From Balkans to Afghanistan: Complex Stabilization Operations Politique étrangère, 2/2005, (Summer).
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The Yugoslavian crisis in particular forced Western governments and militaries to design an original strategy where initial coercive operations, generally through air operations, would lay the basis for a large and long-term peacekeeping and occupation operation. The financial and military costs of this approach virtually warrant that it could not and would not be applied elsewhere on the same scale. As Afghanistan has demonstrated, success can be achieved with low ratios of troops and spending per local inhabitant and in large and difficult countries. Premised on a light footprint, this new approach seems particularly relevant in a context where asymmetrical foes try to disrupt the peace operation. When counterinsurgency, state-building, and reconstruction are inextricably linked, stabilization operations may indeed proved more appropriate than traditional peacekeeping. Etienne de Durand, Specialist of military and strategical issues is Research Fellow at the Security Studies Department of Ifri. He teaches at the Ecole militaire spéciale de Saint-Cyr-Coëtquidan and at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris.