The Rules of Reconstruction

Lebanon’s reconstruction, so painstakingly carried out in the 1990’s, is now at risk of being undone. But Lebanon is not alone in that respect: according to the UN and several independent studies, countries in transition from war to peace face roughly a 50% chance of sliding back into warfare. Indeed, in East Timor, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and many other countries, the transition to peace seems to be failing.

Likewise, there is unfinished business in many other countries undergoing reconstruction. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), for example, just held its first elections in 40 years. The stability of the Great Lakes region of Africa, perhaps that continent’s most violent area, will depend on the success of its transition and reconstruction.

When wars end, countries confront a multi-pronged transition. Violence must give way to security for inhabitants; lawlessness and political exclusion must give way to the rule of law and participatory government; ethnic, religious, or class/caste polarization must give way to national reconciliation; and ruined war economies must be transformed into functioning market economies that enable ordinary people to support themselves.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

http://prosyn.org/v4pXqiF;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.