FAILED STATES: DEFINING WHAT A FAILED STATES IS AND WHY NOT ALL FAILED STATES AFFECT UNITED STATES NATIONAL SECURITY
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Failed States have been discussed for over the past twenty years since the terrorist attacks of the United States on September 11th, 2001. The American public became even more familiar with the term “failed states” during the Arab Spring movement when several countries in the Middle East and North Africa underwent regime changes. The result of these regime changes was a more violent group of terrorists, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). This thesis will address how to define failed states to ensure there is an understood baseline when looking to determine if a state could possibly fail. Further, this thesis will examine the on-going debate addressing the question of those who claim failed states can’t be predicted and determine if analytic modeling can be applied to the identification of failed states. The thesis also examines the need to identify “failed states” before they fail and will also discuss the effects certain failed states have directly on United States national security. Given this, the last portion of this paper and argument to be addressed will determine if there are certain failing states that the United States will not provide assistance to, as it is not in the best interest of our national security and that of our allies. Saudi Arabia and Venezuela will be studied throughout the thesis. One is close to failing, if it has not already failed (Venezuela) while another is far from being a failed state (Saudi Arabia). Venezuela is failing, but this failure has had little to no impact on the United States from a national security perspective. However, Saudi Arabia given their importance as a Middle Eastern ally, would never be allowed to fail given the potential security and economic consequences if that were to happen.
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