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Why is Nation Building So Bloody? Two Cases

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  • Ruttan, Vernon W.

Abstract

In this paper I present case studies of the history of Nation Building in the United States and Turkey. In the United States the nation building project involved the transition of thirteen British colonies to a nation state. In the case of Turkey the nation building project involved a transition from a multinational empire to a Turkish Republic The motivation for writing the two case studies was the abrupt shift in policy by the Bush Administration following the terrorist attack on the New York World Trade Center Towers on September 1, 2001. During his presidential campaign and during his first months in office George W. Bush vigorously criticized what he interpreted as the nation building efforts of the Clinton administration. Before the end of its first year in office the Bush administration had committed American lives and resources to nation building efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. My first effort was to write a short paper in an op-ed style. “Why Is Nation Building So Bloody?” This paper serves as Chapter 1.0 of this paper. My second effort was to read widely in the classic political science nation building literature and in the more recent policy oriented literature. An example of the first is the collected works of Stein Rokkan, edited by Peter Flora, State Formation, Nation Building, And Mass Politics In Europe: The Theory Of Stein Rokkan (Oxford 1999). Rokkan’s work had been published largely between 1960 and the early 1990s. An example of the more policy oriented work was the book edited by Rancis Fukuyama, Nation Building: Beyond Afghanistan and Iraq (Johns Hopkins, 2006). I found much of the scholarly work too formal and abstract for my taste. I found the policy oriented work too close to the policy process to provide an objective perspective. My response was to step back and read in some depth the history of the United States and Turkey nation building projects. The result is this paper. In the case of both the United States and Turkey the nation building efforts were largely a response to internal political and economic forces.

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Paper provided by University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics in its series Staff Papers with number 7305.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ags:umaesp:7305

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Keywords: International Development; International Relations/Trade;

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  1. Alesina, Alberto & Spolaore, Enrico, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-56, November.
  2. McGuire, Robert A., 2003. "To Form a More Perfect Union: A New Economic Interpretation of United States Constitution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780195139709, October.
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