Monday, June 24, 2013

When Being Top Ten Is a Bad Thing

The annual list of Failed States is out at  My reaction as always: any country above Afghanistan must be truly f@#$%-ed.  This year, that list includes Yemen at 6, Chad at five, South Sudan (4th) is actually just a smidge behind Sudan so secession works (?), DRC at two, and Somalia at number 1.  Zimbabwe lost its "worse than Afghanistan" status from last year and fell to tenth in the world.

The other thing that I noticed is that China is also in dark red on the map.  Sure, it is 66 (so I think the colors should be reset so that a country that is one third down the list is not the same color as the top 10 or 20 or 30), but that China is critical?  I guess it scores poorly on demographic pressures, uneven development, group grievances, human rights, and so on. 

One can pick apart any ranking (a Spew specialty), but the list is instructive in a variety of ways.  The "worse than Afghanistan" group reminds us of the countries that tend to get far less attention but are in worse shape.  Is that an indicator of ISAF's success?  Well, since external intervention is seen as a a variable tied to more fragility (Afghanistan is a 10, Somalia a 9.4 on a scale of 10 is failed, one is Canada), perhaps not.  Is Libya a success at 54 on the list since the external intervention was temporary?  So confused.

The US is stable but Canada, and the Scandavians, Germans, Swiss, Austrians and Aussies are most stable.  After the Snowden affair, perhaps the US dips further down just on the basis of pathetic government competency (both having contractors hire folks like this and then not catching him).

Anyhow, take a look at the map, the tables and the associated articles.  Much to chew on.

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