Borders Have Been Very Stable essay

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To understand domination, then, demands two levels of analysis, one that recognizes the corporate, unified dimension of the state - its wholeness - expressed in its image, and one that dismantles this wholeness in favor of examining the reinforcing and contradictory practices and alliances of its disparate parts. The state-in-society model focuses on this paradoxical quality of the state; it demands that students of domination and change view the state in dual terms. It must be thought of at once (1) as the powerful image of a clearly bounded, unified organization that can be spoken of in singular terms (e.g., a headline stating, "Israel accepts Palestinian demands"), as if it were a single, centrally motivated actor performing in an integrated manner to rule a clearly defined territory; and (2) as the practices of a heap of loosely connected parts or fragments, frequently with illdefined boundaries between them and other groupings inside and outside the official state borders and often promoting conflicting sets of rules with one another and with "official" Law. (Migdal 2001, 22)

The situation of state building in the context of a modern, relatively stable post-colonial society is significant, as it has rarely been embarked on before and the challenges to such states are many. (Migdal 2004, 17) One expert on international relations and the UN policy of stressing the development of "free" and "open" elections as the end all be all of state building in transitional societies, over that of standards and laws that reflect democratic standards and especially those of human rights and citizenship representation.

As we enter a new era with vast new possibilities, it is time to reexamine our peacekeeping goals and the means we have chosen to reach those goals. The end of the Cold War has brought not only the ability to conduct more operations free from the Cold-War Security Council veto, it has also brought a political climate that will allow the United Nations to structure many peacekeeping operations to focus on free and fair elections and to assist the country in forming a government that will "control itself" after the elections. It is time for the United Nations to explicitly embrace the second half of Madison's formula and seek ways to build a lasting peace around a government that is based on democratic principles and the rule of law. Recently, the United Nations has begun to recognize the role of "good governance" for meeting the objectives of sustainable development, prosperity, and peace.(5) However encouraging this may seem, it is still not clear that this good governance requires a form of government that is designed to control the power of the ruling elite, nor is there any indication of how good governance is to be achieved. (Gibson 1998, 1)

Reflected in the statements above, about Belarus is the "ideal" of free elections as a source of mental independence among participants. Gibson asserts that, thouh free elections are a good start when such elections are not reflected in practice, they dop not have the ultimate power, which the international community and specifically the UN attribute to them.

In the past, the idea of holding free and fair elections has dominated the thinking and therefore the means and the goals of most operations.(7) the United Nations has developed specific, mandatory tools for bringing about free and fair elections; what it has not developed are the tools for developing stable governments after the elections. While the United Nations feels it can dictate the conduct of elections -- down to suspending incompatible laws, running its own public information radio station, or initiating prosecutions (8) -- it is powerless to do anything stronger than encouraging good governance once the elections are over.(9) in some cases, the United Nations is powerless even in the face of pre-existing framework agreements that set the terms for U.N. intervention and contain specific requirements for the new form of government.(10) (Gibson 1998, 1)

Ultimately in Belarus and other "new" nations of the 1990s, many which are attributed to the former Soviet Union, the "ideal" of the nation's inhabitants is for stability, a stability which was seen, in their generations only by the security of the larger nation, i.e. The Soviet Union and has not been seen in the Russian split ideology. The context of change is therefore not ripe in Belarus, despite the idea that "free" elections even in the face of corruption and limited questioning of authority will engender the kind of independent mind that will develop into a "true" democratic state.

The idea that state building is a new and demonstratively different situation, in the modern world, is supported by the "state-in society" definition of the state, in both its democratic and non-democratic forms. Looking at the state as a situation in context of both ideal and practice is essential to understanding, even from a western democratic ideal why some states succeed in what Western thinkers see as ideal (i.e. democratic society) and what others consider ideal is essential to understanding modern states and modern state building. Migdal has offered the social sciences a far more effective, if not confusing template for the development of a state and why so many do not conform to democratic ideals at the onset of relative freedom, even in the face of secure and recognized stable borders.

Works Cited

Allnutt, Luke, and Alex Znatkevich. 2002. Belarus Plays Catch-Up. Foreign Policy, January/February, 98.

Campbell, James E., and Thomas E. Mann. 1996. Forecasting the Presidential Election: What Can We Learn from Them Models?. Brookings Review, Fall, 26.

Gibson, Susan S. 1998. The Misplaced Reliance on Free and Fair Elections in Nation Building: The Role of Constitutional Democracy and…[continue]

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