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Unformatted text preview: 65 S TATE-B UILDING FROM THE O UTSIDE-I N : UNMIK AND I TS P ARADOX Nicolas Lemay-Hébert If most of the literature on state-building has extensively covered the question of the increasing interference by United Nations peacekeeping missions, including the broadening scopes and mandates of these missions, not much has been said about the political dilemmas that the exercise of these competencies tend to create locally. This article will explore the particular legitimacy paradox affecting direct governance by an interna- tional administration. The article’s main argument is that direct governance by an international administration tends to create the conditions for its own illegitimacy, portraying the state- building process as exogenous to the local society. This article will specifically analyze the UN Mission in Kosovo, one of the most comprehensive and yet most challenged state-building attempts the UN has faced. I NTRODUCTION With the independence process of Kosovo well underway, the United Na- tions Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) has reduced its involvement in direct governance. As UNMIK formulates an exit strategy and the European Union braces itself to take over as the inter- national presence in the region, it is an opportune moment to consider the impact that UNMIK has had during the last nine years. This article seeks to shed light on UNMIK’s management of Kosovo and particularly the following question: why has UNMIK’s legitimacy in the eyes of the 4 Nicolas Lemay-Hébert is a Ph.D. Candidate at Sciences Po Paris (Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris) and a visiting student at Princeton University. He thanks Bertrand Badie, Andrew Eil, Richard Falk and Bridget Purcell for comments on earlier drafts. 66 local population generally and consistently declined during its tenure as administrator of the region? Despite being acclaimed as “liberators” upon their arrival, the rela- tionship between UNMIK officials and the local population has become increasingly strained over the years. This tension has been reflected in the Kosovar population’s increasing level of dissatisfaction with UNMIK’s performance, with the exception of the rule of the Special Representative of the Secretary General M. Søren Jessen-Petersen, who occupied the position between June 2004 and June 2006. While no publication has analyzed in depth this decline in public opinion, some observers have tried to explain the more general “failure” of the mission. One of the best pub- lications in this regard is Iain King and Whit Mason’s Peace at Any Price: How the World Failed Kosovo . The authors, who both previously worked for UNMIK, argue that UNMIK’s failure lies in its incapacity or lack of willingness to alter the Kosovar political culture. Focusing on the realm of hard security, notably the security of its personnel, King and Mason argue that UNMIK has neglected the realm of soft power that is vital in state-building efforts (2006). state-building efforts (2006)....
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- Fall '11
- The Trial, Kosovo, UNMIK