Post-Westphalian security governance and multi-agency peace

Approaches of multi-agency, hybrid, post-Westphalian peace and security governance emerged to reflect the changes in the nature of security in the 21st century and have developed in reaction to the failure of models based on ‘liberal peace’. Liberal peace rests on conceptual foundations of the democratic peace theory and preceded multi-agency security approaches. Democratic or liberal peace theory argues that the way to achieve ‘eternal peace’ (Kant 1795) is a liberal and democratic system of governance, based on market economy and democratic values (Schumpeter 1955; Doyle 1986; Kurtenbach 2010). The logic of liberal peacebuilding is that democracies and liberal states based on “individual rights as equality before the law, free speech and other civil liberties, private property, and elected representation” (Doyle 1986: 1151) are peaceful and would not fight wars against each other due to their commitment to peaceful values as well as due to rationalistic accounts such as the costs of aggression. This hypothesis was provided confirmatory support by several empirical studies which found a correlation between democracy and peace (Haas 1974; Maoz and Abdolali 1989; Bremer 1992; Ray 1993; Rummel 2016). However, the liberal (democratic) peace theory as well as the policy models based on it (and discussed in the upcoming sub-section) had come under intense critique after the US interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq (inter alia), which increased reluctance in top-down approaches. Assessments of the role and impact of IOs, donors and foreign governments in promoting peace by top-down regulatory governance have suggested a partial failure of the initial post-Cold War institutionalist ‘statebuilding project’ (Richmond 2014, 2016). Institutionalist theories are argued to be inherently flawed (because they fail to integrate relative gains) (Mearsheimer 1994/5: 19), and can thus have only a limited impact on changing political preferences or behaviour, e.g. of going to war. This has led to a paradigmatic shift in the understanding of security and the actors involved in providing it. The logic of the new, post-liberal peace and security paradigm reflected by multi-agency approaches post-2000 was to (1) promote democratic change, transformation and inclusive models of security governance that would enable the sustainable emergence of peace from below, i.e. bottom-up, and (2) empower local communities and disadvantaged groups. Post-liberal peace advocates that in order to be just and sustainable, peace and security need to ‘form’ from below and ‘engage with the local’ (Richmond 2014: 195). Drawing on post-Clausewitzian understandings of (post) modern wars, which claim more ‘dovish’ instead of‘hawkish’ approaches to peace, post-Westphalian concepts of peace and security claim that sustainable peace and stability requires multilateral and negotiated efforts that can result in inclusive and genuine approaches to security, owned by all relevant actors, beyond nation-states. This is understood as pluralist, networked environments of daily practice, interaction and decision-making, entailing a mix of actors with different views and continuous processes of negotiation and contestation. Multi-agency peace and security paradigms became essential part of IOs’ and US approaches in their strategies to democratise security governance in fragile, transitional orders.

The post-liberal framework is essentially a revised version of the liberal peacebuilding theory, while it “still remain[s] cognizant of the liberal peace and its norms, technologies, capacities and advantages” (Visoka 2015: 543). The main development consists in the replacement of the exclusively top- down (liberal) approaches with a hybrid model of governance (Mac Ginty 2011; Luckham and Kirk 2013; Bagayoko et al. 2016), underpinned by ‘normative pluralism’ (Riches 2017). This is operationalised as bottom-up and multidimensional processes involving a multitude of interdependent actors, mechanisms, dynamics and relationships, and formal and informal types of interactions between them. These hybrid interactions are assumed to take place between “rational actors motivated by claims to power, justice, entitlements and welfare”, and to result in “dynamic change and transformation” (Visoka 2017: 308, 319). The outcomes of these interactions are strongly influenced by “contextual dynamics of negotiation, co-optation, domination, resistance, assimilation and coexistence” as well as “everyday practice” (Visoka 2017: 308). Given the complexity of “lineages, assemblages and figuration processes” (Visoka 2017: 319) that occur in hybrid processes, the outcomes are non-linear and influenced by a non-exhaustive set of determinants.

Beyond the theoretical debate, it is worth exploring the approaches of multi-agency (multi-track) peace and security employed at policy level, by IOs, Unites States and donors in their strategies to democratise security governance in fragile states affected by complex insecurities.

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