State Failure and Peace Building

Rolf Schwarz

in War and State Building in the Middle East

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780813037929
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813042138 | DOI:
State Failure and Peace Building

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This chapter reviews the empirical and theoretical findings. Two conclusions emerge from the case studies. First, rentierism serves as an obstacle to the formation of strong and legitimate states, since stability rests on a social contract by means of which consent is bought via material welfare. Second—an indeed more novel point—rentierism not only inhibits the emergence of embedded domestic authority structures and empirical sovereignty, but also acts against the disappearance of weak and fragile states. Were it not for the availability of external rents, many weak states, such as Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Iraq, would probably have succumbed to state failure, even while maintaining a legal facade of quasi statehood. In Iraq, state failure did indeed occur. Just as war making has historically produced strong states in Europe, it has also destroyed weak states that were not capable enough to survive alongside stronger states. Following this competitive logic, contemporary rentier states (weak but surviving) must be distinguished from collapsed states, where institutional order breaks down and the situation resembles a war of all against all.

Keywords: post-conflict peacebuilding; state reconstruction; humanitarian; intervention; Afghanistan; Iraq

Chapter.  6090 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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