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Weak and Failed States: What They Are, Why They Matter and What To Do About Them

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Weak and Failed States: What They Are, Why They Matter and What To Do About Them

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Since September 11, 2001, threats to international peace and security have frequently come from the world’s weakest states. The U.S. National Security Strategy describes weak and failed states as significant challenges and a high policy priority, a view widely shared by policy-makers in other nations, global development agencies, the U.S. military, the United Nations and the European Union.

On February 26, the Brookings Institution released the Index of State Weakness in the Developing World, an effort designed to provide policy-makers and researchers with a credible tool for analyzing and understanding the world’s most vulnerable countries. Co-directed by Brookings Senior Fellow Susan Rice and Center for Global Development Research Fellow Stewart Patrick, the Index ranks and assesses 141 developing nations according to their relative performance in four critical spheres: economic, political, security and social welfare.

To mark the launch, Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), who chairs the House Armed Services Committee’s Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, delivered remarks on the twin challenges of global poverty and state weakness, and their implications for U.S. and global security.  Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy Carlos Pascual, who served as coordinator for reconstruction and stabilization at the State Department, moderated the discussion.
 
Index of State Weakness in the Developing World »

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Stewart Patrick

Senior Fellow and Director, Program on International Institutions and Global Governance, Council on Foreign Relations

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