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?

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  • Report

    Report

    Coalition Forces During Stability Operations: Band of Brothers or Dysfunctional Family?

    As challenging as coalition warfare is during conventional conflicts, the difficulties are compounded in number and character when the contingency is instead a stability operation. The absence of a threat that puts survival interests at risk translates into weaker commitment and more-restrictive caveats on how a participant's capabilities are employed.

    Nov 21, 2011

  • Dissertation

    Dissertation

    Developing Stability: Community-Driven Development and Reconstruction in Conflict-Affected Settings

    Tests the hypothesis that development and reconstruction actors can feasibly implement sound development and reconstruction across a relatively wide spectrum of conflict, but varying levels and natures of violence can affect its delivery.

    Nov 4, 2011

  • People celebrate the death of Muammar Gaddafi at Martyrs' Square in Tripoli, Libya, October 20, 2011, photo by Suhaib Salem/Reuters

    Commentary

    An Open Door in Libya

    The days and weeks after a victory like this are a golden hour that set in motion either a virtuous cycle of increasing security and economic growth, or a downward spiral into insecurity, factionalism and economic chaos, write Christopher S. Chivvis and Frederic Wehrey.

    Oct 20, 2011

  • Report

    Report

    The Challenges of International Intervention in the Wake of Conflict

    Governments intervening in post-conflict states face challenges and dilemmas regarding stabilization and reconstruction, where measures that may improve conditions in one respect may undermine them in another. A review of relevant literature seeks to inform strategic planning at the whole-of-government level.

    Oct 10, 2011

  • U.S. soldiers and Afghan police officers talk with Afghan citizens at Checkpoint 64 near Loy Karez in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, November 2, 2011, photo by Spc. Louis Kernisan/U.S. Army

    Commentary

    Security from the Bottom Up

    If the Afghan government is to have a chance of defeating the Taliban, its national-security forces must successfully leverage the country's many competing factions, village by village, writes Seth G. Jones.

    Oct 7, 2011

  • The sun rises above the mountain ridges of Kunar province overlooking the bunkers of soldiers from the Afghan army at Combat Outpost Pirtle King in Ghaziabad district in eastern Afghanistan, September 24, 2011, photo by Erik De Castro/Reuters

    Commentary

    Don't Overestimate Afghanistan Pessimism

    Multiple polls commissioned by independent news and other organizations consistently reveal an Afghan population that sees improvement in its well-being, has a favorable view of its government and is optimistic about its future, writes James Dobbins.

    Sep 29, 2011

  • Report

    Report

    Security Force Assistance in Afghanistan

    Security force assistance (SFA) is a central pillar of the counterinsurgency campaign being waged by U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. An analysis of SFA efforts documents U.S. and international approaches to building the Afghan National Security Forces from 2001 to 2009 and provides recommendations and their implications for the U.S Army.

    Sep 7, 2011

  • Egyptian army vehicles are parked near the Israeli embassy as protesters shout slogans against Israel in Cairo, August 21, 2011, photo by Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

    Commentary

    Commanding Democracy in Egypt: The Military's Attempt to Manage the Future

    The SCAF's attempts to curtail dissent and the democratic process have fueled doubts about its true intentions. Will the military fulfill its promise to support democracy? Or will it seek to replace Mubarak's rule with its own or that of a friendly autocrat? write Jeffrey Martini and Julie Taylor.

    Aug 25, 2011

  • Protesters in Libya burning books

    Commentary

    Libyan Nation Building After Qaddafi

    If Libya is to have a chance of replacing Qaddafi with something better, the United States, its allies, and the rest of the international community will need to pivot very quickly from the rather straightforward requirements of war fighting to taking seriously the complex and demanding tasks of peace building, write James Dobbins and Frederic Wehrey.

    Aug 23, 2011

  • News Release

    News Release

    Negotiated Peace in Afghanistan Is a Complex, but Feasible Goal

    A sustained focus on Afghanistan at all levels of the U.S. government is needed for the United States to make the most of its limited influence on the complex Afghan peace process.

    Aug 17, 2011

  • Report

    Report

    Negotiated Peace in Afghanistan Is a Complex, but Feasible Goal

    A sustained focus on Afghanistan at all levels of the U.S. government is needed for the United States to make the most of its limited influence on the complex Afghan peace process.

    Aug 17, 2011

  • Report

    Report

    Managing Arab-Kurd Tensions in Northern Iraq After the Withdrawal of U.S. Troops

    Continuing tensions between Arab and Kurdish communities in Iraq could lead to inadvertent armed conflict unless Iraqi leaders resolve outstanding disputes regarding federalism, the legal and political status of disputed territories, and the management of northern Iraq's oil and gas resources.

    Jul 25, 2011

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    In Obama Speech, Will There Be Aid for Arab Spring Nations?

    Assisting Arab democratic transitions will not eliminate religious extremism. But successful transitions would directly challenge the jihadist brands that promote attacks on America, writes Julie Taylor.

    May 19, 2011

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Afghanistan's Reasons for Optimism

    Afghans in general are much more optimistic about their future than we Americans are about ours, write James Dobbins and Craig Charney.

    Apr 1, 2011

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Thinking Twice about Libyan Engagement

    We have learned over the past couple of decades that it is deceptively easy for the world's only superpower to topple objectionable regimes—but a good deal harder to replace them with something better, writes James Dobbins.

    Mar 15, 2011

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Egypt Faces Rough, Unchartered Road

    The most favorable outcome achievable in Egypt might be what we see in Iraq, but without the violence, writes Harold Brown.

    Feb 22, 2011

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    The US Midterm Elections and US-Turkish Relations

    Some Turkish commentators have written off Obama as a lame duck and advised the Recep Tayyip Erdoğan government to begin reconsidering relations in the post-election period. However, foreign policy played virtually no role in the election, writes F. Stephen Larrabee.

    Nov 23, 2010

  • Congressional Briefing Podcast

    Multimedia

    Rebuilding Haiti

    In this October 2010 Congressional Briefing, RAND experts discuss how the billions of dollars in aid pledged to help Haiti rebuild after the January earthquake can be used to create a resilient state that is capable of responding effectively to natural disasters and providing public services like education and health care.

    Oct 18, 2010

  • Report

    Report

    Building a More Resilient Haitian State: French translation of summary

    Ce rapport passe en revue les défis auxquels est confrontée la République d'Haïti, ainsi que les projets de réforme envisagés, afin d'identifier les priorités les plus nécessaires, réalisables et durables dans le domaine de la construction étatique.

    Aug 24, 2010

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    A To-Do List for Shoring Up Haiti

    It is not enough to raise stronger buildings. What Haiti truly needs is a more resilient and effective government, write James Dobbins and Laurel Miller.

    Aug 23, 2010