Building “National Armies” – Building Nations?: Determinants of Success for Postintervention Integration Efforts

This article surveys recent cases of internationalized statebuilding in postintervention, post–(ethnic) conflict societies in the light of an academic tradition that has seen military forces as a particularly effective vehicle for integrating a country’s diverse population. It is argued that armed forces that are ethnically representative in their ranks and leadership can encourage a sense of commonality across ethnic boundaries, which can help secure a fragile peace. However, the connection between representativeness and integration is intricate; and whereas outside powers may enable otherwise unlikely outcomes, their leverage is circumscribed by a number of factors. The article also suggests that an ethnically representative army may “tie up” capabilities in ways that reduce the likelihood of military intervention in politics or (ethnic) violence perpetrated by military personnel.