Institution Building in Weak States

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280 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781626167940 (162616794X)

280 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781626167957 (1626167958)

ISBN: 9781626167964

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July 2020
LC: 2019038735


Table of Contents

Institution Building in Weak States
The Primacy of Local Politics
Andrew Radin

The effort to improve state institutions in post-conflict societies is a complicated business. Even when foreign intervention is carried out with the best of intentions and the greatest resources, it often fails. What can account for this failure? In Institution Building in Weak States, Andrew Radin argues that the international community's approach to building state institutions needs its own reform. This innovative book proposes a new strategy, rooted in a rigorous analysis of recent missions.

In contrast to the common strategy of foreign interveners—imposing models drawn from Western countries—Radin shows how pursuing incremental change that accommodates local political interests is more likely to produce effective, accountable, and law-abiding institutions. Drawing on extensive field research and original interviews, Radin examines efforts to reform the central government, military, and police in post-conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Iraq, and Timor-Leste. Based on his own experience in defense reform in Ukraine after 2014, Radin also draws parallels with efforts to improve state institutions outside of post-conflict societies.

Institution Building in Weak States introduces a domestic opposition theory that better explains why institution building fails and what is required to make it work. With actionable recommendations for smarter policy, the book offers an important corrective for scholars and practitioners of post-conflict missions, international development, peacebuilding, and security cooperation.

Andrew Radin is a political scientist at the RAND Corporation, where his research focuses on European security and building partner state institutions. His academic and policy research on intervention and state building has been published in Security Studies, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, the Washington Quarterly, and Survival, among other venues. He was previously an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service.

"Andrew Radin provides a convincing explanation why institutional reform efforts often fail and valuable advice to those seeking to promote such efforts. Any aspiring state builders should read Institution Building in Weak States before setting out."—James F. Dobbins, Senior Fellow, The Rand Corporation

"This is an important book on a vital but understudied problem. Radin identifies the critical problem of local opposition to changes in political institutions, illustrates it with seven case studies, and shows how to avoid or reduce it while still moving forward. The book should be required reading for individuals and organizations involved in statebuilding."—Roy Licklider, adjunct senior research scholar at the Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies and adjunct professor of political science, Columbia University; professor emeritus of political science, Rutgers University

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. The Domestic Opposition Theory and Alternative Theories

Chapter 3. Creating Central Governments in Kosovo and Iraq

Chapter 4. Defense Reform in Bosnia and Timor-Leste

Chapter 5. Police Reform in Bosnia and Iraq

Chapter 6. Defense Reform in Ukraine

Chapter 7. Conclusion

Appendix: Research Design and Methodology

Selected Bibliography


About the Author