Fall 2017

Civil Wars & Transnational Threats: Mapping the Terrain, Assessing the Links

Stewart Patrick
U.S. policy for engagement in war-torn states assumes that internal violence generates cross-border spillovers with negative consequences for U.S. and global security. But Stewart Patrick suggests that war-torn states are not the primary drivers of transnational terrorism, organized crime, and epidemics. Of greater concern are relatively functional states that maintain certain trappings of sovereignty but are institutionally anemic, due to endemic corruption and winner-take-all politics. Ultimately, the most important U.S. stakes in war-torn countries are moral and humanitarian: namely, the imperative of reducing suffering among fellow members of our species.
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