Sunday, March 20, 2011

After Gaddafi

On the admittedly optimistic assumption that Gaddafi's days are numbered, despite his vow of a "long war," it may not be too soon to think about what happens (or should happen) after. With the caveat that I know basically nothing about Libya, I suspect that holding elections is probably not one of the first things that should happen. There is ample evidence, as discussed for instance by Roland Paris in a several-years-old article* I was glancing at yesterday, that holding elections first thing in a polity emerging from a civil war, and therefore having weak or damaged institutions, is probably not a great idea.
*R. Paris, "Bringing the Leviathan Back In: Classical Versus Contemporary Studies of the Liberal Peace," International Studies Review 8:3 (Sept. 2006), pp.425-440. See also his At War's End (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004).

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