Angola has topped the list of 'failed states' for decades, but its government has recently managed to put an end to 40 years of violent conflict and its economy is growing as the situation stabilises. European and other international decision-makers might look afresh at notions of state weakness in general, and their relevance to the case of Angola in particular, argues David Sogge.
The Caribbean nation was briefly at the centre of world events in the 1960s amid an extraordinary contest for political power. After a long journey it may be time to write a fresh page.
Hispaniola may have the distinction of being the only island in the world shared between two entire states (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), even if their intimacy belies very different trajectories.
Mexico faces two serious challenges: the deepest economic slowdown in Latin America and an explosion of drug-related violence. To the extent that these crises are getting any attention at all in the United States, the views are widely divergent.
On the one hand are those, including the U.S. military, who claim that Mexico is at risk of becoming a "failed state," a label typically reserved for truly "ungoverned spaces." Think Somalia.
Talk of "human security" asserts a prerogative of the powerful to say whose rights are to be respected, whose not respected, and to say who shall be system of domination now in place -– a risky thing, given that “stabilisation” practices have a way of triggering a lot of instability.
Afghanistan has been almost continuously at war for 30 years, longer than both World Wars and the American war in Vietnam combined. Each occupation of the country has mimicked its predecessor. A tiny interval between wars saw the imposition of a malignant social order, the Taliban, with the help of the Pakistani military and the late Benazir Bhutto, the prime minister who approved the Taliban takeover in Kabul.
Over the last two years, the U.S./NATO occupation of that country has run into serious military problems.
This policy paper examines the lessons from and for Afghanistan, arguing for an "overall strategy", a primarily political solution to the conflict, an emphasis on state-building, and addressing the real (and not distorted) linkages between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Talk of “failing states” represents a dominant view that states exist chiefly to promote globalisation’s winners and to police its losers. States should instead seek to ensure better life-chances for all citizens.
Under a variety of terms - weak states, fragile states, states in crisis, countries at risk of instability and low-income countries under pressure - the idea of state failure has become the subject of much attention.
Haiti's interlocking crises - from food-security to social violence, inequality to judicial corruption - make it one of the most challenging arenas in the world for establishing the right mix of international and domestic policies. Mariano Aguirre & Amélie Gauthier draw lessons from a research trip to suggest where the priorities should lie.