The central thesis of this article is that when faced with state collapse, rising violence, and a complex stabilisation effort, the US, UN, and NATO in Afghanistan and the US and Britain in Iraq, deployed the dominant, if not only, international approach available, Liberal Peacebuilding. The article traces the rise of Liberal Peacebuilding across the 1990s. It argues that four units of analysis within neoliberal ideology, the individual, the market, the role of the state and democracy, played a key role within Liberal Peacebuilding, allowing it to identify problems and propose solutions to stabilise post-conflict societies. It was these four units of analysis that were taken from the Liberal Peacebuilding approach and applied in Afghanistan and Iraq. The application of a universal template to two very different countries led directly to the fierce but weak states that exist today.