Military Review English Edition March-April 2016 - Page 125

MR BOOK REVIEWS CREATING KOSOVO: International Oversight and the Making of Ethical Institutions Elton Skendaj, Cornell University Press, New York, 2014, 248 pages K osovo remains an experiment in progress seventeen years after the Rambouillet Accords and the issuance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, authorizing international civil and military forces in Kosovo to end the violence, reestablish governance, and enable security in the region. Creating Kosovo: International Oversight and the Making of Ethical Institutions is an informative and thought-provoking book that investigates how international and local actors have built state bureaucracies and democratic institutions in Kosovo. This book, structured as a comparative research study, is well organized and easy to follow. Unlike other literary works on Kosovo that focus on broad aspects of state building, Elton Skendaj, an assistant professor at the University of Miami and a former European studies research scholar at the Wilson Center, examines in detail the effectiveness of select core bureaucracies within Kosovo. He explores the court system, customs service, police force, and central administration, while simultaneously analyzing the progress of democratic reforms in elections, civil society, the media, and the legislature. Skendaj posits that state building and democratization by international actors are two different processes that require complementary but different approaches to build and sustain effective bureaucracies. To support his hypothesis, he argues, “effective bureaucracies can be built when local actors take ownership of the institutions or international actors insulate the bureaucracy MILITARY REVIEW  March-April 2016 form political influence.” Additionally, Skendaj argues, “democratic progress is more likely when citizens mobilize for regime change, citizens are demobilized, as authoritarian liberal elites negotiate for regime change, and coalitions of international and local actors jointly support regime change.” The author skillfully creates a realistic narrative on the challenges of building effective state institutions in postconflict environments. He does this by using data from numerous authoritative sources to support his analysis of various institutions in Kosovo: one hundred fifty formal interviews, internal and official government reports, strategies of international organizations, government agencies, nongovernmental agencies, and public surveys. Using the indicators of mission fulfillment, penalization for corruption, and responsiveness, Skendaj illustrates the various factors to create variances in institutional effectiveness caused by local, national, and international actors. One of the most intriguing aspects of this book is his analysis of how international actors have prematurely demobilized citizens and hindered their participation in the democratic process, inadvertently undermining the accountability of political leaders to the citizens of Kosovo. Skendaj is clearly at his best in the closing chapter of the book, applying aspects of his analysis of institutions and state building policy in Kosovo to other countries, including Bosnia, East Timor, Georgia, Singapore, Sierra Leone, Iraq, and Afghanistan. This book contains useful figures and tables that help support the analysis, and an extensive reference section. I highly recommend this well-written and documented book to both researchers and midgrade to senior-level military officers and government officials involved in developing postconflict strategies and policies. Lt. Col. Edward D. Jennings, U.S. Army, Retired, Leavenworth, Kansas 123