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

    NATO After the Summit: Rebuilding Consensus

    In testimony presented before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on European Affairs, Robert E. Hunter sets forth the need for a revised transatlantic compact with engagement beyond Europe's borders, efforts to reinvigorate the NATO-Russia Council, and the development of non-military activities.

    May 6, 2009

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    European Union at Cross Purposes in Kosovo

    Of all the international actors involved in Kosovo right now, the European Union has by far the most at stake. It is also in the strongest position to remedy the situation. Sadly, it is too divided over Kosovo's declaration of independence over a year ago to take effective action, writes Christopher Chivvis.

    Apr 27, 2009

  • Report

    Report

    Occupying Iraq: A History of the Coalition Provisional Authority and How It Failed to Secure Iraq

    The American engagement in Iraq has been looked at from many perspectives, from planning to invasion and the long ensuing occupation. The activities of the Coalition Provisional Authority and its administrator, L. Paul Bremer, are recounted in this study through interviews with policymakers, former officials' memoirs, journalists' accounts, and the nearly 100,000 never-before-released CPA documents.

    Apr 20, 2009

  • Report

    Report

    Dangerous But Not Omnipotent: Exploring the Reach and Limitations of Iranian Power in the Middle East

    Iran's rise as a regional power presents a key foreign policy and security challenge to the United States, but its reach may be more limited than Western conventional wisdom suggests. U.S. strategy should work to exploit existing barriers to Iran's harmful activities, while simultaneously seeking areas of engagement.

    Apr 14, 2009

  • News Release

    News Release

    Ways to Improve U.S. Stability and Reconstruction Missions Are Outlined

    Recent stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq have underlined the need for the United States to shift the burden of these operations away from the Defense Department and onto other government agencies better suited to the work.

    Apr 3, 2009

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Ultimate Exit Strategy

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has described the upcoming high-level conference on Afghanistan at The Hague as a "big-tent meeting, with all the parties who have a stake and an interest in Afghanistan." With the situation in that country growing more precarious by the day, those attending this meeting must also think big, write Karl F. Inderfurth and James Dobbins.

    Mar 26, 2009

  • Report

    Report

    Justification and Options for Creating A U.S. Stability Police Force

    Establishing security is the sine qua non of stability operations, since it is a prerequisite for reconstruction and development. Security requires a mix of military and police forces to deal with a range of threats from insurgents to criminal organizations. This research examines the creation of a high-end police force, which the authors call a Stability Police Force.

    Mar 25, 2009

  • Testimony

    Testimony

    Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

    In testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs former Ambassador to Afghanistan James Dobbins outlines the steps the Obama administration should take to secure the nation as the situation there worsens.

    Mar 24, 2009

  • Report

    Report

    Ways to Improve U.S. Stability and Reconstruction Missions Are Outlined

    Recent stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq have underlined the need for the United States to shift the burden of these operations away from the Defense Department and onto other government agencies better suited to the work.

    Mar 18, 2009

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    Afghanistan: The Regional Solution

    The Obama Administration's decision to commit another 17,000 troops to Afghanistan is unlikely to have an important effect unless it is part of a broader shift in U.S. and coalition strategy, write F. Stephen Larrabee and Julian Lindley-French.

    Mar 4, 2009

  • Report

    Report

    Implications for U.S. of the Saudi-Iranian Struggle for Influence in the Middle East

    Saudi Arabia and Iran have long been rivals in the Middle East, but the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the ongoing war in Iraq have increased tensions between the two states. This study analyzes the Saudi-Iranian struggle for influence in Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Lebanon and Palestine and its implications for U.S. interests.

    Mar 3, 2009

  • Commentary

    Commentary

    In Afghanistan, It's Deadly at the Top

    Rather than perpetuating a love-hate-kill relationship with their leaders, Afghans need to develop respect for the laws and institutions of their new democracy, writes Cheryl Benard.

    Feb 23, 2009

  • Testimony

    Testimony

    Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

    In testimony presented before the Senate Armed Services Committee, James Dobbins suggests steps the new Administration and its allies should consider in reviewing Afghan policy.

    Feb 23, 2009

  • Report

    Report

    While China's Regional Influence Grows, U.S. Remains Key Security and Economic Partner in East Asia

    China is not eroding the foundations of U.S. alliances in East Asia and the United States remains the security partner of choice in the region. But consistent U.S. efforts are needed to ensure that the nation retains its influence.

    Oct 23, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    Changes Needed in Way the United States Conducts Military Interventions

    In preparing for possible future military interventions, the United States needs to shift substantial resources to the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, and military-civilian efforts must be integrated from top to bottom.

    Sep 9, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    Political Reform in the Arab World is a Mixed Bag in Confronting Terrorism

    Democratic political reforms can marginalize extremists and undermine support for political violence, but cosmetic reforms and backtracking on democratization can exacerbate the risk of terrorism.

    Sep 9, 2008

  • News Release

    News Release

    Smooth Presidential Transition Is Crucial To Early Foreign Policy and National Security Success

    The foreign policy success of incoming presidents, particularly in the early years of a presidency, is largely determined by how well the new administration learns from the successes and failures of the outgoing president.

    Sep 8, 2008

  • News Release

    News Release

    Book by RAND's James Dobbins Gives an Insider's Account of What Happened in Afghanistan 'After the Taliban'

    Former Ambassador James F. Dobbins has written the first “insider's account” of the Bush administration's post-9/11 diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan after the Taliban had been toppled.

    Aug 21, 2008

  • Commercial Book

    Commercial Book

    After the Taliban: Nation-Building in Afghanistan

    As the Bush administration's first special envoy to Afghanistan, Ambassador Dobbins helped the Afghans assemble a successor government to the Taliban. His memoir explains why the United States has failed to stabilize either Afghanistan or Iraq.

    Aug 3, 2008

  • Report

    Report

    DoD Should Consider Nonmilitary Means to Advance U.S. National Security Interests

    The nature of recent challenges and the types of missions the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has undertaken highlight the need for training DoD personnel in the simultaneous use of different types of tools, military and otherwise.

    Aug 1, 2008