State Building and National Identity

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In War and the State in Africa, Jeffrey Herbst states, “…it should be recognized that there is very little evidence that African countries, or many others in the Third World, will be able to find peaceful ways to strengthen the state and develop national identities.” Truly, building a strong state and developing state identity is very essential to third world countries that have either a weak or fail state, as it will help the government of developing countries to be better on solving both internal and external challenges for the society, such as AIDS, poverty, natural disasters, economic development, internal conflicts. Besides, it will also help to increase the living standard for the people and to build up a fair democratic society. However, Jeffrey Herbst argues that the only way to establish a strong functioning state and develop national identity in the third world is through non-peaceful methods is not true. Non-peaceful method does not contribute to the state-building, and can also promote potential internal conflict. As a peaceful alternative, a country should create good development policy and establish solid government institution.

The next paragraph of this article outlines why a non-peaceful means is not contributing to strengthening state. The following paragraph explains how war will promote internal conflicts. Then proceeding paragraph describes why the development policy is the essential to strengthen the state capability and build up state identities. The final paragraph illustrates that establishing solid government institution will strengthen the state.

Non-peaceful method such as a war is not an essential independent variable for the state building since state building is not solely dependent on a war. Take the communist China After WWII as an example, the communist regime of the People’s Republic of China far behind on establishing a strong state compared to West. China experienced the failure of the state as the people suffered...
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