Findings and Conclusion

Findings and Conclusion

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1782-5.ch005
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This study has produced several insights into the pitfalls of intervening in the affairs of distressed nation states as well as providing a degree of specificity regarding latent variables that exist within the real world scenarios this study is based upon. While extremely simple in design, the agent based model utilized in this study proved to mirror the complex and fluid nature of complex humanitarian operations undertaken by the international community in troubled nations. The scenario utilized was based upon a specific country backdrop, Afghanistan, and utilized some case specifics of that operation to provide a reality based fidelity. The model itself however, is general in nature and can be readily adjusted to examine variables congruent with differing circumstances.
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Primary Reseach Question

The research question for this study asked whether increasing coordination among international agents operating in strife ridden societies has a consistent, predictable and positive influence on the success of stability operations. Specifically, does coordination between military forces, international governmental development agencies, and nongovernmental humanitarian relief agencies lead to improved outcomes with regard to the alleviation of human suffering with fewer unintended consequences? The data from the model would seem to indicate otherwise. While there was a generally positive trend to the resultant data, there was not a high degree of consistency presented nor was there sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis. While this outcome would appear to lead to a dead end, the qualitative interpretation of the graphical data leads to a new question.

The international agents in the model were generally out of the scenario prior to the conclusion. The new question becomes “are there indicators present within the other indices, such as the relative change in strength of the insurgent versus incumbent government forces or the change in the number of loyalists, which would predict the ultimate outcome of the scenario when the international forces are about to exit?” The current model can readily accommodate such a question by running the simulation one tick at a time. The secondary question that would follow is “what, if any, changes in the international agent contingent has a positive effect on the ultimate outcome of the scenario?” To answer the latter question, a minor degree of modification to the current model would be necessary but within the scope of maintaining a relatively simple model.

The secondary research question concerned the level of violence and the effect that it has on the other variables in the model: namely, does increased incumbent government legitimacy or increased international agent coordination help to offset the deleterious effects of increased violence? Put another way; is it in the best interest of either the incumbent government or the international agents to increase the level of violence (which can be accomplished by simply increasing the number of those respective forces thereby providing additional targets for insurgent activities)? The data suggested a resounding no to that hypothesis. The reverse is actually the case. It is in the best interest of the insurgent to increase the level of violence within the scenario. While a surge of operational international forces intuitively makes sense, it is also intuitive that an escalation of violence serves to undermine the legitimacy of the incumbent government. The less legitimacy the incumbent government has, the less it has to lose by increasing violence relative to a more legitimate incumbent government. However, in both cases, the probability of a successful outcome is dramatically reduced.

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