The UN's Role in Nation-Building: From the Congo to Iraq

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9780833035899: The UN's Role in Nation-Building: From the Congo to Iraq

Reviews nearly 50 years of UN nation-building efforts to transform unstable countries into democratic, peaceful, and prosperous partners. The authors examine the UN’s experience in the Congo, Namibia, El Salvador, Cambodia, Mozambique, Eastern Slavonia, Sierra Leone, and East Timor, as well as the U.S. experience in Iraq. The book complements the authors’ earlier study, America’s Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq (MR-1753-RC), which focuses on U.S.-led nation-building efforts. UN missions are nearly always undermanned and underfunded, with uneven troop quality and late-arriving components. But despite these handicaps, the UN success rate among missions studied-seven out of eight societies left peaceful, six out of eight left democratic-substantiates the view that nation-building can be an effective means of terminating conflicts, insuring against their reoccurrence, and promoting democracy. The authors conclude that the UN provides the most suitable institutional framework for nation-building missions that require fewer than 20,000 men-one with a comparatively low cost structure, a comparatively high success rate, and the greatest degree of international legitimacy. American or other major power leadership is, by contrast, needed for operations which require forced-entry operations or force levels in excess of 20,000 soldiers. Unfortunately, the United States has been less successful than the UN in learning from its mistakes and improving its nation-building performance over time, and this is reflected in the lower success rate among US-led missions studied in this series.

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Reviews UN nation-building efforts to transform unstable countries into democratic, peaceful, and prosperous partners, and compares those efforts to U.S.-led missions.

About the Author:

James Dobbins (Georgetown School of Foreign Service) is director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at RAND. A veteran diplomat who has held senior White House and State Department positions under four presidents, he most recently served as the Bush administration's special envoy for Afghanistan. He served as U.S. special envoy for Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti, and Somalia. Ambassador Dobbins has held a variety of State Department and White House posts, including Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Special Assistant to the President for the Western Hemisphere, Special Adviser to the President and Secretary of State for the Balkans, and Ambassador to the European Community.

Seth G. Jones is Adjunct Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation. He is a distinguished scholar of European affairs, state-building operations and counterterrorism. Professor Jones was Europe Editor at The Christian Science Monitor, is a contributor to The New York Times, The Financial Times, and National Interest and has appeared on the BBC, CNN and other national and international television and radio programs.

Keith Crane (PhD, Economics, Indiana University) is a senior economist at RAND. Areas of expertise include Economics of Transition and Economic Forecasting, Transportation Economics, and Defense Economics.

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