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 ...
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.
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
Flirting with Disaster
By Patricia Taft
More from Foreign Policy
Russians Are Unraveling Before Our Eyes
A wave of fresh humiliations has the Kremlin struggling to control the narrative.
A BRICS Currency Could Shake the Dollar’s Dominance
De-dollarization’s moment might finally be here.
Is Netflix’s ‘The Diplomat’ Factual or Farcical?
A former U.S. ambassador, an Iran expert, a Libya expert, and a former U.K. Conservative Party advisor weigh in.
The Battle for Eurasia
China, Russia, and their autocratic friends are leading another epic clash over the world’s largest landmass.