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Commission on Weak States and U.S. National Security (January - June 2004)
The Commission on Weak States and U.S. National Security recognized that weak and failed states matter to U.S. national security, American values, and the prospects for global economic growth. The commission outlined a framework for action that seeks to mobilize key actors and instruments in U.S. foreign policy to the task of meeting the threat of weak states.
Research fellow Stewart Patrick spoke to the Eisenhower National Security Series conference on Stability Operations. He stressed the need to move toward a "Whole of Government" approach to preventing and responding to state failure. A more balanced approach uniting the "3Ds" of development, diplomacy and defense will require far greater investments in critical civilian agency capabilities for conflict prevention and post-conflict response, as well as a long-term, developmental perspective that avoids short term political expediency. The only effective "exit strategy" in post-conflict operations is the creation of effective states, through the nurturing of local institutions of governance.
The attacks of 9/11 prompted a decisive shift in U.S. rhetoric towards fragile states. Previously neglected, weak and fragile states were seen as a core development issue and a looming threat to global security. Five years later, what is the U.S. doing to meet this challenge? CGD research fellow Stewart Patrick recently analyzed the U.S. budget to see if the spending matched the rhetoric. He argues in a Q&A that the U.S. has yet to respond with sufficient funding or a coherent strategy. Learn more
In U.S. Foreign Aid Reform: Will It Fix What Is Broken? CGD research fellow Stewart Patrick says the U.S. foreign aid regime is broken, and it is not clear that the Bush administration's reform plan will fix it. Patrick proposes a total overhaul of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act and the creation of an independent, cabinet-level department for international development.Learn more
This new collection of essays sets an agenda for increased American effectiveness in dealing with failed states to promote economic development and international security. It includes an overview of the poorly understood challenge of weak and failed states and case studies by regional policy experts, then offers recommendations for reform of U.S. foreign and development policy to better meet the challenges posed by weak states.
In this new working paper, CGD Research Fellow Stewart Patrick urges analysts and policymakers to look more deeply at the links between failed states and global threats such terrorism, weapons proliferation, organized crime, and global pandemics. He then provides the tools: a framework for determining which types of states are associated with which dangers.
Helping ex-combatants re-join society is a critical step in war-to-peace transitions. CGD Non-Resident Fellow Jeremy Weinstein analyzed a large sample of ex-combatants in Sierra Leone to evaluate disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs. Surprise finding: participants' age and gender, the main criteria used in program design, had little to do with success. Past experience - including abuse - mattered more.
A Report of the Commission for Weak States and US National Security
Terrorists training at bases in Afghanistan and Somalia. Transnational crime networks putting down roots in Myanmar/Burma and Central Asia. Poverty, disease, and humanitarian emergencies overwhelming governments in Haiti and Central Africa. A common thread runs through these disparate crises that form the fundamental foreign policy and security challenges of our time. These crises originate in, spread to, and disproportionately affect developing countries where governments lack the capacity, and sometimes the will, to respond.
These weak and failed states matter to American security, American values, and the prospects for global economic growth upon which the American economy depends.