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.

  • An Iraqi flag is seen amid destroyed buildings in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, July 23, 2017

    Report

    How to Achieve Stability in Iraq After ISIS

    Jul 24, 2017

    After major combat operations against ISIS in Mosul, recovery and stability will require redoubled efforts by Iraqis and the international community. How well humanitarian, security, and other needs are addressed will affect the immediate stabilization of Iraq, including whether civilians can return home.

  • A section of the Israeli barrier cuts beneath the West Bank refugee camp of Shuafat, October 31, 2014

    Project

    A Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Provides the Best Economic Outcomes

    Jun 8, 2015

    The Israeli economy stands to gain more than $120 billion over the next decade in a two-state solution, a possible resolution of the long-standing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Palestinians would gain $50 billion, with average per-capita income rising by about 36 percent.

Explore Nation Building

  • Palestinian girls at their family's house in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, March 10, 2015

    Commentary

    War or Peace? Putting a Price on the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse

    Today, more than 90 percent of Israelis and Palestinians were born after 1948 and have known nothing other than some version of the impasse. Both sides could be better off with a stable two-state solution. Prolonging the impasse for another generation would have real costs.

    Jun 9, 2015

  • News Release

    Israelis Stand to Gain $120 Billion, Palestinians $50 Billion in Two-State Solution Over Next Decade

    The Israeli economy stands to gain more than $120 billion over the next decade in a two-state solution, a possible resolution of the long-standing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in which the Palestinians gain independence and relations between the Israelis and their neighbors normalize. Palestinians would gain $50 billion, with average per-capita income rising by about 36 percent.

    Jun 8, 2015

  • Costs of Conflict Calculator

    Tool

    Calculating the Costs of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

    With this interactive calculator, explore how modifying key assumptions from the RAND Costs of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict study affects direct costs, opportunity costs, and total change in GDP.

    Jun 7, 2015

  • A member of the Taliban insurgency during the execution of three men in Ghazni Province, April 18, 2015

    Commentary

    The Afghan Warlord with a Cheshire Cat Grin

    Matiullah Khan was an Afghan militia leader turned police chief whose rise to power demonstrated both the dangers and opportunities posed by the lack of governance in Afghanistan. The victim of a Taliban suicide bomber, his death left a power vacuum that persists today. His successor, Gulab Khan, was murdered last week.

    Apr 30, 2015

  • Journal Article

    The Misunderstood Lessons of Bosnia for Syria

    The 1992 to 1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been highly influential as an analogy for understanding intervention in Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, and most recently in Syria.

    Mar 3, 2015

  • French, British, and EU flags

    Report

    Crisis and conflict prevention strategies: An international comparison

    This report is a translated excerpt from a 2012 report, focusing on conflict prevention approaches in four national cases: France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany.

    Feb 25, 2015

  • U.S. President Barack Obama meets with the National Security Council in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington

    Commentary

    Taking It One Crisis at a Time

    The main difference between the immediate post-Cold War decade and the post-9/11 era as regards the variety of international challenges is that during that earlier period these challenges were faced and dealt with seriatim, rather than allowed to accumulate.

    Aug 19, 2014

  • A Free Syrian Army fighter throws a Molotov cocktail in West Aleppo December 2013

    Report

    Getting to Negotiations in Syria

    It appears that there is almost no prospect for a negotiated solution to the civil war in Syria in the near term. This is because the Syrian factions believe — perhaps rightly — that they have more to gain by carrying on the fight than by negotiating toward peace.

    Jul 14, 2014

  • Afghan security forces leave the site of burning NATO supply trucks after an attack by militants near the Pakistani-Afghan border, June 19, 2014

    Commentary

    Is Afghanistan the Next to Crumble?

    Amid the stunning rout of Iraqi forces in northern Iraq, many have asked whether a similar reversal of American foreign policy goals is possible in Afghanistan. The answer is a qualified yes. Now is the time for the United States to understand Afghanistan's coming struggle, and to help Afghans build a path to stability.

    Jun 24, 2014

  • News Release

    Iran's Interests in Afghanistan Provide Opportunities for Cooperation with United States

    Although relations between Iran and the U.S. have been strained, both countries have similar goals in wanting to see a stable Afghanistan free of Taliban control. In the event of a nuclear deal, Iran and the U.S. can work together in countering narcotics trafficking in Afghanistan and resolve water disputes between the neighboring nations.

    Jun 19, 2014

  • Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani

    Report

    Iran's Interests in Afghanistan Provide Opportunities for Cooperation with United States

    Iran and U.S. relations have been strained but both countries want to see a stable Afghanistan free of Taliban control. In the event of a nuclear deal, Iran and the U.S. can work together to counter narcotics trafficking and resolve water disputes between the neighboring nations.

    Jun 19, 2014

  • Report

    Initial Thoughts on the Impact of the Iraq War on U.S. National Security Structures

    This paper surveys the overall impact of the Iraq War on U.S. national security structures by examining the major changes the war wrought in the intellectual and institutional underpinnings of U.S. security and defense policy.

    Jun 5, 2014

  • Supporters of Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah attend an election campaign in Panjshir province March 31, 2014

    Commentary

    The Importance of the Election in Afghanistan

    It is easy to assume the outcome of the race doesn't really matter for U.S. policy. But an ossifying government excludes and disenfranchises youth with new ideas. Without popular participation, Afghanistan's future becomes more prone to partisan cleavages and extremism.

    Apr 7, 2014

  • News Release

    Libya Needs More International Support

    The international community's limited approach to post-conflict stabilization of Libya has left the nation struggling and on the brink of civil war.

    Mar 17, 2014

  • Libyans protesting against the General National Congress in Benghazi February 28, 2014

    Report

    Libya After Qaddafi: Lessons and Implications for the Future

    This report assesses the challenges facing Libya since the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime and evaluates the impact of the limited international role in efforts to overcome them. It also sketches possible future roles for the international community.

    Mar 17, 2014

  • Supporters of Afghan presidential candidate Zalmai Rassoul listen to his speech during the presidential campaign in Kabul March 5, 2014

    Commentary

    The Pernicious Effects of Uncertainty in Afghanistan

    While upcoming elections and sustained Taliban attacks are keeping many Afghans on edge, the greatest long-term threat to Afghanistan right now is the slow, insidious rot of uncertainty that is permeating nearly every facet of Afghan society.

    Mar 12, 2014

  • Supporters of Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah hold posters of him during an election rally in Parwan province, northern Afghanistan, March 20, 2014

    Report

    Democracy in Afghanistan: The 2014 Election and Beyond

    Afghanistan's April 5th presidential election is the most important political event in the country's decade-long transition to democracy. A successful election would be a major blow to the Taliban and al Qaida, and would renew Afghan efforts to bring the war to a favorable conclusion. The international community should recognize that Afghanistan deserves support to get through the process.

    Mar 12, 2014

  • A soldier watches the sun rise after spending the night on a night observation post

    Commentary

    Afghanistan After the Drawdown

    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.

    Dec 6, 2013

  • News Release

    The End of the Iraq War Offers Lessons for Withdrawal from Afghanistan

    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.

    Nov 5, 2013