Fall 2023 - TBD - PA 388K - Policymaking in Post-Conflict Environments

Policymaking in Post-Conflict Environments
Policymaking in Post-Conflict Environments
All wars end, but they rarely end as expected. This course will examine the dynamics and challenges of war termination and post-conflict environments with an eye towards informing national security policymaking.
While appreciating the enormous human suffering brought about by war, this class will begin with a short discussion of theoretical literature on why wars begin. Next, we investigate the transition from conflict to post-conflict.  During this part of the course, we discuss the conditions under which belligerents agree to terminate a conflict and examine the role of third-party actors as security guarantors. In doing so, we survey the complete spectrum of conflict terminations, including military victories by governments or rebels, negotiated settlements, stalemates, and ceasefires.
Even short, decisive wars can produce post-conflict environments bloodier than the war itself, and the end of one war is frequently the beginning of another. Violence in post-conflict environments unfolds over a range of complex, often evolving motives that can be indirectly related, or even unrelated, to the original rationale for war. In the second part of the course, we examine the various challenges and opportunities inherent to post-conflict policymaking with a focus on threats to security, order, and stability. We also consider a range of other dynamics, actors, and factors, which complicate post-war policymaking, such as refugees and internally displaced peoples, NGOs, former combatants, the politics and economics of reconstruction, the broader challenges of rebuilding political institutions and civil society, and other critical issues.
In the last part of the course, we explore empirical cases of modern war terminations and post-conflict environments across multiple types of armed conflicts, from major global wars and regional struggles to civil wars and insurgencies. We conclude the course with an exploration of the challenges and foreign policy instruments available to decisionmakers working to secure peace in contemporary conflicts in places like Ukraine, Libya, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and elsewhere.
Instruction Mode