasis on the broader concept of human security from the earliest phases of the nation-building effort; a focus on establishing governance on the principles of equity and consistent rule of law from the start; and women's earliest inclusion in reconstruction.

    Oct 9, 2007