Foreign Policy and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace have issued their disquieting first "Failed States Index." We need to pay serious attention to the index and its findings. More than a third of the countries are African nations, including seven of the ten most failed states. perhaps the most alarming fact is how deep the list goes. It is 60 deep, and I wouldimagine that most of you would have little interest in moving to a lot of those countries. Iran? Cuba? There are more than fifty-five countries considered to be failing worse than these authoritarian nightmares. Even more sobering? Niger, which is in danger of succumbing to a famine in which it is feared that death tolls might surpass a quarter million, is not even on the list.
It also seems germane to point out that Smith College Professor Eric Reeves gave the best overview I have seen of the Sudan crisis over the course of five days last week in The New Republic's"&c." notes section. You'll need to scroll down (I am not hyperlinking separately because it comes in five parts), and the five lessons are long -- I printed them up after some reformatting and it comes to some fifteen single-spaced pages, but it is essential reading. And The Sudan only ranks third in the Failed States Index, which tells us much that we need to know about life in C'ote d'Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.