Armed State Building: Confronting State Failure, 1898-2012 (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs)
Paul D. Miller
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Since 1898, the United States and the United Nations have deployed military force more than three dozen times in attempts to rebuild failed states. Currently there are more state-building campaigns in progress than at any time in the past century―including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Sudan, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, and Lebanon―and the number of candidate nations for such campaigns in the future is substantial. Even with a broad definition of success, earlier campaigns failed more than half the time. In this book, Paul D. Miller brings his decade in the U.S. military, intelligence community, and policy worlds to bear on the question of what causes armed, international state-building campaigns by liberal powers to succeed or fail.
The United States successfully rebuilt the West German and Japanese states after World War II but failed to build a functioning state in South Vietnam. After the Cold War the United Nations oversaw relatively successful campaigns to restore order, hold elections, and organize post-conflict reconstruction in Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, and elsewhere, but those successes were overshadowed by catastrophes in Angola, Liberia, and Somalia. The recent effort in Iraq and the ongoing one in Afghanistan―where Miller had firsthand military, intelligence, and policymaking experience―are yielding mixed results, despite the high levels of resources dedicated and the long duration of the missions there. Miller outlines different types of state failure, analyzes various levels of intervention that liberal states have tried in the state-building process, and distinguishes among the various failures and successes those efforts have provoked.
weak state, reflected in state builders’ commitment to economic development, political liberalization, and frequent elections. Imperialists tended to resist local self-government, elections, citizens’ participation, and the public articulation of grievances against the imperial power. Imperialists and state builders employ a different rhetoric and different symbolic actions, which are important tools in international relations: state builders emphasize partnership instead of paternalism.
about the degree of invasiveness and administrative control they will assume. State builders can choose to: (1) monitor, observe, and encourage reform; (2) build things and train and equip people; or  Armed State Building (3) administer, control, or assume executive authority for operations. I refer to these as, respectively, an Observer, Trainer, or Administrator strategy. This distinction is largely omitted in the literature on state building and peace building.19 State builders choose
effort to subvert the legitimacy of the Afghan government through propaganda or civil unrest, in response to which state builders (both international and domestic) would have to bolster Kabul’s legitimacy through, for example, holding elections, using Islamic and nationalist rhetoric, and strengthening tribal ties. A sixth category of analysis—the international community’s recognition and construction of a state’s sovereignty—might capture these dynamics more directly, but it would erode the
political progress. Shallow Success Did not sustain stability, continuous liberal governance, and no atrocities for >10 years. Showed economic and political progress. Mitigated failure Did not achieve goals. Failure discussion of the variables I used to measure success and failure and the threshold criteria I used for each category along the success/failure spectrum.) In determining success or failure, I compared a state’s trajectory for a decade after the intervention to its condition at
capacity development and the justice sector on paper, but the effort had so few resources that it was in effect a monitor-and-encourage strategy. Even a fully resourced train-and-equip effort might have been insufficient considering the state of Afghan governance in 2001. Regardless, the monitor-and-encourage effort was radically insufficient. The international community was merely monitoring continued state failure and encouraging Afghans to do things they could not do. The mismatch between