Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Strategies of statebuilding: Causes of success and failure in armed international statebuilding campaigns by liberal powers
by Miller, Paul D., Ph.D., Georgetown University, 2010, 463; 3419536
Abstract (Summary)

The United States and United Nations have deployed military force three dozen times in attempts to rebuild failed states in the last century but have achieved success in just 56 percent of cases. Policymakers and scholars have yet to discover reliable policy options for rebuilding failed states. This dissertation is a response to that problem. What causes the success or failure of armed international statebuilding campaigns by liberal powers?

The existing literature generally argues that statebuilding outcomes are a function of statebuilders’ inputs (e.g., military deployments, international aid, or the sequencing of reconstruction programs) or of the military, political, and economic conditions in the failed state. I conduct statistical tests on these existing hypotheses using the set of 36 cases of international statebuilding since 1898 and demonstrate that they lack broad explanatory power.

I begin to develop a new hypothesis by advancing a definition of statehood that incorporates five key concepts: security, legitimacy, capacity, economy, and humanity. I argue that states can fail to varying degrees (weak, failing, or collapsed) in any or all aspects of statehood. Failed states can be anarchic, illegitimate, incapable, unproductive, or barbaric.

I develop a typology of strategies of statebuilding. In contrast to scholars who argue strategy is a matter of correctly sequencing statebuilding efforts (e.g. “institutionalization first,” “security first,” or “liberalization first”), I define strategies by reference to the degree of statebuilder involvement the intervention entails. Statebuilders can observe and monitor reform; build things and train and equip people; or assume executive authority. I term these, respectively, the Observer, Trainer, and Administrator strategies.

I argue that successful strategies must correspond to the type and degree of state failure. More extensive failure requires more invasive statebuilding. No strategy is appropriate for all failed states because states fail in different ways. There may not even be one strategy appropriate for all aspects of state failure within one state because states can fail to different degrees across the different aspects of statehood.

I test my theory through structured, focused case studies of West Germany (1945-1955), Nicaragua (1989-1992), Liberia (1993-1997), Sierra Leone (1999-2006), and Afghanistan (2001-2009).

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bennett, Andrew
Commitee: Edelstein, David, Howard, Lise
School: Georgetown University
Department: Government
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 71/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: International Relations, International law
Keywords: Afghanistan, International statebuilding, Liberal powers, Nation building, Peacekeeping, Peacekeeping and peacebuilding, Reconstruction and stabilization, State failure
Publication Number: 3419536
ISBN: 9781124195360
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