Join in on the conversation: Voice your opinion in our live, interactive forum.

August 2011: Re-thinking State Failure and Human Rights


Introduction to the Month's Focal Piece Editor's introduction: Re-thinking State Failure and Human Rights

Think Again, Failed States ”. By James Traub. Foreign Policy. July/August 2011.



Brooke AckerlyThe Right Side of the Coin: Focus on the Human Rights of People, not the Failure of States
by Brooke Ackerly

“If people do not have political power—that is, if their governments are not accountable to their people—then the focus of US foreign policy on “failed states” is misplaced. Rather, we have a national security interest in a foreign policy that is focused on enabling populations to assert their human rights and hold their governments accountable.”

Edzia CarvalhoMore Questions, Few Answers on State Failure and Human Rights
by Edzia Carvalho

“The issue of whether states that do not have the capacity to protect their populations still retain the legal obligation to do so is quite complex to resolve. The first problem one might encounter is whether such states can be classified as “states” at all. Although the entity in question may display the outward features necessary to be recognized as a state, the gradual loss of population, territory, and legitimate control might bring this status into question.”

Jonas ClaesImmobilizing Conceptual Debates
by Jonas Claes

“Addressing state failure is not only in the national interest of the United States, but also a moral imperative that supports the very core value system the US government claims to uphold.”


Devin JoshiFailed States are Everyone’s Problem
by Devin Joshi

“A final concern is that the article does not advocate democracy in any form as a solution to the failed states’ problems. Arguably, states fail because their leaders do not care about developing the state, are not actually sovereign, or because the leaders ignore the wishes of the population.”


show menu
quick links