The Cycle of reciprocity: a social capital intervention strategy for SSTR operations
Tolle, Glenn A.
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Is it possible to initiate and sustain a positive cycle of reciprocity between competing actors in a Security, Stability, Transition and Reconstruction (SSTR) environment? The author postulates that an intervention strategy based on fostering "bridging social capital" between two or more competing parties stands a greater probability of success than an intervention strategy based primarily on an infusion of physical or human capital. The author reviews key literature of social capital and examines two cases involving a harvest initiative in Gnjilane, Kosovo (July-September 1999) and the "Village of Hope" in Mosul, Iraq (January-December, 2004). Examination of these two instances of convincing recalcitrant ethnicities to cooperate for the greater good yields lessons in civil military relations and provides a template for intervention and for generating "bridging" social capital. Current practices in SSTR operations inadvertently establish a competitive dilemma by introducing significant amounts of fiscal and physical capital in a post-conflict environment. Ethnic groups compete with other groups for financial, human and information capital-to the detriment of the collective civil good. Recommendations for civilian and military interventionists include bringing competing ethnicities together in common, low-level microfinancial projects that foster bridging social capital between kinship-based social networks.
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