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State-Building And The United Nations: A Critical Overview

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Chapter Summary

This chapter surveys the brief history of UN transitional administration. It elaborates on three contradictions, that have emerged in the conduct of such operations, in the very idea of creating a legitimate and sustainable state through a period of benevolent autocracy: the means are inconsistent with the ends, they are frequently inadequate for those ends, and in many situations the means are inappropriate for the ends. The emphasis is on operations in which the United Nations has exercised some form of executive control-most prominently in East Timor, where it exercised effectively sovereign powers for over two years. More recent operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have shifted the terms of this debate: the state-building agenda in such operations has been determined less by the needs of the post-conflict society than by the strategic interests of the United States. The chapter finally discusses the relationship between state-building and the war on terror.

Keywords: state-building; war on terror



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