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War And Peace


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War And Peace

  1. 1. WAR AND PEACE: THE WEAK STATES By Austen Uwosomah Introduction Weak states are predominantly found in some least developed states of the Middle East like Afghanistan; in Eastern Europe like Yugoslavia and many more among Sub-Saharan Africa states like the Republic of Congo, Somalia, Angola, Liberia, Chad, Sierra Leone, etc. A seemingly glaring characteristic of weak states in Africa is the consistency of civil and political conflicts that more often than not culminate into wars. The consequence of this is the continual sought by external political and economic interventionists to restore peace to such states. In this write-up, I shall examine problems that confront weak states in Africa and put forward some basic ways that may be used to confront the problems. Additionally, I shall also suggest in my opinion a most convincing response to solving the problems of weak states. Problems of Weak States “State strength or weakness is relatively measured by the state’s ability and effectiveness to provide the fundamental political goods associated with statehood viz: physical security, legitimate political institutions, economic management, and social welfare”. (Stewart Patrick, 2006). When these are absent, a state may thus be referred to as weak, failed, collapsed or dysfunctional. There are a number of reasons why problems occur in weak states. The causes of these problems are not farfetched. Sørensen (2004:132) summarily ascribes “personal rule, the system which replaced the colonial administration after independence” came to the states as the major cause. According to Sørensen (Ibid.), “the new rulers were by no means insulated from society: they were closely connected to it via ties of clan, kingship and ethnic affiliation…which paved way for clientelism, patronage and nepotism” as well as corruption. The self-rule administration by African states after independence, “lack legitimate governing and maintained a monopoly on the use of force to control borders, territory, public order and crime. In the political sphere, institutions that provide effective administration and checks on abuse of power; protect basic rights and freedoms and hold leaders accountable, are absent. In the economic arena, the states fail to carry out basic policies conducive for private enterprise, open trade, natural resource management and foreign investment that are necessary for economic growth. Finally, in the social domain, they fail to meet the basic needs of their populations by making little efforts to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and minimal investments in health, education and other social services” (Stewart Patrick, Ibid.). Confronting the Problems of Weak States The seemingly glaring outcome of the aforementioned problems in weak states is the upsurge of civil and political turbulence by the factions of citizens who feel aggravated by the poor governance from their leaders. Thus wars or revolution break out that subsequently create enabling ground for security threats to Western countries as the warring state could become base for anti-Western terrorist sects. Perhaps this is why
  2. 2. political and economic interventionists from the West go to extreme to restoring peace in belligerent states. However, not all weak states have same problems. Different problems abound for different states. It is with recourse to the type of problem that is inherent in a given state that should determine the interventional strategy to be meted out therein. Civil war is mostly the resultant problem of dysfunctional states which in turn leads to destabilization of their economies. Past experiences have shown that the warring factions have often failed to heed to peace brokerage from external interventionists. With regards to that, as a solution, pertinent that I propose the assertions of Luttwak, (1999); Herbst, (1989/96/97) and Tilly, (1985) in Sørensen (2004:137), which aver that civil embattled states should be left to fight till they naturally get tired and fed up with the act; or till there emerges victors and vanquished. Only at this juncture will the states be ready to embrace peace brokerage from external interventionists. Another suggestion to confronting problems of weak states will be for the international interventionists to accept secession that is creation of new states with regards to expanding borders (Sørensen, 2004:138). For this to be successful, Stephen Ellis, (2005) says “peacemaking efforts and rebuilding strategies must take into account … economic issues such as facilitating cross-border trade… travel, work…” that would integrate affected states elites or governments to resolve ethnic related crisis that could dovetail into wars. Conclusively, suffice to say that a most convincing response to tackling problems of embattled states is for the external interventionists to embark on international trusteeship via providing security for the affected territories. External peacekeeping force should be deployed to join force with the side that has benign national interest of the troubled state and not with the self- motivated interest of the intervening party or parties. Word count: 780 References Ellis, Stephen (2005) “How to Rebuild Africa” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 84 Issue 5 Sept-Oct 2005. Patrick, Stewart (2006), “ States and Global Threats: Fact or Fiction?” The Washington Weak Quarterly-Spring: Sørensen, G. (2004) ‘The Transformation of the States Beyond the Myth of Globalization’, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.