After the War: Nation-Building from FDR to George W. Bush

After the War: Nation-Building from FDR to George W. Bush

After the War: Nation-Building from FDR to George W. Bush

After the War: Nation-Building from FDR to George W. Bush

Synopsis

"In recent decades, the United States' overwhelming military superiority has allowed it to "overawe" or overrun adversaries with comparative ease. However, consolidating victory and preventing a renewal of conflict has usually taken more time, energy, and resources than originally foreseen. Few recent efforts of this sort can be regarded as unqualified successes, and one or two must be accounted as clear failures. Prior RAND research examined the factors that contribute to this success or failure, including the natures of the society being reformed and of the conflict being terminated, as well as the quality and quantity of the military and civil assets of external actors. This volume addresses the manner in which presidential style, interagency structures, and decisionmaking processes have affected the eventual outcomes. The study found that some administrations have proved better at this than others, that all improved over time, and that this enhanced capability often failed to carry over to their successors."

Excerpt

Beginning with the post-World War II occupations of Germany and Japan, the United States has undertaken eight significant nationbuilding operations over the past 60 years. the planning for postwar nation-building in Germany and Japan began under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was carried out under President Harry S. Truman. Subsequent operations during the post-Cold War era were initiated and conducted by President George H. W Bush and President William J. Clinton, respectively. the United States has subsequently taken the lead in post-September 11, 2001, nation-building under President George W Bush in Afghanistan and Iraq. in each of the eight cases presented here, presidential decisionmaking and administrative structure have, at times, worked in favor of the nation-building goals of the U.S. government and military and those of its coalition partners and allies. in other cases, these elements have hindered the achievement of these goals or have had negative effects on nation-building outcomes.

This monograph assesses the ways in which the management styles and structures of the administrations in power prior to and during nation-building operations affect the goals and outcomes of such operations. It also evaluates the nature of the society being reformed and of the conflict being terminated. the findings presented here should be of interest to policymakers and others interested in the history of U.S. nation-building, lessons learned from these operations, and the outcomes of U.S. involvement in rebuilding various types of societies.

This research was conducted within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of the rand National Security Research Divi-

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