Kimberly Marten is the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, and a faculty member of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University.  She is Deputy Director for Development at Columbia's Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies (serving as Acting Director in 2012/13), and a member of Columbia's Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. She is a member of the PONARS-Eurasia network, and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Marten's current research focuses on Russian foreign and security policy. She has two major projects underway: a counterfactual analysis of what would have happened if NATO hadn't expanded to include Poland and the Baltic states, and an exploration of how informal network politics encourage anti-Western nationalism. She writes frequently about current events, with recent articles in ForeignAffairs.com, the Washington Post's Monkey Cage Blog (for example, here, here, here, here, and here), the Huffington Post, USA Today, the European Leadership Network, and the New America Foundation's Weekly Wonk.

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Research & Publications

October 2012|Cornell University Press|Kimberly Marten

Warlords are individuals who control small territories within weak states, using a combination of force and patronage. In this book, Kimberly Marten shows why and how warlords undermine state sovereignty. Unlike the feudal lords of a previous era, warlords today are not state-builders. Instead they collude with cost-conscious, corrupt, or frightened state officials to flout and undermine state capacity. They thrive on illegality, relying on private militias for support, and often provoke violent resentment from those who are cut out of their networks. Some act as middlemen for competing states, helping to hollow out their own states from within. Countries ranging from the United States to Russia have repeatedly chosen to ally with warlords, but Marten argues that to do so is a dangerous proposition.

Drawing on interviews, documents, local press reports, and in-depth historical analysis, Marten examines warlordism in the Pakistani tribal areas during the twentieth century, in post-Soviet Georgia and the Russian republic of Chechnya, and among Sunni militias in the U.S.-supported Anbar Awakening and Sons of Iraq programs. In each case state leaders (some domestic and others foreign) created, tolerated, actively supported, undermined, or overthrew warlords and their militias. Marten draws lessons from these experiences to generate new arguments about the relationship between states, sovereignty, "local power brokers," and stability and security in the modern world.

 

October 2004|Columbia University Press|Kimberly Marten

Anarchy makes it easy for terrorists to set up shop. Yet the international community has been reluctant to commit the necessary resources to peacekeeping—with devastating results locally and around the globe. This daring new work argues that modern peacekeeping operations and military occupations bear a surprising resemblance to the imperialism practiced by liberal states a century ago. Motivated by a similar combination of self-interested and humanitarian goals, liberal democracies in both eras have wanted to maintain a presence on foreign territory in order to make themselves more secure, while sharing the benefits of their own cultures and societies. Yet both forms of intervention have inevitably been undercut by weak political will, inconsistent policy choices, and their status as a low priority on the agenda of military organizations. In more recent times, these problems are compounded by the need for multilateral cooperation—something even NATO finds difficult to achieve but is now necessary for legitimacy.

Drawing lessons from this provocative comparison, Kimberly Zisk Marten argues that the West’s attempts to remake foreign societies in their own image—even with the best of intentions—invariably fail. Focusing on operations in Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and East Timor in the mid- to late 1990s, while touching on both post-war Afghanistan and the occupation of Iraq, Enforcing the Peace compares these cases to the colonial activities of Great Britain, France, and the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. The book weaves together examples from these cases, using interviews Marten conducted with military officers and other peacekeeping officials at the UN, NATO, and elsewhere. Rather than trying to control political developments abroad, Marten proposes, a more sensible goal of foreign intervention is to restore basic security to unstable regions threatened by anarchy. The colonial experience shows that military organizations police effectively if political leaders prioritize the task, and the time has come to raise the importance of peacekeeping on the international agenda.

October 1997|Columbia University Press|Kimberly Marten

How do powerful people react to revolutionary circumstances? How quickly and effectively do elites adapt to, and shape, the structures of new social and political systems? Zisk offers a detailed examination of the unexpected ways Russian defense industrials have acted in the new market economy. Bridging the gap between political economy and international security studies, Zisk plunges into the debate of whether rational self-interest or broader cultural norms explain behavior best, focusing on three institutions that structured the Russian defense managers' working life in the 1992-95 transition era: the large defense enterprises dating from Soviet times, the webs of political authority spanning both local and national levels, and the newly emerged, market-oriented spin-off firms.

October 1993|Princeton University Press|Kimberly Marten

Did a "doctrine race" exist alongside the much-publicized arms competition between East and West? Using recent insights from organization theory, Kimberly Marten Zisk answers this question in the affirmative. Zisk challenges the standard portrayal of Soviet military officers as bureaucratic actors wedded to the status quo: she maintains that when they were confronted by a changing external security environment, they reacted by producing innovative doctrine. The author's extensive evidence is drawn from newly declassified Soviet military journals, and from her interviews with retired high-ranking Soviet General Staff officers and highly placed Soviet-Russian civilian defense experts.

According to Zisk, the Cold War in Europe was powerfully influenced by the reactions of Soviet military officers and civilian defense experts to modifications in U.S. and NATO military doctrine. Zisk also asserts that, contrary to the expectations of many analysts, civilian intervention in military policy-making need not provoke pitched civil-military conflict. Under Gorbachev's leadership, for instance, great efforts were made to ensure that "defensive defense" policies reflected military officers' input and expertise. Engaging the Enemy makes an important contribution not only to the theory of military organizations and the history of Soviet military policy but also to current policy debates on East-West security issues.

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