Failed states are a western myth | Elliot Ross | Comment is free

/failed-states-western-myth-us-interests

  • Failed states are a #western_myth | Elliot Ross | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/28/failed-states-western-myth-us-interests

    Quibbling with the many bizarre claims of the index is tempting (Kenya is “less stable” than Syria, we learn), but in the end such gripes only give credibility to this tedious yearly exercise in faux-empirical cultural bigotry. For anyone interested in actually finding out about places such as Yemen or Uganda, the index is probably the last place you’d want to go. But what’s more interesting, and more helpful in understanding what the index really does, is to grasp that the very concept of the “#failed_state” comes with its own story.

    The organisation that produces the index, the #Fund_for_Peace http://global.fundforpeace.org/index.php, is the kind of outfit John le Carré thinks we should all be having nightmares about. Its director, JJ Messner (who puts together the list), is a former #lobbyist for the private military industry. None of the raw data behind the index is made public. So why on earth would an organisation like this want to keep the idea of the failed state prominent in public discourse?

    The main reason is that the concept of the failed state has never existed outside a programme for western intervention. It has always been a way of constructing a rationale for imposing #US_interests on less powerful nations.

    Luckily, we can pinpoint exactly where it all began – right down to the words on the page. The failed state was invented in late 1992 by Gerald Helman and Steven Ratner, two US state department employees, in an article in – you guessed it – #Foreign_Policy, suggestively entitled Saving failed states. With the end of the cold war, they argued, “a disturbing new phenomenon is emerging: the failed nation state, utterly incapable of sustaining itself as a member of the international community”. And with that, the beast was born.

    Mais dire « US interests » c’est adopter le vocabulaire de ceux que l’on dénonce.