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Failed States Index
June 19, 2007 12:15 AM   Subscribe

The Failed States Index 2007. Iraq is now ranked as the world's second most unstable country, behind Sudan. [Via Newshoggers.]
posted by homunculus (53 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
fission accomplished!!
posted by pyramid termite at 12:17 AM on June 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


Previous post on the first Index.
posted by homunculus at 12:20 AM on June 19, 2007


The Fund for Peace
posted by homunculus at 12:21 AM on June 19, 2007


The CAST software indexed and scanned tens of thousands of open-source articles and reports using Boolean logic.

My god - they've extended the Boolean logic to work on open-source articles!?
posted by freebird at 12:41 AM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is obviously a big win because I'm sure under Saddam that Iraq was rated the number one most unstable country.
posted by quadog at 12:52 AM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


You can't build a lasting global peace without breaking a few nations, whiners.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:55 AM on June 19, 2007


Obvious? Meet Redundant. Redundant? This is Obvious. You two should have a lot to talk about.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:10 AM on June 19, 2007


The world’s weakest states aren’t just a danger to themselves. They can threaten the progress and stability of countries half a world away.

The world's weakest publications aren't just a danger to subscribers. The reason for making lists like this seems to provide support for the dangerous idea that if nothing is done these "failed states" will chase us back to the "homeland" and we'll get "hit" again. It is an excuse for the colonialism, imperialism, pre-emptive war, and "nation building".

Failed states might provide haven for all sorts of criminal activity, but they are unlikely to pose a serious threat to any organised nation. When Osama bin Laden from his cave in Afghanistan or Hamas from the shambles of Gaza can assemble a 600 ship navy, manufacture a few thousand ICBMs, build a modern Air Force, and recruit, train, and equip an Army of 100 divisions then you can think about making lists of who is the biggest threat.
posted by three blind mice at 1:13 AM on June 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


As an aside: Go Norway!
sorry
posted by flippant at 1:19 AM on June 19, 2007


This is win for the Bush admin. Now they can have Iraq repeat the year and hope for a better grade!
posted by srboisvert at 1:20 AM on June 19, 2007


The methodology on religion clearly puts far more stress on what people say than on what they do as the US scores far more highly than all those Eurostates.

In the US you can't get elected to county dog-catcher without publicly prostrating yourself at the feet of a God who will almost always be Christian. The Eurostates probably have established religions which is why the score lower. But in practice, in places like Norway, Denmark and the UK no-one cares what you believe.

Also notable is that Ireland scores the highest in Europe. It is one of the very few (perhaps only) western European countries where abortion is constitutionally illegal. But presumably no-one thought to connect this piffling restriction on personal liberty with Catholicism?
posted by rhymer at 1:35 AM on June 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


In other news, Iraq is ranked first in freshly-painted schools.
posted by pruner at 1:44 AM on June 19, 2007


I must be stupid, but I can't seem to find the bottom of the chart, listing the most stable states. Anyone got a link?
posted by Jimbob at 3:01 AM on June 19, 2007


The worl's in terrible a state o' chassis
posted by Abiezer at 3:14 AM on June 19, 2007


I'm literally shocked that there is any state LESS STABLE than Iraq. The Sudan must be really fucked up.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:26 AM on June 19, 2007


The map on the site is an interesting beast. Countries like the US and my own country, Australia, are listed as Stable whereas Canada, Sweden and Norway are listed as 'Most Stable.' I can't speak for the US, but despite the fact we're about to kick out the incumbent Howard Government in a democratic general election within the next few months, I can't see what makes us any less stable than those listed as 'Most Stable.' Weird...
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:30 AM on June 19, 2007


I can't find my own state of Indiana on the list.
posted by lathrop at 3:47 AM on June 19, 2007


Indiana is highly stable, if you define stable as "unchanging since the 1850's".
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:55 AM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can't see what makes us any less stable than those listed as 'Most Stable.'

Reasons:

Alleged election fraud
Political unrest
Contested election results
Very, very close elections several times in a row
Large, formal protests against highly unpopular clusterfucks wars
Immigration issues
Human rights abuses (see also: Guantanamo)
Deeply unpopular leaders
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:01 AM on June 19, 2007


People LOVE lists. Just love'em.
posted by MarshallPoe at 4:23 AM on June 19, 2007


I somehow blame the liberal media
posted by matteo at 4:42 AM on June 19, 2007


kick out the incumbent Howard Government

I want to see the stake penetrate his filthy black heart before I believe this, much as I applaud the sentiment.
posted by Wolof at 4:50 AM on June 19, 2007


I can't see what makes us any less stable than those listed as 'Most Stable.'

Ah, don't worry, she'll be right, mate.

*chaos ensues apathy wins.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:34 AM on June 19, 2007


What Jimbob said. I want to see a list of the most stable as well.
posted by afx237vi at 5:49 AM on June 19, 2007


1 Norway
2 New Zealand
3 Denmark
4 Ireland
5 Japan
6 Finland
7 Sweden
8 Canada
10 Austria
11 Belgium
12 Germany
13 Czech Republic
14 Switzerland
15 Slovenia
16 Chile
17 Slovakia
18 Hungary
19 Bhutan
20 Netherlands
21 Spain
22 Oman
23 Hong Kong
24 Uruguay
25 Australia

link
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:01 AM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here's a list of the most unstable people in my family:

1. The dog
2. The guy who rents our basement
3. Aunt Meredith
4. Brother Jim
5. Me
6. My mother
7. Sister Eileen
8. My dad
9. The goldfish
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:24 AM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Indiana is highly stable, if you define stable as 'unchanging since the 1850's'.

Dude, they totally changed to Daylight Saving Time in 2005.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:31 AM on June 19, 2007


Why is the US only listed as "stable" as opposed to "most stable"? There is even a potential of revolution here more than say Germany? I'm not criticising, I'm genuinely curious what they used for criteria to determine that?
posted by Pollomacho at 6:34 AM on June 19, 2007


Where's Singapore? Its a step beyond stable, imho
posted by infini at 6:36 AM on June 19, 2007


chuckdarwin: that list is most peaceful not most stable.

From the article: The world’s weakest states aren’t just a danger to themselves. They can threaten the progress and stability of countries half a world away.

I'm thinking that this isn't only a characteristic of the states that have made their way on to this list.
posted by biffa at 6:37 AM on June 19, 2007


most unstable elements:

1. meitnerium
2. roentgenium
3. darmstadtium
4. hassium
5. bohrium
6. seaborgium
7. nobelium
8. ex-gf laura
9. lawrencium
10. rutherfordium
posted by felix betachat at 6:47 AM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


biffa, it was the best I could do on short notice. Talk to my assistant next time, and I'll see if can work you in for longer.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:56 AM on June 19, 2007


Three Blind Mice, a failed state can cause problems in other countries by causing large numbers of refugees to leave the country and seek new homes. This can lead to racial tension in nations, taxed resources, and other problems.
posted by drezdn at 7:13 AM on June 19, 2007


Aww, the U.S. has to settle for the silver in the Ways to Feck Up the World 'lympics. Still, Yay US!!!



Oh, and Astro Zombie
[BlameClinton]Here's a list of the most unstable people in my family...[/BlameClinton]
posted by NorthernLite at 7:26 AM on June 19, 2007


8 Canada
10 Austria


Apparently #9 was less stable than the listmakers anticipated.
posted by mek at 7:33 AM on June 19, 2007


three blind mice,
I think 7 years of Bush has rendered you a bit bitter....
Even Edwards in his recent foreign policy speech talks about the need to aid these "failed states". These areas where order breaks down are trouble for everyone, but most of all for the people living there themselves. drezdn noted that these situations result in floods of refugees, dire and enduring poverty with no institutions to fight it, lawlessness and crime on a mass scale as you mentioned, and a fresh supply of angry, desperate young men. That kind of situation threatens regional stability, and harms the world at large. But the solution doesn't have to be crushing imperialism. Aid, humanitarian projects, actually trying to help create some kind of government that can reduce the violence and poverty are all ways to help these regions without destroying them.

And I think "stability" was a bad choice of title for this list, because what they seem to be measuring is more like peacefulness than whether or not the country is stable. The US, for all our political fighting lately, is completely stable in that it's not going to collapse any more than Norway is. You shouldn't let the current political troubles render you myopic to history, when there have been plenty more and plenty worse problems in American society and government than there have been today. Maybe in 1860...
posted by Sangermaine at 8:08 AM on June 19, 2007


Indiana is highly stable, if you define stable as "unchanging since the 1850's".

it's highly unstable ... they can't even make up their minds what time it is
posted by pyramid termite at 9:03 AM on June 19, 2007


Failed states might provide haven for all sorts of criminal activity, but they are unlikely to pose a serious threat to any organised nation.

pakistan is no 12 on that list and has nuclear weapons

When Osama bin Laden from his cave in Afghanistan or Hamas from the shambles of Gaza can assemble a 600 ship navy, manufacture a few thousand ICBMs ...

... get 19 religious fanatics with box cutters to board american airplanes ...

the historical record proves you wrong

if they'd had such a list in 1914, serbia and austria-hungary would have been reasonably high on that list

during the 20s, if they'd had such a list, germany would have been up there

and of course, the places from which barbarian invasions were launched to overrun various civilizations were, in their lack of governance, the equivalent of failed states

so historically they are serious threats
posted by pyramid termite at 9:15 AM on June 19, 2007


The funny this is that when I read the title on the front page, my eyes conflated this FPP with the previous one, and I thought that this was a thread about Failed State Trading Cards. I would totally buy those.
posted by deanc at 9:36 AM on June 19, 2007


The entire U.S. scenario around and recent history of Iraq is one of the most potent arguments against nation building.
Not only can one question the basic assumptions underlying the application of power in such a manner - but given what we’ve seen, the motives of any country undertaking such a program must be very suspect, most particularly when the benefit to private interests is so obvious, and most certainly given the ambiguity surrounding the goals which should have been otherwise made manifest.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:55 AM on June 19, 2007


The U.S. is between Yemen and Iran? What left wing ass wig dip shit clown made up this list? Denmark #3, it is not too hard to keep 4.3 million people who basically have no discernable cultural differences from breaking loose, particularly when the state wipes everyone’s ass from cradle to grave and limits aspirations through social programming. Yet these same smug closeted bigots managed to piss off the Muslim world with a cartoon. Yeah, real stable. It Seems like Iraq is the washing machine for the stain of Nazi fanaticism that has a sad 60 year legacy in that region. Denmark is worried about the temperature of Tuborg. The United States is within a nats ass of Iran in probability as a failed state. Bullshit.
posted by MapGuy at 3:21 PM on June 19, 2007


flippant:
As an aside: Go Norway!
sorry


eponysterical?
posted by knapah at 3:52 PM on June 19, 2007


MapGuy: ever been to Iran?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:27 PM on June 19, 2007


Ubu: Not for vacation, and I lived in Denmark. Yemen is not bad, I hear they are doing some remodeling a la NOLO but the shopping in the UAE is much better. I do miss the gas prices, and a nice schwarma with a warm 7-up and a 3 a.m. fruit squishy. Oh, Milan has a fantastic Persian Rug Museum.
posted by MapGuy at 4:45 PM on June 19, 2007


Denmark #3, it is not too hard to keep 4.3 million people who basically have no discernable cultural differences from breaking loose, particularly when the state wipes everyone’s ass from cradle to grave and limits aspirations through social programming. Yet these same smug closeted bigots managed to piss off the Muslim world with a cartoon. Yeah, real stable. It Seems like Iraq is the washing machine for the stain of Nazi fanaticism that has a sad 60 year legacy in that region. Denmark is worried about the temperature of Tuborg.

That must be the most bizarre rant I've read here in a very long time. I'm quite confused as to exactly what point you're trying to make.

Is it that social welfare policies, health care & education create stability, such that the greatest issue for the people is the temperature of the beer? Sounds quite correct to me.

Or is it that the country is "yeah, real stable" because of some cartoons that aggravated a Muslim world already quite pissed off over Israel, Iraq, and the perception of the US as the arrogant global bully? That has nothing to do with Denmark's own internal stability, and, frankly, very little to do with Denmark as some sort of international destabiliser.

And could you elaborate on your Nazi point, please?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:55 PM on June 19, 2007


MapGuy - as has been pointed out above, the link you're referring to in regards to Iran/US/Yemen is not the stablity index, it's the peace index. And if you like, you can click on each country and see why particular countries are ranked as they are. And you might see that the US is in that position on the chart for quite different reasons than Iran. Things like % of population in jail, and potential for terrorist attacks stand out.

However, I have to admit this makes the index very difficult to interpret, because there are many, many other areas where Iran is much worse. It's difficult to work out what's going on without seeing how they've weighted the various indicators.
posted by Jimbob at 5:10 PM on June 19, 2007


General: "Never a Mission" to Defeat Iraq's Insurgents
posted by homunculus at 5:32 PM on June 19, 2007


Apples and oranges or in the case of Denmark a small provincial backwater of polite homoginity (or maybe watermelons and grapes, but I really like those pluots bitter on the outside but really sweet on the inside. You really should try them), I mean how do you measure this against other countries on the basis of the legal distinction of being a country, hardly. But then again this peaceful perfect delightful place managed to piss off a large group of people with their smug smarty pants insensitivity, which by the way led to people dieing during protests. Then they hide behind their freedom of expression bullshit and take no social responsibility what so ever for the consequences. That was sad, just sad. Granted Denmark should be peaceful/stable, or whatever, it has, after all, the oldest reigning monarchy in the world not to mention the oldest flag. The Queen is a wonderful lady, but dear womon tho she is her subjects are a bit spoiled.
Any who I don’t think you can not compare countries and rank them in this way. The dynamics are so different. In the case of Denmark the lack of cultural and religious diversity, its relatively small population, its nanny state approach to its socialist democracy should place them in a different category all together. Neither does it make it laudable nor better, just different. I mean what challenges do they face? I guess the thing that pisses me off is that this list includes places where people struggle to exist and compare them to places where existence and comfort is not only a fore gone conclusion but a snotty right. Denmark should be kicked off the list for negligent homicide in a foreign country by cartoon.

I will bet that 900 years ago when Harold Blue tooth was oh I don’t know lets say 3 years into the state of Denmark the place was a wrecked piece of fiefdom shit. I am just saying that shouldn’t Iraq get some extra credit for being just out of the blocks compared to the Danes who are still kicking the protest out of their citizens after 900 years of peaceful stability?

As for the rest go look up the Nazi influence on middle eastern nationalist movements and fascism as it relates in particular to the puritanical Islamic school of Wahhabi as influenced by post World War II Egyptian Imans. Al Qaeda or “the base’ or more specifically the data base existed only as an idea and a network, literally an email server, of scholarly thought and debate prior to the flame we fanned. It has become a fascist nationalist religious cult, a focal point, that seeks to destabilize and thereby thwart the influence of outside entities (well intentioned or not). Unfortunatly it has no army that will wear uniforms or identify itself in the open.

I think we should all be rooting for the Iraqi people; they have suffered under the yoke of fools for far too long. You can take that either way you want. Anyway, enjoy the evening. I am going to go and pull neighborhood watch with my AK, sip a cool Tuborg and wait for someone who aint like me. Good times.
posted by MapGuy at 6:56 PM on June 19, 2007


MapGuy: I realise you're out picking off Turkish migrants with your rifle right now, but what exactly is wrong with comparing apples with oranges, if the alternative is no comparison at all between countries?

Or, more to the point, how often do you hear Americans stop boasting about their economy for even a second, in order to point out that this is achieved, in part, due to the simple geographical fact that the US has around 270 million people in a single market, united by a common language and broadly common laws? Seriously, how could the economies of scale, distribution networks etc make it even possible to compare the US with somewhere like Denmark? (note: I'm talking per capita, not gross, here) And yet, they do it all the time.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:36 PM on June 19, 2007


Heh. Had this argument with our man ParisParamus once. He refused to accept that the wealth of the United States may, somehow, just a little bit, be driven by it's natural resources and primary production capability, both now and in the past. "It's because we have Freedom" he used to say. "Europe is dying because of nanny-state socialism. The United States rules because we are so free and because of the strength of unfettered capitalism".

I tried to point out that, actually, people in Europe seem to be pretty happy. Despite their embarrasing availability of health care, and labour laws and such things they really aren't doing that bad over there. Neither are people in New Zealand or Canada or Australia or Japan. And all these countries, including the United States, share a particular but regionally variable blend of capitalism and socialism that has allowed wealth accumulation and productivity suppored by state investment and regulations ensuring the wealth is spread around. Sure, the socialist/capitalist blend is different in Japan than the United States, and it's different in Australia than in Ireland. But that system, on the whole, works, and those western democracies are broadly comparable, and primary production and natural resources are a much greater driver of economic conditions than ideological complaints about "nanny-states"

But no, said Paris, Europeans are all a bunch of yellow commie surrender-monkeys who will be forced to pray five times a day to Allah within a decade.

There's no reasoning with that man.
posted by Jimbob at 8:43 PM on June 19, 2007


That's FreedomParamus, Jimbob (although his freedom apparently doesn't include the freedom to comment on MetaFilter any more).
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:57 PM on June 19, 2007


Turkish migrants? Where? We got us a wrasslin meet coming up and we are short a man or two. God I wish I could grow a mustache like that. That must be where the Danes loose their good nature, mustache envy. Maybe we can farm out Sally Struthers to explain guilt free social obligation satisfaction strategies that won’t date your daughter.

Maybe we can categorize or group countries academy awards style. Best new country with opposing militias goes to…. Most squared away social democratic pseudo monarchy with oppressive taxes and excellent health care…. You get the idea? But to put them all on a single list is to say that, oh I don’t know put Danny Elfman, William Dafoe and Bill Murray in a single category and try to rate them, no wait they were in the same movie…. Ok the Life Aquatic, Titanic and Jaws because they all had boats and fish, different beans if common threads. I see these lists as a gross (and by gross I mean negligent) over simplification of complex issues. It is nice to be at the top of the list, it sucks to be at the bottom but what does it really mean?

I just think these kind indices are misleading if not nearly useless and more often than not used by some benevolent sounding pack of (fill in your own description) to push agendas and manipulate opinions. Then we bait right up and start sounding like a Monty Python mob of the Judean Peoples Liberation Front of gender confused stoners cornering some poor slob with one shoe.

Is there anyway to adopt an Iraqi family or do the town to town sister city thing? How about Basra, Billund, and Boise (they could talk about grief management strategies, building stuff, playing well together and reverse migration) or Frederickshaven, Fairfax and Fallujah? See they are all cities and begin with the same letter so they have at least two things in common. While the circumstances and therefore the choices that effect human behavior vary widely, and language has some bounding or framing role and culture drives perception and opinion at the core (and I could be way off here) human beings are not only not so different, they are nearly hardwired creatures of very predictable habit. As much as we may think we are different we are so much alike it’s scary…. Cept for that brown guy, and the one who won’t tuck in his undershirt… and the one with the rock in his hand (no he is like us, he’s ok).
Ok I'm done now.
posted by MapGuy at 5:35 AM on June 20, 2007


Iraq by the Numbers
posted by homunculus at 9:55 PM on July 1, 2007


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