- By FP Staff
If 2011 was the year in which the Arab uprisings showed the world that no dictator is forever, then 2012 was the year skeptics got to say, “I told you so.” It turns out that overthrowing an entrenched regime really is the easy part. From the ashes of the U.S. mission in Benghazi to the killing fields of Aleppo, the forces of chaos have imposed their will on the fragile green shoots of democratic order, sending once-stable states higher on the list.
The top ranks of this year’s Failed States Index, prepared by the Fund for Peace and published by Foreign Policy, are depressingly familiar. Perennial stalwarts Chad, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have returned, while Somalia has the dubious honor of being the world’s No. 1 failed state for the sixth straight year.
This year’s special report highlights three case studies of failed-state pathology: Congo (No. 2), a state in name only; Egypt (No. 34), a state that has had such difficulty realizing its post-revolutionary aspirations that Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei says it has already failed; and Greece (No. 138), a state that seemed to have graduated to the First World but instead has become Western Europe’s very own basket case. (Don’t miss Paul Starobin’s profile of Jeffrey Sachs and his controversial solution for eradicating poverty, and Charles Kenny and Justin Sandefur’s skewering of the grand “solutionist” schemes of Silicon Valley tycoons.)
If there is one happy story to emerge from this 2013 index, it is the case of Myanmar, which has gone in short order from international pariah to the darling of global investors, edging its way out of the top 25. And, as finance guru Mark Mobius details, sub-Saharan Africa is in the early stages of a gold rush that just might turn the Failed States Index upside down in years to come.
The 2013 Failed States Index
Photos: Postcards from Hell
Can Silicon Valley Save the World?
By Charles Kenny and Justin Sandefur
Case Study: Congo
By Jeffrey Herbst and Greg Mills
Case Study: Egypt
By Mohamed ElBaradei
Case Study: Greece
By Joanna Kakissis
‘There’s No Such Thing as a Failed State’
An Interview with Mark Mobius
Is Jeffrey Sachs’s Bold Plan to End Poverty Fatally Flawed?
By Paul Starobin
The FP Survey: Africa Rising?
Rebecca Frankel is senior editor, special projects at Foreign Policy. She is the author of War Dogs (forthcoming in the fall of 2014 from Palgrave), a book about canines in combat, the subject of her regular Friday column "Rebecca's War Dog of the Week," featured on The Best Defense. Before joining FP in 2008, she was managing editor of Moment Magazine, a publication founded by Elie Wiesel in 1975, where she began working in 2003. In addition to her work on war dogs, Frankel has written on a wide range of topics from the religious escapades of singer Bob Dylan to Hitler's family doctor. Her profile of author Joyce Carol Oates was published in the collection Joyce Carol Oates: Conversations in 2006. She has appeared as a commentator on ABC World News and MSNBC among others. In 2011, she was named one of 12 women in foreign policy to follow on Twitter by the Daily Muse.| Special Report |