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«A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Georgetown University in partial fulfillment of the ...»

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The very domestic actors charged as partners in upholding state authority play the subversive role of spoilers. The international community turns a blind eye or even promotes such state-organized crime in so far as it is deemed necessary to enhance stability or for other policy reasons.487 My conclusions suggest that the current peace-building approach relies too much on carrots to entice leaders to exert direct control over force, when it really needs sticks that will force them to do so. Since the international community remains to loath to annul sovereignty, peace-building is fundamentally premised on the need to respect and abide by the wishes of the host states.488 International legal cannons are just beginning to take into account the dynamics of violence devolution in penalizing states and regime members for the acts of militias. Significant debate remains as to whether the threshold of culpability for militia violence should be set low, charging those states who enjoy ‘overall control’ in theaters for the crimes of non-state actors, or high, applying only when states have ‘effective control’ over individual agents. This lack of consensus leaves 487 Jane Channa, Security Sector Reform: Issues, Challenges and Prospects, Adelphi Paper No. 344 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 41-8; Annika S. Hansen, “Building Local Capacity for Maintaining Public Security,” in Anja Ebnother and Philipp H. Fluri, eds., After Intervention: Public Security Management in Post-Conflict Societies from Intervention to Sustainable Local Ownership (Vienna: Bureau for Security Policy at the Austrian Ministry of Defense, 2005).

488 Herbst, 264-6.

iii ample leeway in which leaders can dodge responsibility for their proxies’ acts.489 More important than plausible deniability, though, is the question of the incentive to adopt military centralization and more intensive-forms of control over violence. So long as international involvement mitigates overwhelming external threat to LDSs, there is little incentive to buy into security reform.

Allowing the intensification of interstate conflict among LDSs, as Edward Luttwak and other proponents of territorial restructuring argue, would weed-out dysfunctional states and reserve sovereignty to those political entities that successfully approximate the Western model of development. The effect of such a policy, though, would be manifestly perverse.490 There is no reason to believe that LDSs that enjoy near monopolies over force will be less reticent to use such power than those that share it with non-state actors. Despite their profoundly different organizational formats, both the Indonesian and Iraqi armies were able to engage in mass killings. Iraq’s possession of a centralized, conventional force, however, also enabled it to engage in foreign wars that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands more. Indeed, some studies suggest that, at least in the short term, heightened external threat make states more likely to attack 489 Antonio Cassesse, “The Nicaragua and Tadic Tests Revisited in Light of the ICJ Judgment on Genocide in Bosnia,” European Journal of International Law, 18:4 (2007); Alhagi Marong, “‘Outlaws on Camelback’: State and Individual Responsibility for Serious Violations of International Law in Darfur,” ISS Paper No. 136, Institute for Security Studies, April 2007, http://www.iss.co.za/dynamic/administration/file_manager/file_links/ISSPAPER136.PDF?link_id=3&slink _id=4504&link_type=12&slink_type=23&tmpl_id=3 (accessed June 3, 2008).

490 Edward N. Luttwak, “Give War a Chance,” Foreign Affairs, 78:4 (1999); Chester Crocker, “A Poor Case for Quitting,” Foreign Affairs, 79:1 (2000); Sergio De Mello, “Enough is Enough,” Foreign Affairs, 79:1 (2000).

iv segments of the population deemed potentially hostile.491 In Rwanda, for instance, the mobilization of the Hutu-supremacist militias and the subsequent mass killing of the Tutsis was the last gasp of a state that had suddenly been denuded of all external defenses due to the loss of its superpower sponsors. Even as these Hutu militias ravaged defenseless civilians, the invading Tutsi exile army easily overran the country.492 In a sense, the cure for state weakness may be worse than the disease itself.

If the causes of violence devolution inhere not in individual states but in the opportunities and constrains the international system places upon states, then a more useful perspective would be to reconsider the system’s fundamental features, particularly the normative allocation of sovereignty and the material distribution of power. On a theoretical level, this entails recognizing the enormous and perhaps unbridgeable gap between LDSs’ assumed self-determination and their actual power to govern.493 Europe’s path toward strong states acting as monopolist over violence was a contingent historical outcome unlikely to be recapitulated elsewhere.494 On a practical level, it requires eschewing the conventional wisdom epitomized by Ian Loader and Neil Walker’s recent hypothesis that the state and its police are “indispensable to the task of 491 Matthrew Krain, “State-Sponsored Mass Murder: The Onset and Severity of Genocides and Politicides,”

Journal of Conflict Resolution, 41:2 (1997); Barbara Harff, “No Lessons Learned from the Holocaust?:

Assessing Risks of Genocide and Politicides Since 1955,” American Political Science Review, 97:1 (2003).

492 Alan J. Kuperman, “Provoking Genocide: A Revised History of the Rwandan Patriotic Front,” Journal of Genocide Research, 6:1 (2004); Arthur Jay Klinghoffer, International Dimensions of Genocide in Rwanda (New York: New York University Press, 1998), 80-91; Valentino, 179-91.


Robert H. Jackson, Quasi-States: Sovereignty, International Relations, and the Third World (New York:

Cambridge University Press, 2003).

494 Charles Tilly, Coercion, Capital and European States, AD 990-1992 (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1992), 192.

v fostering and sustaining livable political communities in the contemporary world.” 495 To use Machiavelli’s terms, instead of “imag[ing] republics and principalities that have never been seen or known to exist,” it requires looking beyond the state for ways to provide security and order to society.496 The primary alternative to the peace-building approach has been various forms of neo-trusteeships and shared sovereignty arrangements. These are premised on the belief that when a state falls too far short of providing order in its territory, the international community must ignore the pretensions of sovereignty and intervene directly. The United Nations and other international bodies have mechanisms to revoke a state’s mantle of self determination and authorize a mandate for international trusteeship.

International peacekeepers replace the state’s security services, as legions of other international experts assume oversight for other state functions. 497 These interventions, however, suffer from the same practical limitations as peace-building. If it is difficult to get domestic parties to take ownership over security sector reforms when the international community is offering advice and counsel, then resistance is almost inevitable when such reforms are imposed by mandate. Equally important, as shown by the British in the 1920s and Americans in the 2000s experiences attempting to build an Iraqi army in conditions of suspended sovereignty, intervening powers are liable to shirk the necessary investment of time, money, and personnel to make the thorough changes in military 495 Ian Loader and Neil Walker, Civilizing Security (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 7.

496 Machiavelli, The Prince, tr. Harvey Mansfield (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 61 497 Andersen, 31-34; James D. Fearon and David Laitin, “Neotrusteeship and the Problem of Weak States,” International Security, 28:4 (2004); Stephen D. Krasner, “Sharing Sovereignty: New Institutions for

Collapsed and Failing States,” International Security, 29:2 (2006); Tonya Langford, “Things Fall Apart:

State Failure and the Politics of Intervention,” International Studies Review, 1:1 (1999) vi institutions necessary to break patterns of violence devolution. More damning, they may then use the failures of reconstruction efforts as a pretext to continue to insinuate their own power over the subject state. 498 Recognizing the potential that these schemes might be used by Western power to upend their fragile hold on power, China has led many LDSs in promoting a thick, irrevocable concept of sovereignty as a shield against such interventions.499 Thus, neo-trusteeship rapidly becomes a form of liberal imperialism, with all the pathological trappings of dependence, domination, and defiance of its predecessors.

Critical analysis is most skeptical of the necessity of sovereign states to accomplish human security and in turn invites, rather than resists, the relegation of states to mere minority providers of security. There is an absurdity in the international community’s resistance to recognizing and in turn dealing with non-state actors, given Charles Tilly’s now well-known argument about the indistinguishable nature of statemaking and organized crime.500 Yet the fetishization of the state continues, as expressed recently in the U.S. Army War College’s official journal: “militias are most damaging [to American policy in Iraq] because they weaken government influence by providing unofficial (and effective) security in localized areas using illegal methods.”501 If militias, 498 David M. Edelstein, “Occupational Hazards: Why Military Occupations Succeed or Fail,” International Security, 29:1 (2004).

499 J. Rielly and B. Gill, “Sovereignty, Intervention, and Peacekeeping: The View from Beijing,” Survival, 42:3 (2000).

500 Charles Tilly, “War Making and State Making as Organized Crime,” in Peter Evans, Dietrich Rueschemeyer, and Theda Skocpol, eds., Bringing the State Back In (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985).

501 Anthony J. Schwarz, “Iraq’s Militias: The True Threat to Coalition Success in Iraq,” Parameters, 37 (Spring 2007): 55.

vii warlords, and other non-state entities actually provide much-needed security to society, then engaging these very forces should be the focus of the international community’s efforts, not resurrecting defective states.502 After all, in much of the world, the state itself is an artificial political framework.

As Chris Clapham argues, and my own research demonstrates, some states lack the bare economic resources to build an effective bureaucracy that can oversee and execute the provision of security. Instead, individual neighborhoods, villages, and clans, rely on local indigenous elites and networks of violence-wielders to enforce order, with the formal state apparatus relegated to a distant and mediated patron.503 In my study, the case of Indonesia provides an empirical example of the viability of such violence devolution, as does the briefer discussion of Central Asia above. Vadim Volkov’s analysis of Russia’s “violent entrepreneurs” in the 1990s details a similar process in which non-state actors supplanted the state as the primary providers of security and were co-opted back under the state’s nominal umbrella.504 Moreover, the Iraqis’ experience with forced conscription, perpetual domestic terror campaigns, and international intimidation shows that even for relatively wealthy societies, the state itself can be the greatest danger to human life.505 502 John C. Hulsman and Alexis Y. Debat, “In Praise of Warlords,” National Interest, 84 (Summer 2006).

503 Chris Clapham, “Sovereignty and the Third World State,” Political Studies, 47:3 (1999); Eric Scheye and Louise Andersen, “Toward a Multi-layered Approach to Security,” in Andersen, Møller, and Stepputat, eds., Fragile States and Insecure People?, 231.

504 Vadim Volkov, Violent Entrepreneurs: The Use of Force in the Making of Russian Capitalism (New York: Cornell University Press, 2002).

505 R.J. Rummel, Death By Government (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1994).

viii Mancur Olson’s parable of the stationary bandit offers an illustration of the way order can emerge purely out of the self-interested action of societal violence-wielders.506 Studies of Africa, where states often have far less infrastructural power than Russia or even Indonesia, provide still further illustration. William Reno observes that many rulers can tolerate an end to a state monopoly of coercion and feeble bureaucratic capacity so long as they still enjoy a measure of popular acquiescence.507 For example, Somalia has been functionally without a state for over a decade, yet the co-optation of armed youth by tribal leaders, businesses elites, religious figures, and non-governmental organizations has been critical to establishing a livable order.508 Entrusting violence to non-state agents is no panacea, however. Notwithstanding the theoretical proposition about the possible emergence of “warlord democracy,” Ken Menkhaus documents how reliance on militias reinforces patrimonial and patriarchal relations within society, retarding social development and modernization.509 Both Indonesia and Iraq today demonstrate the precariousness inherent in attempts to open political contestation when political factions can resort to cooptation of militias outside of the state’s sphere. To paraphrase Sukarno, mixing militias and democracy is the height of living dangerously.510 At best, such arrangements degenerate into closed bargains 506

Mancur Olson, “Democracy, Dictatorship, and Development,” American Political Science Review, 87:3

(1993). See also Avinash K. Dixit, Lawlessness and Economics: Alternative Modes of Governance (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004).

507 William Reno, “Sierra Leone: Warfare in a Post-State Society,” in Robert Rotberg, ed., State Failure and State Weakness in a Time of Terror (Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2003), 74.

508 Ken Menkhaus, “Governance without Government in Somalia: Spoilers, State Building, and the Politics of Coping,” International Security, 31:3 (2007).

509 Leonard Wantchenkon, “The Paradox of ‘Warlord’ Democracy: A Theoretical Investigation,” American Political Science Review, 98:1 (2004).

510 Donald K. Emmerson, “A Year of Voting Dangerously?” Journal of Democracy, 15:1 (2004).

ix among oligopolistic elites like Colombia, where each regional faction is permitted to maintain its own private militia in manner of a feudal baron.511 At worst, they collapse into civil war, as in Lebanon.512 Stateness—the ability to impose the rule of law equally on all citizens—remains a prerequisite for democratic consolidation.

Diluting the concept of sovereignty from an absolute to a relative and divisible dimension of statehood, then, offers a way to normalize the activity of non-state violencewielders. Herbst advocates an expansive conceptual toolkit for dealing with state frailty that includes subsuming individual state sovereignty under the domain of regional and international organizations, annulling the sovereignty of existing states, and recognizing new emerging claimants to statehood.513 Such dramatic revisions to the tenets of sovereignty stop just short of Clapham’s prescription for abandoning the homogenizing norm of sovereignty all together. Rather, he suggests that the terra nullius, where the state’s reach is minimal and local warlords, militias, and barons maintain actual control, must also be acknowledged, admitted, and integrated into the international system.514 Furthermore, contrary to the logic of peace-building, territorial restructuring, and neotrusteeship, a critical approach identifies a danger stemming from state strength, not weakness. For decentralized arrangements such as in Iraq, Lebanon, Indonesia, and Colombia to work, external threats must remain muted. International efforts, therefore, 511 Francisco Gutierrez Sanin and Mauricio Baron, Re-Stating the State: Paramilitary Territorial Control and Political Order in Colombia (1978-2004), Crisis State Program, Working Paper No. 66, September 2005, http://www.research4development.info/PDF/Outputs/CrisisStates/WP66.pdf (Accessed June 5, 2008).

512 Michael Hudson, “Trying Again: Power-Sharing in Post-Civil War Lebanon,” International Negotiation, 2:1 (1997).

513 Herbst, Chapter 9.

514 Clapham, 536-7.

x should focus on ways to prevent states from building up military capacities that might threaten their neighbors and incite a spiraling regional arms race. Only the assurance of impotence can deliver the promise of peace.

Conclusion Most of the attention of the policy-making community concerned with state frailty focuses on bringing the state back in to the equation as a guarantor of human and international security. The state has been reified and idealized as the sole legitimate coercer, with all other manifestations of violence deplored as illicit or criminal. The anxiety provoked by Western powers that establish contractual relationships with mercenary forces like Executive Outcomes pales in comparison to the fear inspired by the ubiquity of LDSs who collude with tribal and ethnic militias, party paramilitaries, and other ill-equipped, ill-trained, and ill-organized forces. The loss of the presumed stateheld monopoly on violence is commonly identified as a harbinger of anarchy.

I have shown, however, that the state-as-monopolist model is neither innate nor innocuous, but rather the result of military development that emerged through historically contingent processes of competition among imperial overlords, neighboring states, and society itself. Different paths of military development initiated at decolonization influence the viability of violence devolution or centralization, leading alternatively to regions characterized by militarily strong states constantly at the brink of war or militarily weak states that do not fear their neighbors but instead the sedition of the very

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both the local and global levels, rests on the willingness of individual state leaders and the international community to give up the presumption of state supremacy and accommodate these non-state actors.

xii Appendix A: Type and Intensity of Conflict of Time: Middle East vs. Southeast Asia Source: Peace Research Institution-Oslo/Uppsala Conflict Data Set Bold indicates major conflicts; † = Conflict added by author

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