Issue

Fragile States

The balance of power between strong states was for decades the dominant issue in discussions of international security. But today, it is fragile states that are seen by many as posing potentially greater threats. Weak infrastructures, internal conflict, and lack of economic development provide fertile ground for trafficking, piracy, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, disease pandemics, regional tensions, and even genocide.

As a result, there is a growing movement in the international community to find comprehensive ways to promote stronger states, as well as more effective solutions to deal with those that are already on the brink of failure.

In Fragile States, you'll find reporting from around the world—from East Timor to Haiti, from Guinea Bissau to Afghanistan. The reporting demonstrates the dangers weak states pose—and also the international interventions that appear to be making a difference.

Fragile States was produced by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in partnership with The Bureau for International Reporting. Support provided by the Stanley Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Fragile States

David Enders interviewed on Foreign Exchange

Fareed Zakaria interviewed David Enders on Foreign Exchange. Just back from Iraq, David describes a stagnating, often deteriorating security situation, a central government unable to provide basic services to Iraqi citizens, and the rise of militias as the real authority in many areas. The interview is a sobering counterpoint to recent official reports from the region and is, in our view, essential viewing as the Bush administration presents its much-touted "progress report" on Iraq.

Dizolele interviewed by Dick Gordon on the "The Story"

Last week, Congo installed the winner of its first multi-party presidential election in 40 years: Joseph Kabila is now the leader of the war-torn country.

Mvemba Dizolele describes the Congolese response to their historic elections as 'giddy'. Mvemba is an American citizen who was born and raised in Congo. He talks with Dick about his detention as a young man by the dictator who had employed his father, why he became an American…and what it was like to encounter a pygmy taller than he is.

How to End the Deadliest War in Africa

When Nelson Mandela was released from jail in 1990 and during the subsequent 1994 independence and elections in South Africa, the United States displayed a dramatic commitment to the democratic movement in Africa that has not been in evidence since. That seemed to change, however, with the U.S.-sanctioned arrest of Liberia's former president, Charles Taylor, on March 29, 2006, for human rights violations in neighboring Sierra Leone.

Millions Have Died for Our Cell Phones

The Mushangi area is nested high in eastern Congo's mountains, far from the capital, Kinshasa, on the border with Rwanda. The hills are barren, stripped of their lush vegetation both by erosion and by a seemingly never-ending conflict. While the rest of Congo prepares for the second round of presidential elections scheduled for Oct. 29, the people of Mushangi worry about one thing: survival.

Time for Diplomacy Not Confrontation

Without Khartoum's agreement, even 200,000 NATO troops wouldn't be able to impose a political settlement in Darfur. While the force that could ease Darfur's situation—the African Union—is underfunded.