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  • Author: Liora Danan, Johanna Mendelson Forman
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: Foreign internal conflicts clearly remain a permanent feature of the u.S. foreign policy landscape, especially since the united States regularly participates in efforts to stabilize countries affected by conflict and then helps them recover afterwards. Yet u.S. government officials and the american public in general have difficulty accepting the inevitability of u.S. involvement in such efforts. to ensure lasting progress and security in post-conflict situations, the united States must adjust its approach from a focus on large military operations to preparing adequately for small-scale, long-term interventions. Most u.S. military deployments since the end of the Cold War have been in “small wars” or what the Department of Defense once called “military operations other than war.”1 Yet the military has usually been more prepared to fight large, technologically advanced wars than smaller contingencies that require greater integration with civilian capacities. as a consequence, each time the u.S. military is deployed to a complex–but “small”–emergency, it has had to relearn lessons on the ground about the best way to manage these types of contingencies. Civilian participation in stabilization and reconstruction efforts is likewise inevitable, but civilian institutions are even less prepared for such work than the military. Lessons learned over the last decade are only recently being institutionalized, through offices like Department of State's Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) and the u.S. agency for International Development's Office of transition Initiatives (OtI). In part this is due to bureaucratic politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Kari Mottola
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: Despite the apparent strength of their case, the community of planners, veterans, think-tankers and civic activists working in external security and humanitarian missions are puzzled and frustrated with the past and present performance of the United States in such missions, and anguished about the future.2 It is not that the United States has not taken action in foreign conflicts, regional instabilities or humanitarian catastrophes. It is not that the response to fragile or failed states has not been a key agenda item in U.S. foreign and security policy throughout the post-Cold War era. Where America as a polity has come short is in failing to recognize, as a permanent national security interest, the need to design and pursue a strategic policy on stabilization and reconstruction. While the concept may be debatable and the capability may be constrained by developments, what those devoted to the cause call for is a policy with a sustainable balance between ends and means and commensurate to the responsibility of U.S. global leadership.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Jeffrey Herbst, Alan Doss, Greg Mills
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: The African development and governance picture is today highly differentiated with some countries developing successful democracies while riding a wave of growth, others facing outright institutional failure, and a great number in-between. Critical to understanding the different paths that countries have taken, and the likely even greater divergences in the future, is the relationship between civilians and soldiers. Starting soon after independence in the early 1960s, the seizure of power by soldiers was emblematic of the problems African states faced in promoting good governance. Now, at a time when most soldiers are back in their barracks, economic growth has accelerated and democratization has progressed. However, the picture varies greatly from country-to-country. In this paper, we develop a taxonomy of African militaries to understand why some countries have better civil-military relations than others, what is the likely path in the future, and the potential role, if any, for outsiders. African militaries are characterised, just as African states themselves, by different capacities and civil-military records.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, Political Economy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Sierra Leone
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: What lessons have you personally drawn from the decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan? Blair: The decade of war is really two decades of war–from the time the Cold War ended in about 1989 through the disappearance of the Soviet threat and the involvement of the United States in a series of individual military actions. What I've learned is that we need to do a better job thinking these conflicts all the way through before we engage in them. Because it turns out that we are relearning an old lesson, which is the use of military force is only a part of improving a situation and protecting American interests in a particular country or region. Too often, we think that a military victory itself will cause the desired result. In fact many other factors come in to play; economic development, social development, government improvement. These are not accomplished by the U.S. alone, and certainly not by American military force alone, but often with allies and other partners, and with other civilian capabilities. I think we have not thought them through carefully as to the end state that we are trying to achieve. Next we need to be realistic about the resources that are required; military, civil, and other. I'm afraid these are old lessons that need to be relearned, not new lessons, but they certainly have been borne out as some of the shortcomings of the interventions we have made in recent years. I would add, by the way, that I am not one who says our military interventions since 1989 have all been disasters. I think on the whole they have made the world a better place; bad people who were around then aren't around now, from Manuel Noriega to Saddam Hussein through Slobodan Milosevic and others; so it is not that our military interventions have been wasted. On the contrary–but we need to make sure that we get the maximum possible benefit from them and intervene in a smart way.
  • Topic: Cold War, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq
  • Author: Pauline Baker
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: Of the many foreign policy challenges of the 21st century, one of the most complex and unpredictable is the problem of fragile and failing states, which often leads to civil war, mass atrocities, economic decline, and destabilization of other countries. The political era stemming from such challenges not only threatens civilians who are in harm's way, but also endangers international peace. Since the 1990s, such crises have become more prominent on the agendas of the major powers, intergovernmental institutions, humanitarian organizations, and vulnerable states themselves. Indeed, while the number of violent conflicts, particularly interstate wars, declined after the end of the Cold War, the duration and lethality of internal conflicts are rising. Casualty figures are considerably higher when “war deaths” beyond the battlefield and deaths resulting from infrastructure destruction are included. While Iraq and Afghanistan have dominated the public discourse on fragile states, the problem is not confined to these countries or their neighbors. Indeed, it is likely that global trends in civil conflicts will present more, not fewer, challenges to international peace and security, particularly in states where there is a history of instability, demographic pressures, rich mineral resources, questionable political legitimacy, a youth bulge, economic inequality, factionalized elites, and deep-seated group grievances.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: James Stephenson, Richard McCall, Alexandra Simonians
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: The international community was thoroughly unprepared to respond effectively to new post–Cold War challenges, which included the appearance of complex emergencies, many of which revealed ethnic, religious, cultural, or nationalistic faultlines. These lines have been manipulated in many cases by state and/or nonstate actors and have led to the unraveling of many states, a large number of which were former superpower clients. What remained were hollow entities—states with few attributes of nationhood, especially the institutional underpinnings of legitimate governance, the foundation upon which viable nation-states are based.
  • Topic: Cold War, Ethnic Conflict, Non State Actors
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas Blau, Daryl Liskey
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: In fragile states such as Afghanistan where governments are weak and violent actors threaten civil peace, the United States finds itself trying to establish stability on the ground in the short term and under fire. In this difficult situation, the U.S. Government has sought "transformation," which has become a central concept of operation. This concept unifies civilian and military stabilization operations to mitigate the root causes that drive instability. Other things being equal, this is more attractive than treating the symptoms of instability after they appear.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States
  • Author: Melanne Civic
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: PRISM
  • Institution: National Defense University Press
  • Abstract: Climate change has reemerged in the mainstream of U.S. Government policy as a central issue and a national security concern. President Barack Obama, addressing an audience at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology in October 2009, identified climate change and fossil fuel dependence as a national security threat needing innovative, science-based solutions to "[prevent] the worst consequences of climate change." President Obama asserted that "the naysayers, the folks who would pretend that this is not an issue . . . are being marginalized."
  • Topic: Climate Change, Cold War
  • Political Geography: United States, United Nations