Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Abstracting: The Promethean Dilemma: Third-party State-building in Occupied Territories by Darden and Mylonas

In the upcoming issues of Ethnopolitics:
Contemporary occupying powers seeking to build states on foreign soil are faced with a fundamental dilemma: How can they transfer coercive and organizational capacity to the local population without such capabilities being used to undermine the occupiers’ efforts to establish stable governance of the territory? Current thinking holds that the best way to manage the transition is to do it quickly, either by recruiting indigenous army and police units as rapidly as possible or by co-opting pre-existing groups of fighters to make them serve the state. If the occupier can build roads, provide public services, and expand the army and the police, so the thinking currently goes, he will achieve the necessary ‘buy-in’ from the local population that will allow him to pack up his things and go home, leaving a stable new order in his stead. When it comes to putting guns in the hands of the indigenous population, sooner is better.
The modern history of occupation and imperial rule provides more than a cautionary footnote to this current wisdom on how to pursue state-building efforts on foreign soil. We suggest that effective state-building requires effective nation-building. It rests on a successful effort to create social cohesion, loyalty and legitimacy of rule. Our primary finding can be summarized simply in two points. First, effective state-building demands that efforts to establish a loyal citizenry precede the transfer of coercive capabilities to the subject population. An increase in the raw numbers of people who are trained in the arts and implements of force does little, on its own, to build the capacity of the state or to increase order. Nation-building must come first. If efforts to build coercive capacity precede efforts to build loyalty and legitimacy, the result is more likely to be a future civil war than a stable governing state. Second, and more sobering, we argue that nation-building is at least a generational process. It requires a durable commitment, and in most contemporary settings third-party state-building is almost certain to fail....