Failed state

From Academic Kids

Failed state is a controversial term intended to mean a weak state in which the central government has little practical control over much of its territory.

A state could be said to "succeed" if it maintains a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force within its borders. When this is broken (ie: through the dominant presence of warlords, militias, or terrorism), the very existence of the state becomes dubious, and the state becomes a failed state. The difficulty of determining whether a government maintains a "a monopoly on the legitimate use of force" (which includes the problems of the definition of "legitimate") means it is not clear precisely when a state can be said to have "failed".

The controversy derives from the political and military implications of labelling a state as "failed". The proclamations and laws of its government may be ignored, and in some cases violent action may be undertaken inside the borders of the "failed state" by agents from other countries; such action naturally has highly dubious legality.

In recent years various political commentators have labelled many countries as failed states, including Afghanistan (under the Taliban), Somalia, Yemen, and Georgia.

The term is also used in the sense of a state that has been rendered ineffective (i.e., has nominal military/police control over its territory only in the sense of having no armed opposition groups directly challenging state authority; in short, the "no news is good news" approach) and is not able to enforce its laws uniformly because of high crime rates, extreme high-level corruption, an extensive informal market, impenetrable bureaucracy, judicial ineffectiveness, military interference in politics, cultural situations in which traditional leaders wield more power than the state over a certain area but do not compete with the state, or a number of other factors. Cameroon, Liberia, Nigeria and Papua New Guinea are often mentioned in this category.

See also: rogue state

External links

de:Staatszerfall

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