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.

  • Supporters of the Houthi movement take part in a rally marking the anniversary of launching their motto (Sarkha) in which they call for death to America and death to Israel in Sanaa, Yemen, June 28, 2019, photo by Mohamed al-Sayaghi/Reuters

    Report

    Building an Enduring Peace in Yemen

    Peace in Yemen will require a coordinated approach to security and an international body with the influence, mission, and resources to support what will be a decades-long process of reconciliation, reconstruction, and redevelopment. To succeed, this body must be led by Yemenis, giving them a clear voice and stake in shaping their future.

    Feb 25, 2021

  • Building cranes and power lines connecting high-tension electricity pylons next to a construction site in Kyiv, Ukraine, July 10, 2020, photo by Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

    Commentary

    Rebuilding Ukraine

    By leveraging better investment conditions and reforms and broad international support, Ukraine could carry out a well-executed reconstruction program once the fighting ends. It might repair much of the war damage and help Ukraine move into the ranks of faster-growing European economies.

    Apr 18, 2022

Explore Nation Building

  • Report

    Report

    Building Partner Health Capacity with U.S. Military Forces: Enhancing AFSOC Health Engagement Missions

    Planning for, assessing, and enhancing the effectiveness of missions to build health capacity in partner nations -- how U.S. military forces can assist in this important effort.

    Aug 8, 2012

  • Iraqi police officers and U.S. Army soldiers move reinforcement supplies

    Commentary

    Auditing U.S. Security Force and Economic Assistance Spending in Iraq

    A new audit of Iraq reconstruction spending underlines the fact that effective help for a nation in conflict, or a conflict winding down, isn't merely a question of resources. It also requires a deployable infrastructure to manage the spending, writes Charles Ries.

    Jul 19, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    Resolving Kirkuk: Lessons Learned from Settlements of Earlier Ethno-Territorial Conflicts

    Past efforts to resolve ethno-territorial conflicts in Brčko, Mostar, Northern Ireland, and Jerusalem provide insights that could facilitate a negotiated settlement of the status of the disputed Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

    May 9, 2012

  • Members of the Libyan military force under the ruling of the National Transitional Council wave their national flag as they parade along a main street in Tripoli February 14, 2012

    Commentary

    Bringing Libya Under Control

    While NATO countries and allies like Jordan and Qatar have started to train and equip the security forces, there is more that outsiders can do to help, writes Frederic Wehrey.

    Feb 25, 2012

  • A protester shouts during a demonstration outside the parliamentary building in Tunis, Tunisia, November 22, 2011, photo by Zoubeir Souissi/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Year of the Arab Spring

    The Arab Spring demonstrated that leaderless revolutions are difficult to repress or co-opt. Unfortunately, it is also true that leaderless revolts find it difficult to make transition to authority, writes Charles Ries.

    Dec 20, 2011

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Case for Nation-Building: Why and How to Fix Failed States

    As U.S. policymakers review budget and force structure in coming years, they should recognize that nation-building is a pragmatic option that can meet the needs of the hour, and it can do so successfully and cost-effectively.

    Dec 1, 2011

  • 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