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

    Feb 25, 2021

    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.

  • 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

    Apr 18, 2022

    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.

Explore Nation Building

  • 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

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    When Generals and Ambassadors Feud

    In 2007 in Iraq, Gen. Petraeus and Amb. Crocker set a model for civil-military collaboration: They never let daylight show between their positions. In providing differing advice to Washington over troop levels in Afghanistan, General McChrystal and Ambassador Eikenberry have diverged from this model, writes James Dobbins.

    Nov 13, 2009

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Our Man in Kabul

    Now that Karzai has been declared the election's winner, the breach with Abdullah—the man most responsible for his original rise to power—could have very dangerous consequences. The last thing Karzai, NATO, and the United States can afford is the emergence of a renewed northern alliance, writes James Dobbins.

    Nov 4, 2009

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Karzai's Second Term a Test for International Community

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai begins his second term with his country on the brink of chaos. To establish control, two major elements of reform are necessary, writes Terrence Kelly.

    Nov 2, 2009

  • Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel,Abdel Fatah Saeed Al Sisy,Egypt

    Report

    The Day After... in Jerusalem: A Strategic Planning Exercise on the Path to Middle East Peace

    Starting in 2008, the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy conducted a series of exercises to help the new U.S. administration address the challenges of the Arab-Israeli conflict (and of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular) as a key component of the broader effort to secure stability in the Middle East.

    Oct 30, 2009

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    China: Self-Perception vs. Outside Perception

    China's challenge in defining the security role it will play in the region and the world in the coming years is to harmonize its own view of its security intentions with that of the outside world, writes Michael Lostumbo.

    Oct 2, 2009

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    G-20 Growing Pains

    The increasing importance of the G-20 summits is testimony to the growing role emerging states now play in managing the international economy. But integrating these newcomers into the global community is unlikely to be straightforward or simple, writes Lowell H. Schwartz.

    Sep 24, 2009

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    How Russia Can and Can't Help Obama

    In hindsight, KGB analysts and Soviet officials were extraordinarily prescient about the perils of Islamist terrorism and the fallout from the Afghan jihad. But could Russia, for all its faults and foibles, be a more valuable counterterrorism partner today, asks Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Aug 26, 2009

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Going Local: The Key to Afghanistan

    The rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan is now President Barack Obama's war, one he pledged to win during his election campaign. One of the biggest problems, however, is that since late 2001, the United States has crafted its Afghanistan strategy on a fatally flawed assumption, writes Seth Jones.

    Aug 8, 2009

  • Report

    Report

    Corporations and Counterinsurgency

    Large multinational corporations (MNCs) can play significant roles in zones of violent conflict, including in counterinsurgency. While the activities of MNCs aimed at shaping their violent environments may only be intended to protect their infrastructure and personnel, they can have less-than-benign consequences.

    Aug 3, 2009

  • Report

    Report

    Timeline to Withdraw U.S. Troops from Iraq Is Feasible, but Combat Forces Are Needed for Elections

    The U.S. military can meet President Obama's timeline - one of three alternatives that are compared - for the drawdown of troops from Iraq, but sufficient combat force must remain to ensure a peaceful January 2010 election. Slower drawdowns are recommended for the regions most at risk of post-withdrawal conflict.

    Jul 21, 2009

  • Report

    Report

    World Economic Recession Unlikely to Have Lasting Geopolitical Consequences

    Will the current global economic recession have long-term geopolitical implications? Assuming that economic recovery begins in the first half of 2010, lasting structural alterations in the international system — a substantial change in U.S.-China relations, for example — are unlikely. This is because economic performance is only one of many geopolitical elements that shape countries' strategic intent and core external policies.

    Jul 21, 2009

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Russia and the Perils of Personal Diplomacy

    As President Obama takes part in his first U.S.-Russian summit, a good deal of media attention has focused on whether he will be able to establish good personal relations with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, though the preoccupation with personal relations has rarely proved successful, writes F. Stephen Larrabee.

    Jul 6, 2009

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Iran's Real Winners: The Revolutionary Guards

    Despite the huge protests on the streets of Tehran, Iranian President Ahmadinejad has once again triumphed. A relative newcomer to Iranian politics, his re-election and subsequent crackdown on the demonstrators suggest that the Iranian political system is moving in a new and potentially dangerous direction, writes Alireza Nader.

    Jun 22, 2009

  • Report

    Report

    Reconstruction Under Fire: Unifying Civil and Military Counterinsurgency

    Effective civilian reconstruction work can help convince people to support their government against insurgency, Therefore, insurgents typically target such work, thereby threatening the civilian population. This too often results in a postponement of reconstruction efforts and/or excessive reliance on force to defeat insurgents.

    May 28, 2009

  • News Release

    News Release

    Records from Coalition Provisional Authority Shed Light on Occupation of Iraq

    The record of the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein compares favorably to that of many other U.S. efforts at post-conflict reconstruction, particularly in the areas of economic and public reforms. However, these achievements were undermined and overshadowed by the U.S. failure to protect the Iraqi population from the criminals and extremists among them who pulled Iraq into civil war.

    May 12, 2009