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

  • News Release

    News Release

    Rebuilding Haiti Requires New State-Building Strategy

    Haiti's future prosperity and peace depend on its ability to build a more resilient state, one capable of providing public services like education and health care as well as responding effectively to natural disasters.

    Aug 13, 2010

  • Multimedia

    Keith Crane and Laurel Miller Discuss Building a More Resilient Haitian State

    RAND Senior Economist Keith Crane and RAND Senior Political Scientist Laurel Miller discuss developing a Haitian state-building strategy. They identify the main challenges to more capable governance and suggest ways the influx of aid money can be used for long-term improvements, as well as offer other insights from their latest report, Building a More Resilient Haitian State.

    Aug 13, 2010

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Building a More Resilient Haitian State: Key Recommendations and Priorities

    Haiti's future prosperity and peace require building a more effective, resilient state. RAND researchers identified Haiti's main challenges and recommended a set of state-building priorities that are necessary, feasible, and sustainable.

    Aug 12, 2010

  • Aftermath of earthquake in Haiti

    Report

    Rebuilding Haiti Requires New State-Building Strategy

    Haiti's future prosperity and peace depend on its ability to build a more resilient state, one capable of providing public services like education and health care as well as responding effectively to natural disasters.

    Aug 6, 2010

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    A Bottom-Up Peace in Afghanistan

    The Afghan government has embarked on a high-stakes gamble: Try to negotiate with the leaders of the various insurgent networks to end the nine-year-old Afghan war. The notion of the Kabul government cutting a deal with the Taliban is fiercely controversial, write Wali Shaaker and John Parachini.

    Jul 15, 2010

  • Report

    Report

    Local Communities in Afghanistan Can Play Crucial Role in Improving Security

    The Afghan government and NATO can improve security in Afghanistan by leveraging traditional policing institutions in rural villages and mobilizing the population against insurgents. However, action needs to happen quickly to take advantage of a growing amount of local resistance against the Taliban across Afghanistan.

    Jul 9, 2010

  • Report

    Report

    Living Conditions in Anbar Province in June 2009

    Effective counterinsurgency is dependent on understanding the local population. A survey of those living in Iraq's Anbar Province (once one of the country's most violent areas), reveals both the many improvements that have occurred, as well as the extent to which these Iraqis have suffered from the effects of war.

    Jun 18, 2010

  • Report

    Report

    Reconstruction Under Fire: Case Studies and Further Analysis of Civil Requirements

    Building on a framework for integrating civil and military counterinsurgency (COIN), this volume presents an approach to the civil component, illustrated with three case studies from Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    Jun 8, 2010

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    A Three-Pronged Approach to Confront Afghanistan's Corruption

    President Karzai's Washington visit last month was basically a "be-nice-to-Karzai summit." After a period of harsh and direct U.S. criticism this past fall, the air is cleared, but issues remain—corruption in particular, write Cheryl Benard and Elvira Loredo.

    Jun 4, 2010

  • Report

    Report

    Counterinsurgency in Pakistan

    The rising number of terrorist plots in the United States with links to Pakistan—most recently the failed car-bombing in New York City—is partly a result of an unsuccessful strategy by Pakistan and the U.S. to weaken the range of militant groups operating in Pakistan.

    Jun 2, 2010

  • Report

    Report

    Building Security in the Persian Gulf

    The U.S. must determine how best to promote long-term security and stability in the Persian Gulf region while seeking to reduce the risks and costs imposed by its role as a permanent regional power—particularly vis-à-vis Iraq's future, the role of Iran, asymmetric threats, regional tensions, and the roles of other external actors.

    May 18, 2010

  • Report

    Report

    EU Civilian Crisis Management: The Record So Far

    For a decade, the European Union has been developing civilian capabilities for international reconstruction efforts in fragile and war-torn states. As the U.S. builds up its own civilian capabilities, it will be important to understand the EU's valuable civilian contributions and why it is not living up to its potential.

    Apr 5, 2010

  • Report

    Report

    Pakistan: Can the United States Secure an Insecure State?

    The ability of the United States to forge a broad yet effective relationship with Pakistan depends on likely developments in its internal and external security environment over the coming decade as well as Pakistan's national will and capacity to solve its problems.

    Apr 5, 2010

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    A Month After the Earthquake: Opportunities Slipping Away

    Previous efforts by the international community to stabilize Haiti have met with little or only short-term success. This time, following the earthquake, the U.S. response could actually leverage the response and recovery opportunities into a broader international plan, write Agnes Gereben Schaefer and Anita Chandra.

    Feb 24, 2010

  • Report

    Report

    The Iraq Effect: The Middle East After the Iraq War

    The 2003 invasion of Iraq and the ensuing conflict in that country fostered the rise of Iranian power in the region, but with more limitations than is commonly acknowledged. It also diminished local confidence in U.S. credibility and created opportunities for China and Russia.

    Feb 22, 2010

  • Testimony

    Testimony

    Stabilization from the Bottom Up

    Testimony presented before the Commission on Wartime Contracting on February 22, 2010.

    Feb 3, 2010

  • Testimony

    Testimony

    Reconstructing Haiti

    In testimony presented before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, James Dobbins discusses the current international disaster relief operation in Haiti and how it is affected by a preexisting post-conflict reconstruction mission, which he considers ultimately more important.

    Jan 26, 2010

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Skip the Graft

    The latest disaster to befall Haiti creates the opportunity to combine bipartisan accord on Haiti in Washington with keen and perhaps sustained American public interest, writes James Dobbins.

    Jan 17, 2010

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Afghanistan: A Marathon, Not a Prize Fight

    President Obama's decision to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan reflects a nation deeply divided on the war. There are compelling arguments on both sides, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Dec 1, 2009

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    A False Promise of 'Counterinsurgency'

    If the additional troops President Obama has ordered sent to Afghanistan are intended to pursue a "population-centric counterinsurgency" campaign, as described in news reports about General McChrystal's thinking, then this decision is regrettable, writes Celeste Ward Gventer.

    Dec 1, 2009