Rebuilding political orders after conflict faces two conundrums. The first is that externally-provided governance can undermine the long-term ability of societies to develop their own self-sustaining indigenous political institutions. This was a problem faced by both the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and the High Representative in Bosnia. The second conundrum is the often contradictory dictates of state-building and democracy promotion: the first seeks to build power, the second to limit it. There is ultimately no optimal way of solving either problem, though recent experience suggests that small-footprint approaches emphasizing local ownership and early transition to local control will work best.


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