Currently viewing the tag: "political marketplace"

Sanctions against spoilers can work if there is an effective and legitimate peace process. There is no such process in South Sudan today. Threats of force and sanctions by IGAD leaders are mere gestures of frustration, not components of a workable peace. However, sanctions could serve another purpose: fighting corruption. This is a worthwhile goal [...]

Continue Reading

How did perhaps the most reviled African head of state of his generation manage to rehabilitate himself as a statesman? This act of political escapism—a “stay out of jail free” card—is the greatest accomplishment of former Blaise Compaoré, former president of Burkina Faso. A more appropriate title for him—and one that better captures his ability [...]

Continue Reading

Existing models for peace-making, state-building and stabilization, which assume that “fragile states” can move, under international tutelage and sponsorship, towards capable and legitimate states, are wrong. Peace agreements that consist primarily in allocating rents to belligerents only reinforce the logic of a rent-based political marketplace. Indeed, international efforts to achieve stabilization and state-building by channeling effort and resources through governments are more often counterproductive than not.

Continue Reading

Politics is not business, yet the language and lens of the market and decision-making in a competitive environment – the perspective of a business manager – may often provide some of the most helpful vocabulary for describing how politics actually functions around the world. Even more, like al-Qaeda’s heated discussions about hostage-taking as a strategic revenue source, the language of business is often the language that political actors themselves use in describing their actions and the contexts within which they operate.

Continue Reading

On July 29th, the New York Times journalist Rukmini Callimachi published a fascinating account of the role of hostage-taking in the operations of Al-Qaeda and other militant groups. Along with the article, the Times published several letters between members of Al-Qaeda leadership in the Sahara and in Yemen, which its reporter found in [...]

Continue Reading

I argue that the Chadian political marketplace is characterized by five main patterns: externally-derived rents, the gap between politico-military entrepreneurs and the cheap combatant labor force who participate in “rent-seeking” rebellions, a violent mode of governing associated with a decentralized control over the instruments of coercion, the structural weakness of the civilian opposition trapped between repression and cooptation, and the exclusion of women.

Continue Reading