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

April 17, 2017

Up Against the U.S./Mexico Border Wall

James Whitlow Delano

Mexicans call it The Wall of Shame. Few people north of the border ever ask, what does the wall look like from Mexico, not just to ordinary Mexicans but those whose homes literally touch the wall?

April 10, 2017

Nigeria's Unfolding Crisis

Leslie Roberts

Terrorized by Boko Haram for years, millions of people in northeastern Nigeria have fled to crowded camps and cities and are suffering from a deadly combination of severe malnutrition and infection.

April 06, 2017

On the Front Lines of Russian Infowar

Christian Caryl

The three Baltic republics—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—have been confronting the threat of Russian information warfare for years. What can the United States learn from their experience?

March 21, 2017

China's Frayed Perimeter

Howard W. French

Why, despite growing vastly richer and steadily more powerful over the last generation, has China remained frustrated in its goal of bringing Hong Kong and Taiwan under its unquestioned authority?

March 03, 2017

El Salvador's Lawyer for the Dead

Jason Motlagh

In El Salvador, the murder capital of the world, authorities are failing to combat a brutal gang war that is driving a mass exodus out of the country.

February 22, 2017

The East African Migrant Smuggling Trail

Michael Scott Moore

Smugglers along the trail from East Africa to Europe, through Libya, tend to look after their own. Are former Somali pirates running Somali migrants?

April 09, 2017|

Nigeria's Invisible Crisis

In one of the world's least recognized crises, hunger amplifies disease for millions fleeing the violence of Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria.

March 28, 2017|

This Week: Is It Too Late for Hong Kong?

This week: China loses patience with sacrificing control, Chinese migrants in Singapore, and child soldiers in South Sudan; what will happen with recent Trump administration aid cuts.