This book examines international military interventions that have supported stability in four communities in Afghanistan and Nepal, in an attempt to analyse their success and improve this in future.
This is the first in-depth village-level assessment of how local populations conceive of stability and stabilisation, and thus presents a challenge to existing analysis and research about how to foster stability in contexts in extreme tension and often violent conflict. The book argues that international, particularly Western, notions of stability and stabilisation processes have failed to grasp the importance of local political legitimacy formation, which is a vital aspect of contemporary statebuilding of a 'non-Westphalian' nature. The interventions, across defence, diplomatic and defence lines, have also at times undermined one another and in some cases contributed to instability. This is particularly acute when the interventions have been motivated by the conflicting demands of statebuilding, counter-insurgency (COIN) and development theories. The book argues that the nature of the interventions, their conception of stability and exogenously-driven, goals limit their ability to promote stability. Research findings indicate that that local processes of stabilisation have, at times, proven to be more enduring but only in circumstances where a combination of local and national political processes have allowed political legitimacy to be formed and maintained. The book also suggest that the more successful stability interventions have been critically supported by humanitarian and security activities which have provided for the immediate needs of the population. Longer-term stability has only been embedded in contexts which have also been able to exploit economic opportunities.
The work argues that the theories that structure interventions to address threats to international stability in 'fragile' states are insufficient to explain or achieve the goal of stability. The theories of intervention are rooted in Liberal philosophy which prevents interveners from understanding the nature of (in)stability in other states and contributes to the failure of these interventions. Despite the weaknesses inherent in the primary theories of intervention (in this book this includes statebuilding, counterinsurgency and development) are implemented simultaneously in these fragile states and are often justified as promoting stability. These revolutionary interventions not only undermine one another but may be contributing to instability. Field data from four communities in Afghanistan and Nepal not only confirms that Liberal conceptions of these theories have little connection to stability formation and maintenance as identified by local respondents, but it also confirms the disconnection between interveners and the local populations they are attempting to 'stabilise'. Through examining indigenous, exogenous, insurgent and failed-self stabilisation in the four sites, the research suggests an alternative theory of stability. This theory suggests there are limited components required for stability which include local and national political legitimacy, basic security and the provision of fundamental humanitarian needs. Any exogenous activity that acts beyond these strict areas and outside the political and philosophical context of these states, will either be irrelevant to stability or contribute to instability. Through the stability paradigm a theory of stability is suggested which seeks to understand stability in the nature and form of connections within and between the state, political elites and the population and the resources they have available to them. This presents a challenge to existing modes of international intervention in fragile states and invites further investigation to interrogate the veracity of the stability paradigm.
This book will be of interest to students of stabilisation operations, statebuilding, peacebuildi
'This is an important and valuable contribution to the growing number of studies taking stock of the decidedly mixed record of Western intervention in Afghanistan post-9/11.' -- Mats Berdal, King's College London, UK 'A first empirically-grounded attempt to make sense of a poorly understood concept ... a 'must read' for all students and practitioners working in the field of international interventions.' -- Ann M. Fitz-Gerald, Cranfield University, UK
Series: Cass Military Studies
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 214
Published: 15th May 2014
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6 x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.52