[prepared by Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy]
1. Somalia (No.1 spot for 4 years in a row)
4. Dem. Rep. of Congo
12. Pakistan (dubbed most dangerous country in Washington policy circles but danger to its
25. Bangladesh (extreme poverty and fighting environment crisis-if sea-level rise by 1
metre,17% of country could get submerged)
27. Nepal (poorest country in S.Asia, and status unlikely to change unless pease process is
29. Sri Lanka (widescale displacement -over 3 lakh- in the offensive against LTTE)
Failed States have been identified as the “main security challenge of our time” (Robert Gates, Pentagon, US). State-failure poses a threat to:
- international security, as is best evidenced by the increasing piracy activities in Somalia or more dramatically the 9/11 attacks launched from Afghanistan,
- threat to its own people –
o high risk of internal conflict, civil violence, and humanitarian catastrophe (both natural and man-made) - settings for the worst human rights abuses – most UN peacekeeping interventions - endure gender discrimination
o the overwhelming source of the world's refugees.
o suffer low or negative economic growth, populations poor and malnourished; lack access to education, basic health care, and modern technology; and die young or suffer chronic illness
- Threat to neighboring states - violent conflict, refugee flows, arms trafficking, and disease are rarely contained within national borders (eg: Afghanistan and Pakistan, Rwandan Genocide’s affects on the Great Lakes region)
Points to Note:
- Such troubles do not automatically endanger the wider world much. What happens in failed states often stays in failed states. Transnational threats are more likely to emanate from better-performing developing countries that are more closely integrated into the global economy but nevertheless possess significant governance gaps. Eg: Pakistan, Kenya, Yemen
- Transnational crime like drug-trade requires perpetrators to stay close to global markets and gain from infrastructure like modern telecom, transportation, banking etc that are lacking in failed states. This explains the emergence of Mexico and South Africa as hotbeds of criminal activities.
- Global health pandemics have largely arisen from developed/developing states and bypassed the most failed states. What is dangerous here was the obstructionist attitude and denial by some countries to deal with them. Eg South Africa denied the HIV problem for years, China-SARS and Indonesia-the bird-flu pandemics.
- India is surrounded on all sides by failed states whose governance institutions are faltering to various degrees.
Thus, as the failed states have been considered an international security challenge, they should even more be considered a ‘development challenge’ (Zoellick, World Bank President).
Summarised from: Stewart Patrick, “The Brutal Truth”, Foreign Policy Jul/Aug 2011. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/06/20/the_brutal_truth?page=0,0