Monday, June 18, 2007


We're Number 18!!

“Iraq now ranks as the second most unstable country in the world, ahead of war-ravaged or poverty-stricken countries such as Somalia, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Congo, Afghanistan, Haiti and North Korea, according to the 2007 Failed State index issued today by Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace.” Magazine Ranks Iraq Second Most Unstable Country

Well, that settles it. After all, a nation's stability is exactly the kind of thing that a group of wannabe-wonks, sitting in Washington, should be able to quantify with enough precision so as to provide adequate support for policy change. If you aren't familiar with the organizations, the Post describes “…the Fund for Peace, [as a] a research and advocacy group...". I guess it displays no political tilt of any kind or else I'm sure Post writer Robin Wright would have described it thusly.

And “Foreign Policy” magazine has a kind of sober tone to it, doesn’t this ranking an aura of respectability that one published by the Fund for Peace alone just wouldn’t convey. Ms. Wright apparently felt that the magazine’s publisher, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was an irrelevant tidbit as she leaves it out of the article.

Anyway, here are the rankings: The Fund for Peace - Failed States Index Scores 2007

17 countries are ranked ahead of the United States, including Canada, as more stable. In fact, the US is only rated as “Moderate” one tier below the prized “Sustainable”. In years past, that ranking would have us (and did have us) on the “Monitoring” list. But I predict that if a Democrat wins the Presidency, we’ll be able to join the likes of Denmark (#8) - which I guess is super stable as long as no one publishes cartoons purporting to include Mohammed - in the coveted “Sustainable” category.

Side Note: If you’re like me, “Fund for Peace” sounded like another “Human Fund”. But, in fact, it has been around for 50 years now. Here’s from their web site:

“What is the Fund for Peace?A: Founded in 1957 by investment banker Randolph Compton, FfP is an independent educational, research, and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to prevent war and alleviate the conditions that cause war. Since 1996, it has specialized primarily on reducing conflict stemming from weak and failing states.”

…obviously they have become a major player in this field.

I guess I don't understand your point here. Because the think tank explicitly wants to end war, they can't set up a ranking properly? Or, are you saying that their ranking system is flawed? If you're saying the later, you don't make an argument at all. Oh, and by the way, Foreign Policy mag is one of the most important magazines in the international relations policy world.

Could your post simply be summed up: "Go USA! We're #1!"
well I think we are Number 1...The confluence of Carnegie and Fund for Peace doesn't exactly scream balance - despite their avowed nonpartisanship but my point was that any ranking system that has the US out of the first tier for overall stability is a ranking system I just can't take very seriously...just as if I developed a ranking system that ranked Mike Mussina over Jim Palmer in the annals of all-time greats; well, that ranking would flunk any sanity test.

as to Foreign Policy mags importance - perhaps, although I don't think it is as recognizable as Foreign Affairs but I would question the actual influence of any such magazines overall.

Particularly re: the Fund - after 50 years I wonder what their overall impact on world peace - or even the underlying debates - really has been.
I'm claiming that you sound like Mike Mussina's mother in a true ranking of all-time greats when she saw that Jim Palmer was ranked higher. She would be indignant, confused and would blame the rigor of the raking system.

You honestly think that the USA is the most stable country in the world??? With these levels of economic, social and educational inequalities? With an entire city displaced by a natural disaster and a botched federal response?

Just as Mussina's mother has an overly optimistic opinion of her son which clouds her reality, so do you have an unrealistic, exceptionalist view of your own country.
..and I'll say that if you don't put the USA at least in the top tier of stability, you have an overly dour outlook on this country. A discussion for another time is just how many of those other countries ahead of us would enjoy such stability if it wasn';t for the mantle of responsibility assumed by the US in the aftermath of WWII;
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