. 6
( 10)


Namibia “ the process of political and economic liberalization was relatively
unproblematic and appeared to facilitate the peaceful settlement of dis-
putes that show no sign of rekindling at present. The remaining seven cases
fall somewhere between these two extremes. Nicaragua, El Salvador, and
Guatemala underwent relatively smooth transitions to multiparty democ-
racy, but rapid marketization appears to have reproduced some of the so-
cioeconomic conditions that sparked unrest in these countries in the ¬rst
place; and in Mozambique, economic liberalization also appears to have
exacerbated conditions that have traditionally fueled violence in the coun-
try. In Bosnia, political liberalization has reinforced the power of the parties
who are least committed to peaceful reconciliation. In Cambodia, elections
spurred deadly competition between the formerly warring groups “ compe-
tition that was ultimately squelched by the repressive tactics of the country™s
prime minister, Hun Sen, who effectively reversed the country™s initial move-
ment toward multiparty democracy. Similarly, in Liberia, Charles Taylor
immediately began to suppress the political freedom of his opponents after
being elected president in 1997, and was forced out of power in 2003 in the
face of renewed ¬ghting in the country.
A closer look at the results suggests that these eleven peacebuilding cases
might be divided into three broad categories. The ¬rst category includes
Namibia and Croatia, where major belligerents effectively abandoned the
territory at the end of the con¬‚ict: In Namibia, the South African army
gave up all claims to the territory at the end of the con¬‚ict. In Croatia, a
large portion of the ethnic Serbian population ¬‚ed during the latter stages
of the war, and the government of Yugoslavia abandoned its support for
the remaining Serbian community. The disengagement of these belligerents
almost certainly facilitated the task of reconciling the parties who remained
in the state after the war, and tempered the dangers of destabilization arising
from the effects of postcon¬‚ict liberalization. These conditions are relatively
unusual among countries that seek international peacebuilding assistance to
help implement negotiated settlements. More commonly, the existence of
a negotiated settlement in a civil con¬‚ict indicates that the formerly war-
ring parties will continue to share the same territory and play an active
role in postwar politics. So while international liberalization efforts had a
largely positive outcome in Croatia and Namibia, we must also recognize
that these countries offered unusually propitious conditions for postcon¬‚ict

1 To a lesser extent, Mozambique could also fall into this category, since one of the parties
to the country™s con¬‚ict “ Renamo “ was created and sustained by foreign actors and had
relatively little domestic support. However, because the process of economic liberalization in
Mozambique has apparently reproduced conditions that have traditionally fueled unrest in
the country, as I argued in Chapter 8, I have included it in the third category of cases in this
Problems and Solutions

The second category is comprised of those cases in which initial democrati-
zation efforts were diverted by newly elected leaders, resulting in what might
be called “demagogue democracies,” characterized by the de facto suppres-
sion of political opposition through violence and intimidation.2 Cambodia
and Liberia fall into this category. Both countries experienced a period of
relative stability in the aftermath of peacebuilding “ stability which contin-
ues in Cambodia as of this writing but which quickly gave way to renewed
con¬‚ict in Liberia. Yet it is dif¬cult to reach ¬rm conclusions about the
effects of liberalization in Cambodia and Liberia because both countries
quickly reverted to a system of de facto one-party “ indeed, one-person “
rule. Furthermore, during the brief period of genuine political competition
in Cambodia, which lasted from approximately 1992 to 1997, democratic
elections became a catalyst for new bouts of violent con¬‚ict among the lead-
ing political parties, which ended only when Hun Sen forcefully subdued his
rivals in the July 1997 coup. More generally, the Cambodian and Liberian
cases suggest that the “quick and dirty” style of democratization promoted
by international peacebuilders can be readily diverted by opportunistic lo-
cal actors who have little interest in sustaining liberal reforms. This outcome
poses a particular danger for countries such as Cambodia and Liberia, whose
history is marked by cycles of governmental repression followed by violent
counterreactions from equally ruthless opposition groups.
The third category of peacebuilding encompasses the remaining seven
operations: Angola, Rwanda, Bosnia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala,
and Mozambique. This group is diverse, and the effects of democratization
and marketization have varied widely. In some cases “ including Angola,
Rwanda, and Bosnia “ the process of political liberalization sparked renewed
violence or reinforced the power of the most belligerent groups in the society.
In other cases “ including El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mozam-
bique “ some of the effects of economic liberalization seemed to work against
the establishment of a stable and lasting peace. The outcome of each mission
was in many respects unique, but in various ways and to different degrees,
the liberalization process produced unanticipated problems that threatened
to destabilize “ or did destabilize “ the fragile peace.
This is not to suggest that peacebuilding missions left all eleven host states
in a worse condition than they would have otherwise been. On the contrary,
many are at peace for the ¬rst time in decades, thanks in part to the as-
sistance offered by international agencies. After decades of revolutionary
violence and repression in Central America, for example, the relative tran-
quility of the region today is an accomplishment worthy of celebration. Yet
the question I posed at the outset was not whether peacebuilding does more
harm than good, or vice versa, but whether the assumptions of the Wilsonian

2 I de¬ne a “demagogue democracy” as a type or subclass of “illiberal democracy” (Zakaria
1997 and 2003) that is ruled by a charismatic strongman.
The Limits of Wilsonianism 155

approach to con¬‚ict management are borne out by the record of peacebuild-
ing. Speci¬cally, have internationally sponsored democratization and mar-
ketization efforts helped to create the conditions for stable and lasting peace,
which is the stated goal of peacebuilding? Given the limited number of cases
to evaluate, and the varied circumstances of each mission, I cannot offer a
¬nal and de¬nitive answer to this question. Nevertheless, the case studies
do suggest that the liberalization process either contributed to a rekindling
of violence or helped to recreate the historic sources of violence in many of
the countries that have hosted these missions “ a conclusion that casts doubt
on the reliability of the peace-through-liberalization strategy as it has been
practiced to date.
Some observers might respond to this conclusion with skepticism. George
Downs and Stephen Stedman, for example, argue that it is based on an unrea-
sonably high standard of peacebuilding “success” and that it consequently
yields “very little information that can be used to improve future missions.”3
As noted in Chapter 3, Downs and Stedman prefer to judge the effectiveness
of peacebuilding primarily on whether or not peace exists at the moment
peacebuilders go home. I have already explained why their standard for
evaluating peacebuilding is inappropriate: It pays too little attention to the
declared purpose of peacebuilding “ the creation of self-sustaining peace “
and therefore sets the bar too low. One of the unfortunate results of using
this reduced standard is that it de¬‚ects attention away from conditions that
have previously precipitated violence in peacebuilding host states, as well
as the impact of peacebuilding policies on these conditions. Thus, Stedman
ends up dismissing distributional inequalities and related violence in the
Central America cases as “the mundane reality of life in crime- and poverty-
ridden insecurity,” but he does not consider the relationship between these
conditions, the actions of peacebuilders, and the prospects for establishing a
durable peace in these countries.4 More fundamentally, Downs and Stedman
misunderstand the nature of my investigation. Rather than simply applying
a standard of “success” and evaluating individual missions against this stan-
dard, I have evaluated one speci¬c aspect of peacebuilding “ the promotion of
market democracy as a remedy for civil strife “ which, it turns out, seems to
have worked against the consolidation of self-sustaining peace in a number
of ways, contrary to the Wilsonian assumptions of peacebuilding.
These observations lead, in turn, to another question that will be ad-
dressed in the remainder of this chapter: Why exactly does the Wilsonian
approach to peacebuilding generate such destabilizing side effects? I shall
argue that many of the problems identi¬ed in the peacebuilding case stud-
ies can be traced back to tensions in the logic of market democracy itself “
tensions that make the liberalization process potentially dangerous in the

3 Stedman and Downs 2002, p. 49, responding to my earlier work on the subject.
4 Stedman 2002, p. 19.
Problems and Solutions

fragile circumstances of countries just emerging from civil wars. As we shall
see in Chapter 10, this analysis offers useful and concrete recommendations
for improving the design and conduct of future peacebuilding operations.

The Paradoxical Logic of Market Democracy: Peace Through Con¬‚ict
If it is true that democracies rarely go to war against one another and that
they are less likely than nondemocracies to experience internal unrest, then
democratization would seem, at ¬rst glance, to be a sensible solution for
states suffering from civil strife. Similarly, if capitalism has generated the
highest levels of wealth and economic growth in human history, and if capi-
talism and democracy are mutually reinforcing systems of organizing politi-
cal and economic life, as many Western commentators contend, then market
democracy should be a promising formula for managing domestic con¬‚ict
and creating prosperity in war-shattered states.
The problem with this reasoning is that it overlooks another important
feature of democracy and capitalism: Both systems encourage con¬‚ict and
competition “ indeed, they thrive on it.5 Democracy, for example, requires
competitive multiparty elections as well as a politically active and involved
citizenry, or a vibrant “civil society,” meaning the space or arena between the
household and the state in which citizens engage in organized activities that
are not governmental in nature but are nevertheless “public.”6 Sites of such
activity include trade unions, churches, political parties and movements,
cooperatives, neighborhood groups, and even bowling leagues. From the
mid-nineteenth-century writings of Alexis de Tocqueville to the present day,
political observers have argued that civil society serves at least two important
functions in liberal democracies: First, private associations help to scrutinize
and counterbalance the power of the state, thus serving as an informal check
against “tyranny” and complementing formal constitutional arrangements.7
Second, these associations serve as “great free schools” that train citizens in
the habits of compromise and negotiation that underpin the success of a
More recently, scholars have added a third, related argument: Simulta-
neous membership in many different associations produces a network of
“cross-cutting cleavages,” or overlapping commitments to different social
groupings, which is said to minimize the salience of any single line of con¬‚ict

5 In this chapter I use the term “con¬‚ict” in its broadest sense as a synonym for competition, or
a struggle in which the aim is to “gain objectives” against the wishes of rivals (Coser 1956).
Con¬‚ict, in this sense, can be violent or nonviolent.
6 Walzer 1991; Putnam 1995; and Hall 1995. For a genealogy of the term “civil society,” see
Gellner 1991; and Kumar 1993.
7 8 Ibid., p. 522.
De Tocqueville 1988, pp. 189“195.
The Limits of Wilsonianism 157

and “temper the severity of social antagonisms.”9 R. J. Rummel explains the
rationale behind this argument: “Because of the multitude of diverse groups
and separate interests, [and] because of the lack of coincidence of interests
across groups and issues, if political con¬‚ict escalates to violence it is usu-
ally limited to an issue or so, a neighborhood or urban area, or particular
individuals.”10 Walter Morris-Hale similarly notes that
ethnic disharmonies are less likely to be . . . violent in a political community that
has a signi¬cant number of voluntary associations, because citizens who belong to
numerous and diverse associations will be exposed to a variety of divergent points
of view. . . . The resulting compromises mean the clash of interests is less vehement;
social and political tensions are less strident; and ethnic groups are more willing to
trust their ethnic opposites and less likely to respond violently to their success.11

For these and other reasons, a vibrant civil society is commonly viewed
as a factor that strengthens and enhances liberal democracy and domestic
The existence of an active civil society, however, requires sustained mobi-
lization on the part of a large number of citizens and a willingness to engage in
continuous competition in the pursuit of often con¬‚icting interests. Thus, as
Robert Dahl writes, “in democratic countries political con¬‚ict is not merely
normal, it is generally thought to be rather healthy.”13 Con¬‚ict is salubrious,
according to this perspective, because it facilitates the reconciliation of com-
peting interests through peaceful debate and compromise, which can serve
to co-opt potential revolutionaries who might otherwise turn to violence in
order to achieve their goals.14
Herein lies a fundamental paradox within the workings of democracy,
which relies on political competition as a means of limiting the intensity
of this competition. Lewis Coser, one of the ¬rst scholars to describe the
“stabilizing” effects of societal con¬‚ict, put it this way: “By permitting the
immediate and direct expression of rival claims,” open societies “are able
to readjust their structures by eliminating the sources of dissatisfaction.”15
E. E. Schattschneider describes the paradox in even blunter terms: “The most
powerful instrument for the control of con¬‚ict is con¬‚ict itself.”16
Nothing illustrates the reliance of democracy upon political contestation
better than multiparty elections, the “indispensable marker” of democratic
government.17 While a central function of elections is to channel political
con¬‚ict through peaceful institutions, elections also presuppose energetic

9 Schattschneider 1973, p. 65. The classic work on cross-cutting cleavages is Simmel 1955.
10 11 Morris-Hale 1996, p. 1.
Rummel 1997, p. 147.
12 In Robert Putnam™s words: “Tocqueville was right: Democratic government is strengthened,
not weakened, when it faces a vigorous civil society” (Putnam 1993, p. 82).
13 14 Rummel 1997, p. 146. 15 Coser 1956, p. 154.
Dahl 1986, p. 14.
16 17 Clark 2000, p. 27.
Schattschneider 1973, p. 65.
Problems and Solutions

competition among candidates and parties seeking of¬ce. Leaders must of-
fer contending programs and visions of public policy if voters are genuinely
to participate in the decision-making process. In the absence of incentives
for politicians to compete for votes, the mechanism of representative ac-
countability to the electorate would founder, since leaders would have little
motivation to adjust their policies in response to public preferences.18 Simi-
larly, the possibility of democratically replacing governments “ which allows
disaffected citizens to effect policy changes without resorting to violence “
presupposes voting systems in which there is not only widespread public par-
ticipation in the electoral process but at least two leaders or parties actively
competing for power. In short, political contestation is no less a requirement
of democracy than is popular participation.19 Like the idea of a vibrant
civil society, competitive elections reveal the paradoxical logic upon which
democracy is based: that political contestation itself provides a means of
containing and reconciling social con¬‚icts.
The notion that self-interested competition engenders stability and other
social bene¬ts is, of course, a core tenet of liberal economic theory as well.
Competition for pro¬t among individuals and ¬rms allows markets to al-
locate resources ef¬ciently and productively. In the absence of competition,
inef¬cient ¬rms are not driven out of the marketplace; instead, they continue
to tie up resources that could be used for more productive purposes. Although
most contemporary economists have abandoned the sweeping laissez-faire
philosophy of classical liberalism, the notion that free markets generally al-
locate resources ef¬ciently remains a central principle of modern capitalism,
along with the attendant belief that encouraging competition among indi-
vidual pro¬t seekers is the key to greater prosperity, not just for those who
“win” in the market but for society as a whole.
The bene¬ts of capitalist competition, however, are more than just
monetary: Competition in the market also provides a peaceful outlet for
aggressive impulses and a mechanism through which “our activities can be
adjusted to each other without coercive or arbitrary intervention of author-
ity.”20 In the words of John Maynard Keynes, “dangerous human proclivities
can be canalized into comparatively harmless channels by the existence of
opportunities for money-making and private wealth, which, if they cannot
be satis¬ed in this way, may ¬nd their outlet in cruelty, the reckless pursuit of
personal power and authority, and other forms of self-aggrandizement.”21
The market is said to temper social con¬‚icts by giving individuals the freedom
to pursue their respective interests, and by providing a mechanism through
which self-interested behavior can be translated into mutual gains, thus tap-
ping into what Adam Smith called the “natural harmony of interests.” Thus,
the putatively pacifying qualities of capitalism, like those of democracy, rest

18 19 Dahl 1971. 20
Holler 1987, p. 21. Hayek 1944, p. 41.
21 Quoted in Hall 1987, pp. 47“48.
The Limits of Wilsonianism 159

on a paradox: that self-interested competition contributes to the maintenance
of a well-ordered society.
However, competition in the political and economic marketplace is not
entirely self-regulating, even in the most permissive market democracies:
Competition takes place within a framework of institutions that resolve dis-
putes, translate public debate into governmental policy, and enforce a system
of rules and regulations that govern the operation of the polity and econ-
omy. When such institutions exist and function well, political and economic
competition generally works in the manner suggested by liberal peace theo-
rists, who argued that competition would promote ef¬ciency in the economic
realm and democratic accountability in the political realm. But problems can
arise if societal contestation becomes so intense that it cannot be channeled
through existing institutions. Under these circumstances, encouraging fur-
ther competition could lead to violence.
Problems of this type are relatively rare in the well-established democra-
cies of the West, but they are not uncommon in countries that are undergoing
the transition to liberal market democracy, particularly those that lack ei-
ther a tradition of peaceful competition or governmental institutions that
are capable of “processing” societal demands, for reasons I will discuss in
the next section. Market democracy™s emphasis on public contestation can
give rise to a number of different pathologies “ including violent con¬‚ict “
which can themselves impede further progress toward market democracy in
countries undergoing political and economic liberalization. Exploring these
“pathologies of liberalization” is essential to understanding the shortcom-
ings of Wilsonianism as a peacebuilding strategy. In what follows, I identify
these pathologies, describe the circumstances under which they are most
likely to arise, and examine their implications for the theory and practice of
postcon¬‚ict peacebuilding.

The Pathologies of Liberalization
In any country undergoing a transition to market democracy, democratiza-
tion and marketization may produce unanticipated consequences that can
undermine the liberalization process itself or endanger internal peace. These
pathologies include: 1) the problem of “bad” civil society; 2) the behavior
of opportunistic “ethnic entrepreneurs”; 3) the risk that elections can serve
as focal points for destructive societal competition; 4) the danger posed by
local “saboteurs” who cloak themselves in the mantle of democracy but seek
to undermine democracy; and 5) the disruptive and con¬‚ict-inducing effects
of economic liberalization (see Figure 9.1).
A common theme unites these problems: They arise, in part, from the
fact that democratization and marketization foster societal competition, as
we shall see. Although these pathologies are not inevitable consequences of
Problems and Solutions

1. Bad Civil Society

2. Ethnic Entrepreneurs

3. Elections as Focal Points for Harmful Competition

4. Saboteurs and Failed Transitions

5. The Dangers of Economic Liberalization

¬gure 9.1. Five Pathologies of Liberalization

liberalization, they do periodically occur and therefore should be directly
addressed by students and practitioners of peacebuilding.

Bad Civil Society
Democracy, I have argued, presupposes an active civil society to counter-
balance and scrutinize the state, to educate the populace in the practices
of peaceful compromise, and to create a network of cross-cutting social
groups, thereby diminishing the intensity of any particular social cleavage.
Accordingly, the various governmental and nongovernmental organizations
that have sought to promote democracy abroad “ sometimes labeled the
“democracy industry”22 “ have almost universally subscribed to the view
that democratization must involve, among other things, measures aimed at
stimulating the growth of civil-society activity within these states, including
liberalization of the press, the promotion of free assembly and association
rights, and ¬nancial and technical assistance to local NGOs.23
Yet encouraging the growth of civil society does not necessarily promote
pluralism, moderation, accommodation “ or democracy. Much of the dis-
course in the 1990s focused on increasing the quantity of civil society or-
ganizations, rather than considering their speci¬c qualities. Organizations
that preach hatred and intolerance, for example, may not perform the
kind of educative functions that de Tocqueville and others viewed as sup-
portive of democracy. Rather than inculcating pluralist compromise, they
might instead spread prejudice, insularity, and extremism, resulting in what
Simone Chambers and Jeffrey Kopstein call “bad civil society,” or private
political activity that rejects the liberal principle of toleration.24 There are
many historical and contemporary examples of this phenomenon. Sheri
Berman argues, for instance, that high levels of associational involvement
in Weimar Germany contributed directly to the rise of the Nazi movement
and the collapse of Germany™s nascent interwar democracy.25 “Germans

22 23 For example, Human Rights Watch 1995.
Bjornlund 2001.
24 25 Berman 1997.
Chambers and Kopstein 2001.
The Limits of Wilsonianism 161

threw themselves into their clubs, voluntary associations, and professional
organizations out of frustration with the failures of the national government
and political parties,” Berman writes,
thereby helping to undermine the Weimar Republic and facilitate Hitler™s rise to
power. In addition, Wiemar™s rich associational life provided a critical training ground
for eventual Nazi cadres and a base from which the National Socialist German Work-
ers™ Party (NSDAP) could launch its Machtergreifung (seizure of power). Had German
civil society been weaker, the Nazis would never have been able to capture so many
citizens for their cause or eviscerate their opponents so swiftly.26

Rwanda offers a more recent example of the potentially perverse effects
of civil society mobilization. Rwanda had “an extremely high civil society
density” in the 1980s and early 1990s.27 By some estimates, there was ap-
proximately one farmers™ organization per 35 households, one commercial
cooperative per 350 households, and one local NGO per 3,500 households,
along with very active and widespread membership in Christian churches
throughout the country.28 But this network of organizations did not prevent
the mass killings of April 1994. Indeed, many civil society groups subscribed
to the dominant racism in the society and eventually took part in the geno-
cide.29 Some members of Rwanda™s human rights NGOs reportedly played
roles as instigators, leaders, and participants.30 Furthermore, as noted in
Chapter 4, efforts to liberalize the country™s popular media seemed to cause
more, not less, polarization in society through the publication and broadcast
of incendiary and ethnically intolerant opinion.
The broader problem illustrated by these examples is that while active
civil-society associations may be an essential ingredient for a functioning
liberal democracy, some kinds of associations can, in the words of Robert
Dahl, “foster the narrow egoism of their members at the expense of con-
cerns for the broader public good, and even . . . weaken or destroy democracy
itself.”31 The promotion of civil society can have positive or deleterious ef-
fects both on the prospects for democratic consolidation and on domestic
peace. When efforts to encourage political participation do not result in
greater support for democratic compromise, but instead serve to increase
polarization, intolerance, and antagonism in a transitional society, they do
not further the cause of either democracy or peace.

Ethnic Entrepreneurs
In addition to fostering “bad civil society,” liberalization can also be ma-
nipulated by opportunistic leaders who exploit intercommunal distrust as
a means of building political support in ethnically divided societies. For
such ethnic entrepreneurs, playing upon the “fear of domination by ethnic
strangers” can help to consolidate a political following among members of

26 27 Uvin 1998, p. 166. 28 29
Ibid., p. 402. Ibid., pp. 166“167. Ibid., p. 172.
30 31 Dahl 1982, p. 1.
Problems and Solutions

their own ethnic group, encouraging other ethnic groups and leaders to re-
spond in kind and resulting in the polarization of the emerging democracy™s
party system along mutually exclusive ethnic lines.32 Jack Snyder has ex-
plored this dynamic in depth, showing how “political entrepreneurs who
want to gain mass support to seize or strengthen state power ¬nd that tra-
ditional cultural networks based on a common religion or language provide
convenient channels to mobilize backers.”33 The strategy is most likely to
succeed, according to Snyder, “when the democratizing country is poor, when
its citizens lack the skills needed for successful democratic participation, and
when its representative institutions, political parties, and journalistic profes-
sionalism are weakly established during the early phase of the democratic
transition.”34 It is a particularly dangerous strategy because “exclusionary
forms of nationalism often make enemies of the excluded groups.”35 At the
very least, the emergence of ethnically based party systems in a transitional
democracy can make the mediation of intergroup differences and interests
more dif¬cult.36 At worst, elites™ efforts to persuade ordinary people to ac-
cept divisive nationalist ideas can increase the danger of ethnic violence and
failed democratization.37
Recent studies of the polarizing effects of ethnic entrepreneurs in democ-
ratizing states have focused on Africa, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet
Union.38 Yugoslavia™s abortive attempt to democratize at the end of the Cold
War offers a particularly striking illustration of this pathology. The power
of the central government in the Yugoslav federation had been weak rela-
tive to the other communist states of Eastern Europe, even before the death
of Marshal Tito in 1980. But the centrifugal tendencies of regionalism and
ethnic nationalism remained largely under control until the end of the Cold
War, when the Yugoslav communist party “ and the communist ideology
of the ruling elite “ disintegrated and plans for democratic elections were
drawn up. The easiest strategy for establishing political support in the post-
communist Yugoslavia was through appeals to ethnic unity and communal
fears. As Bogdan Denitch writes, “the new politicians did not build their
programs out of wholly new materials. Rather, they used whatever politi-
cal materials were available in the conscience of the electorate, and what
was available was, by and large, pretty terrible, or at the very least inap-
propriate for democratic politics and pluralist give-and-take in what was a
complicated, modern, multinational federation.”39
In all six of the country™s constituent republics “ Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia,
Bosnia, Macedonia, and Montenegro “ nationalist leaders employed rhetoric
of intolerance and hatred in the lead-up to the 1990 elections, stirring up

32 Horowitz 1985, pp. 188, 306, and 323 (quotation from p. 188); and Sisk 1995, p. 23.
33 34 Ibid., p. 37. 35 Ibid., p. 66. 36 Horowitz 1985, p. 298.
Snyder 2000, p. 271.
37 38 For example, Ottaway 1994; Roeder 1998; and Snyder 2000.
Snyder 2000, p. 32.
39 Denitch 1996, p. 157.
The Limits of Wilsonianism 163

long-suppressed ethnic fears and “prepar[ing] the way for war by emphasiz-
ing group danger.”40 The strategy was stunningly successful: The electorate
became polarized along ethnic lines, and politicians who campaigned on a
nationalist platform won easily in all of the republics. In gaining victory at
the polls, these politicians unleashed forces that led ultimately to the vio-
lent disintegration of Yugoslavia and a prolonged civil war in Bosnia. The
American ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmermann, summed up
the impact of the 1990 elections bluntly: “In bringing nationalism to power,
the elections helped to snuff out the very ¬‚ame of democracy that had been
In this way, Yugoslavia™s ethnic entrepreneurs exploited the country™s new
civil and political freedoms to mobilize support by rousing xenophobic na-
tionalism, illustrating a danger that one commentator calls the “dark side
of democracy” in ethnically divided societies.42 It is the elite-level counter-
part of “bad civil society” pathology “ instead of grassroots mobilization of
intolerant and antidemocratic private associations from the “bottom up,”
this pathology involves political leaders encouraging hatred from the “top
down.” Societies in the earliest phases of liberalization, where ethnic identi-
ties are stronger than democratic traditions, seem to be particularly vulner-
able to such mobilization strategies. As Susan Woodward explains:

In a world of competing symbols and personalities at a point of political transition,
nationalism has a particular advantage. The message is simple and can be largely
emotional. It relies on the familiar, using little time or money to develop a new
political language appropriate to the new times of democratic governance and to
communicate or explain the complexities of policy for an entire social and economic
transformation. Nationalist appeals thus provide the easiest route to political visibil-
ity for politicians without established constituencies.43

Elections as Focal Points for Harmful Competition
In similar ways, democratic elections can serve as catalysts and focal points
for destructive competition among factions and groups in a transitional coun-
try. In the best cases, elections help to channel societal con¬‚icts through
peaceful political institutions, and in so doing they replace the breaking
of heads with the counting of heads. We saw in the case studies of peace-
building, however, that democratic elections can also polarize the electorate,
exacerbate existing societal con¬‚icts, weaken the prospects for further de-
mocratization, and even precipitate large-scale violence. This problem is not
limited to Angola, Rwanda, and Bosnia: In the Sudan, elections provided an
opportunity for fundamentalist groups, such as the Islamic National Front, to
“use the rhetoric of Islamic revival” in order to gain political power, thereby

40 41 Zimmermann 1996, p. 68.
Woodward 1995, pp. 132“134 and 233.
42 43 Woodward 1995, p. 124.
Mann 2001, p. 83.
Problems and Solutions

reinforcing the ethnic, regional, and religious tensions that continue to fuel
the country™s civil war.44 In Ethiopia, an attempt by the Tigrean People™s
Liberation Front to exclude other ethnic parties from participating in the
June 1992 elections elicited renewed violence from the excluded parties.45 In
Sri Lanka, voters helped precipitate civil war by turning out in large num-
bers for radical Sinhala-based parties and Tamil-supported movements.46 In
Papua New Guinea, democratic elections have invariably exacerbated com-
munal tensions and fueled political violence in the country by reinforcing
the “tribalization” of electorates.47 Elections have also served as an “indis-
pensable prelude to civil war” in Nigeria, Uganda, Chad, and Pakistan.48
Violence and damaging polarization are by no means the inevitable result
of holding elections, even in the most ethnically divided societies. “Ties of
blood do not lead ineluctably to rivers of blood,” as Donald Horowitz puts
it.49 But elections “ including elections conducted in a “free and fair” man-
ner “ do have the potential to cause violence and impede democratization.
This observation challenges the tendency of many people in government,
international organizations, academia, and NGOs to portray elections as
inherently helpful in promoting democracy and peace.50 While it is true
that periodic and genuine elections are a necessary precondition for liberal
democracy, to place one™s faith in the universally bene¬cial effects of elections
is to oversimplify and mischaracterize the complex and sometimes negative
relationship between voting and peace. Terry Lynn Karl labels this faith
“electoralism,” or the belief that “merely holding elections will channel po-
litical action into peaceful contests among elites and accord public legitimacy
to the winners in these contests.”51 A more realistic view would recognize
that elections can be either bene¬cial or detrimental, and that vote-driven
violence is one of the pathologies of liberalization.

Saboteurs and Failed Transitions
Elections can also serve to legitimize the power of politicians who use their
new status as freely elected leaders to sabotage their own country™s transition
to democracy so that they will never again face a democratic challenge.52
Not only did this predicament mar the outcome of the Cambodian and
Liberian peacebuilding operations; it has also occurred in other parts of sub-
Saharan Africa and in the former Soviet bloc. In the late 1990s, students
of democratization began to note the emergence of a new form of regime

44 Chiriyankandath 1991, p. 84. The 1986 elections, in particular, strengthened the position of
Islamist parties who insist on retaining sharia, or Islamic law, which non-Muslims in southern
Sudan have been ¬ghting against. See Salih 1991; and Deng 1995.
45 NDIIA and AAI 1992, p. 4; Ottaway 1994, p. 22; and Ottaway 1995, pp. 238“239.
46 Snyder 2000, pp. 275“280; and DeVotta 2002.
47 Strathearn 1993, p. 49; Dinnen 1996; and Standish 1996.
48 49 Horowitz 1985, p. 684. 50 Carothers 2002.
Horowitz 1991, p. 97.
51 52 Walzer 1996.
Karl 2000, p. 95.
The Limits of Wilsonianism 165

occupying a “gray zone” between liberal democracy and dictatorship, in
which elected leaders maintain a veneer of democracy but in practice use
violence and threats of violence to suppress political dissent and opposition,
thereby preserving the uncontested power of one-party, or in some cases
one-man, regimes.53
Mauritania provides an example. In 1991, the military ruler of the West
African country, Colonel Ould Taya, announced his plans to hold multiparty
elections the following year. In order to reduce his chances of losing, Ould
Taya personally drafted a new constitution (arresting and temporarily exiling
to remote villages the opposition™s major leaders) and manipulated the ¬eld
of presidential candidates by “¬‚ooding the market” with pro-government
candidates.54 After winning the election with 63 percent of the vote, the
president reverted to “open repression and judicial machinations” to un-
dermine his opponents.55 In late 2000, dozens of students and intellectuals
accused of a graf¬ti campaign against the regime were reportedly arrested
and tortured, and a major opposition party was banned.56 Nevertheless,
Mauritania continues to exhibit many of the “trappings” of democracy, in-
cluding a National Assembly and Senate.57
Like many countries whose transitions to democracy have been sabo-
taged, Mauritania illustrates the rise of what one commentator calls “pseu-
dodemocracy”58 and another “the new authoritarianism,”59 characterized
by authoritarian leaders manipulating the language and symbols of democ-
racy and human rights to conceal the repressive and noncompetitive reality of
their regimes. Other countries in this category include Cameroon, Burkina
Faso, Equatorial Guinea, Tanzania, Gabon, Kenya, Armenia, Azerbaijan,
Georgia, Kyrgystan, and Kazakhstan.60 In addition, there are numerous, less
ambiguous examples of elected leaders subverting their own democracies and
reestablishing outright dictatorial rule, including Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan,
Belarus, and Togo.
One of the hazards of pseudodemocracy is that populations subject to the
doublespeak of democratic rhetoric and repressive rule may become disillu-
sioned with the idea of democracy itself. Where democracy is still “young
and fragile,” chronic dissatisfaction and alienation can be an obstacle to
consolidation.61 Another danger is the possibility that reversions to authori-
tarian rule may reinforce historical patterns of con¬‚ict in some war-shattered
states, as seen in Cambodia and Liberia. More generally, the ability of newly
elected leaders to purposely subvert democratic openings highlights the in-
adequacy of the rushed democratization formula that peacebuilders applied
in the 1990s.

53 For example, Diamond 1996; Ihonvbere 1996b; Kaplan 1997; Zakaria 1997 and 2003;
Schedler 2002; and Carothers 2002.
54 55 Ibid., p. 94. 56 Ibid., pp. 88“89. 57 Ibid.
N™Diaye 2001, p. 92.
58 59 Kaplan 1997. 60 Carothers 2002, p. 13. 61 Diamond 2001.
Diamond 1996.
Problems and Solutions

The Dangers of Economic Liberalization
Economic liberalization is also full of pitfalls. Most developing countries
that initiate major marketization programs do so under the auspices of one
or both of the Bretton Woods institutions, which offer structural-adjustment
loans aimed at creating the conditions for market-driven growth.62 As noted
in Chapter 1, these adjustment programs typically require recipient states
to undertake a number of institutional and economic reforms, including the
privatization of state-owned enterprises; the reduction or elimination of sub-
sidies and other market-distorting government interventions in the domestic
economy; the liberalization of regulatory structures, including barriers to
international trade and investment and constraints on the domestic labor
market; and reductions in overall government spending, which often involve
cuts in public-sector employment.
Since the early 1980s, when the idea of linking international ¬nancial
assistance to neoliberal adjustment formulas ¬rst took hold, scholars have
debated the effects of structural-adjustment programs on the recipient states.
This debate has focused on two main issues: the in¬‚uence of these programs
on economic growth rates; and the so-called social effects of adjustment,
or the impact on poverty levels, distributional inequalities, and vulnerable
sectors of recipient country populations. Twenty years after the advent of
structural adjustment, the quarrel over both of these issues remains largely
unresolved: Neither the IMF nor the World Bank has been able to demon-
strate convincingly that structural-adjustment programs promote economic
growth,63 and the precise relationship between these programs and levels of
poverty and distributional inequality is still hotly contested.64
While structural adjustment may or may not create the conditions for sus-
tainable economic growth in the long term, there is widespread agreement
that it usually imposes signi¬cant social costs in the short term. Most stud-
ies have shown that in addition to adversely affecting some groups within
recipient states “ including those most dependent on government subsidies
and social spending “ market-oriented adjustment policies have tended to
worsen the overall distribution of wealth, widening the gap between rich
and poor.65 Manuel Pastor and Michael Conroy explain:

Wages tend to fall, both because of rising employment caused by demand contraction
and because of real devaluation that raises the costs of imports. Fiscal retrenchment,
in the form of increased taxes and reduced government subsidies, tends to have a

62 63 Milward 2000a; and Easterly 2001.
Milward 2000b.
64 On the dif¬culties of measuring the distributional impacts of structural adjustment, see
Roemer and Radelet 1991; Thomas 1993; and Faruqee and Husain 1994.
65 See Cornia, Jolly, and Stewart 1987; Richards and Waterbury 1990, p. 47; Nelson 1994;
Walton and Seddon 1994; Bener´a and Mendoza 1995; Gayi 1995, pp. 79“80; Karl 1995;
Morley 1995a and 1995b; Engberg-Pedersen et al. 1996; Nonneman 1996, pp. 3“30; Bird
and Helwege 1997; D´az 1997; Heredia 1997; Peeler 1998, p. 151; and Milanovic 1999.
The Limits of Wilsonianism 167

regressive effect, because the easiest taxes to raise and collect are often sales and
value-added taxes, which fall more heavily on lower-income consumers.66

In some cases, increased income inequality results directly from large-scale
public-sector layoffs, which serve to “hollow out” the middle-income sectors
of a transitional society.67 For these and other reasons, the “neoliberal cure”
prescribed by international ¬nancial institutions is almost always a painful
There is also extensive evidence that the economic dislocations and asym-
metrical effects of marketization programs on different groups in transitional
societies can spawn political unrest and violence.69 Examples of countries
in which structural-adjustment policies were greeted by violent protests and
riots include Brazil, Egypt, Jordan, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Peru, Sudan,
Tunisia, Venezuela, and Zambia.70 Such policies also appear to have exac-
erbated intercommunal divisions in a number of places, including Tanzania,
where the worsening of religious and racial tensions has been linked to these
policies.71 Rapid economic liberalization seemed to have similar effects in
some of the peacebuilding host states I have pro¬led in this book, including
Rwanda and Yugoslavia, where internationally mandated austerity measures
fostered an atmosphere of economic insecurity that strained intergroup re-
lations in the vital period leading up to a genocide in the former and the
violent disintegration of the latter; and which appear to be reproducing con-
ditions that have traditionally spurred con¬‚ict in Nicaragua, El Salvador,
and Guatemala.
It is worth emphasizing that marketization policies do not inevitably un-
dermine social cohesion, nor do they prove that violence is “an essential
and permanent feature of the capitalist economy.”72 But the record of these
policies in peacebuilding host states and in other states does suggest that eco-
nomic liberalization can exacerbate societal tensions and endanger domestic
peace in countries undergoing these reforms. Underlying these destabilizing
effects is a simple fact: Capitalism, as we have already noted, is inherently
competitive. It inevitably creates winners and losers, which can fuel social
unrest. As Seymour Martin Lipset puts it, the market system “at best . . . holds
out the promise of an unrigged lottery, but as in all such contests, the jackpots
go to a minority of players.”73
Social tensions arising from the marketization process can also imperil
concurrent democratization efforts. Many studies ¬nd strong associations

66 67 Milanovic 1999. 68 Przeworski 1993, p. 50.
Pastor and Conroy 1996, p. 159.
69 Walton and Seddon 1994.
70 Haggard and Kaufman 1992, p. 337; Skogly 1993, pp. 751“778; Walton and Seddon 1994;
Adekanye 1995, p. 368; Ake 1996, p. 118; Ihonvbere 1996a, pp. 196“197; Jeong 1996,
pp. 155“167; Wright 1997, p. 27; and van de Walle 1997, pp. 26“29.
71 72 This claim is made by Salmi 1993, p. 119.
Kaiser 1996; and Ake 1996, p. 118.
73 Lipset 1993, p. 129.
Problems and Solutions

between high levels of income inequality and the disintegration of demo-
cratic governments.74 Market-oriented reforms often exact a particularly
high price from precisely those organized groups “ university students, pro-
fessionals, civil servants, and urban workers “ who usually form the core of
pro-democracy movements.75

To varying degrees, the problems described in this section can af¬‚ict any
country undergoing a transition to market democracy, but before spelling
out the implications of these pathologies for postcon¬‚ict peacebuilding, two
questions must be addressed: Is there any reason to believe that war-shattered
states are particularly prone to these pathologies? And if so, what can be

The Vulnerability of War-Shattered States
There are three reasons why the process of democratization and mar-
ketization may be especially disruptive in countries just emerging from
civil wars. First, war-shattered states begin the liberalization process with
particularly intense societal con¬‚icts already in place. Domestic peace
consequently tends to be more fragile in these states than in other de-
veloping countries, and the stimulation of further political and eco-
nomic contestation correspondingly more dangerous. Second, war-shattered
states typically lack natural “con¬‚ict dampeners” that exist elsewhere, in-
cluding a tradition of nonviolent dispute resolution. Third, countries just
emerging from civil wars often lack effective governmental institutions that
might otherwise help to contain and manage the pathologies of liberaliza-
tion. (See Figure 9.2.)

Intense Societal Con¬‚icts
States with intense societal con¬‚icts appear to be less well-equipped than
others to withstand the competition-inducing effects of democratization and
marketization. The intensity of societal con¬‚icts can be arrayed along a
spectrum, “depending on how strongly committed the partisans are about
the goals they wish to reach, how hostile they feel toward each other, and how
much they want to harm and injure each other.”76 At one end of the spec-
trum are low-intensity con¬‚icts77 involving friendly competition in which
the partisans are not strongly committed to a particular outcome and not
hostile toward their rivals. Access to desirable picnic sites in public parks, for

74 Muller 1988 and 1995; Muller and Seligson 1994; Lakoff 1996, p. 292; and Robinson 1996,
p. 344.
75 76 Kriegsberg 1973, p. 6.
Sandbrook 1996, p. 69.
77 Not to be confused with low-intensity armed con¬‚icts, which necessarily involve the use of
The Limits of Wilsonianism 169

1. Intense Societal Con¬‚icts

2. Weak Con¬‚ict Dampeners

3. Ineffective Political Institutions

¬gure 9.2. Three Common Problems in War-Torn States

example, may pit one group™s interests against another™s and even prompt the
creation of a regulatory system of permits and fees to govern the allotment
of this shared resource. At the other end of the spectrum are higher-intensity
con¬‚icts in which partisans are so committed to achieving the desired out-
come that they seek the physical destruction of their rivals. As expected,
states with intense social con¬‚icts are more prone to internal unrest and
violence than are other states.78
Few states suffer from more intense societal con¬‚icts than those in which
groups have recently been killing each other, and not surprisingly, these states
are particularly prone to experiencing further civil violence. “It is an empir-
ical regularity,” note Paul Collier and Nicholas Sambanis, “that the risk of
war recurrence in postwar societies is higher than the risk of onset of a new
war in countries with no prior war history.”79 Accordingly, peacebuilders
have tried to inoculate such societies against further violence by promoting
political and economic liberalization. But stimulating political and economic
contestation in places that already suffer from intense societal con¬‚icts can
be dangerous, particularly if democratization spurs destructive forms of po-
litical mobilization, including “bad civil society,” ethnic entrepreneurship,
polarization, and violence. States that begin the transition to market democ-
racy with lower levels of intergroup tensions are generally better equipped
to withstand the competition-inducing effects of the liberalization process
without slipping into violence. Simply put, there seems to be less “room”
for political and economic contestation in deeply con¬‚icted societies.

Weak Con¬‚ict Dampeners
War-shattered states also tend to lack two key domestic attributes that often
serve as countervailing and moderating in¬‚uences on societal con¬‚ict. The
¬rst of these is the existence of a tradition, or culture, of peaceful dispute
resolution. Societies typically hold different beliefs about the uses of politi-
cal violence in speci¬c situations, beliefs they acquire through experience.80
Where violence is viewed as an illegitimate and intolerable form of political

78 ¨
Leatherman, DeMars, Gaffney, and Vayrynen 1999, chap. 4.
79 Collier and Sambanis 2002, p. 5.
80 Gurr 1970, p. 155. See also Ross 1993, p. 2; and Kriegsberg 1998, p. 29.
Problems and Solutions

expression, societal con¬‚icts are less likely to escalate into open violence.
Karl Deustch calls this a “security community” “ one in which people have a
“dependable expectation” that social problems will be addressed “without
resort to large-scale physical force.”81 Others have talked about the tradition
of “civility” “ or the willingness to view political opponents as fellow citi-
zens worthy of respect “ as an impediment to communal violence.82 These
arguments have a clear basis in social psychology: Viewing one™s adversaries
as members of a morally inferior “outgroup” has been shown to be a “pre-
condition for harmdoing.”83
It follows that countries characterized by high levels of “civility” and by
taboos against the use of violence in the resolution of political disputes should
be partially insulated from the disruptive effects of liberalization “ because,
all other things being equal, social con¬‚icts are less likely to escalate into
open violence. As Larry Diamond, Juan Linz, and Seymour Martin Lipset

If political freedom and competition are not to descend into extremism, polarization,
and violence, there must be mechanisms to contain con¬‚ict within certain behavioral
boundaries. One of the most important factors in this regard is a country™s political
culture; that is, the beliefs and values concerning politics that prevail within both the
elite and the mass.84

War-shattered states tend to be particularly lacking in cultural constraints
on violent behavior that might otherwise help to contain democratic and
capitalist competition within peaceful bounds. While nothing precludes the
construction or reconstruction of “civility,” this process takes time, and dur-
ing the immediate postcon¬‚ict period, formerly warring parties typically still
regard each other with distrust, detestation, and fear.85 Further, the experi-
ence of intercommunal killing tends to destroy any existing taboos on the
use of violence in politics.86 For these reasons, war-shattered states tend to
have particularly weak cultural con¬‚ict dampeners, which might otherwise
help to insulate them from the disruptive effects of liberalization.
In addition to cultural attitudes, the “cleavage structure” of a society (or
the number and depth of divisions among the various communities that com-
prise the state) might also serve to dampen or intensify societal con¬‚icts. A
country with “cross-cutting” cleavages is one in which political, ideologi-
cal, ethnic, racial, religious, or linguistic divisions overlap one another, such

81 Deutsch et al. 1957, p. 5. As Deutsch notes, the creation of a security community requires
that its members learn “habits” of peaceful con¬‚ict resolution (p. 37). Nonviolence, in other
words, can be a learned or cultural attribute of a society. Deutsch applied these concepts to
relations across borders, but they are relevant to conditions within warring states as well.
82 For example, Shils 1991, pp. 12“13; and Bryant 1993, p. 399.
83 See, for example, Staub 1989, pp. 48“49 and 60“62.
84 85 Maynard 1997.
Diamond, Linz, and Lipset 1990, p. 16. See also Lipset 1994, p. 3.
86 Lumsden 1997.
The Limits of Wilsonianism 171

that individuals on opposite sides of one divisive issue are often allies on
another issue. By contrast, when the principal subgroup divisions reinforce
one another very closely, the society can be described as having a “cumu-
lative” cleavage structure. Individuals in such a society tend to be divided
into clearly separated communities, in contrast to the overlapping group
memberships that characterize countries with cross-cutting cleavages.
An increase in the level of competition and contestation tends to follow
existing lines of social division, thus reinforcing the existing structure of
cross-cutting or cumulative cleavages.87 Consider the example of India and
Sri Lanka. Although the cleavages in Indian society are often described solely
in terms of the schism between Hindus and Muslims, this depiction is in fact
inaccurate: Many other divisions including class and regional af¬liations
actually transcend the Hindu“Muslim rift, and these cross-cutting cleavages
appear to have discouraged most Indian politicians from seeking to build
electoral support by mobilizing the population along religious lines. Even
the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which became the lead-
ing partner in a coalition government in 1998, was able to attract national
support only by putting “its ideology on the shelf”88 and by promoting con-
ciliatory policies aimed at securing votes in the country™s South and East,
“where the Hindu-Muslim rivalry is of limited appeal.”89 Thus, while reli-
gious violence continues to be a problem in India, the cross-cutting character
of the country™s social con¬‚icts appears to diminish the political payoffs to
ethnic entrepreneurs.
In Sri Lanka, on the other hand, prevailing linguistic, regional, religious,
ethnic, and class cleavages are mutually reinforcing and have “cumulatively”
divided the country™s Sinhalese and Tamil communities. As a result, the pro-
cess of political liberalization in Sri Lanka has fostered further competition
along the Sinhalese“Tamil lines as voters democratically cast their votes for
ethnic parties “intent on con¬‚ict.”90 Thus, while India™s cross-cutting cleav-
ages seem to have limited the prospects for political mobilization along ex-
clusionist ethnic lines, democratization efforts in Sri Lanka, where cleavages
are more cumulative, appear to have deepened and perpetuated that coun-
try™s seemingly intractable ethnic violence.
Some writers have gone so far as to argue that democracy “is simply not
viable in an environment of intense ethnic preferences.”91 Yet it is worth
noting that democratic political institutions have survived, albeit tenuously,
in conditions of intense ethnic loyalties (Malaysia, Belgium) and even in
the midst of ethnic violence (India, Philippines).92 Liberalization does not

87 ¨
Leatherman, DeMars, Gaffney, and Vayrynen 1999, pp. 59“60.
88 89 Schaffer and Saigal-Arora 1999, p. 146.
Raman 2000.
90 91 Rabushka and Shepsle 1972, p. 86.
Austin 1994, p. 3
92 As Charles Beitz (1981) points out, the academic literature on the “preconditions for democ-
racy” has identi¬ed a wide range of contextual factors that increase or diminish the prospects
Problems and Solutions

inevitably spawn violence, nor is democratization doomed to failure even in
the most deeply divided societies.
A more plausible argument is offered by Harvey Glickman, who contends
that ethnic con¬‚ict can readily coexist with “institutions of democratic gov-
ernment if [the ethnic con¬‚ict] ¬nds expression as a group interest among
other interests.”93 His point is that the existence of cross-cutting cleavages
can help to offset even deeply rooted intercommunal divisions and thereby
facilitate peaceful democratization. Although Glickman is more optimistic
than some others about the possibility of successful liberalization in deeply
divided societies, he acknowledges that this process tends to be more dif¬cult
and dangerous in countries with cumulative social cleavages. All else being
equal, we should expect countries with cumulative cleavage structures to be
more susceptible to the pathologies of liberalization than are countries with
cross-cutting cleavage structures.
The problem is that war-shattered states normally suffer from deep and
cumulative social cleavages.94 As Chaim Kaufmann and others have shown,
large-scale violence almost always serves to “harden” narrow and exclusive
social identities.95 When intercommunal killing starts, social groupings and
identities that transcend the boundaries of the warring communities tend
to become delegitimized; the possibility of multiple-group memberships di-
minishes, as individuals are compelled by social pressures or overt threats to
identify themselves exclusively with one camp. I shall argue in Chapter 10
that Kaufmann exaggerates the rigidity and permanence of the resulting so-
cial cleavages, and that wartime communal divisions may, over the long term,
be transcended and eroded through the growth of new overlapping associa-
tions. But in the period immediately following the termination of hostilities,
when peacebuilding operations are launched, war-shattered states tend to

for the survival of democracy, but none that makes democracy impossible. Lipset (1994, p. 17)
makes a similar observation.
93 Glickman 1995, p. 3 (emphasis added).
94 Although not all civil wars take place along ethnic lines, the experience of ¬ghting a civil
con¬‚ict inevitably sharpens the boundary between warring communities within a state. These
communities may be de¬ned primarily by ascriptive characteristics, such as ethnicity (as in
Rwanda), religion (as in the former Yugoslavia), race (as in Namibia), or tribe (as in Liberia
and Angola), or they may be based mainly in regional rivalries, socioeconomic class, or
ideology (as in Central America, Cambodia, and Mozambique). Many observers argue that
“identity con¬‚icts,” or those rooted in ascriptive differences, are generally more dif¬cult
to resolve than “nonidentity con¬‚icts,” because ethnicity, race, religion, and tribe are more
resilient ¬laments of group attachment than are ideology, class, or residence. Indeed, among
the eleven peacebuilding case studies we examined in the previous chapters, those countries
in which warring groups de¬ned themselves primarily by ascriptive characteristics tended
to also be the least successful in making the transition from war to stable and lasting peace.
But more generally, whether a particular civil war is identity based or not, countries just
emerging from internal con¬‚icts tend to be deeply polarized.
95 Kaufmann 1996b, p. 153.
The Limits of Wilsonianism 173

be deeply polarized. Put differently, countries just emerging from civil strife
typically lack the network of cross-cutting cleavages that might otherwise
help to moderate the disruptive effects of postcon¬‚ict liberalization.

Ineffective Political Institutions
Finally, war-shattered states tend to lack effective political institutions “ that
is, the formal apparatus of the state: constitutions, executives, legislatures,
bureaucracies, courts, and the like. States with “ineffective” or “weak” polit-
ical institutions are commonly de¬ned as those that lack the capability to im-
plement policies, or to process societal demands into authoritative decisions,
or to maintain the rule of law.96 Ineffective institutions can lead to a “secu-
rity dilemma” in which societal groups cannot rely on the state to defend
them against their enemies and consequently have an incentive to mobilize
for war in self-defense. One group™s preparation for war generates a corre-
sponding fear among its rivals, who respond by enhancing their own military
capacities. The result can be a spiral to ethnic war.97
Functioning political institutions are required not only to overcome the
“security dilemma” but also to reconcile competing societal demands. If
institutions are incapable of processing societal “inputs” into authoritative
“outputs,” individuals and groups will likely seek to pursue their interests
through more direct means “ that is, extrainstitutionally.98 The ability of such
institutions to respond to con¬‚icting demands is especially important in times
of rapid change, such as during periods of rapid liberalization. Students of
international development have found that the marketization process is more
likely to be completed in countries whose governmental institutions have
the capacity to “identify problems, formulate policies to respond to them,
implement activities in pursuit of policy goals, and sustain these activities
over time.”99 Failed efforts at economic reform, according to this line of
argument, have stemmed in part from an absence of technical expertise and
administrative ef¬ciency. Thus, an effective bureaucracy may be necessary
to implement the policy changes associated with economic reform and to
uphold the system of rules that market economies require in order to function
smoothly “ including the enforcement of contracts and the mechanisms for
resolving disputes and regulating monopolies.100
Another group of scholars have pointed out that successful democratiza-
tion also depends upon the existence of “a functioning state” with a “useable
bureaucracy,” and that nascent democracies would be less likely to survive if

96 On strong versus weak states, see Jackson and Rosberg 1982; and Evans, Rueschemeyer,
and Skocpol 1985.
97 98 Easton 1965.
Byman and Van Evera 1998, pp. 37“38; and Snyder and Jervis 1999.
99 Hilderbrand and Grindle 1997, p. 31. See also World Bank 1994 and 1997; Brautigam
100 Kochanowicz 1994.
Problems and Solutions

newly elected leaders lacked the institutional apparatus necessary to exercise
a “monopoly on the legitimate use of force,” to “command, to regulate, and
to extract tax revenues,” and to “coordinate the relations among contending
social and economic interests.”101 Although these writers acknowledge that
excessive governmental power can itself endanger democracy, they neverthe-
less contend that successful transitions to democracy demand some minimal
level of institutional effectiveness in order to implement and sustain the re-
forms themselves.
War-shattered states undergoing simultaneous democratization and mar-
ketization tend to lack effective political institutions; indeed, some emerge
from civil con¬‚icts with no functioning political institutions at all. Intercom-
munal violence is the antithesis of “normal” institutionalized politics, as the
warring parties pursue their interests not through rule-governed procedures
involving negotiation and compromise but by seeking to physically destroy
their opponents. As a result, prewar political institutions rarely survive these
con¬‚icts intact, and where institutions do survive “ as in the case of the dos
Santos regime in Angola “ they tend to be little more than an appendage
of a combatant group, staffed with factional loyalists who are dedicated to
prosecuting the war rather than mediating societal differences through in-
stitutionalized politics, and are consequently viewed as illegitimate by their
In either case “ where there are effectively no functioning political in-
stitutions in a war-shattered state or where remnant institutions have been
co-opted by one of the parties to the former con¬‚ict “ international peace-
builders have attempted to rebuild institutional capacity by promoting mul-
tiparty democracy. In doing so, however, they have encountered a dilemma:
Some of the techniques to promote democracy have, as we have seen, stim-
ulated increased societal competition at the same time that new institutions
are being established. In other words, without the presence of effective po-
litical institutions, war-shattered states may be faced with the destabilizing
effects of liberalization before they have developed the institutional capacity
to manage these instabilities.
Samuel Huntington made a similar observation in Political Order in Chang-
ing Societies, ¬rst published in 1968: Violence and instability frequently oc-
curred in developing countries due to the effects of “rapid social change and
rapid mobilization of new groups coupled with the slow development of

101 Diamond, Linz, and Lipset 1990, p. 23; Haggard and Kaufman 1995, p. 335; and Linz and
Stepan 1996, pp. 19“20.
102 Legitimacy, according to Juan Linz (1978, p. 16), is “the belief that in spite of shortcomings
and failures, the existing political institutions are better than any others that might be
established, and that they therefore can command obedience.” The perceived legitimacy of
a political institution tends to increase compliance with the institution™s outputs, and thereby
enhances the institution™s effectiveness. See Lipset 1981, p. 64; and Linz 1988, p. 65.
The Limits of Wilsonianism 175

political institutions.”103 Huntington was referring to urbanization, indus-
trialization, and increased levels of literacy and education, but his argument
could be applied more generally to the competition-inducing effects of de-
mocratization and marketization in war-shattered states, which also tend
to lack effective political institutions.104 I shall revisit Huntington™s thesis
in the next chapter, but for now, suf¬ce it to say that countries just emerg-
ing from civil wars typically lack the institutional capacity to manage social
con¬‚icts and maintain domestic order during the process of democratization
and marketization.
To summarize, there are good reasons to believe that war-shattered states
are particularly prone to destabilizing pathologies that sometimes arise dur-
ing transitions to liberal market democracy. In addition to suffering from
very intense societal con¬‚icts, these states tend to possess neither a culture of
peaceful dispute resolution nor cross-cutting social cleavages, and they typi-
cally emerge from civil wars with weak or nonexistent political institutions.
Given these conditions, why should we expect the process of political and
economic liberalization, which encourages societal competition, to have a
pacifying effect on war-shattered states? If anything, we should expect the

The Faulty Assumptions of Wilsonianism
Peacebuilders in the 1990s apparently failed to anticipate the destabilizing
potential of democratization and marketization in countries that had just
emerged from civil wars, and consequently failed to take preemptive action
speci¬cally designed to avert the pathologies of liberalization. The standard
peacebuilding formula involved holding postcon¬‚ict elections and launching
a full range of market-oriented economic reforms, followed by a declaration
of peacebuilding “success” and the termination of the operation usually
within two or three years of its creation.105 As we have seen, not only did
this formula fail to produce stable and lasting peace in most of the countries
that hosted missions, but it was also based on an overly optimistic view of the

103 Huntington 1968, p. 4.
104 In recent years, a number of scholars have pursued this line of reasoning: In addition to
Sheri Berman™s work on Weimar Germany (see Berman 1997), Richard Rose and Don Chull
Shin (2001) have attributed the cause of stalled democratization efforts in Russia, the Czech
Republic, and Korea to the fact that these countries held elections before the “institutions
of the modern state” were fully secured. This argument also reappears under a slightly
different guise in writings claiming that countries with higher levels of “state capacity” are
better equipped to manage the transition to democracy and capitalism than are countries
with ineffective institutions (see n. 96).
105 The principal exception is the Bosnia mission, which continued to operate at the time of
this writing, six years after its deployment. For further discussion of this mission, see the
next chapter.
Problems and Solutions

pacifying effects of liberalization in war-shattered states and on insuf¬cient
attention to the pathologies of this process.
It is interesting to note that international peacebuilders seemed to re-
produce the ¬‚awed logic of “modernization theory,” which dominated the
thinking of American policymakers and scholars about international aid poli-
cies during the 1950s and 1960s, and which optimistically but incorrectly
predicted that economic growth in developing countries would naturally cul-
minate in liberal capitalist economies and stable polities resembling Western
democracies.106 Writing in 1973, Robert Packenham critiqued moderniza-
tion theory™s erroneous premise that “all good things go together,” referring
to the widespread but false expectation that the transition to market democ-
racy, once initiated, would be largely self-reinforcing and unproblematic.107
The same critique can be applied to the practice of peacebuilding in the
1990s: The liberalization process can, it seems, exacerbate rather than mod-
erate con¬‚icts in countries just emerging from civil wars.

However, it would be unfair to hold the peacebuilding agencies solely
responsible for the failure to anticipate, and forestall, these destabilizing
effects. The ideas that informed peacebuilding in the 1990s were widely
shared within academic and policymaking circles at the end of the Cold War:
namely, the notion that liberal market democracy offered a general recipe for
peace, both within, and between, states. The weaknesses of peacebuilding
described here re¬‚ected problems in the underlying theory of peacebuilding:
the liberal peace thesis itself.
In Chapter 1, I traced the development of this thesis from the eighteenth
century to the present, noting the resurgent interest in the ideas of these
philosophers and other thinkers during the latter part of the twentieth cen-
tury. I also argued that recent scholarship on the liberal peace differed from
the work of the classical liberals in at least one important respect: Rather
than theorizing about the conditions necessary to lift societies out of a “state
of nature” (a subject typical of classical liberalism), contemporary students
of the liberal peace have tended to take the existence of functioning states as
a given, allowing them to focus on the question of whether certain govern-
mental regime types (democratic, authoritarian, etc.) or economic systems
(market-oriented, state-directed, mixed, etc.) tend to be more peaceful than
others. Because the recent scholarship has largely ignored the problem of con-
stituting governments, little guidance has been provided to those concerned
with building stable market democracies virtually from scratch.
By contrast, earlier versions of the liberal peace thesis tackled this prob-
lem directly. Classical liberals from John Locke to James Madison argued
that limitations on governmental power, and respect for individual liberties,

106 For an overview of modernization theory, see So 1990, pp. 17“87.
107 Packenham 1973.
The Limits of Wilsonianism 177

were necessary but not suf¬cient conditions for the establishment of durably
peaceful and just societies. The other necessary condition was effective gov-
ernment, or state institutions capable of upholding the rule of law and of
protecting society against external and internal threats. The alternative, ar-
gued Locke, was the “state of nature” “ a world “full of fears and continual
dangers” due to the lack of central authority.108 In this respect, most classical
liberals shared Thomas Hobbes™s conviction that domestic peace could not
be achieved, or maintained, in the absence of effective government. They
sought to tame Hobbes™s absolutist sovereign “ to impose constitutional
constraints on the exercise of power by a central authority “ but they never
dispensed with the Leviathan. On the contrary, reconciling the dual (and
often con¬‚icting) imperatives of limited and effective government became
a leitmotiv in liberal political thought.
The early liberals™ dual emphasis on justice and domestic order also re-
¬‚ected the times in which they wrote. In the eighteenth century, European
nations were still consolidating their power, and the de¬ning problem of
the early modern state “ how to establish effective national authority over a
bounded territory “ was a recurring theme in political philosophy, as was the
fear of civil violence. As the coercive powers of the state increased, attention
shifted to the dangers posed by arbitrary and tyrannical rule. But even the
most libertarian of the classical liberals (such as Adam Smith) continued to
acknowledge that the attainment of domestic peace and justice presupposed
the existence of a functioning (and constitutionally limited) central authority,
or what Hobbes called “a Common Power, as may be able to defend them
from the invasion of Forraigners, and the injuries of one another.”109 The
modern state was still new in the eighteenth century. Commentators could
not take it, or its security-providing function, for granted.
The late-twentieth-century revival of the liberal peace thesis “ and the
related enthusiasm in scholarly and policymaking circles for market democ-
racy as a remedy for civil violence and other social ills “ also re¬‚ects the
historical circumstances in which we live. The preoccupations of political
thinkers in well-established Western democracies have moved beyond the
problems of constituting effective states out of an anarchical “state of na-
ture,” perhaps because they inhabit states in which the Hobbesian dilemma
of establishing domestic peace through a common authority has been largely
resolved. Some contemporary theorists of American politics in particular
have discounted the relevance of the state itself, overlooking the fact that
democratic politics take place within “a framework of controls and institu-
tions” that enforces rules, structures political and economic competition, and
translates societal demands into public policy.110 Given this context, it is not
surprising that modern liberal peace scholars have tended to ignore “ or set

108 Locke 1963 [1698], book II, para. 123, p. 395.
109 110
Hobbes 1968 [1651], part II, chap. 17, p. 406. Lowi 1969.
Problems and Solutions

aside as “unproblematic” “ the question of how market democracies are to
be constituted from scratch, including the effects of political and economic
liberalization in countries that lack a functioning central authority. These
scholars have focused on the empirical relationship between limited govern-
ment and peace, ignoring the antecedent requirement for limited government:
namely, effective government. The relatively few studies that have explored
the relationship between regime change and peace have typically assumed
that countries undergoing transitions to market democracy already possess
functioning states.
For peacebuilders, the relevant question is not whether well-established
market democracies are more peaceful than other states, but rather, what
can be done to help consolidate peace in countries that effectively lack gov-
ernments and are prone to civil violence.
An appropriate starting point for theorizing about peacebuilding might
be closer to the “state of nature” of classical liberalism. The early liber-
als recognized that peace and freedom presupposed a working system of
controls and rules to structure societal competition and contain it within
peaceful bounds, and they acknowledged that these rules needed to be up-
held, in extremis, by the coercive powers of the state. Their understanding
of the need for effective authority makes the earlier versions of the liberal
peace thesis particularly relevant to the contemporary problem of postcon-
¬‚ict peacebuilding. The recognition that the Hobbesian “state of nature” is
often typical of countries just emerging from civil wars, that the Wilsonian
solution to internal violence pays inadequate attention to this dilemma, and
that in spite of its successes and good intentions, liberalization can generate
destabilizing side effects that work against the consolidation of peace would
offer a stronger intellectual basis for effective peacebuilding practice.

Toward More Effective Peacebuilding
Institutionalization Before Liberalization

Might another approach to peacebuilding be better suited to creating stable
and lasting peace in war-shattered states? I shall begin by considering two
sweeping alternatives to Wilsonianism. The ¬rst is to abandon liberaliza-
tion as a core element of peacebuilding in favor of establishing authoritarian
regimes with international military and ¬nancial backing. The other is the
strategy of partition, or the physical separation of warring communities and
perhaps the creation of new states. I conclude that neither of these strategies
offers a sound basis for peacebuilding, although there are limited circum-
stances in which they might be warranted.
Second, I shall propose a more feasible and prudent approach to peace-
building: a modi¬ed form of Wilsonianism. Peacebuilders should continue
to seek to transform war-shattered states into liberal market democracies,
but with a different technique “ by constructing the foundations of effec-
tive political and economic institutions before the introduction of electoral
democracy and market-oriented adjustment policies, a strategy that I call
Institutionalization Before Liberalization (IBL). This approach rests, I be-
lieve, on a more realistic understanding than that which has guided the prac-
tice of peacebuilding to date. Rather than assuming that liberalization will
foster peace in countries just emerging from civil wars, we should start from
the assumption that liberalization is an inherently tumultuous and con¬‚ict-
inducing process that is capable of undermining a fragile peace. The chapter
concludes by considering three possible criticisms of the IBL strategy.

Alternatives to Wilsonianism
Authoritarian solutions for war-shattered states should not be rejected out
of hand. Even the most stalwart defenders of liberalization might support
the establishment of an authoritarian regime if the alternative were more ab-
horrent “ a genocide, for example. Over the years, many students of develop-
ment have argued that democracy is an unaffordable luxury for developing
Problems and Solutions

countries in which the need for effective government outweighs the need
for accountable government.1 Within the context of peacebuilding, the in-
ternational community could effectively choose a local “champion” “ an
individual or a party “ to rule over the war-shattered state with interna-
tional ¬nancial, or even military, support. Indeed, this was the strategy that
both the Soviet Union and the United States often pursued during the Cold
War in order to maintain friendly regimes in power.
But promoting authoritarianism would be a problematic peacebuilding
strategy. It offers little hope of establishing a “self-sustaining” peace in war-
torn countries because it would rely on the permanent, forcible suppression
of political contestation, rather than on the development of mechanisms that
might ultimately be capable of resolving con¬‚icts of interest through concili-
ation and negotiation. The end of the Cold War demonstrated that many au-
thoritarian regimes that were previously supported by the superpowers were
more fragile than they had appeared. Without massive and continuing mili-
tary and ¬nancial aid from the international community, local “strongmen”
would generally have dif¬culty maintaining domestic order in deeply divided
societies. A more sensible solution “ and one that is more faithful to the
goal of establishing a self-sustaining peace in the long run “ would involve
the creation of mechanisms that can resolve competing societal demands
in a manner that is perceived by the local parties themselves as fair and
A related problem with the authoritarian option is that it would likely
inhibit the growth of cross-factional social and political groupings in the
postcon¬‚ict period. If, as I have suggested, the cleavage structure of a society
affects its capacity to survive periods of increased con¬‚ict without descending
into large-scale violence, then peacebuilding strategies should be consciously
designed to nurture the growth of cross-cutting social cleavages within war-
shattered states. The establishment of authoritarian government, however,
would virtually ensure that cross-factional social groups that do emerge in
the aftermath of civil war would be unable to play a role in the government
of the war-shattered states, since those in power would likely have a vested
interest in preventing the formation of rival political groupings who might
challenge their authority.
Finally, local parties are unlikely to embrace peace settlements that involve
what amounts to the creation of a permanent dictatorship to rule over them.
Although the issues and grievances that drive civil con¬‚icts vary widely, bel-
ligerents rarely agree to lay down their arms unless they face imminent defeat
or believe that they will be able to successfully pursue their political inter-
ests in the postcon¬‚ict period. Parties to the negotiation of peace settlements
need to have a realistic hope that their concerns will be heard and addressed

1 For example, see Ake 1967, chap. 7; Huntington 1968, chap. 4; Packenham 1973, p. 338;
and Ayoob 1995, p. 195.
Institutionalization Before Liberalization 181

by any newly created government “ that they will be able to participate in
the shaping of government policy. The authoritarian option restricts such
A second possible approach to peacebuilding is the strategy of partition,
or the division of a war-shattered state into territorially discrete, politically
independent units, with the resulting entities designated as sovereign coun-
tries or autonomous regions within an existing state. Strictly speaking, par-
tition is not an alternative to Wilsonianism, since Wilson himself advocated
the redrawing of international borders after World War I along the lines of
nationalities. Nor does it preclude promoting political and economic liber-
alization within the resulting states or autonomous regions. Nevertheless,
embracing partition as a key strategy of postcon¬‚ict peacebuilding would
represent a signi¬cant departure from the standard operating procedures
that have guided the conduct of peacebuilding to date. With the partial ex-
ception of the Bosnia operation, which recognized two distinct, ethnically
based political units within Bosnia, all of the peacebuilding missions con-
ducted since 1989 have eschewed the redrawing of political boundaries or
the physical separation of populations, and have sought instead to promote
the peaceful coexistence of formerly warring parties within existing states.
Those who promote partition as a peacebuilding strategy contend that
“separation breeds peace,” particularly in the aftermath of ethnically based
civil wars.3 According to a leading proponent of partition, Chaim Kaufmann,
intercommunal ¬ghting tends to “harden ethnic identities to the point that
cross-ethnic political appeals are unlikely to be made and even less likely
to be heard.”4 Consequently, the reconciliation of these groups under a
single government is very dif¬cult, if not impossible. As Kaufmann writes,
“intermingled population settlement patterns create real security dilemmas
that intensify violence, motivate ethnic ˜cleansing,™ and prevent de-escalation
unless the groups are separated.”5 Stable settlements are possible “only

2 Alternatively, former belligerents could agree to share dictatorial powers themselves, thereby
ensuring a central place in government, but such an arrangement would, in most cases, be a
recipe for deadlock or further civil con¬‚ict “ unless there were mechanisms to resolve disputes
among the ruling parties themselves.
3 Mearsheimer and Van Evera 1999. See also Kaufmann 1996a, 1996b, and 1998; Mearsheimer
and Van Evera 1996; and Mearsheimer 1997.
4 Kaufmann 1996b, p. 137.
5 Ibid. This argument builds on Barry Posen™s (1993) argument that situations of state collapse
in domestic politics represent the anarchical international order, and that the concept of the
“security dilemma” in international politics can also be applied to the relationship among
ethnic groups in states that lack effective central governments. The security dilemma empha-
sizes that one party™s efforts to increase its own security by improving its military forces may
be perceived as threatening to other states, and thus spark a competitive spiral of mobilization
(Herz 1950). Other scholars who have applied the security-dilemma concept to ethnic civil
con¬‚ict include Walter 1994; Lake and Rothchild 1996; Ganguly 1996; and S. J. Kaufman
Problems and Solutions

when the opposing groups are demographically separated into defensible
enclaves.”6 For these reasons, Kaufmann and others have advocated a more
de¬nitive partition strategy for Bosnia, where rival communities are already
largely (but not entirely) separated as a result of the war.7 “Partition is in
Bosnia™s future and no Western policy can avoid it,” argues Robert Pape.
“Rather than allow ethnic boundaries to be written in blood after SFOR
leaves, the West should help to manage a peaceful partition while it still has
troops on the ground.”8
The partition strategy has intuitive appeal: Why should warring groups
be compelled to live together if they would prefer to live apart? Furthermore,
political separation might make postcon¬‚ict democratization and marketi-
zation easier, since the resulting polities would generally be less internally
divided and societal cleavages less intense, thereby reducing the threat that
the liberalization process will rekindle violence.9 Indeed, we have noted that
in Namibia and Croatia, the task of postcon¬‚ict liberalization seemed to be
simpli¬ed by the effective departure of a major combatant group from the
territory of each state. Perhaps, then, the international community should
routinely seek to separate rival communities into discrete political units as a
means of promoting stable and lasting peace in war-shattered states.
Closer examination of this option, however, reveals major ¬‚aws. There
is little ¬rm evidence that violence is less likely to recur in states that are
partitioned after civil wars than in states that are not partitioned. Scholars
continue to debate this question, but the most comprehensive analysis to
date has found little support for the proposition that partition reduces the
risk of war recurrence.10 Although there are circumstances in which promot-
ing partition may be the most sensible course of action for peacebuilders “


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