Failedstates 2012

If anything has become clear since we started publishing the Failed States Index in 2005, it’s that state failure is an entrenched problem — one the world is far from figuring out how to fix. Every one of the 20 countries atop this year’s index has been there before: Chad, the Democratic Republic of the ...

627110_120614_FSbanner20121.jpg
627110_120614_FSbanner20121.jpg

If anything has become clear since we started publishing the Failed States Index in 2005, it’s that state failure is an entrenched problem -- one the world is far from figuring out how to fix. Every one of the 20 countries atop this year’s index has been there before: Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Iraq have never made it out of the top 10, and Somalia takes the unwanted No. 1 spot for the fifth straight year. But despite an overall trend of stagnation -- the average score on the index, prepared by the Fund for Peace and published annually by Foreign Policy, has remained more or less steady from year to year -- the 2011 Arab revolutions prove that dramatic change is still a possibility, if not a guarantee of progress. The biggest shifts in this year’s index were registered by Libya, Syria, and Egypt -- all three countries jumped markedly higher on the list, a reminder that although revolutions may weaken or topple dictators, they can also provoke greater instability. But there are gains being made as well: Mogadishu is in the midst of its longest period of relative peace in the past two decades. These gains may seem meager, but at the very least they suggest that, even when it comes to the worst cases of human misery, nothing is forever.

If anything has become clear since we started publishing the Failed States Index in 2005, it’s that state failure is an entrenched problem — one the world is far from figuring out how to fix. Every one of the 20 countries atop this year’s index has been there before: Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Iraq have never made it out of the top 10, and Somalia takes the unwanted No. 1 spot for the fifth straight year. But despite an overall trend of stagnation — the average score on the index, prepared by the Fund for Peace and published annually by Foreign Policy, has remained more or less steady from year to year — the 2011 Arab revolutions prove that dramatic change is still a possibility, if not a guarantee of progress. The biggest shifts in this year’s index were registered by Libya, Syria, and Egypt — all three countries jumped markedly higher on the list, a reminder that although revolutions may weaken or topple dictators, they can also provoke greater instability. But there are gains being made as well: Mogadishu is in the midst of its longest period of relative peace in the past two decades. These gains may seem meager, but at the very least they suggest that, even when it comes to the worst cases of human misery, nothing is forever.

stripes

stripes

  • The 2012 Failed States Index

  • Photos: Postcards From Hell 2012

  • The Worst of the Worst

  • 10 Reasons Why States Fail
    By Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson

  • Was the Arab Spring Worth It?
    By Hussein Ibish

  • The Watch List
    By Jay Ulfelder

  • What’s Wrong with Pakistan?
    By Robert D. Kaplan

  • Kaplan’s 8 Geographical Pivot Points

  • Are All States Failing States?
    By David Rothkopf

  • It’s Lonely Being No. 1
    By Paul Collier

  • How to Help Somalia
    By Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud Farole

  • Failed States by the Numbers: How Bad Are They?

  • Change Is the Only Constant
    J.J. Messner

  • Flirting with Disaster
    By Patricia Taft

Facebook|Twitter|Digg

More from Foreign Policy

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a commission on military-technical cooperation with foreign states in 2017.
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a commission on military-technical cooperation with foreign states in 2017.

What’s the Harm in Talking to Russia? A Lot, Actually.

Diplomacy is neither intrinsically moral nor always strategically wise.

Officers with the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) wait outside an apartment in Kharkiv oblast, Ukraine.
Officers with the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) wait outside an apartment in Kharkiv oblast, Ukraine.

Ukraine Has a Secret Resistance Operating Behind Russian Lines

Modern-day Ukrainian partisans are quietly working to undermine the occupation.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron wave as they visit the landmark Brandenburg Gate illuminated in the colors of the Ukrainian flag in Berlin on May 9, 2022.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron wave as they visit the landmark Brandenburg Gate illuminated in the colors of the Ukrainian flag in Berlin on May 9, 2022.

The Franco-German Motor Is on Fire

The war in Ukraine has turned Europe’s most powerful countries against each other like hardly ever before.

U.S. President Joe Biden holds a semiconductor during his remarks before signing an executive order on the economy in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.
U.S. President Joe Biden holds a semiconductor during his remarks before signing an executive order on the economy in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.

How the U.S.-Chinese Technology War Is Changing the World

Washington’s crackdown on technology access is creating a new kind of global conflict.