Lisa Baglione, Ph.D.


Areas Taught: International Relations, Political Science

Expertise: Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, Russian and Balkan Politics, Democratization

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Understanding Political Challenges Around the Globe

How do societies that have gone through enormous violence – the Iraqs and Libyas of the world – reconstruct peaceful nations?

“Most people argue that in the aftermath of civil war, as long as the new state provides for all citizens – even those who fought against it – former opponents will transfer their loyalty from paramilitary forces to the state,” says international relations expert Lisa Baglione, Ph.D., chair and professor of political science. In her book-in-progress, After the Ink Dries: The Challenge of Building Effective States and Inclusive Communities in War-Torn Societies, Baglione proposes an oft-overlooked, additional step based on in-depth case studies of Chechnya, Bosnia, Israel-Palestine, Rwanda and El Salvador.

“To move beyond conflict, I would argue that war-torn societies need some kind of mechanism to address the past,” Baglione says. Creating a sense of  ‘nation’ and addressing elements of the horrific past are just as important as the more-often emphasized goal of developing the state, including building political parties, police forces, robust economies and just courts. “You can create institutions, but if people don’t feel part of the community, the postwar state won’t be successful,” she adds.

Baglione also can speak extensively on Russian and Balkan politics. “With Vladimir Putin announcing his candidacy for president, and the fissures between Putin and his protégé President Dmitri Medvedev (2008-12) have been exposed as a sham, Russia’s authoritarianism seems assured for the foreseeable future,” she says. “The interesting question will be whether Putin can mimic China’s path and achieve more prosperity and more broad-based economic success without providing political freedoms.”

In the Balkans, too, Baglione says the story is complex. “Can a weakened European Union continue to exert positive influence on Croatia, Serbia and other Balkan nations, and will Bosnia be able to move forward in these times of economic challenges and insecurity?”

Most recently, Baglione was quoted at length in Russia Today about the long-reaching impact of that country’s 1939 pact with Germany.