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The regional dimensions of state failure

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 August 2010


The academic and policy debate on state failure reaches back to the early 1990s. Since then, its empirical and analytical sophistication has grown, yet the fact that state failure is a regional phenomenon, that is, that it occurs in clusters of geographically contiguous states, has largely been overlooked. This article first considers the academic and policy debates on state failure in the Political Science/International Relations and Development Studies literatures, and offers a definition of state failure that is derived from the means of the state, rather than its ends. Subsequently engaging with existing scholarship on the concept of ‘region’ in international security, the article develops a definition of ‘state failure regions’. Further empirical observation of such regions and additional conceptual reflections lead to establishing an analytical model for the study of state failure regions and allow indentifying a number of concrete gains in knowledge and understanding that can result from its application.

Research Article
Copyright © British International Studies Association 2010

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1 The state failure discourse has been carried among others by Bates, R. H., Political Insecurity and State Failure in Contemporary Africa (Cambridge, MA: Center for International Development at Harvard University, 2005)Google Scholar ; Bilgin, P. and Morton, A., ‘From “Rogue” to “Failed” States: The Fallacy of Short-termism’, Politics, 24:3 (2004), pp. 169180CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Debiel, T., Fragile Peace: State Failure, Violence and Development in Crisis Regions (London: ZED Books, 2002)Google Scholar , Dorff, R. H., ‘Democratisation and Failed States: The Challenge of Ungovernability’, Parameters, 26:2 (1996), pp. 1731Google Scholar ; Dorff, R. H., ‘Responding to the Failed State: The Need for Strategy’, Small Wars and Insurgencies, 10 (Winter 1999), pp. 6281CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Dorff, R. H., ‘Responding to the Failed State: Strategic Triage’, in Jones, A. J. and Manwaring, M. (eds), Beyond Declaring Victory and Coming Home (Westport, CT: Praeger), pp. 225243Google Scholar ; Dorff, R. H., ‘Failed States after 9/11: What Did We know and What Have We Learned?’, International Studies Perspectives, 6:1 (2005), pp. 2034CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Esty, D. C. et al. ‘The State Failure Project: Early Warning Research for US Foreign Policy Planning’, in Davies, J. L. and Gurr, T. R.(eds), Preventive Measures: Building Risk Assessment and Crisis Early Warning Systems (Boulder, CO: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998), pp. 2738Google Scholar ; Helman, G. B., G. B. and Ratner, S. R., ‘Saving Failed States’, Foreign Policy, 89 (Winter 1992–3), pp. 320CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Herbst, J., ‘Responding to State Failure in Africa’, International Security, 21:3 (1996–7), pp. 120144CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; ‘High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change’, A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility (New York: UN, 2004); Fukuyama, F., State Building: Governance and World Order in the Twenty-First Century (London: Profile Books, 2004)Google Scholar ; Mazrui, A. A., ‘The Failed State and Political Collapse in Africa’, in Otunnu, O. A. and Doyle, M. W. (eds), Peacemaking and Peacekeeping for the New Century (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998), pp. 233243Google Scholar ; Milliken, J. (ed.), State Failure, Collapse and Reconstruction. London: Blackwell, 2003)Google Scholar ; Rotberg, R. I. (ed.), State Failure and State Weakness in a Time of Terror (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2003)Google Scholar ; Rotberg, R. I. (ed.), When States Fail: Causes and Consequences (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Schneckener, U., ‘States at Risk: Zur Analyse fragiler Staatlichkeit’, in Schneckener, U. (ed.), States at Risk: Fragile Staaten als Sicherheits-und Entwicklungsproblem (Berlin: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, 2004), pp. 527Google Scholar ; State Failure Task Force, Phase II Findings {} accessed on 3 August 2009; State Failure Task Force, Phase III Findings {} accessed on 3 August 2009; State Failure Task Force, Phase IV Findings {} accessed on 3 August 2009.

2 ‘Region’ as a concept has been explored of late by Adler, E. and Barnett, M., Security Communities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Ayoob, M., ‘From Regional System to Regional Society: Exploring Key Variables in the Construction of Regional Order’, Australian Journal of International Affairs, 53 (1999), pp. 247260CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Buzan, B., Jones, C. and Little, R., The Logic of Anarchy: Neorealism in Structural Realism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993)Google Scholar ; Buzan, B. and Wæver, O., Regions and Powers: The Structure of International Security (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Buzan, B. O., Wæver, and de Wilde, J., Security: A New Framework for Analysis (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1998)Google Scholar ; T. Dertwinkel, ‘Geographical Contexts and Neighbourhood Effects in Civil War: Why Regional Dummies Won't Do the Trick’, paper prepared for the research seminar on ‘Political Order and Regional Conflict’ (ETH Zurich, 2006); Diehl, P. F. and Lepgold, J. (eds), Regional Conflict Management (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003)Google Scholar ; Duke, S., ‘Regional Organisations and Conflict Prevention: CFSP and ESDI in Europe’, in Carment, D. and Schnabel, A. (eds), Conflict Prevention: Path to Peace or Grand Illusion? (Tokyo: UN University Press 2003), pp. 91111Google Scholar ; Fawcett, L., ‘The Evolving Architecture of Regionalisation’, in Pugh, M. and Singh Sidhu, W. P. (eds), The UN and Regional Security: Europe and Beyond (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2003), pp. 1130Google Scholar ; Lake, D. A. and Morgan, P. M., Regional Orders: Building Security in a New World (State College, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997)Google Scholar , Lemke, D., Regions of War and Peace (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar , MacFarlane, S. N., ‘Regional Peacekeeping in the CIS’, in Thakur, R. and Schnabel, A. (eds), UN Peacekeeping Operations: Ad Hoc Missions, Permanent Engagement (Tokyo: UN University Press, 2001), pp. 7799Google Scholar ; Patrick, S., Weak States and Global Threats: Assessing Evidence of ‘Spillovers’ (Washington, DC: Center for Global Development, 2006)Google Scholar ; Pugh, M. and Cooper, N., War Economies in a Regional Context: Challenges of Transformation (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2004)Google Scholar ; Roper, J., ‘The Contribution of Regional Organisations in Europe’, in Otunnu, O. A. and Doyle, M. W. (eds), Peacemaking and Peacekeeping for the New Century (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998), pp. 255271Google Scholar ; B. Rubin, ‘Regional Approaches to Conflict Management in Africa’, {–01.htm} accessed on 4 August 2009;Slocum, N. and Felicio, T., ‘The Role of Regional Integration in the Promotion of Peace and Security’, UNU-CRIS Occasional Papers 2006/2 (Tokyo: UN University, 2006)Google Scholar ; Sperling, J. and Kirchner, E., Recasting the European Order: Security Architectures and Economic Cooperation (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997)Google Scholar ; Väyrynen, R., ‘Regionalism: Old and New’, International Studies Review, 5:1 (2003), pp. 2552CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; O. Wesley-Smith, ‘Reinventing Government: The Politics of State Failure and Regional Intervention in the Pacific’, paper prepared for presentation at the Regional Forum on Reinventing Government in the Pacific Islands (Apia, Samoa, 2004).

3 For notable but rare exceptions, see Buhaug, H. and Gleditsch, K. S., ‘Contagion or Confusion? Why Conflicts Cluster in Space’, International Studies Quarterly, 52:2 (2008), pp. 215233CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Chesterman, S., Ignatieff, M., and Thakur, R. (eds), Making States Work: State Failure and the Crisis of Governance (Tokyo: UN University Press, 2005)Google Scholar ; Lambach, D., ‘Close Encounters in the Third Dimension: The Regional Effects of State Failure’, in Lambach, D. and Debiel, T. (eds), State Failure Revisited: The Globalization of Security and Neighbourhood Effects (Duisburg-Essen: Institute for Development and Peace, 2007), pp. 3252Google Scholar ; and Piazza, J. A., ‘Incubators of Terror: Do Failed and Failing States Promote Transnational Terrorism?’, International Studies Quarterly, 52:3 (2008), pp. 469488CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

4 Cf. for example, Posen, B., ‘The Security Dilemma and Ethnic Conflict’, Survival, 35:1 (1993), pp. 2747CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Snyder, J. and Jervis, R., Snyder, , ‘Civil War and the Security Dilemma’, in Walter, B. and Snyder, J. (eds), Civil Wars, Insecurity and Intervention (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), pp. 1537Google Scholar ; and Walter, B., ‘Introduction’, in Walter, B. and Snyder, J. (eds), ‘Civil Wars’, pp. 112Google Scholar .

5 Cf. for example, Lake, D. A. and Rothchild, D., ‘Containing Fear: The Origins and Management of Ethnic Conflict’, International Security, 21:2 (1996), pp. 4175CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

6 Patrick, S., ‘“Failed” States and Global Security: Empirical Questions and Policy Dilemmas’, International Studies Review, 9:4 (2007), pp. 644662CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Rotberg, ‘State Failure’; State Failure Taskforce, ‘Phase III Findings’; cf. also Buhaug and Gleditsch; ‘Contagion’; Iqbal, Z. and Starr, H., ‘Bad Neighbors: Failed States and Their Consequences’, Conflict Management and Peace Science, 25:4 (2008), pp. 315331CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

7 On the genesis of the state failure debate, see Dorff, ‘Failed States after 9/11’, Patrick, ‘Weak States’, pp. 2–7, and Wesley-Smith, ‘Reinventing Government’, pp. 4–6.

8 Milliken, ‘State Failure’; Rotberg, ‘State Failure’; Rotberg, ‘When States Fail’.

9 The National Security Strategy of the US (September 2002), {} accessed on 4 August 2009; The National Security Strategy of the US(March 2006), {} accessed on 4 August 2009; A Secure Europe in a Better World (December 2003), {} accessed on 4 August 2009; Prime Minister's Strategy Unit, Investing in Prevention (London: HMSO, 2005); High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, ‘A More Secure World’.

10 Mincheva, L. and Gurr, T. R., Paper presented at the 48th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (Chicago, 2007)Google Scholar , {} accessed on 4 August 2009; J. Nicholson, A., The Potentiality for State Failure via Organized Crime (Newport, RI: Naval War College, 2003)Google Scholar ; Patrick, ‘Failed States’; Patrick, ‘Weak States’.

11 I am focussing here primarily on what one might call ‘traditional’ approaches to state failure in the Political Science/International Relations literature. There is, however, also a growing body of critical security studies literature that argues that ‘representations of “state failure” as the threat against international security constitutes not so much a diagnosis of “threat” but a technique of governance on the part of some actors that seek to sustain the workings of neoliberal economic order.’ (Bilgin, P. and Morton, A., ‘Rethinking State Failure: The Political Economy of Security’, in Lambach, D. and Debiel, T. (eds), ‘State Failure Revisited’, pp. 731, here p. 12)Google Scholar .

12 Rotberg, R. I., The Failure and Collapse of Nation States: Breakdown, Prevention and Repair', in Rotberg, R. I., (ed.), ‘When States Fail’, pp. 150, here p. 5Google Scholar .

13 Ibid., p. 9. Buzan and Wæver implicitly merge the two categories of failure and collapse, noting that ‘state failure […] is the collapse of empirical sovereignty’. (B. Buzan and O. Wæver, ‘Regions and Powers’, p. 22). Reno notes the category of the shadow state, describing it as ‘the product of personal rule, usually constructed behind the façade of de jure sovereignty’. (Reno, W., ‘Shadow States and the Political Economy of Civil Wars’, in Berdal, M. and Malone, D. M. (eds), Greed and Grievance: Economic Agendas in Civil Wars (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2000), pp. 4368, here p. 45)Google Scholar .

14 Rotberg, ‘The Failure’, p. 3.

15 Jenne, E. K., ‘Sri Lanka: A Fragmented State’, in Rotberg, R. I (ed.), ‘State Failure’, pp. 219244Google Scholar .

16 Schneckener, ‘States at Risk’.

17 Schneckener, ‘States at Risk’, p. 20.

18 Milliken, J. and Krause, K., ‘State Failure, State Collapse, and State Reconstruction: Concepts, Lessons and Strategies’, in Milliken, J., ‘State Failure’, pp. 121Google Scholar .

19 Milliken and Krause, ‘State Failure’, p. 2.

20 State Failure Task Force, ‘Phase III Findings’, p. 4.

21 Ibid.

22 Defined as ‘[e]pisodes of sustained violent conflict between governments and politically organized challengers that seek to overthrow the central government, replace its leaders, or seize power in one region. Most revolutionary wars are fought by guerrilla armies organized by clandestine political movements’. Examples cited include Colombia since 1984, Algeria since 1991, and Tajikistan from 1992 to 1998 (State Failure Task Force, ‘Phase III Findings’, p. 4).

23 Defined as ‘[e]pisodes of sustained violent conflict in which national, ethnic, religious, or other communal minorities challenge governments to seek major changes in status’. Examples cited include Muslims in the Philippines since 1972 (Mindanao), Tamils in Sri Lanka since 1983, and Chechens in Russia since 1994 (State Failure Task Force, ‘Phase III Findings’, p. 4).

24 Defined as ‘[m]ajor, abrupt shifts in patterns of governance, including state collapse, periods of severe elite or regime instability, and shifts away from democratic toward authoritarian rule’. The authors of the report also note in this context that ‘some adverse regime changes are preceded by revolutionary or ethnic wars, as in Cuba in 1959 or Liberia in 1990. Some precipitate large-scale violence that may be followed by massive human rights violations. Adverse regime changes are analytically distinct from internal wars, however, and sometimes occur with minimal open violence. Peaceful changes from authoritarian rule to democratic governance are not considered state failures and thus are not included in this category’. (State Failure Task Force, ‘Phase III Findings’, p. 4)

25 Defined as ‘[s]ustained policies by states or their agents, or, in civil wars, by either of the contending authorities that result in the deaths of a substantial portion of a communal or political group. In genocides, the victimized groups are defined primarily by their communal (that is, ethnolinguistic or religious) characteristics’. Examples cited include Rwanda in 1994 and Sudan (North-South Conflict, but post-report events in Darfur would also qualify under this definition) (State Failure Task Force, ‘Phase III Findings’, pp. 4–5).

26 The prevailing wisdom in the development community remains that poverty and conflict/security are inexorably linked to one another (for example, Picciotta, R. et al, Striking a New Balance: Donor Policy Coherence and Development Cooperation in Difficult Environments (London: The International Policy Institute at Kings College London and The Global Policy Project, 2005), pp. 1718)Google Scholar .

27 Note, however, that Schneckener uses the term ‘fragile statehood’ (fragile Staatlichkeit) in his Political Science/International Relations analysis of the phenomenon (Schneckener, ‘States at Risk’).

28 Moreno Torres, M. and Anderson, M., Fragile States: Defining Difficult Environments for Poverty Reduction (London: Department for International Development, 2004)Google Scholar . This article also contains a very useful and referenced overview of various existing definitions, clustered according to three main approaches that the development community seems to take towards the phenomenon: ‘fragile, failed, or crisis states’ with a focus on state capacity related to sovereignty and conflict; ‘poor performing countries’ concerned with development outcomes and factors such as the quality of governance and policy choices; and ‘difficult aid partners’ addressing issues of donor-recipient relations in situations in which there is either a lack of will or capacity on the part of the recipient.

29 Department for International Development, Why we need to work more effectively in fragile states (London: Department for International Development, 2005), pp. 7–8.

30 Assessments of state willingness include both a judgement of how explicitly states commit politically to poverty reduction (including the existence of a ‘clear strategy and the means and incentives to implement it’) and of how inclusive this commitment is implemented, that is, the degree to which all sections of the population benefit from it (Moreno Torres and Anderson, ‘Fragile States’, p. 17).

31 Department for International Development, ‘Why we need to work’, p. 27–8.

32 World Bank, World Bank Group Work in Low-income Countries under Stress: A Task Force Report, {–1094226297907/Task_Force_Report.pdf} accessed on 4 August 2009. The twelve countries are: Angola, Central African Republic, Comoros, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Togo, and Zimbabwe.

33 Chauvet, Collier and Hoeffler, ‘Paradise Lost’, p. 1.

34 Picciotta et al., ‘Striking a New Balance’, p. 29.

35 While the development literature generally is more attentive to such regional dimensions, there remains a significant subset of the literature that does not pay much attention to the regional context of state fragility. For example, a paper on good governance in post-conflict societies by the German development agency GTZ, commissioned by the federal development ministry, considers the diaspora as the only relevant external player (GTZ, ‘Promoting Good Governance in Post-Conflict Societies’ [Eschborn: GTZ, 2004], p. 7). Hopp and Kloke-Lesch do not consider regional aspects at all: U. Hopp and A. Kloke-Lesch, ‘External Nation-building vs. Endogenous Nation-forming – A Development Policy Perspective’, in Hippler, J. (ed.), Nation-building: A Key Concept for Peaceful Conflict Transformation? (London: Pluto), pp. 137150Google Scholar .

36 Moreno Torres and Anderson, ‘Fragile States’, p. 9.

37 Ibid., p. 8.

38 Picciotta et al., ‘Striking a New Balance’, p. 12.

39 Initially Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK, later joined by Sweden and Canada.

40 Smith, D., Towards a Strategic Framework for Peacebuilding: Getting Their Act Together (Oslo: Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2004), p. 57Google Scholar .

41 As noted above, this is also a problem in the Political Science/International Relations discourse.

42 Weber, M., Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft (Tübingen: Mohr, 1972), pp. 821822Google Scholar . This is also referred to in international law as the ‘three-elements doctrine’ for the recognition of states (state power + state territory + state people), originally developed in Jellinek, G., Allgemeine Staatslehre (Berlin: Häring, 1914), pp. 394434Google Scholar .

43 For a comprehensive discussion of empirical and juridical sovereignty, see Jackson, R. H. and Rosberg, C. G., ‘Why Africa's Weak States Persist: The Empirical and the Juridical in Statehood’, World Politics, 35:1 (1982), pp 124CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

44 Weber, ‘Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft’, p. 822.

45 Jenne, ‘Sri Lanka’ and T. Dertwinkel and D. Lambach, ‘Breaking Down Breakdown: Localizing State Failure Using GIS’, Paper presented at the 48th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (Chicago, 2007), {} accessed on 4 August 2009.

46 For a detailed assessment of this shortcoming see Lemke, ‘Regions’, pp. 67 ff.

47 Cf. Väyrynen, ‘Regionalism’.

48 Adler and Barnett, ‘Security Communities’; Buzan and Wæver, ‘Regions and Powers’; Lemke, ‘Regions’.

49 Ayoob, Ayoob, ‘From Regional System to Regional Society’; Fawcett, ‘The Evolving Architecture of Regionalisation’; Lake and Morgan, ‘Regional Orders’; Roper, ‘‘The Contribution’; Sperling and Kirchner, ‘Recasting the European Order’.

50 Diehl and Lepgold, ‘Regional Conflict Management’; Duke, ‘Regional Organisations’; MacFarlane, ‘Regional Peacekeeping’.

51 Adamson, F. B., ‘Globalisation, Transnational Political Mobilisation, and Networks of Violence’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 18:1 (2005), pp. 3149CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Mincheva, L., ‘Dissolving Boundaries between Domestic and Regional/ International Conflict: The Albanian Ethno-territorial Separatist Movement and the Macedonian 2001 Crisis’, Paper presented at the 42nd Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (New Orleans, 2002)Google Scholar , {} accessed on 4 August 2009; Pugh and Cooper, ‘War Economies’; Rubin, ‘Regional Approaches’.

52 Lemke, ‘Regions’, pp. 52–3 and chap. 3 more generally.

53 Ibid., pp. 68–81.

54 These are listed in tabular form in Lemke, ‘Regions’, pp. 90–1. Because of the use of potential military interaction as definitional criterion, states can simultaneously be members of several local hierarchies. This is in contrast to Buzan and Wæver who argue that regional security complexes are mutually exclusive and not overlapping (Buzan and Wæver, ‘Regions and Powers’, p. 49).

55 Buzan and Wæver, ‘Regions of Power’.

56 Ibid., pp. 27–39.

57 Ibid., p. 45.

58 Ibid., p. 45–6.

59 Ibid., p. 53.

60 Ibid., p. 47. Emphasis in original.

61 Ibid., p. 55.

62 Ibid., p. 64.

63 Note, as mentioned above, that Buzan and Wæver consider that non-state actors may be ‘units’ of observation as well. However, their delineation of the post-Cold War patterns of regional security in Africa admits that its specific representation ‘overrepresents state territoriality and underrepresents nonstate actors’ (Buzan and Wæver, ‘Regions of Power’, p. 231).

64 Rubin, ‘Regional Approaches’. For a more recent manifestation of this approach, see Armstrong, A. and Rubin, B., ‘The Great Lakes and South Central Asia’, in Chesterman, S., Ignatieff, M., and Thakur, R., ‘Making States Work’, pp. 79101Google Scholar .

65 Wallensteen, Peter, Understanding Conflict Resolution (London: Sage, 2007), p. 194Google Scholar , and ch. 8 more generally.

66 Horowitz, D., Ethnic Groups in Conflict (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1985)Google Scholar .

67 Mincheva, ‘Dissolving Boundaries’.

68 Adamson, ‘Globalisation’, p. 33.

69 Ibid., p. 43.

70 Ibid., p. 44.

71 Arranged according to geographic location, global ranking in parenthesis.

72 The Fund for Peace, Failed States Index 2009, {} accessed on 3 August 2009.

73 Allen, D., ‘The Context of Foreign Policy Systems: The Contemporary International Environment’, in Clarke, Michael and White, Brian (eds), Understanding Foreign Policy (Aldershot: Edward Elgar, 1989), pp. 6083, here p. 68Google Scholar .

74 For the most part, it is unlikely that state failure regions will not be geographically contiguous. However, as noted above, one could conceptually explore the possibility of clustering Georgia and Moldova – two non-neighbouring successor states of the former Soviet Union – into one state failure cluster (fragmented states) because one of the factors that contributes to their fragmentation (Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia) is Russian policy in the so-called near abroad.

75 As discussed below, this underscores the importance of disaggregating the state level and introducing a sub-state level of analysis. Dertwinkel and Lambach's analysis of the DRC shows precisely why, on the basis of a geographic mapping of ‘state failure events’, the DRC should not be considered part of a (Greater) Horn of Africa state failure region. Cf. T. Dertwinkel and D. Lambach, ‘Breaking Down Breakdown’.

76 Chauvet, Collier and Hoeffler, ‘Paradise Lost’.

77 In 1993, Egypt, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zaire formed the Technical Cooperative Committee for the Promotion of the Development and Environmental Protection of the Nile Basin (TECCONILE); Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi and Eritrea subsequently joined as observers. By 1998, this evolved into the Technical Advisory Committee (Nile-TAC), in which now eight riparian countries (all except Eritrea and DRC) formally participated. In 1999, the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) was established as a regional partnership of nine states (all except Eritrea).

78 At an empirical level, state failure regions in my conceptualisation are quite similar, if not identical, to what Buzan and Wæver describe, for example, as the ‘Central Asian subcomplex’, ‘Balkan subcomplex’ or ‘Caucasus mini-complex’ (Buzan and Wæver, ‘Regions and Powers’).

79 Singer, J. D., ‘The Level-of-Analysis Problem in International Relations’, World Politics, 14:1 (1961), pp. 7792CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

80 Waltz, K. N., Man, the State and War (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959)Google Scholar .

81 Levy, J. S., ‘Theories of Interstate and Intrastate War: A Levels-of-Analysis Approach’, in Crocker, C., Hampson, F. O., and Aall, P. (eds), Turbulent Peace: The Challenges of Managing International Conflict (Washington DC: US Institute of Peace Press, 2001), pp. 327, here p. 4Google Scholar .

82 Ibid.

83 For example, Nicholson, ‘The Potentiality’; Patrick, ‘Failed States’; Patrick, ‘Weak States’; Piazza, ‘Incubators of Terror’; Rotberg, ‘State Failure’; Rotberg, ‘When States Fail’; Schneckener, ‘States at Risk’.

84 Waltz, K. N., Theory of International Politics (New York: McGraw Hill, 1979)Google Scholar .

85 On the one hand, there is a significant body of literature concerned with the study of ethnic conflict that takes this approach, for example, Brown, M. E. (ed.), The International Dimensions of Internal Conflict (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1996)Google Scholar ; Brubaker, R., Nationalism Reframed: Nationhood and the National Question in the New Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Smith, D., ‘Framing the National Question in Central and Eastern Europe: A Quadratic Nexus?’, Ethnopolitics, 2:1 (2002), pp. 316CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; and Wolff, S., Disputed Territories: The Transnational Dynamics of Ethnic Conflict Resolution (Oxford and New York: Berghahn, 2001)Google Scholar . On the other hand, Buzan and Wæver, in a recent ‘update’ of their securitisation theory, note that ‘[a] regional security complex is always embedded in, and thus dependent on, the constant reproduction of social identities at lower levels and often also bound up with regional-global and occasionally inter-regional relations. Thus, a regional security complex – while its essential structure is defined by relations among its units at the regional level and by the complex's external boundary, always exists within, and as the core of, a wider constellation.’ Buzan, Cf. B. and Wæver, O., ‘Macrosecuritisation and Security Constellations: Reconsidering Scale in Securitisation Theory’, Review of International Studies, 35:2, pp. 253276, here p. 257CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

86 For an analysis of ‘spatial variation’ across different criteria of performance outputs of states, see Dertwinkel and Lambach, ‘Breaking Down Breakdown’.

87 Patrick, ‘Failed States’, p. 645.

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