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Which States Are Failing?

The 2009 Failed States Index is out. Somalia wins, or rather, fails. As the reports says, "In short, Somalia was too failed even for al Qaeda."

A joint effort from The Fund for Peace, an independent research organization, and Foreign Policy magazine, it looks at which states are on the brink -- and on their way to the brink.

This from Foreign Policy's intro to the study:

After all, as Tolstoy might have put it, every failing state is failing in its own way. Georgia, for example, jumped 23 places in this year’s index due to a substantial spike in that elusive indicator, “Invaded by Russia.” Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are failing because their governments are chronically weak to nonexistent; Zimbabwe and Burma are failing because their governments are strong enough to choke the life out of their societies. Iraq is failing, but its trajectory may be toward greater success, while Haiti is failing as well, and it is hard to imagine success around the corner.

-- Luke Allnutt

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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