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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

It's Official: Russia is a Failure

The uber-respected scholarly political journal Foreign Policy has just come out with its 2006 Failed States Index. Russia is, of course, one of the 60 failed states identified. Only 42 countries are bigger failures than Russia in the world according to Foreign Policy; Russia finds itself sandwiched between Niger and Tajikistan with a failure score of 87.1 compared to the 112.3 scored by the biggest failure, Sudan, and the 82.2 scored by Georgia, the first nation in line to be removed from the list. (The worst score you could possibly get would be 120, a perfectly awful worst-possible score of 10 in each of 12 categories.) Russia's score for human rights was its lowest, a nearly perfectly bad 9.1 (even lowly Pakistan had a higher score in that category), followed closely by a 9.0 for factionlized elites (i.e., anti-democratic forces) and it would have scored far lower on the overall ranking except for its high score in economic performance due to the accident of high oil prices (Iran and Nigeria get a similar benefit on the list - by contrast, if Georgia had any oil, it wouldn't have made the list). The commentary states:

For all the talk about technology and globalization, basic governance remains a huge challenge for many states. International institutions such as the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund can help, but large-scale state-building by outsiders is complex and costly. There have been successful U.N. peacekeeping operations in East Timor, Mozambique, Namibia, and Liberia, which recently elected Africa’s first female head of state. However, the continuing U.S. struggles in Iraq and, to a lesser extent, Afghanistan have highlighted the hazards of relying on armed intervention to promote stability. Most states will be on their own, and they run the gamut from strong and secure to weak and vulnerable. Some, including giants such as Nigeria and Pakistan, remain acutely vulnerable to internal conflict and social disintegration. A larger number, including Egypt, Russia, and even China run a substantial risk of decay. Predicting exactly when and how the next episode of state failure will happen is a fool’s errand. But it is essential for policymakers to understand the vulnerabilities and weaknesses that create the conditions for state failure.
Now of course there are two possible responses that could come from the crazed Russophiles: Hey, Russia is a failure! We've got to work pretty hard and improve! would be one. The other would be to kill the messenger. Anybody want to put any money on the first? La Russophobe is covering all action if they do.

Of course, La Russophobe should not forget the most tried-and-true option for the crazed Russophile, claiming that the FP List is a victory like Borodino and/or Stalingrad. In that case, some suggested new national slogans for Russia, cashing in on the opportunities presented by the FP list (proposed additions gratefully accepted on the comments page):

Russia, the poor man's Guatamala!
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Russia: It's true we're no Nicaragua, but compared to Rwanda, we're practically Bolivia!
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Russia: Cambodia with four bullets (not even a six-shooter)!
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Russia: The nation Uganda dreams of being!
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Don't go getting all high-and-mighty now, Equatorial Guinea . . . after all, YOU didn't manage to bluff your way onto the G-8, now DID you?

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