Failed States 2007: There Goes the Neighborhood
In some of the world's most dangerous regions, failure doesn't stop at the border's edge. It's contagious.
It is no coincidence that many of the world's failing states tend to cluster together. Porous borders, cultural affinity, and widespread underdevelopment often bind populations. And when some live in a failing state, their woes can quickly spill over into a neighbor’s backyard.
It is no coincidence that many of the world’s failing states tend to cluster together. Porous borders, cultural affinity, and widespread underdevelopment often bind populations. And when some live in a failing state, their woes can quickly spill over into a neighbor’s backyard.
Nowhere to Run
The violence in Darfur has created the most extreme ripple effect. The Sudanese government has been accused of backing rebel groups in both Chad and the Central African Republic, creating hundreds of thousands of additional refugees. Vast camps throughout the region are vulnerable to the violent, marauding militias that have terrorized Darfur for the past four years.
States of Disorder
Somalia, hostage to factional fighting between warlords for more than 15 years, convulsed with violence in 2006, when short-lived stability installed by the Union of Islamic Courts was upended by the invasion of Ethiopian troops in favor of an interim government. Over the years, refugees from the fighting have spilled into Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Kenya, destabilizing a large portion of the Horn of Africa.
Fighting by a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan and in the lawless Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan has the potential to spread instability across Central Asia. Pakistan and Uzbekistan have shown only marginal gains in their index scores during the past year and are at risk not only from spillover but from growing internal dissent. But it is Afghanistan’s record poppy yield that has neighboring states most concerned. Drug trafficking routes, fueled by underground heroin factories, cut swaths through the former Soviet republics to the north, bringing crime, addiction, and HIV/AIDS in their wake.
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