The reality is that in places like Somalia, whether we like it or not—and reasonable people can differ about whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, or just a thing—the government is going to remain weak for the foreseeable future. We know that state-building and institution-building take a long time.
Meanwhile, what we have in Somalia by default is a negotiated state, or a mediated state. That's the way to try to understand it. The state is just one of a number of armed actors. Most of the rest are non-state actors, or they're kind of quasi-state, in that they are planned paramilitaries that are hatting themselves as the military to get some ammunition and salary once in a while, but they're really acting as autonomous groups.
The state has already been engaged in negotiations with this galaxy of non-state and sub-state actors. It forms a hybrid kind of government. It's messy, it's fluid, it's often illiberal, and in some cases it's profoundly distasteful if it involves warlords and war criminals. In other cases, it involves municipalities that are actually run reasonably well and trying to do the right thing, or a district commissioner or a mayor somewhere who's a reasonably legitimate leader.
We need to be thinking of Somalia as that kind of negotiated state, involving hybrid governance, formal and informal, in partnerships, for the foreseeable future. That is a major challenge, not so much for the Somalis. They know how to deal with this; they've been doing it for years now. It's a major challenge for international actors, because we have plug-in mechanisms for formal authorities. We struggle a lot more with the informal actors: how to deal with them, when to deal with them, and when not to deal with them. I would say that is generally a question to leave up to the Somalis. For us, it's important not to get in the way of those negotiated relationships that, as Dr. Spears said, do keep the country from in fact falling into anarchy.
There is order there. It's a very complex political order that requires an awful lot of energy from the Somalis to figure it out, day to day. But they are capable of doing it.