Fragile and Failing States: Challenges and Responses

Since the early 1990s, the challenges posed by fragile and failing states have been a contentious and enduring part of the debates on post-Cold War international security. Though extensive, these debates have so far yielded little agreement on either the essential nature of state fragility and failure and what, if anything, potential outside intervenors can and should do to prevent it from developing, restore state functionality, or at least mitigate its impact and consequences. In this book, an international team of authors examine both the conceptual and practical challenges posed by this phenomenon. They consider the essential nature of the problem and through a variety of case studies, examine the effectiveness or otherwise of various regional and wider international responses in Africa, the Middle East and South America. This book will be of interest to both academics and practitioners engaged in studying and responding to the ongoing challenges posed by the existence of fragile and failing states in the contemporary international system.


This, the second book in our Sandhurst Trends series, makes a timely contribution not only to the ongoing academic and practitioner debates on state fragility and its consequences for the world, but also to advancing our core objective of securing the Academic Faculty at RMAS as an internationally-recognised centre of excellence. In this book an international team of scholars and practitioners offer a diverse and challenging range of analyses on one of the most fundamental security and development issues of our time. I am especially proud that this initiative was successfully launched during my time as Commander RMAS and am looking forward to following its continued progress in years to come.


Brigadier WSC Wright OBE
Commander Sandhurst Group 2016-2019


218 Pages  I  Size: 234 x 156mm  I  Publication: c. 28th February 2020

Paperback ISBN: 978 1 912440 19 1

Fragile and Failing States: Challenges and Responses

  • Introduction: Martin A. Smith. Part One: Conceptual Debates Chapter 1 Challenges to International Statebuilding: From Annihilation to Acceptance David Chandler. Chapter 2 Building States to Build Peace Revisited: Empirical Insights from Peace Negotiations in Fragile States Jan Pospisil. Chapter 3 The Selective Nature of International Responses to Fragile, Failing and Failed States Jacob Thomas-Llewellyn. Part Two: Challenges and Responses – Regional Case Studies  Chapter 4 Somalia and its Neighbours: AMISOM and the Regional Construction of a Failed State Jonathan Fisher. Chapter 5 The Rise of Strong Militaries in Africa: Defying the Odds? Jahara Matisek. Chapter 6 Colombia and the Persistence of ‘Failed State Stigma’ in a Peace Scenario Saúl M. Rodríguez and Fabio Sánchez. Chapter 7 Foreign Intervention and the Process of State Failure: A Case Study of Libya 2011 Islam Goher. Chapter 8 Safe Havens: the Failed Strategy of the Failed State? Emily Knowles and Abigail Watson. Conclusions David Brown. Index

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