POLA90 - Lecture 11 (March 27)
The Challenges of Promoting Democracy and Development in
Three Essential Questions/Dilemmas
Are peace building programs necessarily biased towards the
accommodation of elite groups and power-holders in post-
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
A quadruple transition to a broad-based post-conflict
o Reestablish security, assisted by external security
Demobilization, demilitarization, and rehabilitation
Effective SSR in addition to the possibility of
British in Sierra Leone, French in West
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
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
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
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
the difficulty of the IR community finding an “exit
strategy given the poor results in terms of
creating sustainable conditions for conflict
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:
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
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.
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
Who pays? For how long? And, is it really
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
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
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
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
o Basically get them to sit down and agree to stop
o Distribution of power within the executive and the top
administrative levels of the state between main ethnic
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,
Allowing ethnic groups to have their own
autonomy in their community.
o Often includes mechanisms to promote cross-communal
Power-Sharing in Politics in Post-Conflict Lebanon
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
a benign if not supportive regional and global
o Under these conditions, power-sharing can lead to
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
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
o Creates rigidity within the political system – reducing
the possibility of political adaptation to:
imperfect peace agreements and the call for
shifts in power balances
Agreements were based on one power
balance, begin to shift. Demands new
normative shifts within social attitudes.
Example: gay rights
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
The destabilizing effect of exogenous shocks
coming from „bad neighborhoods‟
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
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-
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
International Crisis Group
o “There are few other satisfactory ways to determine
who will rule after fighting ends…”
o “It is the only alternative..”
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
increases in degree of accountability of political
increases in degree of legitimacy of the system teach of