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Failed States


Failed States. Among the most important elements of President Bush's first National Security Strategy (NSS) is its focus on failed states. The president is wise to draw attention to the significant threats to our national security posed by failed and failing states. Such states can and often do serve as safe havens and staging grounds for terrorist organizations. Failed states create environments that spur wider regional conflicts with significant economic and security costs to neighboring states. They pose serious challenges to U.S. interests in terms of refugee flows, trafficking in illicit goods, peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance, and lost trade and investment opportunities. Despite the welcome emphasis in the NSS on the security threats posed by failing states, the Strategy does not offer any vision, policies, or new resources to counter these threats. A new U.S. strategy should combine improved intelligence collection with more aggressive efforts at conflict resolution and post-conflict "nation-building" in global crisis zones. Creating pockets of improved development and security would help limit the operating space of international outlaws. Thus, the United States should devise innovative ways to assist failed and failing states through targeted development and counterterrorism assistance as well as improved trade access to the U.S. market. "The New National Security Strategy: Focus on Failed States" by Susan E. Rice.


By Brookings Institution , US.

Defense Policy Resource.