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Lecture 11

Lecture 11: The Challenges of Promoting Democracy and Development in Post-Conflict Societies

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Political Science
Paul Kingston

POLA90 - Lecture 11 (March 27) The Challenges of Promoting Democracy and Development in Post-Conflict Societies Three Essential Questions/Dilemmas  Are peace building programs necessarily biased towards the accommodation of elite groups and power-holders in post- conflict situations?  Can external actors take the lead in challenging elite-oriented dynamics and promoting transitions to broader-based peace- building outcomes – a “peace that lasts”?  If this is difficult, what role is left for „restricted agency‟ in overcoming the structural power of political and wartime elites, reinforced as it often is by external intervention? Ottaway‟s Critique of the Externally-Generated “Democratic Construction Model”  A quadruple transition to a broad-based post-conflict settlement…! o Reestablish security, assisted by external security provision through:  Demobilization, demilitarization, and rehabilitation (DDR) initiatives  Effective SSR in addition to the possibility of security guarantees  British in Sierra Leone, French in West Africa, etc. o Reestablish democratic political process (interim governments, constitutions, elections)…. o Enhance economic recovery  The slower the economic recovery, the higher risk of a return to violence o Promote of civil society  (Re)building the capacity of society to counter the elite bias of peace-building processes …  She describes it as an ideal, “maximalist” solution to conflict resolution that is “intellectually satisfactory” and “logically coherent” o It seems to work, makes sense and this is what we would like to see.  She also describes the model as becoming increasingly complex – requiring planning around “complex” and “simultaneous” processes.  It is/was underpinned by a sense of optimism. o Akin to the days of modernization and development in the 1950s and 1960s. o To remake them in the image of liberal peace  But.. o It has created a “wide gap” between what is demanded and what is possible given both weak post-conflict states and finite IR resources o This has resulted in:  a dynamic of imperial imposition  a “Leninist approach” :banguard approach. Comes out of Marxist scholarship  the emergence of a dynamic of “mission creep”  Demands for more and more resources over time.  the difficulty of the IR community finding an “exit strategy given the poor results in terms of creating sustainable conditions for conflict resolution….  Exactly the problem for USA and NATO in Afghanistan. How do they leave without the state completely collapsing again? The “Ideal Type” Security Sector Reform  Re-establish a state‟s monopoly over the use of violence. o Through the demobilization of militias that fought during the conflict o Must be accompanied by the reintegration of these elements back into:  Society  The economy  Set up businesses  Help find people jobs.  Example: In Sierra Leone ex-miltary were given motorcycles to establish taxi services.  But this annoyed the rest of the population because they weren‟t being supported.  The polity  The state‟s reconstructed coercive apparatus (armed forces and policy)  The Reality of SSR o A numerous and diverse array of militia elements to demobilize (eg. DRC) that complicates the bargaining process and creates conditions for the emergence of “spoilers” (eg. M23 in the DRC) o Huge challenges in rebuild a “unified” and “coherent” security apparatus in a divided society. Trying to get the soldiers to trust each other, when they used to fight against each other.  Example: DRC  Generals/etc. didn‟t want to give up their titles. Created a top heavy army since there wasn‟t very many normal soldiers.  Forced soldiers to trust and accept commands from those that they hated. Tried to cut them off of allegiances by sending them to other parts of the country. Most of the soldiers refused to move because its dangerous. o Huge costs associated with the rebuilding armies and police forces.  Who pays? For how long? And, is it really sustainable?!  An issue in Afghanistan. Had an rentier state develop because of it. o How long will „peace-builders‟, ever eager to find “exit strategies”, be willing to support what are inherently long term and uncertain processes?  Collier on External Security Provision o On the one hand and in the short term, a good “bang for your buck”, especially in the early stages of the post-conflict era. o Security provision can prevent humanitarian disasters  Examples: Sierra Leone, DRC, Libya, etc. o This is particularly so in the first post-conflict decade. o Collier argues that external security provision is subject to „decreasing rates of return‟ o Exacerbated by the weak „staying power‟ of external peace-builders o For Collier, what is the best “exit strategy” – the promotion of economic development – which in reality probably means giving predatory economic elites a stake in the new economic order What about Power-Sharing?  A system of conflict resolution, usually tried within deeply divided/pluralist societies  Purpose: to include all groups in peace negotiations that have the power to pose security threats  Done so through distribution of incentives for political cooperation  Usually emerges as a form of „elite cartel‟: an agreement among wartime militia leaders, warlords, and politicians to stop fighting and (hopefully) re-engage in an institutionalized political process o Basically get them to sit down and agree to stop fighting.  Features o Distribution of power within the executive and the top administrative levels of the state between main ethnic communities  In Lebanon (?), each ethnic group was given leadership in a political office. o Veto power over major decisions o Could include the creation of electoral systems that guarantee equitable ethnic representation in the legislative bodies of the state o Could also include the granting of communal autonomy on a regionally and/or functionally basis (education, legal, etc)  Allowing ethnic groups to have their own autonomy in their community. o Often includes mechanisms to promote cross-communal cooperation  Power-Sharing in Politics in Post-Conflict Lebanon o Challenges  Problems with Power-Sharing in Theory o Power-sharing model – often referred to as consociationalism (Lijphart) - initially derived from experiences in the Global North. o Usually assumes pre-existing:  culture of accommodation  strong state institutions  economic prosperity  a benign if not supportive regional and global environment. o Under these conditions, power-sharing can lead to political moderation  Problems with Power-Sharing in Practice o How to perpetuate the sharing of power among enemies? o Can militia power be translated into political power?  Problematic because they will keep using their militia power if they don‟t get what they want.  Example: The case of Liberia and the unexpected victory of Taylor o Elite cartels produce „horizontal‟ inclusiveness but not „vertical/democratic‟ inclusiveness  Based on the people around him (the elites), but doesn‟t include the non-elites. o System of mutual veto power may produce „brinksmanship politics‟ that can heighten tensions and impede processes of democratization.  Often abused to push confrontation to the absolute limits. Push their position all the way to the end, until they agree to leave. If you leave a power-sharing table, you threaten to re-create conflict. o Creates rigidity within the political system – reducing the possibility of political adaptation to:  imperfect peace agreements and the call for renegotiation  shifts in power balances  Agreements were based on one power balance, begin to shift. Demands new negotiations.  slow-moving transformations  normative shifts within social attitudes.  Example: gay rights  Ethnic tensions  Population distribution changes because people start having more children and at the next census they have way more kids o Lebanon hasn‟t had a census since 1932.   The destabilizing effect of exogenous shocks coming from „bad neighborhoods‟  Cold War o The granting of communal autonomy (formal or informal) may work to perpetuate and reinforce systems and patterns of resource distribution along clientelist and/or ethnic lines rather than along universalist ones  Makes it harder to transform the social policies towards universalist forms of distribution. o The cumulative result of these dynamics may not be moderation but the reinforcement of politicized ethnic boundaries and an increase in political tension and polarization that can increase the possibility of a return to conflict. o In short, power-sharing may create dynamics that promote peace in the short term at the price of a stability and democracy in the longer term. Promoting Democracy in Post-Conflict States  Three basic features to promoting and institutionalizing democracy in post-conflict/ power-sharing contexts: o Establishing an interim administration… o Drafting a new constitution… o Holding post-conflict elections…  It is the success of the latter (elections) that seems to determine the political success of peace- building programs…  Why? Lyons on the Importance of Post-Conflict Elections o Serve multiple (and sometimes contradictory) purposes o They advance the implementation of peace agreements o They begin the process of institutionalizing a new set of rules for the political game based upon security and trust. Different than the rules of the past during conflict. o They also serve as important markers for the international community, helping it to determine their own „exit strategies‟ o They offer a way for new political elites to acquire both internal and external legitimacy. Legitimizing new leadership  International Crisis Group o “There are few other satisfactory ways to determine who will rule after fighting ends…” o “It is the only alternative..”  But… o Does democracy help to reduce violence in post-conflict states of the „bottom billion‟? o Collier argues that, in theory, democracy should led to reduced violence:  increases in degree of accountability of political system  increases in degree of legitimacy of the system  teach of
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