Warlords: Strong-arm Brokers in Weak States

Warlords: Strong-arm Brokers in Weak States

by Kimberly Marten
     
 

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Warlords are individuals who control small territories within weak states, using a combination of force and patronage. In this book, Kimberly Marten shows why and how warlords undermine state sovereignty. Unlike the feudal lords of a previous era, warlords today are not state-builders. Instead they collude with cost-conscious, corrupt, or frightened state officials

Overview

Warlords are individuals who control small territories within weak states, using a combination of force and patronage. In this book, Kimberly Marten shows why and how warlords undermine state sovereignty. Unlike the feudal lords of a previous era, warlords today are not state-builders. Instead they collude with cost-conscious, corrupt, or frightened state officials to flout and undermine state capacity. They thrive on illegality, relying on private militias for support, and often provoke violent resentment from those who are cut out of their networks. Some act as middlemen for competing states, helping to hollow out their own states from within.. Countries ranging from the United States to Russia have repeatedly chosen to ally with warlords, but Marten argues that to do so is a dangerous proposition. Drawing on interviews, documents, local press reports, and in-depth historical analysis, Marten examines warlordism in the Pakistani tribal areas during the twentieth century, in post-Soviet Georgia and the Russian republic of Chechnya, and among Sunni militias in the U.S.-supported Anbar Awakening and Sons of Iraq programs. In each case state leaders (some domestic and others foreign) created, tolerated, actively supported, undermined, or overthrew warlords and their militias. Marten draws lessons from these experiences to generate new arguments about the relationship between states, sovereignty, "local power brokers," and stability and security in the modern world.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"How can we understand the important phenomenon of modern-day warlords, often associated with state failure and transborder criminality even as state leaders frequently rely upon them as a source of order or peace in the most difficult of conditions? Kimberly Marten's Warlords blazes a new trail in answering this question. . . . This engagingly written book makes a number of major arguments, . . . [that are] pioneering in the study of warlordism, likely framing a debate for years to come on a subject about which there is as yet relatively little theory."—Henry E. Hale, H-Diplo/ISSF Roundtable Reviews

"I highly recommend Warlords: Strong-Arm Brokers in Weak States for anyone studying international relations or those working in foreign policy positions in the Department of State when faced with a developing or already entrenched warlord situation. The book is relevant considering today's worldwide economic concerns and weak states’ limited capacity to control their own people and territory."—LTC David T. Seigel, Military Review (March-April 2013)

"A virtue of Marten's principal-agent framework is that it allows the reader to identify the state in bas-relief, the backdrop against which the warlord moves . . . for North American teachers looking to introduce the North Caucasus with a lively seminary discussion, I recommend assigning chapter 5, Marten’s biography of Ramzan Kadyrov—the archetype of the charismatic, media-savvy (p. 133), self-aware, celebrity gangster. He has money, weapons, sociopaths on speed-dial, political protection from great powers, and a twitter feed @RKadyrov."—Jesse Driscoll, Political Science Quarterly (Summer 2013)

"Marten's book is a useful and informative one. Her analysis is persuasive for the four cases she examines, and her observations are pertinent. Although warlordism is sometimes a necessary evil, a national government should eliminate the warlord as soon as possible. A warlord is dependent upon patronage, and therefore, he is vulnerable to having his network of supporters undermined. Ethnic or sectarian tension may make this more difficult, but a popular national leader operating without effective opposition is in a strong position to act. In any case, removing a warlord requires that the national government possess specific information about the network of patronage and be willing to suborn the important members of that network. Marten has presented a great deal of information and analysis in only 262 pages. I recommend her book unreservedly."—Kevin McMullen, Infantry (2013)

"In Warlords, Marten provides a wonderfully nuanced description of the relationship between states and warlords. Warlords are individuals who require some level of state support and protection, but ultimately undermine state capacity by controlling small pieces of territory using a combination of force and patronage. In four substantive chapters, Marten gracefully outlines the trajectory of warlordism as a function of state construction in Pakistan, Georgia, Chechnya, and Iraq. Marten displays great depth of knowledge, and her description is rife with anecdotes, insider information, and humor, making it authoritative and enjoyable to read."—Stacey L. Hunt, International Studies Review (2013)

"Kimberly Marten has made a major theoretical and policy-relevant contribution to the field's understanding of these illusive and dangerous actors. Also, readers not only will better understand how they come to and maintain their power, but also will be equipped with a new framework for analyzing the challenges and choices confronting weak states in their efforts at consolidating modern, legal rational authority and accommodating the demands for security and economic development."— Jack J. Porter, Comparative Political Studies (April 2013)

"This is an important book. Indeed, it is destined to become key reading for anyone with interests in failed and fragile states, warlords, and armed groups that contest state authority—problems that unfortunately affect many polities today. Kimberly Marten's knowledge of a broad range of cases in the Southern Caucasus, East Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan reveals a deep knowledge of the cases at hand, as well as theoretical mastery. Policymakers and scholars alike will greatly benefit from her insights."—Hendrik Spruyt, Northwestern University, author of Ending Empire

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801450761
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
06/26/2012
Series:
Cornell Studies in Security Affairs Series
Pages:
280
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Kimberly Marten is Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University. She is the author of Enforcing the Peace: Learning from the Imperial Past; Weapons, Culture, and Self-Interest: Soviet Defense Managers in the New Russia; and Engaging the Enemy: Organization Theory and Soviet Military Innovation, which won the Marshall Shulman Prize.

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