Breaking the Failed-state Cycle
In their research and field experience, the authors have observed a wide gulf separating the treatment of the security problems of failed states from the treatment of those states economic problems. This, in turn, may impair treatment of political problems. Such disunity of effort In assisting failed states may suboptimize resource allocation, hinder coordination, and cause important demands to be neglected. With their different backgrounds--security, economic development, political systems, health policy, and institution-building--the authors felt as a team, they might be able to forge an integrated, general approach to rescuing failed states, recognizing that each specific case demands a tailored approach. After holding a seminar with representatives of the World Bank, The United Nations, developmental agencies, and several security organizations, the RAND team set out in search of ideas that would bridge the gap and thus permit more effective strategies and actions toward failed states. The approach on which they settled was to identify certain critical difficulties that contribute to the cycle of violence, economic collapse, and political failure that ensnares vulnerable states. While such difficulties demand special attention, they often suffer from inattention--precisely because they fall into the crevasses between security, economics, and politics. Simply stated, the international community is ill equipped to treat the causes of state failure.
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