Research Paper

“Good Enough” Governance

Humility and the Limits of Foreign Intervention in Response to Civil Wars and Intrastate Violence
Karl W. Eikenberry and Stephen D. Krasner
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“The question shouldn’t be what we ought to do, but what we can do.”

—Rory Stewart, Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom

American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Table of Contents

Civil Wars and Threats

Trends in and the Nature of Civil Wars and Intrastate Violence
Assessing the Threats to International Security and to U.S. National Security
Additional Considerations

Possible Policy Responses

Factors Impacting Policy Options and Responses

Policy Options

Standard Treatment
Occupation (Iraq)
Limited Security and Development Assistance (post-surge Afghanistan)
Proxy Wars
Prevention (Most Cost-Effective on Paper, Most Difficult in Practice)
U.S. Policy Precedents

Conclusion: Policy and Academic Research Recommendations—What Can Realistically Be Done?

Main Policy Implications
Key Policy Recommendation: Aim for “Good Enough” Governance
Confronting Painful Trade-Offs