The New Colonialists

By Michael Cohen, Maria Figueroa Küpçü and Parag Khanna

Even on their best days, the world’s failed states are difficult to mistake for anything but tragic examples of countries gone wrong. A few routinely make the headlines—Somalia, Iraq, Congo. But alongside their brand of extreme state dysfunction exists an entirely separate, easily missed class of states teetering on the edge. In dozens of countries, corrupt or feeble governments are proving themselves dangerously incapable of carrying out the most basic responsibilities of statehood. These countries—nations such as Botswana, Cambodia, Georgia, and Kenya—might appear to be recovering, even thriving, developing countries, but like their failed-state cousins, they are increasingly unable, and perhaps unwilling, to fulfill the functions that have long defined what it means to be a state.

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