Intervention and State-Building in the Pacific: The Legitimacy of 'Cooperative Intervention'


Greg Fry and Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka (eds.)


Manchester. United Kingdom: Manchester University Press

Available From: Manchester University Press
Publication Date: 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7190-7683-1
Binding: cloth
Pages: xvi, 246


State-building intervention in weak, war-torn or failing states has become a priority for the international community. This book explores this key issue through a critical examination of a new model of state-building intervention which has recently emerged in relation to the Pacific 'arc of crisis.' Initiated by the Australian government in 2003, this regional intervention doctrine has already found expression in major engagements in Solomon Islands, Nauru and Papua New Guinea, as well as in reforms to the Pacific Islands Forum. This new model, built on declared principles of partnership and respect for sovereignty, and successful in gaining legitimacy in the international community, seems to offer a legitimate way to engage in state-building intervention.

However, drawing on a group of distinguished Pacific specialists, this book mounts a critique of these claims, showing how international legitimacy does not automatically translate into political legitimacy among those in the affected societies; and how the attempt to legitimize the intervention internationally may actually work against such legitimacy in the recipient state. The book questions whether this 'cooperative intervention' is in danger of being seen as an un-negotiated form of neo-trusteeship or 'shared sovereignty,' rather than a model which is conducted in the name of sovereignty and partnership.

This analysis offers insights into the legitimacy issues confronting a new generation of state-building in which the intervening mission operates like a shadow government alongside the democratically elected sovereign government; in which peace-building and development agendas are blurred; and in which the engagement is sustained by security concerns around the war on terror.

© Manchester University Press