Earlier this week Foreign Policy (FP) and the Fund for Peace named Somalia as the world’s No. 1 failed state, the third year in a row that Somalia has realized this dubious distinction. The other counties near the top of the list are also veterans of the Top 10, which has included the same 15 different unhappy countries in the index’s six years. Chad, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of Congo round out 2010’s Top 5, with Afghanistan, Iraq, Central African Republic, Guinea and Pakistan in slots 6-10, respectively.
According to FP, “this year’s index draws on 90,000 publicly available sources to analyze 177 countries and rate them on 12 metrics of state decay. Taken together, a country’s performance on this battery of indicators tells us how stable—or unstable—it is.”
An ominous accompanying article also names four big countries in trouble—Guatemala, Honduras, Nigeria and Iran.
Fortunately, the news isn’t all doom and gloom. FP sounds a hopeful tone at the end of its announcement, saying, “Given time and the right circumstances, countries do recover. Sierra Leone and Liberia, for instance, no longer rank among the top 20 failing states, and Colombia has become a stunning success story.”