The evolving role of nation-building in US foreign policy

Lessons learned, lessons lost

Author: Thomas R. Seitz

This book explores the processes through which nation-building policy approaches originated and developed over the last seven decades as well as the concepts and motivations that shaped them. In the process, the book explores the question of how the US became involved in nation building overseas in the first place, and explores the persistent questions about the relationship between order, security and development in nation-building projects. At the same time, the book points out lessons that should have been retained from America's Cold War nation-building efforts in developing areas. At the cost of a great deal of treasure and no small amount of blood, the United States implemented nation building and other internal security programs in dozens of developing countries at the height of the Cold War. A generation after these policies peaked in scope and intensity, the US embarked on similar projects in a range of countries, the most ambitious in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, recent studies of America's experience with nation-building neglect these Cold War experiences in the developing world, ignoring costly lessons from efforts by which the US attempted to build functioning, cohesive state institutions in less developed contexts, including new states emerging from the decolonization process.

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