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JSPES, Vol. 31, No. 2 (Summer 2006 )
pp. 143-162

Reconstructing Weak and Failed States

Christopher J. Coyne

Hampden-Sydney College

It is argued that the process of reconstructing weak and failed states along liberal democratic lines is a cultural rather than a merely technical issue. The work of Alexis de Tocqueville provides key insights into the foundations of liberal democracy and the limitations on the ability of foreign countries to export liberal democratic institutions via military occupation and reconstruction. After considering these insights, the implications for reconstruction efforts are considered.