Failed States and Nutty Claims

Wow, this issue of Foreign Policy is the gift that keeps on giving. The cover of the magazine features the 2007 version of its “failed states index” and the subheading blares “Why the world’s weakest countries pose the greatest danger.” Umm, really? The greatest danger to whom? Chris Preble and I have dealt with these sorts of claims here, but I think we can all take some relief in the fact that we have successfully managed the world’s greatest dangers since the index emerged in 2005. Back then, (sub. req’d) the greatest dangers were posed by Côte d’Ivoire, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Chad, Yemen, Liberia, and Haiti, representing the “most failed states” from 1-10. Yes, the implicit claim is that in 2005 the greatest danger was posed by Ivory Coast. Thankfully, though, Ivory Coast is now only the sixth greatest danger to us.

Pardon the snark, but this is genuinely sloppy stuff.