Weak Links: Fragile States, Global Threats, and International Security

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Overview


Conventional wisdom holds that weak and failing states are the source of the world's most pressing security threats. After all, the 9/11 attacks originated in an impoverished, war-ravaged country, and transnational crime appears to flourish in weakly governed states. However, our assumptions about the threats posed by failing states are based on anecdotal arguments, not on a systematic analysis of the connections between state failure and transnational security threats. Analyzing terrorism, transnational crime, WMDs, pandemic diseases, and energy insecurity, Stewart Patrick shows that while some global threats do emerge in fragile states, most of their weaknesses create misery only for their own citizenry. Moreover, many threats originate farther up the chain, in wealthier and more stable countries like Russia and Venezuela. Weak Links will force policymakers to rethink what they assume about state failure and transnational insecurity.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Understanding how and why states fail is not just an urgent task for policymakers but also for anyone interested in the main trends shaping the world. Weak Links
is a rigorous account of a phenomenon that combines medieval-like realities with modern conditions. There is no other book like this." -Moisés Naím, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and author of Illicit

"The phenomenon known as fragile states is typically over-determined but poorly specified, leading to sweeping conclusions of limited policy relevance. Stewart
Patrick's new book performs a critically important service by analyzing fragile states in relation to specific security threats."—Chester A. Crocker, Professor of Strategic Studies, Georgetown University

"Weak Links takes on the conventional wisdom that there is a close connection between weak states and transnational threats like terrorism. The book demonstrates that the relationship is much more attenuated-perhaps a small comfort, since the international community's ability to fix failed states is so limited."—Francis Fukuyama, Professor of International Political Economy, Johns Hopkins University, and author of The Origins of Political Order

"Stewart Patrick's brilliantly researched book is an overdue corrective to some of the overwrought claims about the problems posed by failing, failed, and phantom states. He shows that every state situation is different, demanding its own analysis and its own policy solution. Meticulously and impressively argued."—Gareth Evans, former Foreign Minister of Australia

"The conviction that weak states are as great a potential threat to peace as strong states has dominated thinking about U.S. national security since the late 1990s. This superb book provides an important corrective to that flawed view." —Foreign Affairs

"This superb book provides an important corrective to that flawed view."—G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199751501
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/23/2011
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Stewart Patrick is Senior Fellow at the Council and Director of the Program on International Institutions and Global Governance at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
1. Left Behind: Understanding State Fragility
2. Transnational Terrorism
3. Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
4. Transnational Crime
5. Energy Security
6. Infectious Disease Conclusion

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