Fall 2024 - 60293 - PA 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy


Post-Conflict Dynamics
All wars end, but they rarely end as expected.  This course examines the dynamics and challenges of policymaking as it pertains to war termination and post-conflict environments.  While appreciating the enormous human suffering brought about by war, this class will begin with a brief discussion of the theoretical literature on why wars begin and assess the various factors, which shape the duration, lethality, and termination of inter- and intra-state wars.  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 assess the role that third-party actors play as security guarantors.  In doing so, we survey the complete spectrum of conflict terminations, including military victories by governments or rebels, negotiated settlements, stalemates, armistices, and ceasefires across multiple types of conflict, from major global wars and regional struggles to civil wars and insurgencies.

The end of one war is frequently the beginning of another as even short, decisive wars can produce post-conflict environments bloodier than the war itself.  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, development, and stability.  We also consider the dynamics, actors, and factors, which complicate post-war policymaking, such as refugees and internally displaced peoples, the presence of non-governmental organizations, former combatants, the politics and economics of reconstruction, the broader challenges of rebuilding political institutions and civil society, and other critical issues.

We conclude the course with a series of case studies.  We first examine U.S. experiences in terminating wars and managing post-conflict environments from the 1860s to the recent campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.  We then analyze the difficulties of establishing a durable peace in North Ireland and Columbia before moving to a discussion of the long-term security challenges generated by the post-Soviet wars in Chechnya.  Lastly, we consider the challenges and options available to decisionmakers working to secure peace in contemporary conflicts in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gaza, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Somalia, Sudan, Ukraine, Yemen, and elsewhere.

Instruction Mode