March 12, 2016

Top US General in Africa describes Libya as "failed state"

"State failure threatens global stability because national governments have become the primary building blocks of order. International security relies on states to protect against chaos at home and limit the cancerous spread of anarchy beyond their borders and throughout the world. States exist to deliver political (i.e., public) goods to their inhabitants. When they function as they ideally should, they mediate between the constraints and challenges of the international arena and the dynamic forces of their own internal economic, political, and social realities.
Failed states also face rising attacks on their fundamental legitimacy. As a state's capacity weakens and its rulers work exclusively for themselves, key interest groups show less and less loyalty to the state. The people's sense of political community vanishes and citizens feel disenfranchised and marginalized. The social contract that binds citizens and central structures is forfeit. Perhaps already divided by sectional differences and animosity, citizens transfer their allegiances to communal warlords. Domestic anarchy sets in. The rise of terrorist groups becomes more likely.
When a state fails or collapses, it destroys trust and mutilates its institutions. That is why sustained state rebuilding requires time and enduring economic and technical commitments. Rich nations must promise not to abandon state rebuilding before the tough work is finished -- before a failed state has functioned well for several years and has had its political, economic, and social health restored. The worst enemy of reconstruction is a premature exit by donors, international agencies, and countries backing reconstruction initiatives. Today's Haiti and Somalia reflect such untimely exit strategies.

The new imperative of state building should supersede any lingering unilateralism. State building trumps terror. If state building is done on the cheap, or if the big powers walk away from the failed states too soon and decide that the long slog of reconstruction is for others, then the real war against terror will not have been won." -  Robert I. Rotberg, "Failed States in a World of Terror" July/August 2002, Foreign Affairs.

Title: Top US General in Africa describes Libya as "failed state." Source: CCTV Africa. Date Published: March 12, 2016. Description: 
The top US General in Africa is describing Libya as a "failed state". The comments by General David Rodriguez reflect mounting concern about the extremist group ISIL taking advantage and growing its network. From Washington Daniel Ryntjes has more.

Title: Robert Rotberg - Preventing Civil Conflict: Effective Leadership and Good Governance. Source: Violence Research Centre. Date Published: November 10, 2014. Description:
Robert Rotberg
Harvard University, Founding Director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Program on Intrastate Conflict, President Emeritus of the World Peace Foundation, Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center

Preventing Civil Conflict: Effective Leadership and Good Governance

Anywhere an African polity does not fulfill the functions of a modern nation-state and discriminates against some of its own people; anywhere African leaders look after themselves, their lineages, and their kin rather than their entire citizenry; anywhere leaders appear to steal from their people; anywhere in Africa that is consumed by flamboyant corruption and criminality; anywhere in Africa dominated by greed without a social conscience; and anywhere lacking strong separation of powers and rule of law, plus a military subordinate to civilians, is at risk of a countervailing popular reaction and cataclysmic civil conflict. That is precisely what has happened so many times already in sub-Saharan Africa (as well as in 2011 and 2012 in North Africa and the Middle East).

Human agency brought Africa to its current state of disarray. Human agency must, equally, provide the wisdom and energy to meet Africa's critical challenges and to chart a successful path forward. Those are the striking conclusions of an analysis of the determining role of leadership in all developing societies, as well as of a broad understanding of Africa's history since 1960. Leaders clearly make a difference; the smaller and the more fragile the state, the more leadership actions are substantial and critical. Hence, the failed states of Africa never failed by themselves or on their own. They were driven to failure and thus to internal warring by purposeful leadership actions.

Intrastate conflict occurs in Africa and elsewhere not primarily because of colonial legacies or poorly drawn borders, not because of ancient hatreds between peoples, not exclusively because of competition for scarce resources, and not completely because of innate avarice. Instead, it is the failure of the modern nation-state in Africa and elsewhere to perform adequately – to deliver the essential political goods that are fundamental to the existence of a nation-state and that satisfy the expectations of its citizens – that causes ruptures of trust, the breaking of the implicit social contract between the state and its citizens, and outbreaks of reactive war.