Non-Western engagement in peace processes and the rise of ‘hedging’ by elites in...


Author: Monalisa Adhikari

Analysing the peace processes of Nepal and Myanmar, this article argues that the changing landscape of peacebuilding support to conflict-affected states (CAS) marked by multiple international actors is increasing the bargaining leverage of elites in CAS to shape post-conflict institutions in their favour. It highlights that multiple and competing forms of international engagement allow elites in CAS not only to ‘co-opt’ international support as widely discussed in peace studies but also undertake multiple strategies categorised cumulatively as ‘hedging’- to harness distinct benefits from varied international actors, exploit the differences between multiple international institutional prescripts, and offset dependency on one by aligning with another. These strategies enhance the agency of elites to resist Western pressures to adapt liberal reforms and instead shape post-conflict institutional outcomes in their favour. Such resistance fosters ‘illiberal’ institutions where elites renege on critical pledges of the peace process on inclusion and security sector reform to protect their interests.

This article was published online in the Cambridge Review of International Affairs.