Winter 2018

Sovereignty Strategies: Enhancing Core Governance Functions as a Postconflict and Conflict-Prevention Measure

Clare Lockhart
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This essay contrasts the two extremes used to address civil wars and weak states: costly and ill-designed interventions (Approach A) or minimalist approaches in which international actors either stay away or engage only to broker a deal or depose a dictator, but fail to build institutions and consolidate peace afterward (Approach C). This essay posits an alternative, a sovereignty strategy (Approach B), which would see core functions established in a sequence carefully tailored to context and delivered through partnerships between state, market, and civic actors over a period of decades. It analyzes whether a sovereignty strategy could be both feasible and affordable as an alternative to Approach A or C, whose costs are also very real, taking into account the costs and benefits of each option.

CLARE LOCKHART is Cofounder and Director of the Institute for State Effectiveness and Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University. She is the author of Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World (with Ashraf Ghani, 2008) and has published numerous articles in Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, The Washington Quarterly, and Financial Times, among others, as well as several book chapters and essays.