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Putting Failed States on the Map

Foreign Policy has released its eighth annual failed state index. The map alone is a staggering and disheartening sight:

This is yet another blow to the MSM’s optimistic narrative on Africa: out of the top 20 failed states, 14 rest on the “problem continent.” Particularly dismal is data on Africa’s broken public services, uneven development, and lawless security forces. Years after independence, a truly massive amount of aid has been sent to complement the continent’s vast mineral resources, and there is still precious little to show for it.

Asia is also straggling: countries such as Nepal, East Timor, Laos and Burma rank distressingly high in areas such as economic decline and the weakening of the state.

There are some surprises; Argentina, for example, is rated as better off than Brazil. The recent turmoil in Greece doesn’t seem fully reflected, either.

Still, the map reminds us that the world remains a wild and unsettling place. The 21st century is unlikely to be a calm and soothing time.

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  • WigWag

    “Foreign Policy” is not a serious journal; it’s little more than the National Enquirer for international relations junkies. Given how remarkably dopey so called international relations “experts” often are, this is quite an indictment.

    What caught my eye is not the list of failed states but the list of nations listed as “stable” versus “the most stable.” The only think that reflects on “stability” here is the questionable stability of the editors at Foreign Affairs” who decided that the United States was merely “stable” not “the most stable.”

    I guess having the largest economy and military in the world doesn’t qualify as an imprimatur of the most stable nations and neither does having the most productive economy in the world. Apparently neither does owing the world’s reserve currency.

    The assessment of the “Foreign Policy” editors demonstrates how dimwitted they are. They also have a policy of being hypercritical of everything the United States does. One is almost tempted to say that they have contempt for the United States.

    One need only look at the bloggers that they employ including the Jew baiter/hater, Steve Walt, the confused and feckless Mark Lynch and the clownish Dan Drezner to see what I mean. Despite his many errors and his penchant for exaggeration, Professor Mead sick in bed with the flu and a 103 temperature is more lucid and insightful than all the bloggers for “Foreign Affairs” put together.

    Many people who write about foreign policy don’t know what they are talking about. That goes for bigots like Robert Wright who blogs for “The Atlantic” and sadly for his “Atlantic” colleague, James Fallows who was once a terrific journalist. It is unfortunate that rather than Wright ascending to Fallow’s level, Fallow’s is descending to Wright’s.

    It’s not just journalists who cover the international relations beat who have dumbed the national discussion about foreign policy down, the so-called “experts” are equally guilty. A perfect example is CFR member Charles Kupchan who was busy explaining to us in a book he published a few years ago that Europe was bound to replace the United States as the world’s hegemon. It’s hard to imagine a dumber thesis; whatever credentials Kupchan had that qualified him as an expert in international relations should be removed from him with the same force as a sargent who strikes a superior officer has emblems of his rank ripped from his shoulders.

    But at least Kupchan guessed that it was the Europeans who would lead the world; the editors of “Foreign Affairs” think that the Canadians and Australians have the most stable nations while the United States is the least stable of the stable.

    Should the editors of the joke of a periodical that “Foreign Policy” is really be taken seriously about anything that they have to say?

  • WigWag

    On several occasions in my previous comment I referred to the journal “Foreign Affairs” when I meant “Foreign Policy.”. The only journal I meant to refer to is “Foreign Policy” which is owned by the Washington Post Company, not “Foreign Affairs” which is published by the Council for Foreign Relations.

    Most of the content of “Foreign Affairs” is marginally less dumb than the typical content of “Foreign Policy.”
    Professor Mead’s articles for “Foreign Affairs” have, for the most part been brilliant.

    Anyway, I apologize for the error.

  • Kris

    Looking at the “findings” for the US vis-a-vis certain other countries, I cannot help but wonder whether you are trying to mollify a certain San Jose based commenter. (But we need to do something about Ireland.)

  • Jim.

    They need to include debt-to-GDP as a criterion.

  • Albert

    I’d be inclined to take the whole thing with a very big grain of salt, seeing that the wizards at Foreign Policy do not seem to know that the Province of Newfoundland is part of Canada….

  • Kris

    Albert@5: They’re obviously in the pay of Quebec, as can be seen by the fact they’ve torn asunder Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • Akshay Kanoria

    The findings here are manifestly absurd. To find absolutely bankrupt Ireland a more stable state than America or France is laughable. It is also completely incorrect to suggest that nations such as India with an extremely strong democratic tradition, free press, judiciary and speech is at all in ‘danger’ of being a failed state. Contrast to South Africa, which despite 50% youth unemployment is counted as relatively safe! Indonesia and Turkey are busting records for GDP growth, and yet FP thinks they too are in ‘danger’ of failing. I think FP is more interested in selling magazines these days than in honest analysis. If they were to believed, most of the world (and all of Africa) is in grave danger of collapse tomorrow!

  • PacRim Jim

    Note that the most stable Western states are those that contribute least to maintenance of the West. All the benefits; none of the costs. Such a deal.

  • Jay Teigh

    … “This is yet another blow to the MSM’s optimistic narrative on Africa: out of the top 20 failed states, 14 rest on the “problem continent.” …

    RACISM!!!! /femtosarc/

  • thibaud

    Beyond “In Depth” and “Quick Takes,” VM needs a third category of content for ludicrous posts like this one. Call it Laff Track.

  • Daniel

    This map is worthless. They have Israel marked as critical. The lowest category. This is divorced from reality.

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