FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, August 01, 2005

An Index of Failed States

The most dangerous nations in the world today are not superpowers, but "failed states," defined as countries where the rule of law does not hold. The Fund For Peace, in conjunction with Foreign Policy magazine, have put together a "Failed State Index" based on 12 social, economic, political and military indicators to identify those nations at greatest risk.

As one might guess, the bulk of the nations rated "borderline" (yellow) or "critical" (red) were clustered in Africa and the Middle East, with a smattering in Southeast Asia and South America. Most strikingly (and disconcertingly), Russia showed up on the "borderline" list.

The "critical" states suffered from outright civil war in most cases, or were under foreign occupation (Iraq). Those on the "borderline" list had stable governments, but also crime and corruption, crushing poverty, and/or territories where authorities had no reach.

We have already seen how dysfunctional states can nurture terror groups and otherwise pose a drain on the world's economies and diplomatic efforts. Predictions of future conflicts will almost certainly focus on these failed states, even if they take a passive role in the threat.

Source: Foreign Policy, Futurismic