Breaking the Failed-State Cycle

Breaking the Failed-State Cycle

Marla C. Haims
David C. Gompert
Gregory F. Treverton
Brooke K. Stearns
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 56
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  • Book Info
    Breaking the Failed-State Cycle
    Book Description:

    Insecurity in the 21st century appears to come less from the collisions of powerful states than from the debris of imploding ones. This paper aims to improve the understanding and treatment of failed states by focusing on critical challenges at the intersections between security, economics, and politics and on the guiding goal of lifting local populations from the status of victims of failure to agents of recovery.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4536-2
    Subjects: Political Science, Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xx)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    Sudan. Iraq. Afghanistan. Somalia. Gaza. Colombia. Lebanon. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Insecurity in the 21st century derives less from the collisions of powerful states than from the debris of imploding ones. Failed states present a variety of dangers: religious and ethnic violence; trafficking in drugs, weapons, blood diamonds, and humans; transnational crime and piracy; uncontrolled territory, borders, and waters; terrorist breeding grounds and sanctuaries; refugee overflows; communicable diseases; environmental degradation; warlords and stateless armies.¹ Regions with failed states are at risk of becoming failed regions, like the vast African triangle from Sudan to the Congo to Sierra Leone....

  10. CHAPTER TWO Reframing the Failed-State Challenge
    (pp. 5-8)

    Failed states are often plagued by a combination of corruption, predatory elites, tribal feuding, ethnic persecution, religious intolerance, strongman (but otherwise weak) government, extreme poverty, or the absence of the rule of law. These problems reinforce each other and can deepen over time. Figure 2.1 depicts the vicious failed-state cycle of violence, economic collapse, and unfit government.

    Traditional approaches to the failed-state challenge are usually conceived in sectors. Key sectors of response activity, along with the typical challenges faced within each, are outlined in Table 2.1.

    While sector-based analysis is useful in understanding conditions, sector-limited policies are not adequate to...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Identifying and Meeting Critical Challenges
    (pp. 9-22)

    How can the goals described in the previous chapter be translated into practical policies and investments?

    Identifying critical challenges is key. Three conditions for breaking the cycle and enabling the people of failed states are dismantling instruments of violence, removing incentives for violence, and creating security for economic recovery. Within these, we have identified six critical challenges that, if unmet, will leave the failed-state cycle unbroken. The critical challenges tend not to fall neatly into one or another traditional sector and often cross the boundaries between security, development, and government reform, which helps explain why the international community has not...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Creating Conditions for Empowering the Population
    (pp. 23-30)

    Meeting critical challenges that lie at the intersection of violence, economic collapse, and unfit government is necessary but insufficient to break the failed-state cycle. In addition, “enabling” conditions—targeted at empowering the country’s population—must be established to put the wheels of recovery in motion. For victims of failed states to become agents of progress, and thus for the cycle to truly be broken—and remain broken—three conditions must be met:

    Most immediately, the population’s basic needs (potable water, sanitation, basic health care, and education) must be satisfied.

    Second, longer-term plans for sustainable human development must be devised and...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusion: Institutions and Leadership
    (pp. 31-32)

    Failed states are more likely to recover if the help they receive from the international community is targeted at the cycle of violence, economic breakdown, and unfit government. Yet the international community is poorly organized to treat the very problems at the intersections of security, economics, and politics that cause this cycle. The critical challenges identified in this paper tend to fall into the gaps between security and development organizations.

    Security and development organizations have different agendas, cultures, and lines of accountability. Multinational and national agencies answer to different political authorities. Out of concern for their independence, the former are...

  14. APPENDIX Countries in Alert Zone
    (pp. 33-34)
  15. References
    (pp. 35-36)