Toward Post Conflict Reconstruction – Study Guide
Eight major alternatives to consider when facing the problem of a failed state:
•if one ignores the problem long enough, the situation will resolve itself without major
action on the part of outsiders
oMore often than not, the problems spread, causing a crisis in an entire region and
providing opportunities to international criminals and terrorists who seek to avoid
the reach of the law
•try to quarantine a failed state
•acknowledge that a failed state is no longer viable and to “carve it up” or recognize its
dissolution into smaller pieces
•seek to integrate or absorb a failed state, or parts of it, into a larger entity, whether this
entity is a single state or a body like the European Union
•establish some form promote some sort of a neighborhood watch system, with countries
in the region playing a central role in trying to solve or contain the problem of
international transitional authority
•back one side in a given conflict and hope both that it emerges as the winner and that it
can reorder the affairs of the country
Postconflict Reconstruction: includes providing and enhancing not only social and economic
well-being and governance and the rule of law but also other elements of justice and
reconciliation and, very centrally, security.
Postconflict reconstruction consists of four distinct categories of tasks, or “pillars”:
•Security addresses all aspects of public safety, in particular, creating a safe and secure
environment and developing legitimate and effective security institutions.
•Justice and reconciliation addresses the need to deal with past abuses through formal and
informal mechanisms for resolving grievances arising from conflict and to create an impartial
and accountable legal system for the future, in particular, creating an effective law
enforcement apparatus, an open judicial system, fair laws, and a humane corrections system.
•Social and economic well-being addresses fundamental social and economic needs, in
particular, providing emergency relief, restoring essential services to the population in areas
such as health and education, laying the foundation for a viable economy, and initiating an
inclusive and sustainable development program. (includes humanitarian aid in SR)
•Governance and participation addresses the need to create legitimate, effective political
and administrative institutions and participatory processes, in particular, establishing a
representative constitutional structure, strengthening public-sector management and
administration, and ensuring the active and open participation of civil society in the
formulation of the country’s government and its policies.
(Pursue all of them at once as part of a single coherent strategy. If the resources are lacking for
any one of them, all the others may turn out to have been pursued in vain)
Hamre, John J. and Gordon R. Sullivan. “Toward Postconflict Reconstruction.” The
Washington Quarterly, Autumn 2002.