Failed States and Fragile Societies
A New World Disorder?

Edited by Ingo Trauschweizer and Steven M. Miner

“The issue of state failure and fragility is one of the most important topics, if not the most important topic, in international affairs and international relations today and for the foreseeable future. This new volume succeeds in its stated goal of discussing and exploring the various aspects of [this issue] and brings together a variety of perspectives on a range of related topics by established scholars.”

Patrick James, Dornsife Dean’s Professor of International Relations, University of Southern California

Since the end of the Cold War, a new dynamic has arisen within the international system, one that does not conform to established notions of the state’s monopoly on war. In this changing environment, the global community must decide how to respond to the challenges posed to the state by military threats, political and economic decline, and social fragmentation. This insightful work considers the phenomenon of state failure and asks how the international community might better detect signs of state decay at an early stage and devise legally and politically legitimate responses.

This collection of essays brings military and social historians into conversation with political and social scientists and former military officers. In case studies from the former Yugoslavia, Somalia, Iraq, and Colombia, the distinguished contributors argue that early intervention to stabilize social, economic, and political systems offers the greatest promise, whereas military intervention at a later stage is both costlier and less likely to succeed.

Contributors: David Carment, Yiagadeesen Samy, David Curp, Jonathan House, James Carter, Vanda Felbab-Brown, Robert Rotberg, Ken Menkhaus.


Ingo Trauschweizer is an associate professor in the Department of History at Ohio University and an affiliate at the Contemporary History Institute. He is the author of The Cold War U.S. Army: Building Deterrence for Limited War. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Military History, Cold War History, and other journals of history and politics.

Steven M. Miner is a professor of history and director of the Contemporary History Institute at Ohio University. He is the author of Between Churchill and Stalin: The Soviet Union, Great Britain, and the Origins of the Grand Alliance and Stalin’s “Holy War”: Religion, Nationalism, and Alliance Politics, 1941–1945 as well as numerous articles and essays.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    Ingo Trauschweizer
  • Part I: State Failure?
    • 1. The Future of War: Understanding Fragile States and What to Do about Them
      David Carment and Yiagadeesen Samy
    • 2. Human Rights and Wrongs in Failed States: Bosnia-Herzegovina, the International Community, and the Challenges of Long-Term Instability in Southeastern Europe
      T. David Curp
  • Part II: Using Force?
    • 3. The Past and Future of Insurgency: Protracted Warfare and Protracted Counterinsurgency
      Jonathan M. House
    • 4. “The Lessons of the Last War Are Clear”: The Military-
      Industrial Complex, Private Contractors, and US Foreign Policy
      James M. Carter
    • 5. Crime, Low-Intensity Conflict, and the Future of War in the Twenty-First Century
      Vanda Felbab-Brown
  • Part III: Systemic Response
    • 6. Odious and Failed States, Humanitarian Responses
      Robert I. Rotberg
    • 7. State Collapse and Local Response in Somalia
      Ken Menkhaus
  • Postscript
  • Contributors
  • Index

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Military History · International Studies · Current History · Peace Studies

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978-0-8214-2091-1
Retail price: $26.95, S.
Release date: May 2014
224 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights: World

Hardcover

978-0-8214-2090-4
Retail price: $59.95, S.
Release date: May 2014
224 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights: World

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978-0-8214-4488-7
Release date: Jun. 2014
Rights: World