State Failure

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Comment, Nov/Dec 2014
Peter Tomsen

More than 13 years after 9/11, the Afghan war is far from over, even if Washington insists that the U.S. role in it will soon come to an end. Three recent books help explain why, and what Washington needs to do next to protect the gains that have been made.

Essay, Jan/Feb 2014
Michael J. Mazarr

As the recent era of interventionist U.S. state building draws to a close, it is time to acknowledge it was flawed not only in execution, but also in conception. Washington's obsession with weak states was more of a mania than a sound strategic doctrine.

Snapshot,
Fiona Hill

Vladimir Putin's unwavering support for the Assad regime in Syria is best explained by his dread of fracturing states and Sunni Islamism -- fears he confronted most directly while brutally suppressing Chechnya's attempted secession from Russia.

Snapshot,
Etienne de Durand

France's intervention in Mali has so far succeeded, but expelling Islamist militants was the easy part. Now Paris must turn its tactical achievements into a lasting victory -- which will require a light but enduring presence in the country.

Comment, Nov/Dec 2012
Joost R. Hiltermann

Iraqi Kurdistan is reveling in its newfound oil wealth and growing more estranged from the violent and dysfunctional central government in Baghdad. Yet statehood -- the ultimate dream of Iraqi Kurds -- will likely be deferred once again, as Kurdistan shifts from Iraq’s suffocating embrace to a more congenial dependence on Turkey.

Letter From,
Rania Abouzeid

As Syria’s civil war drags on, the opposition is scrambling to get its hands on weapons funneled into the country by Gulf states and independent gun-runners. But rival rebel leaders have begun leveraging access to stake out positions in a post-Assad Syria.

Snapshot,
Halil Karaveli

The United States is counting on Turkey to help oust the Syrian regime and bring about a pluralistic government. But Ankara, whose Sunni leadership sees Syria’s conflict in sectarian terms, is not on board.

Essay, May/June 2012
Moisés Naím

Around the world, criminal organizations and governments are fusing to an unprecedented degree, blurring the distinction between national interests and what suits the gangsters. Mafia states enjoy the unhealthy advantages of their hybrid status: they’re as nimble as gangs and as well protected as governments, and thus more dangerous than either.

Snapshot,
Michael Weiss

More and more outsiders are calling for a humanitarian intervention in Syria to stop Bashar al-Assad's killing sprees. But for this to work, Syria's various opposition groups will have to first coalesce into a single, unified political and military force.

Postscript,
Jennifer Lind

The suddenness of Kim Jong Il’s death has sparked fears of instability on the Korean peninsula and beyond. Fearing a messy collapse, Beijing and Washington are trying to promote a smooth transition. But rooting for stability means rooting for the continuation of arguably the most despicable government on earth.

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