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

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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.