Stabilizing Fragile States
Why It Matters and What to Do about It
Studies in Civil-Military Relations
Sales Date: June 10, 2022
352 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- Published: June 2022
- Published: May 2022
Stabilizing Fragile States: Why It Matters and What to Do About It is a masterclass on intervening to help fragile states stabilize in the face of internal challenges that threaten national security and how the United States can do better at less cost with improved chances of success. Written from the point of view of an on-the-ground practitioner after exceptional government and voluntary service abroad, Rufus C. Phillips III uses his experience to explain why US efforts to help fragile countries stabilize is important to national security.
Helping stabilize fragile states has been too much of a poorly informed, impersonal, technocratic, and conflicted process that has been dominated by reactions to events and missing a more human approach tailored to various countries’ circumstances. In his book, Phillips explains why we have not been more successful and what it would take to make our stabilization efforts effective, sustainable, and less expensive.
Recent US involvements have ranged in intensity and size from Colombia, which did not put US boots on the ground, to massive interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, which did. The lack of success in Afghanistan and Iraq has tended to dominate the national conversation about dealing with fragile states. Stabilizing Fragile States provides a thorough analysis of what has gone wrong and what has gone right in US involvement.
• Stabilizing fragile states is more of an unconventional political and psychological endeavor requiring an operational mindset rather than conventional war or normal diplomacy. • Defines the focus of counterinsurgency not as killing insurgents but as a positive effort to win local people’s support by involving them in their own self-defense and political, social, and economic development. • Americans must understand the religious, historical, political, and social context of the host country and be consistent, patient, and persistent in what they do. • Security-force training in host countries must include respect for civilians and the definition by their leadership of a national cause that the trainees believe is worth risking their lives to defend. • Recommends creating a dedicated cadre of expeditionary diplomacy and development professionals in Department of State/USAID and a special training school as an addition to the Global Fragility Act.
This book is part of the ADST-DACOR Diplomats and Diplomacy series.
“This is a work of pressing importance, particularly in a political context that seeks security by turning inward. As the world and its problems aren’t going anywhere, viable approaches are of pressing concern. Rufus Phillips provides them: practical policy and implementation, with an expansive view of individual and institutional preparation and enhancement. What comes across constantly is a sense of possibilities latent in our system. The emphasis is on what is possible, not dwelling on mistakes of the past, building upon them to offer a way forward. This is uplifting.”—Thomas A. Marks, Distinguished Professor and Edward G. Lansdale Chair of Irregular Warfighting Strategy CISA/National Defense University
“Stabilizing Fragile States is a timely and important postmortem of American nation building efforts over the last half century. Phillips not only provides valuable insights into historical ‘lessons learned,’ he offers bold and innovative prescriptions for reimagining counterinsurgency and helping weak states achieve lasting stability based on security, economic development, and democratic practices.”—Martin G. Clemis, author of The Control War: The Struggle for South Vietnam, 1968–1975
“No American has had longer experience in counterinsurgency and stabilization assistance than Rufus Phillips. For more than six decades, from Vietnam in the 1960s to Afghanistan in the twenty-first century, Rufus Phillips has offered a deeply insightful critique of misdirected policies. Now, in this great final treatise, he warns us that recriminations over failures in Afghanistan should not prevent America from learning the conflict’s lessons and preparing to meet such challenges better in the future. This time, we should heed his words.”—Roger Myerson, David L. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies at the University of Chicago and 2007 Nobel Laureate in Economics
Foreword by H. R. McMaster
Series Editor’s Foreword
List of Abbreviations for Key Terms and Organizations
Part I. Understanding the Challenge
2. Significant Factors
3. Public Support
4. Essential Ideas and Terms
Part II. Interventions
5. Cold War Cases
Part III. How to Do Better
Existing Capabilities and Organizational Change
10. Organizing for Better Assistance
11. Mission and Roles
12. Recruitment, Education, and Training
13. Field Organization, Operations, and Financing
14. Stabilization Strategy and Implementation in a Hypothetical State
15. The Future
Appendix: Proposed Education and Training Program