August 6, 2005 [LINK]

"Failed States Index"

The journal Foreign Policy and the Fund for Peace have joined to establish a ranking system to signal which countries are likely to fail, i.e., suffer a collapse of authority. They include 12 "indicators of instability" such as demographic pressures and delivery of public services. In Latin America, Haiti, Colombia, and the Dominican Republica rank as "high risk," Venezuela, Guatemala, Paraguay, and Peru rank as "medium risk," and Honduras, Ecuador, and Cuba rank as "low risk." Oddly, Bolivia is not even mentioned. See Those rankings seem quite out of order to me; Peru certainly ought to be ranked among some of the more stable states, whereas Ecuador and Bolivia ought to be ranked among those states "on the precipice." I worked on measurements of state effectiveness as part of the research for my doctoral dissertation, putting less emphasis on transitory social conditions and more on economic fundamentals such as monetary strength and debt burden. For the purposes of better understanding the contemporary global security situation, what is required is a solid theory that explains the relationship between "rogue regimes" (such as North Korea or Iraq under Saddam) and "failed states" (such as Somalia or Afghanistan).