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Tue Aug 24, 2021, 05:24 PM

Sarah Chayes: Failing States? [View all]

Last edited Tue Aug 24, 2021, 06:44 PM - Edit history (1)


I feel guilty that I didn't know about Sarah Chayes before a few days ago. To add to the pantheon of excellent writers such as Marcy Wheeler (emptywheel.net) and Asha Rangappa (https://threadreaderapp.com/user/AshaRangappa_)

I write this post with the dizzying impression of having stepped into a hall of mirrors.

In international development circles, it’s fashionable to speak of “fragile” or “failing” states. But such states are deceptive. They are in fact run by sophisticated networks. These networks may be failing at governing, but governing is not their objective. Self-enrichment is. And at that they are highly successful.

Now consider the McMansions that have sprung up like growths around Washington in the past twenty years. Consider the properties in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, the pay packages and portfolios, the offshore bank accounts — and the no-bid tenders — enjoyed by executives of defense contracting and financial investment firms, pharmaceutical and fossil fuel giants, and the lawyers and brokers who service them. Under administrations of both parties, many of those executives have cycled in and out of government.

This is the story explored in On Corruption in America — And What Is at Stake.

What is at stake, indeed? Now consider the public policies these executives have influenced or authored. They include two lost wars, a financial meltdown that nearly brought down the world economy, an addiction crisis and a bungled response to a global pandemic, both of which killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. And the destruction of the irreplaceable habitat upon which we depend for our very survival, which has reached runaway speed in the same two decades. As I write, heaven — meaning the earth — is burning. Or flooded out.

This is what I mean by “Afghanistan holds up a mirror to us.” How competently have our own leaders been governing for the past twenty years? Meanwhile, how successful have they been at achieving that other objective: adding zeroes to their bank accounts? Which of those was in fact their primary objective?

Given the consequences, are terrorists really the greater threat to our homeland?

Those are the questions that have been flooding my mind. I’ll return to them below. But let me first take up some of yours.

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Reply Sarah Chayes: Failing States? [View all]
erronis Aug 2021 OP
elleng Aug 2021 #1
roamer65 Aug 2021 #2
Jerry2144 Aug 2021 #3
Irish_Dem Aug 2021 #4
2naSalit Aug 2021 #5
Irish_Dem Aug 2021 #7
2naSalit Aug 2021 #11
erronis Aug 2021 #9
2naSalit Aug 2021 #12
2naSalit Aug 2021 #6
Hekate Aug 2021 #8
dmr Aug 2021 #10