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 →
On June 12- 13, 2014, WPF hosted a seminar on The Political Marketplace: Developing a Framework for Addressing the Real Politics of Coercion and Corruption. Below is an excerpt from the seminar briefing note, which you can find in full here.
Existing models for peace-making, state-building and stabilization, which assume that “fragile states” can [...]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 →
The central lessons are well worn but nonetheless worth re-stating. First, the main effort in counter-terrorism should be social and political reform in affected countries, and second—for the United States—a national security strategy cannot substitute for a foreign policy that is aimed at finding political solutions to political problems.Continue Reading →
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