Abstract

The Australian government's decision to lead a Pacific Islands Forum regional intervention into Solomon Islands marked a dramatic change in Australian policy toward the Solomons in particular and the Pacific Islands region in general. It demonstrated Australia's willingness to play a more assertive role in the domestic affairs of Pacific countries. The decision also reflected fundamental changes in the global security environment following the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States and the perception that international terrorism has made it difficult to separate external and internal security. Canberra was influenced by the idea that terrorists could use "failed states" to pose security problems for Australia (and other western countries). While Australia's concerns about its own security as well as the influence of Anglo-American security policies have led the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands to concentrate on rebuilding the Solomon Islands state, this paper argues that the post-conflict nation building process must include other institutions besides the state—such as churches, community leaders, nongovernmental organizations, women's groups—that already have an influence on society. This is particularly important for Solomon Islands, a country where there have always been multiple centers of power, with the state not always the most important. Further, post-conflict nation building must also involve the mending and rebuilding of relationships between peoples while ensuring that foreign assistance does not create a culture of dependency.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9464
Print ISSN
1043-898X
Pages
pp. 283-308
Launched on MUSE
2005-07-29
Open Access
No
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