question: why are certain countries classified as failing states?

Throughout history, the greatest threats to the stability of global society have been dependent on states with too much power. However, in modern times it is the countries that cannot maintain power that threaten international stability. When a national government loses some or all of its power and cannot ensure the wellbeing of the citizens with basic necessities, it is considered a failing state. Due to the varying internal conflicts and lack of revenue to provide fundamental services, these countries often fall into civil disarray as citizens search for answers to their daily struggles. These conflicts often spread to surrounding lands creating war zones, rather than healthy societies. In turn, people suffer from hunger and health and environmental afflictions, such as a loss of fresh water and rampant disease, which have been remedied for the majority of citizens in successful states. The fragmented nature of failing state results in an inability to take collective positive action.

According to the analysis provided by The Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy magazine, there are 60 nations that are considered failing states based on “12 economic, social, political, and military indicators”. The following 20 countries are considered the “top” failing states: Somalia, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Guinea, Pakistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Burma, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, North Korea, Yemen, Bangladesh and Timor-Leste.

Qualities associated with failing states include rapid population growth and a lack of employment opportunities which is associated with an increased likelihood of insurgent activities. Often, people will turn to more economically gainful, albeit socially destructive, activities like drug production and pirating which further deconstructs the social foundation of these countries. Moreover, many of these countries are dependent on outside suppliers for food. In turn, basic infrastructure is left to fail as people struggle to meet their basic needs. When a population is unable to meet said needs, it results in political turmoil that in turn hinders efforts to modernize, effectively restarting the cycle of poverty, hunger and violence.