Magazine article Foreign Affairs

The NGO Game: Postconflict Peacebuilding in the Balkans and Beyond

Magazine article Foreign Affairs

The NGO Game: Postconflict Peacebuilding in the Balkans and Beyond

Article excerpt

Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Republics The NGO Game: Postconflict Peacebuilding in the Balkans and Beyond BY PATRICE C. MCMAHON. Cornell University Press, 2017, 238 pp.

McMahon has produced a detailed, tough-minded study of what happened when a swarm of nongovernmental organizations (ngos) rushed into Bosnia and Kosovo in the wake of conflicts during the 1990s. She argues that, despite their good intentions and hard work, their actual contribution to postconflict peace building was largely insignificant-or even counterproductive. Rather than generate local initiative, create community, strengthen civil society, or foster democracy, they leftlocals despairing of change, cynical, and disdainful of the ngo model. This, she says, is because of a perverse interaction between international and local ngos. …

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